Meredith Baillie opened Sappho Books on Glebe Point Road in 1996, but she had her eye on a different space down the road – a massive old terrace which once housed the Glebe Youth Centre. It was boarded up, extensively vandalised, with smashed windows and graffiti.

But Baillie eventually managed to secure it in 2004 and has transformed it since. A second-hand, humanities-focused collection and cafe spreads across its six rooms, two levels and a back courtyard (where the decades-old graffiti has been preserved).

At night, the passageway adorned with murals and fairy lights between Sappho and Gleebooks next door opens, leading to Sappho’s small bar. It hosts regular semi-acoustic music and has become a launching place for up-and-coming artists.

For the neighbourhood, Sappho is as much a community space as it is a bookshop and eatery. Baillie says it’s been moving to hear locals say they feel a sense of connection with the space.

Contact Details

Updated: February 18th, 2021

We do not seek or accept payment from the cafes, restaurants, bars and shops listed in the Directory – inclusion is at our discretion. Venue profiles are written by independent freelancers paid by Broadsheet.