About our shared space:
There are now six rooms in the building we call home. Four are guest rooms (we sleep in one of them), one is for just our clothes, and one for storing all sorts of stuff.. To help make sure everyone is comfortable in our shared space, we avoid having more than four guests staying with us at a time (unless it's a group, booking all rooms), so our apologies in advance if we need to decline some inquiries.
The rooms are spacious, with more than just a bed. No two rooms share the same wall, which makes the space feel even more private. Guests access their bedrooms through the side-door that opens to the laneway, and so are free to come and go any time of the day. There is a share bathroom for guests towards the back of the property, and an outside dunny for now fit only for the boys (us).
The shop that opens to Charles St is now also a shared space, where guests can help themselves to breakfast, books and bicycles. Guests are welcome to use the shop for meals, taken home or cooked in our shared kitchen at the back. Of course guests are also welcome to share in the cleaning or donate towards the cleaning fund. The back office of hospitality is after all 80% cleaning...
Gerome. From Asia to Europe to Africa and since 2005, Australia, where he'd made Melbourne his home, and Abbotsford his neighbourhood. Gerome is a typical mixed bag of that generation: schooled enough, travelled enough, reads, cooks. Gerome lived in Paris for 7 years, defines himself humanist and secularist, and speaks fluent French.
Robert. From Tasmania to the Gold Coast and now Melbourne, where he's made his home with Gerome. Robert is your quintessential Aussie, laid back, funny, a larrikin if such a man still exists, a fantastic tradesman and a great dad to two boys, now fine young men. Robert is your typical bloke, active, a bit of a surfie, drives a ute, drinks beer, and speaks fluent Australian.
Together, Robert & Gerome make a great team; creating and re-creating the space they call home with things from past lives, things from second-hand shops and sometimes from the footpath. This is their humble contribution to a more sustainable world.
Gerome and Robert are your ordinary but atypical boys-next-door, happy and relaxed.
About The Charles St Milkbar:
Call it a life project, a social experiment or plain madness, The Charles St Milkbar is first of all a space that reflects the ever-evolving beings that we are. So it's mutable, changes with the seasons, changes with the people who share the space with us, and enriches itself with the ordinary stories of people and objects that find their way here.
About our neighbourhood:
Abbotsford is Melbourne's best-kept secret, close to everything, tucked away by the Yarra river, bounded by Victoria and Hoddle Streets. Easy to get into, easy to get out from, walking, on a pushbike, by tram, train or taxi.
Abbotsford is historically a working class suburb and home to the many waves of immigrants from Greece, Italy, China, Vietnam and more recently Thailand. The result is a texture richer than most other Melbourne precincts, cosmopolitan yet without the bling, earthy more than salubrious, gentrifying but resisting, a kaleidoscope of cultural backgrounds as evidenced by the diversity of affordable eating places and small businesses on Victoria Street.
Abbotsford is also home to some old-school pubs and hotels Melbourne is known for: The Yarra, The Retreat, The Park, The Carringbush, The Yorkshire, all no more than 10 minutes walk from each other. Abbotsford is also where you will find two very Melbourne cocktail bars, The Vic and The Aviary, both on Victoria Street.
And just around the corner from where we are, The Laird O'Cockpen, Three Bags Full, Mardi Edwards Providore, Ban Ban Kitchenware and Aldi.
Then there's The Abbotsford Convent. A place of historical interest, where for over a century "vulnerable and poor women and girls (considered to be in moral danger) could find shelter, food and work". All that is now past and The Convent that once washed Melbourne's dirty laundry is now a budding arts and community-minded precinct.
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