Scout writer Sarah Butler checks out Melbourne’s new hospitality hub.
Earlier this year, Worksmith – a hospitality-focused co-working space – opened in Collingwood. For a change of scenery, and to take advantage of the fantastic coffee, Scout editor Nick Melin and I spent a day there recently. Here’s how it went down.
Arrived at Worksmith and was greeted by co-founder Roscoe Power and space manager Rachel Dougherty. Very impressed with the space; it was large and open with great natural light, high ceilings, a central bar and a variety of work areas around the room.
Rachel took us on a quick tour. We were shown the locker room, a commercial kitchen and small library area where members can work on the couches. We also inspected the in-house bar, where there are a number of coffee machines and a fridge stocked full of refreshments.
We were offered a number of spaces to work at. We chose the spot in the middle area near the front door so we could keep an eye on all the happenings. I took out my Mac and began transcribing a long interview I’d done recently with a local pub owner.
Because he arrived without having had his regular coffee hit, Nick decided to use the coffee facilities. Rachel showed him how to use the La Marzocco espresso machine, explaining that to make a great long black, it’s best to “add the hot water first” and ensure “the coffee is level in the group head”. He got the hang of it soon enough.
Omar de Silva from The Plato Project arrived for a scheduled meeting with us. Admittedly, it felt weird meeting a guest in a space that we are guests in too. The space’s meeting room was booked out so we sat up at the bar (which suited us fine) and chatted about an upcoming industry event we’re doing together.
Finally finished transcribing my interview – just in time for lunch. Today we were lucky enough to be a part of the inaugural Worksmith potluck lunch, along with around 15 Worksmith members. It was an opportunity to meet some of the other members, some of which are winemakers, restaurant managers and hospitality educators.
The spread involved dishes such as pork belly, tea eggs, a beetroot salad and fresh sourdough with a goat’s-cheese spread.
With a second helping in front of me (I couldn’t resist), I listened to Nick lead a group discussion on how hospitality businesses should go about finding top-quality employees. There are massive staff shortages across the industry, and everyone seemed engaged.
Poured myself a filtered coffee and returned to work, this time in the library for a change of scenery. I started to write an article on the difference in coffee prices across Melbourne and Sydney.
Took a break and chatted with some of the Worksmith members, including Scarf co-founder Hannah Colman and The Humble Dumpling’s Angie Chong. Everyone was friendly, and I gathered some interesting article ideas.
Rachel and a few others started to set up for an event that evening. They were a little noisy, so I pulled on some Bose noise-cancelling headphones (provided by Worksmith). I was later told that these events happen regularly in the space and are available for members to attend.
With my article now completed, I finished up the work day with a wine at the bar.