Friday, April 29, 2011

Missing the Milk Bar?

The Olympia Milk Bar is on Sydney's premier boulevarde of beauty Parramatta Road in Sydney's suburb of Stanmore. The long time owner is not generally sociable and does not like photos being taken in his shop. He ran the shop with his brother until his brother died, and he now runs it on his own. If the owner likes the look of you, he may turn the lighting on. If he doesn't like the look of you, he may well tell you to get out.

The Stanmore picture theatre used to be next door and the shop did a roaring trade with theatre patrons. Alas the theatre was demolished. I doubt the Olympia Milk Bar is profitable at all now, but it lives on.

OMG, there is even a Face Book group for it with 700 members.

Photos by Arthurly. While at times we lament the loss of our local milk bars, some have lived on well past their use date.

Most of the chocolate and lolly boxes are empty. Apparently the cigarettes he sells are years old.


  1. The cinema used to be called Olympia too and I frequented it (and the milk bar) as a child.

    The milk bar has been dark and forlorn looking for years and it amazes me that it has remained in business. It surely can't be turning a profit nowadays?

    I presume your description of Parramatta Road is ironic; there would be few uglier main roads in Sydney.

  2. The question is Andrew - Does the owner leave the lights on for you??

  3. I was so afraid of our milk bar owner (who used to stand out the front with his arms crossed) that I would walk right around the block to buy mum some milk from the "Australian" cafe if we ran out - and I didn't want to explain to the him why I wasn't to buy my milk from him - (sometimes it was old!!!) His little daughter used to take bites out of lollies and put them back in the lollie boxes - that was sometimes put in the little white lollie bags - ugh! but he did do a good fish and chips on Friday nights - its still there today

  4. Hey Andrew glad you found me again! What a blogging dummy I was! Was also away for 3 months working, but getting back into it again. So were you in Sydney? I see someone else is credited with the photos. I do lament the loss of the humble milk bar, but this one looks a tad scary!

  5. I remember the milk bars of my childhood. Bright and shiny, big windows, little tables and chairs. Some of them had booths along the back wall. All of them had laminex counters, behind those were the rows of milk flavourings in big glass bottles. My favourite one was on the road leading to the smaller beachside road. It had 5 milkshake mixer machines and did a roaring trade all summer, selling icecreams and soft drinks, sandwiches and hotdogs. The fish and chip shop next door to it was also always busy, their "hamburger with the lot" was the best in town.
    Things started going downhill when milkbars started to be called Delis.

  6. Victor, I drove along Parramatta Road in the eighties. It was certainly ugly then.

    If I was in Sydney Dianne, I doubt he would.

    Funny about the lollies MC.

    Just a place I heard about Cheryl.

    River, it is very hard to get an old fashioned milk shake now.

  7. yeah it really is a bit of a trip through the twilight zone to get back to the 1950's.

    i had a milkshake there, it was great. am not sure i would try anything else there though (that's if there is anything else there on offer).

    check it out.!
    cheers mate and nice blog, i will be back.

  8. Thanks. So it was still operating in a few weeks ago. It or the owner can't go on for much longer surely.

  9. Anonymous1:09 pm

    Far out... just go in there and buy a coffee from him. It's perfectly fine I live nearby and go in there all the time.

    1. Still operating then?