Writers spend  lot of time alone, so it’s great to get out  occasionally to enjoy the social buzz of a café.  There are plenty to choose from in my Blue Mountains village of Blackheath.

Altitude –  Good name for a café in the Blue Mountains. Last food orders at around  3pm, which can be a trap for the uninitiated. On the plus side. the striking, carved wall panels by artist Rob Keen are a joy to behold. Food wise, the breakfasts are great and  the Melting Moments  are pure heaven (mostly butter and icing sugar). Of course, sometimes the words just don’t flow smoothly… even after an injection of butter and caffeine.

Not much progress.

Carved kookaburra, in one of my Blackheath writing cafes.
Kooka looking slightly ‘wooden’

A Melting Moment at Altitude in Blackheath
Sorry, messed up the coffee art before I took this pic.
Altitude Cafe., Blackheath

Anonymous –  I feel I should use  a pen name when I work here. I’ve yet to enquire about the reason for the name, but there are certainly photos of nameless people on the wall.

Cafe Anonymous at Blackheath NSW

There are times when I suddenly remember long overdue projects and feel too guilty to order a treat with my coffee.

Writer's coffee.
Oh dear, procrastination is a curse.

Bakery on Wentworth – Famous for  its sourdough breads and old-fashioned pies. Follow the aroma of fresh bread down Wentworth Street. It’s located opposite the  local medical centre, so unfortunately  GP’s can spot their patients sneaking in for too many carbs and calories.

Bakery on Wentworth at Blackheath
July equals- hot chocolate.

Blackheath Bar and Bistro – Wednesday is ‘Dumpling Day’ – $12 for a basket. When possible I like to have a view of the inspiring Mt Tomah murals on the back wall. They are by the artist Rachel Szalay.

Writing cafe.....Blackheath Bar and Bistro
Murals at one of my writing cafes, Blackheath Bar & Bistro
Blackheath Deli.

Blackheath Deli – Since I was writing about Australia in  the 1950s  the day I came here, a lamington  seemed appropriate. Very few seats, so only to be  used in their quiet periods. 

Blackheath Deli.
An old classic.

Blackheath General Store – Be careful when ordering at this café. I pointed to a plate of plain scones in a display case and said. ‘A flat white  coffee and one of those scones please.’  And look what arrived. Well I didn’t like to create a fuss, so I  had to eat the lot.

Devonshire tea at Blackheath General Store.

New Ivanhoe Hotel. – There’s rarely a lack of seats in a pub. I was drawn to this venue when I heard they had a coal fire. Now I’m definitely not in favour of burning coal, but apparently it produces a particularly cosy heat.  Lithgow ( further west)  still has a working mine. Of course the wretched  fire wasn’t going when I ventured in.

The atmosphere of the Ivanhoe is summed up by a collage clock on the lounge mantelpiece. A pot of tea seemed more appropriate here than coffee.

Ivanhoe Hotel at Blackheath
Tea and toast.
Collage clock at the Ivanhoe Hotel in Blackheath
Half past a fanciful figure.

Public Library –  No food or drink at the library of course, except for free chocolate hearts on Library Lovers’ Day (February 14). On the plus side there is free wifi,  spare power points, and  a quieter atmosphere than  cafes and pubs.  It’s only open  four days a week, morning or afternoon, so one has to check in advance……. or have a good memory. The librarian bearing chocolates in the photo was at Katoomba library, but they do send some ‘up the hill’.

Blackheath Library
So warm in winter.
Library Lovers’ Day chocolate heart.
ibrary lovers Day

Victory Antiques Centre Café –  This space is very dangerous if, like me, you love antiques. I accidentally bought an antique writing desk recently. I suppose I could claim it as a tax deduction. Mind you, the attached  café is a pleasant spot for a working lunch or afternoon tea. The tables at the back are best; quieter and away from  drafts when the door opens. To be avoided on weekends and school holidays as it’s a real tourist draw.

Victory Antiques Centre Cafe at Blackheath
Hard to beat a Devonshire Tea.

Wattle Café  – a worthy finale to the list, especially in winter.

Wattle cafe Blackheath
How cosy!

There are paintings for sale at The Wattle. I’m not sure whether they are very good or very bad. Here is a local Sulphur Crested Cockatoo string down a robin.  What do you think?

Sulphur Crested Cockatoo and robin.
Could be a bargain.

Writing in cafés  is generally a solo experience, unless you can find a like-minded  soul who doesn’t have much to say. My associate Editor Des comes along occasionally. Rarely interrupts, bless his heart. Did he come up with any ideas? No.

Editor Des writing in a cafe.

A few words of wisdom  for fellow café culture types (and a reminder to myself) .  Don’t outstay your welcome.  Avoid busy periods.  Spend a decent amount of money.  Oh, and at the library, borrow a few books.  We don’t want any branches closing down, especially Blackheath.

I never really stay that long anyway, because the call of home is too strong. In winter there’s always a  warm fire, and  free coffee made by my partner, Barista Bob, who even turns his hand to coffee art on occasions.

Coffee art bird
Well, I write about birds a lot.
Wood stove
Writer’s nest

  1. I think you should be an official ambassador for the Blue Mountains with your very tempting stories of things to see and places to go!

    • Pauline

      Haha, I might suggest that to the mayor, Christine.

  2. Fabulous. Just moved here so looking for places to hang out. Well written piece.

    • Pauline

      Thanks,and welcome Vanessa. I’ve been here nearly 20 years (from Sydney) and have loved every minute.

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