Bar Sport on Norton Street Leichhardt in Sydney, has been the lifeline to many a caffeine fixated customer for years (myself included!). The café is captivating for a number of reasons, the name for one – whether its by connotation; the TV inside continually broadcasting sports (even through the night when the World Cup is on); or the stencilled characters blazoned across the front window depicting cyclists, soccer players, boxers, swimmers etc, it makes even the most slovenly of us, feel active! (This may have changed since my last visit, so any reader with knowledge of the café please let me know!)
The café itself is diminutive, (in square feet only) the intimacy another of its charms. Inside you will find tables of aged Italian men (like the chianti’s they sip at night) boisterously chatting, arms animatedly flaying, reading the daily paper (La Fiamma of course!) and knocking back short blacks with abundant abandon.
Located just up from Parramatta Road but still within eye and ear-shot, with a bus stop at the door, one of the best aspects of the café is its position that attracts patrons to it and past it. As any good café dweller would know, we don’t just go to a café for coffee and food but for the people watching. There is nothing better than ordering a caffe latte and cheese and tomato croissant and settling into the view. Perusing the scene, behind the safety of our coffee and book/newspaper/conversation, of people whose faces we recognise from around the streets, local business identities, local characters, friends of friends, complete strangers, neighbours, visitors, travelling salespeople, tradespeople, the odd celebrity, all kinds of people. Bar Sport is a place where many a story has been written, where many a human bond has been made, or broken, and where you can be as conspicuous or inconspicuous as you like.
Coffee connoisseurs will not be disappointed with the strength, flavour or presentation of their drink either. All elements are perfectly executed with latte glass complete, wrapped in its serviette apron. It’s a masterpiece to be admired, for at least a moment or two, before sipping and savouring the flavour and aroma. Like all good addicts, the rush of the caffeine soon takes hold and patrons smile and nod satiated knowing that they share a common experience of bliss.
Perhaps the best aspect of the café is that despite numerous owners they have all had the commonsense to stick to a good thing and leave the café relatively unchanged. Its intimate feel, its focus on sport and its unpretentious atmosphere keeps patrons coming back time and again. (I’m sincerely hoping this is still the case when I next visit Sydney and pop into the café.)