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May 21, 2024

Bitter brew: CBD coffee spot to close doors

A city coffee specialist will move on due to personal and cost of living reasons and complaints about in-house coffee roasting.

  • Words and pictures: Claudia Dichiera
  • Graphic: Mikaela Balacco

Paddy Barry’s, a specialty coffee roaster and café, announced via Instagram that it will shut up shop in the near future.


Paddy Barry’s
96 Gilles Street, Adelaide 5000
Weekdays: 7:30am ’til 2pm
Weekends: 9am ’til 2pm

Open indefinitely


“It was a hard decision to make and it’s been in the work since maybe the start of the year,” owner Jimmy Barry tells CityMag.

“Late last year, we had a couple of things — a bit of bad luck — with my wholesale side of things, the roasting.

“A bunch of the accounts I was wholesaling to were closing down and then while I was roasting small volume, I thought now’s a good time to shift from my [roasting] spot in Port Adelaide to the city [inside Paddy Barry’s].”

These accounts that closed were Folklore in Port Adelaide and Brother Bear in Mount Barker.

Jimmy on the tools at Paddy Barry’s


Jimmy says one particular neighbour complaint — about small roasting at the back of the café — was “the beginning of the end”.

“We just tried and tried to come up with a solution and it wasn’t really good enough for them. So we weighed up my options and I thought either way, no matter what I did, it was going to cost a lot of money,” he says.

This resulted in a volume drop of coffee roasting and supplying.

“I went from roasting over 100 kilos a week to basically just supplying me and one other shop. Now I’ve just got a couple of smaller accounts like hair salons and bars and stuff that I still supply too,” Jimmy says.

“I stopped taking on wholesale, and stopped even looking once I couldn’t roast using my machine.”

Jimmy says that some of those ex-clients — the ones that didn’t close — looked to other, larger specialty roasters who could offer beans while “supplying you with brand new equipment: coffee machines and grinders”.

“It’s really hard to compete with, to be honest,” he says. “You almost just hope that people like your product enough to justify spending that little bit more.

“I think overall, we’re seeing lots of places opening up and they’re choosing to go with some of these bigger interstate roasters that have the ability to supply brand new equipment, and even they have staff working in Adelaide that can come out and look after them as well.”

Jimmy having a sip of some good coffee


We ask Jimmy if charging coffee according to what it’s worth would have assisted in staying open.

“I think if we were charging what we think coffee should be sold at, yeah, I’m sure that would have helped,” he says.

“I probably would still be closing even if we were. I think the reason we’re closing is probably 80 per cent personal reasons more than industry and business reasons.

“It’s hard to say though — if we were doing so well to the point where it would almost be stupid to close, then, yeah, sure, maybe things would be different.”

Jimmy thinks charging $7 for a small regular coffee is the future.

“But I can’t see it happening in the next 12 months,” Jimmy says. “I think it will have to be gradual and I think the more we talk about it, the more people are going to start doing it and then following.

“So it will happen, I feel certain of that.”

Jimmy says the cost of living pressures were only “partly” the cause of closing as he noticed they “did see a little bit of a drop off”.

“I’ve noticed an average spend at Paddy Barry’s has gone down, as well as rising wages and other overheads — everything’s going up,” he says. “It definitely adds to it, but I think we were in a pretty good position where business wasn’t that bad.

“I thought now is a good time to sell because it’s actually looking pretty good, business isn’t overly bad at the moment.

“But yeah, I think, of course, cost of living would’ve had some effect as well.”

Jimmy says although his Gilles Street café felt the pinch, his closure was more related to the tasks that befell him when running an owner-operated business. He says he “wasn’t having fun anymore”.

“I’m trying to run a cafe and the wholesale business all at once and doing all the deliveries by myself. So I was doing basically 100 per cent of the work that goes on,” Jimmy says.

“And some [accounts] needed help with their coffee, or just the setup in their venues and I was stuck making lattes and I couldn’t really get there.

“Some of these bigger roasters have staff that can come out and help them straight away.”

Paddy Barry’s is located at 96 Gilles Street, Adelaide and is open indefinitely.

Connect with the business on Instagram for more.

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