The Wrong Side of The Tracks

Next time you’re trying to decide which of the many cafes in Newcastle to visit and have a catch up with friends, if you’re looking for something cool, fun, quirky, vintage and affordable, Suspension Espresso is the place for you.

Located on the end corner of Beaumont Street, on what once would have been called ‘the wrong side of the train tracks’, it may just look like a small, grungy coffee shop from the outside. However, once you step inside you notice there is a lot more to this place. Not only does it serve up some brilliant beverages (definitely check out the iced coffee), it is a community hub.

Whether you choose to relax on the lounges inside and view the latest exhibition of local art on the walls, which you can also purchase if a piece particularly takes your fancy, or decide to sit out the back and bask in the sun, that atmosphere of energy, enthusiasm and passion exuded by owner, Chris Johnson, will follow you.

Always filled with people and the smell of high quality roasted coffee, not only can you buy treats to enjoy in store, you can also purchase some of those beautifully roasted beans to take the Suspension Espresso experience home with you.

Where did the name come from?
The guy who started it, who still roasts our coffee, there’s about four different stories to how he got the name. One of the stories was that he was driving across the Sahara in an old Peugeot 504 and they heard a noise and they found a cat up in the suspension, it was still alive, and so they called it suspension. It’s one of the four or five stories.

What is the essence/vibe you want people to feel when they walk into Suspension?
You know what, everybody is welcome at Suspension, and we get everybody. It use to be quite a dodgy area around Islington, so we use to get the prostitutes, to like literally brain surgeons, and everybody in between, and everybody would mix beautifully, and they’d sit next to each other and they’d chat, and it was a really organic place in that respect. So we try to maintain that. We’re very much a community based café and very proud to be Isso!

How did you get into the café business?
Same as a lot of people I think.  I just had a job in school and through Uni and then travelling. I did a lot of travelling and tried a lot of things and then just kept coming back to it. I love it, I’ve been doing it for a long time now, and I’ve got this place, I’ve got Good Brother and The Edwards. So it’s fresh and it’s nice having different places because you never get bored. But it’s a great industry, it really is, and I absolutely love my job.

Where is your favourite place to have coffee that isn’t inside a café?
There’s nothing better then my Atomic when I’m camping. So we put the Atomic on the fire, and we have these beautiful, little Italian espresso enamel cups and it’s the best, such a treat. So that’s my ultimate coffee outside of Suspension.

What are your hopes and dreams for Suspension in the future?
It’s kind of nice that it doesn’t change to much. I think we’d like it to be this little institution that people can become affiliated with and be very comfortable with. So you know what, if it’s the same in a few years time, I’d be ok with that

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