Coffee palace

Coffee Palace
Country Australia
Introduced 1880's

A coffee palace was an often large and elaborate temperance hotel built In Australia particularly in the boom years of the 1880s.[1]

They were hotels that did not serve alcohol, built as part of the temperance movement and, in particular, the influence of the Independent Order of Rechabites in Australia. The larger Coffee Palaces included all the facilities of a grand hotel, such as a large number of rooms for accommodation as well as dining rooms, billiard rooms, lounges and parlours.

Designed to compete with hotels by 'offering all the ordinary advantages of those establishments without the allurements of the drink', the coffee house movement originated in Scotland in the 1830s under the auspices of temperance societies. The Temperance movement in Australia was established shortly after, for instance, the temperance society in Melbourne was formed in 1837.[2]

In Victoria, politician James Munro was a particularly vocal member of the temperance movement, and many other upstanding members of the community formed companies to build Coffee Palaces in their local area.

The first coffee palace companies were founded in the late 1870s in Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide. The movement in particular flourished in Melbourne in the 1880s, then in the throes of a 'land boom', with land rising steeply in value and large buildings built to capitalise on that value.[3] This coincided with the popularity of what is now called High Victorian architecture, lavish buildings with richly ornamented facades and interiors, usually Renaissance Revival, perhaps combined with Second Empire elements.

Coffee Palaces were built in the central city of Melbourne, in the major suburbs, and in country towns across Victoria, catering for patrons who wanted the advantage of a fine hotel without the dangers associated with alcohol consumption on the premises.

The boom soon bust, and the coffee palaces lost custom to licensed hotels they were sometimes built to compete with, while others were built for patrons that never came, and so many went bankrupt within 10 years. Some were converted into guest houses or private hotels, while others applied for liquor licences. As large Victorian era hotels with numerous small rooms, those that had not continued as hotels often became low quality boarding houses by the mid 20th century, and a large number were demolished from the 1950s-1970s; however, some significant examples still survive, though very few still operate as hotels. The most famous survivor is the Hotel Windsor, originally the Grand Coffee Palace 1886, which gained a licence in the 1920s, and is Australia's major surviving grand 19th century hotel.




  • Coffee Tavern No 2, 516-518 Flinders Street, 1880. Closed 1897, became a warehouse then offices, then a licensed brothel in 1990. [4]
  • McCaughans Coffee Palace, Spencer Street, Melbourne, 1891, now Great Southern Hotel.
  • Victoria Coffee Palace, Collins Street adjacent to the Town Hall, 1880 (as the Victoria Club). The Collins Street frontage was demolished when the town hall was extended in the 1920s, but the Little Collins Street part, built 1880s and 1920s, survives as the Victoria Hotel [5]
  • Federal Coffee Palace, Corner of Collins and King Streets, Melbourne, 1888, demolished 1972.
  • Melbourne Coffee Palace, Bourke Street, 1881, demolished c1970.
  • Grand Coffee Palace, Spring Street, first stage built as an hotel in 1884, became a Coffee Palace in 1886, extended 1888, renamed the Hotel Windsor) in the 1920s.
  • Oriental Coffee Palace, later Gladstone Hotel, Victoria Street, North Melbourne[6]
  • Albert Park Coffee Palace, later The Biltmore, Albert Park, 1887.[7]
  • Brunswick Coffee Palace, Brunswick 1879[8]
  • Queen's Coffee Palace, 1 Rathdowne Street, Carlton, 1890, demolished c1970
  • Collingwood Coffee Palace (originally proposed as Fitzroy Coffee Palace and Workers Club), 232 Smith Street, Fitzroy (named Collingwood despite actually being on the Fitzroy side of the street), 1879. In the early 20th century floors added and subsumed into a department store, of which only the facade remains propped atop a supermarket.
  • Hawthorn Coffee Palace, Burwood Road Hawthorn near Glenferrie Road, demolished.
  • Mentone Coffee Palace, Mentone, 1887. Closed 1904, and purchased to become the nucleus of Kilbreda College.
  • Newport Coffee Palace, 24 Newcastle Street, Newport, 1891 [9] Became a guest house in the 1920s, converted to apartments in the later 20th century.
  • Prahran Coffee Palace, Chapel Street, Prahran, 1880 [10]
  • Sandringham Coffee Palace, 'opposite railway station', 1889,[11] known by 1894 as Sandringham House,[12] Sandringham, demolished. (possibly the site of current Sandringham Hotel).
  • South Yarra Coffee Palace, cnr Toorak Road and Claremont Street, 1887,[13] now the Hotel Claremont Guesthouse.
  • St Kilda Coffee Palace, Grey Street, St Kilda
  • West Melbourne Coffee Palace, Victoria Street, probably on the corner of Roden Street, West Melbourne, c1888[14] demolished.
  • James' Coffee Palace, Williamstown, demolished.


  • Andrew's Coffee Palace, Armstrong Street
  • Reid's Coffee Palace, (1886[15] and 1888[16]), verandah late 1890s[17] now Reid's Guest House.[18]


  • Sandhurst Coffee Palace (demolished)
  • Central Coffee Palace (demolished)


  • Barwon Heads Coffee Palace, facing mouth of Barwon River, 1889[19], renamed Mt Colite Hotel, destroyed by fire 1928 [20], site now Barwon Heads Hotel
  • Ocean Grove Coffee Palace, later Green Gables and The Chalet, 1888, demolished late 1960s [21] [22]
  • Grand Hotel, 1881, now Vue Grand, sometimes described as a coffee palace.[23]
  • Sea View Coffee Palace, cnr Hesse and Stokes Streets, described as a Coffee Palace from 1899[24], now Sea View Guest House.
  • Federal Coffee Palace, Hesse Street, Queenscliff, location and date uncertain


  • Geelong Coffee Palace, originally Macks Hotel, Brougham Terrace (formerly Corio Terrace), refurbished and reopened as a Coffee Palace in 1888[25], name returned to Mack's Hotel (still without a licence) in 1891[26], demolished
  • Grand Coffee Palace, Bairnsdale, 1889,[27], demolished 1970s.
  • Mildura Coffee Palace, Mildura, c1888 [28]
  • Murtoa Coffee Palace, Murtoa
  • Ozone Coffee Palace, Warrnambool, 1889, refurbished in 1920 and reopened as Hotel Mansions, full licence granted in 1923[29], destroyed by fire 1929.[30]
  • Marnoo Coffee Palace, Marnoo
  • Wimmera Coffee Palace, Horsham, 1918 Horsham[31], demolished.


  • Imperial (Hobart) Coffee Palace, Hobart, Tasmania (built in two sections, firstly in the 1880s then extended in 1910. Cast iron verandah, balcony and mansard roof were removed during the 1950s and the 1910 extension was demolished in the 1960s)
  • Tasmanian Coffee Palace, Hobart, Tasmania, 89 Macquarie St (established in Ingle Hall which was built c1814). Also known as Norman's Coffee Palace, the Orient, and Anderson's. Now home to the Mercury Print Museum.
  • Federal (Sutton's) Coffee Palace (later Metropole), 67 Brisbane Street, Launceston, Tasmania (demolished 1976)
  • Shield's Temperance Hotel (Shield's Coffee Palace), 77 Esplanade, Launceston, Tasmania. Ironically established in the former Burten Brewery in 1859,[32] the building was eventually reduced in size as the Monds Flour Mills expanded in the early 20th century with the building finally being demolished in the 1950s.
  • Commonwealth Coffee Palace, 23-29 Tamar Street, Launceston, Tasmania (demolished 1960s)

South Australia

  • Grand Coffee Palace, Hindley Street, Adelaide, built 1890.[33]
  • Grayson's Coffee Palace, Adelaide (demolished 1918)
  • Coffee Palace, 110 Hindley Street, Adelaide, built 1900 as Austral Stores, becoming Grant’s Coffee Palace in 1908, then West's Coffee Palace in 1919.
  • Port Pioneer Coffee Palace. Hindley Street, Adelaide. (1879)[34]

New South Wales

  • Sydney Coffee Palace, Sydney, New South Wales (founded 1879, rebuilt 1913-1914) (demolished ?)[35]
  • Sydney Coffee Palace, Woolloomooloo (1880)[36]
  • Grand Central Coffee Palace (1880), Sydney
  • Bee Hive Coffee Palace, Sydney
  • Crescent Coffee Palace, Haymarket [37]
  • Great Western Coffee Palace, Hay & Sussex Street, Haymarket[38]
  • Town Hall Coffee Palace, Brickfield Hill, Sydney[39]
  • Oxford Coffee Palace, Riley Street, East Sydney
  • Johnsons Temperance Coffee Palace. York Street, Sydney. (built 1879)[40]
  • Davies Coffee Palace, Manly (built 1912, demolished 1955)
  • Miss McGuren's Coffee Palace, Coffs Harbour[41]
  • Dorrigo Coffee Palace, Hickory St, Dorrigo (burnt down 1926[42] and again in 1930[43])
  • Metropolitan Coffee Palace, Goulburn (1893)[44]
  • Katoomba Coffee Palace
  • Central Coffee Palace, Main-street, Murwillumbah[45]
  • Federal Coffee Palace, Parkes


Western Australia

  • Horseshoe Coffee Palace, Perth
  • Burnett's Coffee Palace and Temperance Hotel (Perth's first 'Coffee Palace', although the building, constructed c1834, was previously the (licensed) Devonshire Arms, prior to that The Mason's Arms), corner Hay and Barrack Streets, diagonally opposite Town Hall, Perth[48][49]
  • Ellis's Grand Central Coffee Palace (still standing as the Grand Central Hotel), Wellington St, Perth[50]
  • Continental Coffee Palace (Wellington St, Perth[51]
  • Rechabite Coffee Palace, Wellington St, Perth (Opposite Central Railway Station)[52][53][54][55][56]
  • Royal Coffee Palace, 165-167 Murray St, Perth[57][58]
  • Musson's (Sydney) Coffee Palace (Hotel), Murray St, Perth[59]
  • Cornwall Coffee Palace (previously the Yankee Coffee Palace), 239 Murray St (between William and Barrack Sts), Perth [60]
  • Prince of Wales Coffee Palace, Murray St, Perth[61]
  • (Shafto's) Victoria Coffee Palace, Wellington St, Perth[62]
  • Wilson's Coffee Palace, King St, Perth[63]
  • Paris Coffee Palace, corner of James and Pier Sts, Northbridge[64]
  • Worsleys Coffee Palace, Katanning, Perth
  • Metropolitan Coffee Palace, Stirling St, Northbridge[61]
  • Britannia Coffee Palace, 323 William St, Northbridge[65]
  • Perth Coffee Palace, William St, Northbridge[66]
  • 1904 Wise Directory has 20 coffee palaces listed in Perth and other locations in WA[67][68][69]

United Kingdom

See also


  • Grand Hotels: Reality and Illusion. Elaine Denby. Reaktion Books, 2002


  1. Denby, Elaine (2002). Grand hotels : reality and illusion. Reaktion. p. 174. ISBN 978-1-86189-121-1.
  2. Murdoch, Sally. "Coffee Palace". Encyclopedia of Melbourne. School of Historical & Philosophical Studies, The University of Melbourne. Retrieved 23 January 2018.
  3. Davison, Graeme. "Land Boom". Encyclopedia of Melbourne. School of Historical & Philosophical Studies, The University of Melbourne. Retrieved 23 January 2018.
  4. South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 - 1900) Saturday 25 September 1880 p 1 Advertising
  6. "Former Oriental Coffee Palace". Victorian Heritage Database. Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  7. "Biltmore". Victorian Heritage Database. Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  8. "VICTORIA". Australian Town and Country Journal. XX (505). New South Wales, Australia. 13 September 1879. p. 10 via National Library of Australia.
  9. "Hobsons Bay Heritage Study Amended 2010- Volume 3" (PDF). Hobsons Bay City Council. Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  10. "VICTORIA". The Sydney Morning Herald (13,046). New South Wales, Australia. 24 January 1880. p. 6 via National Library of Australia.
  11. "Sandringham Coffee Palace Now Open". The Argus. 27 September 1889.
  12. "Sandringham House (late Coffee Palace)". The Age. 26 March 1894.
  13. "OPENING OF THE SOUTH YARRA COFFEE PALACE". The Argus. 2 February 1887. Retrieved 26 January 2018.
  14. "Public Notice concerning West Melbourne Coffee Palace Management". North Melbourne Advertiser. 6 October 1888. Retrieved 26 January 2018.
  15. "No title". The Ballarat Star. XXXI (246). Victoria, Australia. 21 October 1886. p. 2 via National Library of Australia.
  16. "A Ballarat Coffee Palace Burnt". Kerang Times and Swan Hill Gazette (921). Victoria, Australia. 13 April 1888. p. 1 (Supplement to Kerang Times & Swan Hill Gazette.) via National Library of Australia.
  17. "FORMER REIDS COFFEE PALACE". Victorian Heritage Database. Retrieved 11 March 2018.
  18. Ballarat: A Guide to Buildings and Areas, 1851-1940. Jacobs Lewis Vines Architects and Conservation Planners. 1981. p. 90. ISBN 978-0-9593970-0-0. Retrieved 10 July 2013.
  19. "A COFFEE PALACE AT BARWON HEADS". Geelong Advertiser (13,149). Victoria, Australia. 15 April 1889. p. 4 via National Library of Australia.
  20. "FIRE AT BARWON HEADS". Geelong Advertiser. 1 December 1928. Retrieved 11 March 2018.
  21. "OCEAN GROVE". Leader (2032). Victoria, Australia. 22 December 1894. p. 3 (THE LEADER SUPPLEMENT) via National Library of Australia.
  22. "Ocean Grove: Chalet". BELLARINE HISTORICAL SOCIETY INC. Retrieved 11 March 2018.
  23. "QUEENSCLIFF". The Age. 22 December 1928. Retrieved 11 March 2018.
  24. "SEA VIEW COFFEE PALACE". Weekly Times. 23 December 1899. Retrieved 11 March 2018.
  25. "GEELONG GRAND COFFEE PALACE COMPANY, LIMITED". Geelong Advertiser. 25 Jan 1889. Retrieved 11 March 2018.
  26. "GEELONG GRAND COFFEE PALACE". Geelong Advertiser. 10 July 1891. Retrieved 11 March 2018.
  27. "BAIRNSDALE GRAND COFFEE PALACE". Bairnsdale Advertiser and Tambo and Omeo Chronicle (1077 and 1665). Victoria, Australia. 2 November 1889. p. 3 (morning.). Retrieved 9 March 2018 via National Library of Australia.
  28. "MILDURA". The Capricornian. 14 (46). Queensland, Australia. 17 November 1888. p. 28 via National Library of Australia.
  29. "Plaque - Ozone Hotel". Victorian Collections. Museums Victoria. Retrieved 11 March 2018.
  30. "Our history – the camera remembers: The Ozone Hotel". The Standard. 18 December 2015. Retrieved 11 March 2018.
  31. "The Wimmera Coffee Palace, Horsham". The Horsham Times (5941). Victoria, Australia. 9 April 1918. p. 6 via National Library of Australia.
  32. Miranda Morris-Nunn & C.B.Tassell (1982). "Launceston's Industrial Heritage: A Survey Part One" (PDF). Retrieved 15 January 2016.
  33. "An Important Judgement. The Cyclorama Case". The Advertiser. 23 November 1906. Retrieved 19 March 2015.
  34. "Advertising". South Australian Register. XLIV (10,166). South Australia. 14 June 1879. p. 7 (Supplement to the South Australian Register.) via National Library of Australia.
  35. "A Coffee Palace for Sydney". The Evening News (3791). New South Wales, Australia. 5 June 1879. p. 2 via National Library of Australia.
  36. "Another Coffee Palace in Sydney". The Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser. XXX (1045). New South Wales, Australia. 17 July 1880. p. 131 via National Library of Australia.
  37. "COFFEE PALACE ALIGHT". The Sun (261). New South Wales, Australia. 1 May 1911. p. 7 (LATEST EDITION) via National Library of Australia.
  38. "GREAT WESTERN COFFEE PALACE". The Daily Telegraph (10826). New South Wales, Australia. 3 February 1914. p. 5 via National Library of Australia.
  39. "The Town Hall Coffee Palace, Sydney". The Evening News (5465). New South Wales, Australia. 20 November 1884. p. 3 via National Library of Australia.
  40. "Advertising". The Sydney Morning Herald (12,850). New South Wales, Australia. 9 June 1879. p. 2 via National Library of Australia.
  41. "COFF'S HARBOUR". The Clarence and Richmond Examiner. New South Wales, Australia. 11 November 1911. p. 2 via National Library of Australia.
  42. "BOARDING-HOUSE FIRE". The Sydney Morning Herald (27,560). New South Wales, Australia. 5 May 1926. p. 16 via National Library of Australia.
  43. "WINE AND BILLIARD SALOONS BURNT". The Sydney Morning Herald (28,881). New South Wales, Australia. 29 July 1930. p. 10 via National Library of Australia.
  44. "Coffee Palace for Goulburn". Goulburn Herald. New South Wales, Australia. 22 September 1893. p. 2 via National Library of Australia.
  45. "CENTRAL COFFEE PALACE, MURWTLLUMBAH". The Catholic Press (933). New South Wales, Australia. 6 November 1913. p. 44 via National Library of Australia.
  46. "People's Palace (entry 600096)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 25 June 2015.
  47. Cohen, Kay; Donovan, Val; Kerr, Ruth; Kowald, Margaret; Smith, Lyndsay; Stewart, Jean; Royal Historical Society of Queensland (issuing body) (2014), Lost Brisbane : and surrounding areas 1860-1960, Brisbane, [Queensland] Royal Historical Society of Queensland, with QBD The Bookshop, ISBN 978-0-10-101888-3
  48. "YESTERDAY —and the DAY BEFORE". Western Mail. 49 (2,532). Western Australia. 30 August 1934. p. 51 via National Library of Australia.
  49. "No title". Western Mail. 49 (2,531). Western Australia. 23 August 1934. p. 51 via National Library of Australia.
  50. "A New Coffee Palace". Sunday Times (306). Western Australia. 15 November 1903. p. 12 via National Library of Australia.
  51. "Classified Advertising". The West Australian. 13 (3,610). Western Australia. 21 September 1897. p. 8 via National Library of Australia.
  52. "THE RECHABITE ORDER". Western Mail. VII (349). Western Australia. 20 August 1892. p. 30 via National Library of Australia.
  53. "Advertising". The West Australian. XXVI (7,646). Western Australia. 29 September 1910. p. 10 via National Library of Australia.
  54. "Advertising". Truth (393). Western Australia. 14 January 1911. p. 7 (CITY EDITION) via National Library of Australia.
  55. "Advertising". The West Australian. XXX (3,845). Western Australia. 11 August 1914. p. 10 via National Library of Australia.
  56. "Advertising". The West Australian. XLIV (8,133). Western Australia. 11 July 1928. p. 18 via National Library of Australia.
  57. WA, State Library of. "025585PD: The Royal Coffee Palace, 165-167 Murray Street, Perth, 1911. In the same building is the Kilty store and next building is the Australia Hotel :: slwa_b3016904_1". Retrieved 2016-04-16.
  58. "A—ROYAL COFFEE PALACE. - Advertising - The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 - 1954) View title info - 29 Sep 1910". Trove. Retrieved 2017-08-20.
  59. "MIDLAND JUNCTION WANTS". The Daily News. XXV (9696). Western Australia. 25 June 1906. p. 4 (SECOND EDITION) via National Library of Australia.
  60. "BUSINESS ANNOUNCEMENTS. - The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 - 1954) - 14 Sep 1901". Trove. Retrieved 2016-04-17.
  61. 1 2 "SUNDAY TRADING. - PUBLICANS PROSECUTED. TWO CONVICTIONS. - The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 - 1954) - 14 Jul 1904". Trove. Retrieved 2016-04-17.
  62. "Classified Advertising - The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 - 1954) - 3 Aug 1897". Trove. Retrieved 2016-04-17.
  63. "POLICE INTELLIGENCE. - CITY COURT. THURSDAY, MARCH 4TH. (Before Messrs. M. F. A. Canning and J. Quinlan. J's.P.) - The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 - 1954) - 5 Mar 1897". Trove. Retrieved 2016-04-17.
  64. "BUSINESS ANNOUNCEMENTS. - The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 - 1954) - 23 Feb 1900". Trove. Retrieved 2016-04-17.
  65. "LICENSING DAY. - PERTH. - The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 - 1954) - 6 Dec 1898". Trove. Retrieved 2016-04-17.
  66. "Over the New Railway Bridge". Truth (116). Western Australia. 7 October 1905. p. 3 (CITY EDITION) via National Library of Australia.
  67. "The Western Australian Directory" (PDF). Wise. 1904. pp. 730–731.
  68. Brady, Wendy (December 1983), "'Serfs of the sodden scone'?: women workers in the West Australian hotel and catering industry 1900/ 1925 [Paper in: Crawford, Patricia (ed.). Women in Western Australian History]", Studies in Western Australian History (7): 33–45, ISSN 0314-7525
  69. "SERFS of the SODDEN SCONE". Sunday Times (Perth) (559). Western Australia. 20 September 1908. p. 3 (FIRST SECTION) via National Library of Australia.
  70. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 21 July 2011. Retrieved 11 December 2008.
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