COFFEE @ Harry’s Espresso Bar, Bondi Beach 2026.
If Country Road had a cafe I imagine it would look a lot like Harry’s Espresso Bar. Harry’s is located on the ground floor of a c.1930s corner face-brick residential flat building on Wairoa Avenue just off Campbell Parade, Bondi Beach.
From the street, Harry’s radiates a relaxed atmosphere and clean style. The smartly painted awning above the footpath, the pale aqua tiles and painted shopfront, like the iconic location, are very appealing.
Internally, the cafe has two distinct seating areas separated by an eye catching island bar that feels a little bit residential, in a nice way, making it feel like you could be eating in a relaxed family living room. A second bar area houses the biggest and most beautiful looking coffee machine I have ever seen. Black ceilings, polished concrete floors, lots of timber, stone bench tops, copper light fittings, and face brick have been used to create a chic aesthetic; even the bathroom has been thoughtfully styled!
Sometimes the most mundane things can take our fancy and at Harry’s I just love the combination of condiment containers on the window tables; they just look lovely and make a very pretty picture.
My cauliflower salad was very fresh and my coffee was great. Harry’s Espresso Bar is well worth a visit.
NOW & THEN around Bondi Beach
Bondi Beach and Bondi Park were originally privately owned by William Roberts who was granted the land in 1810. Public access to the beach and adjoining land was made available from 1855 and the area soon became a popular picnic location.
In 1882 and at great expense, the Government purchased 25 acres of land so that the beach and park could be reserved for public recreation. The first tramway reached the beach in 1884, strengthening the popularity of Bondi Beach as a public destination.
Surf bathing was not permitted until the early 1900’s at which time ‘neck to knee’ swimming costumes were the order of the day. Dressing sheds were constructed in 1910 to prevent swimmers changing on the beach. Buildings were also constructed for the newly established Bondi Surf Bathers Life Saving Club and the North Bondi Surf Club.
By the 1920’s, with the increased popularity of beach swimming and surfing, Waverley Council’s Bondi Beach and Park Improvement Scheme introduced the largest surf pavilion in Sydney. Officially opening in 1929, the works included the layout of a Marine Drive (now Queen Elizabeth Drive), car parking, bridges, a promenade, park plantings, and the Interwar Mediterranean and Georgian Revival style pavilion. The pavilion provided changing rooms for swimmers, retail premises, Turkish baths, and a cabaret theatre and ballroom. Advertising at the time referred to Bondi Beach as the “Playground of the Pacific”.
During the 1920s and 1930s substantial growth took place in the subdivisions surrounding the beach as both permanent residents and holidaymakers came to the area.
At the outbreak of World War II, the tunnels under Queen Elizabeth Drive linking the Bondi Surf Pavilion changing rooms to the beach were removed for security reasons and the park area was secured with barbed wire, as it was believed that an attack by the Japanese was a possibility.
Despite Bondi Beach’s popularity, the increased availability of cars in the post World War II era enabled beachgoers to search out new recreational destinations. The introduction of nylon swimming costumes coupled with the decline in the need for changing rooms, the Bondi Surf Pavilion’s commercial prospects were greatly diminished. During the 1960s, the pavilion auditorium was rarely used; however in the 1970s steps were taken to increase the community’s use of the pavilion.
The demolition of the change rooms, lockers, Turkish baths, and the courtyard took place in the late 1970s. In its place, a netball court, art gallery, gymnasiums, an amphitheatre and other facilities have been installed. Bondi Surf Pavilion continues to be a community cultural centre with parties, film festivals, plays and other events taking place throughout the year.
As an iconic representation of the Australian beach experience, Bondi Beach, Bondi Park, Bondi Surf Pavilion, and the Bondi Surf Bathers Life Saving Club building form a cultural landscape of State heritage significance. Additionally, each of the individual items is separately listed by Waverley Council as locally listed heritage items.
A photographic record of my visit to Bondi Beach, Sydney
Spotlight on Local Artist Stephen Evans
Curlewis Street, Bondi Beach is home to the studio of artist Stephen Evans. Stephen is one of Australia’s iconic landscape and still-life artists and is well-known for his dynamic Bondi landscape and beachscape paintings.
Stephen’s work can be seen around Bondi Beach and Bondi Junction as he was commissioned by Waverley Council to paint original works on traffic signal boxes. Three of Stephen’s works are located along the old tram route from Bondi Junction to Bondi Beach. A further seven traffic signal boxes painted by Stephen in shades of green, as part of the ‘Junga Green’ project, can be seen around Bondi Junction.
Dictionary of Sydney, Office of Environment & Heritage – State Heritage Inventory, Stephen Evans website, Waverley Council website.
Historical images courtesy of Flickr Commons and the State Library of NSW.