In the first paragraph of his book titled 'Kings Cross' in starting his author's note, Louis Nowra explains that one of the features of Kings Cross is how many name changes it has undergone.
"Once the area was known as Woolloomooloo Heights, Mill Hill, Darlinghurst, Queen's Cross, then King's Cross, and by the middle 1930s the apostrophe was being left out."
While Kings Cross doesn't officially have an Australian postcode (except for the Kings Cross post office boxes 1340) Kings Cross in Sydney is generally accepted to be the area bounded by Potts Point, Elizabeth Bay, Rushcutters Bay and Darlinghurst. Enclosed in this area, is the namesake Kings Cross Road where we start our best five coffee story.
Café Hernandez Kings Cross late night legend was established in 1972 by Joaquin Hernandez Snr who had been a coffee controller in his country of birth, Spain. The venue brought an early introduction of espresso coffee to Sydney-siders, as a roaster selling coffee blends wholesale and retail, as well as the renowned café institution which mostly operated non-stop 24 hours seven days a week throughout the years. Popular blends are expertly crafted and include New Guinea Beans, Colombia, Spanish Blend and Cronulla Blend as just a few examples. The artisan coffee is warm and rich and embracing, like the welcome the family gives to its guests.
Now as Kings Cross changes, Café Hernandez is still open seven days, with an all day menu that includes tasty reasonably priced toasted sandwiches, delicious empanadas, tortilla, lentil soup, Spanish meatballs, pastries and sweets such as churros, but now Café Hernandez operates until midnight with a later closing of 1am on Friday and Saturday nights. Following the passing of his father, son Keno (Joaquin Jnr) is proudly carrying on the family tradition. The café walls are full from floor to celing with paintings, and with a later addition of the 2011 First Prize San Pelligrino Sydney Café Society photography competition, which is based on the major artwork that sits next to it. Their Instagram account defines Café Hernandez Sydney as "authentic Spanish café, art and snacks" and it is and much more, and we will continue to celebrate the life of Joaquin Snr sharing in his passion for life and coffee, by joining with the community that he built at this iconic coffee establishment.
Café Hernandez, 60 Kings Cross Road, Potts Point
Primary Coffee Roasters has the most contemporary vibe of the Kings Cross cafes, industrial chique in white monitone. From our hero bests it is the youngest Kings Cross coffee hit and hasn't yet reached its 4th birthday. As the trend to the newer coffee houses holds, Primary is a daytime establishment, open 6am to 3pm weekdays and 7am to 2pm on weekends, grabbing its top spot through excellence. Founder Dan Kim brought expertise through his own hipster yet intensely knowledgeable heritage as head roaster at Brewtown Newtown. Yeup, he knows his stuff, as the constant flow of customers, that often sees it impossible to get a stool, attests. It's worth the wait for seasonal blends that sit happily alongside single origins, and even cold drips and excellent iced coffees.
Primary Coffee Roasters, Shop 1 / 9 Ward Avenue, Potts Point
Jeremy & Sons is one of the newer coffee operators in the area and while it had two locations in Kings Cross for a while, the times have taken their toll and now just the original location of four years on Bayswater Road is still operating. And the coffee? Barista perfection! Crema de la crema.
Jeremy & Sons, Shop 3 / 40 Bayswater Road, Rushcutters Bay
Junnys may have a Darlinghurst Road address, but it's neatly tucked away, a hole in the wall on the right hand side of the entrance to Kings Cross Train Station. Junnys serves morning coffee and is closed by mid to early afternoon. It's a softer brew with excellent crema that serves a steady stream of commuters with take away only from as early as 5.30am on weekedays, 6.30am on Saturdays and 8am on Sundays.
Junnys, Shop 1 / 107-109 Darlinghurst Road, Potts Point
Room Ten has a cult following. And deservedly so. If you are buying your coffee from this tiny hole-in-the-wall, take away or for dine in, it is likely that you might bump into a well known chef, or two. The coffee is that good. While living in Kings Cross for the last few years, Room Ten, or if its just too busy younger sibling Pina, has been my coffee go to. The cafe food here, for breakfast brunch and lunch, at both joints is so scrumptious that people wait for a table. Busy, but friendly. And just about the best example of what is best in this area, for now more than 10 years.
Room Ten, Llankelly Place, Potts Point
Pictured is the iconic Café Hernandez. All of these five coffee joints give a good hit and are worth a visit. Gosh if you are in Kings Cross why not make sure you give them all a go! Each has its own history, and individual coffee beauty in its own distinctive way.