Scary stories from a lovely place
Tonight Stephen and I absconded to a lovely little spot in Wollongong called The Three Squatters. It’s a cafe that will only be open for another 12 days (including today and it’s almost midnight) at the bottom end of Crown St mall, just where it turns from friendly pedestrian precinct into road.
Even though it’s small and daggy I love Wollongong CBD and the mall. It reminds me of being a kid and playing in the fountains. It reminds me of my grandparents, now deceased. It reminds me of good times at Wollongong uni. Soon after we got back from South Africa I said to someone at church that I was really fond of Crown St Mall and he replied “yeah if you want to get stabbed!”. He was a likeable guy so I let it slide, but I did harangue him with stories from Jozi. Like that time my friend got stabbed and we drove him to hospital in Stephen’s car. Or that other time Stephen stopped on the side of the road at night to help a friend who was helping a guy who had been stabbed.
Anyway, I was writing about Wollongong and how it has a good night life even though there’s a minute possibility you will get stabbed.
Wollongong has a lot to offer, not least of which is The Three Squatters pop-up cafe. I was recommended it by a friend who knew the people running it and was keen to support such a venture. I’m told that the lease on an existing cafe was changing but there was a gap between it and the new lease starting. So a pop-up cafe was installed to fill this gap. You know what landlords are like. They need all their cash.
Along with the enigmatic name, The Three Squatters does give the impression of impermenance. The first time we went I didn’t tell Stephen what I already knew about it and he remarked that it felt really “temporary”. This isn’t a bad thing though. In fact the limited menu and casual staff only increase the high comfort level. And though they are chilled the staff don’t seem disinterested. Each time I have visited the person serving me has asked what I thought of the food and drink, something that should happen each time we pay for such services I reckon.
The decor is very much your Grandma’s lounge room, which is oh so popular these days. But it works and only adds to the comfort (heck the birthing centre I used in Jozi were on the kitsch bandwagon too). Art, design and handicrafts are available for sale by local artists. It seems that at one time in its life the space was used for performance and so music was done well too. Tonight we enjoyed cruisy but intense old school Radiohead and Jeff Buckley and as the time drew into double figures and the place filled the sound increased along with the tempo of the music.
Obviously I can’t recommend this place enough. I hope to go there again, at least once, and I think you should too. Although we only have 11 more days and half an hour.