Café 63, in Hamilton, Brisbane (or Ascot, Brisbane, depending on where you think one or the other start on Racecourse Road) is the centre of Brisbane's universe 24 hours a day. One of an army of happy and efficient young staff will seat you at a rustic table indoors or outdoors, deliver you a bottle of still or sparkling water, and if you order coffee it will be there fast. Three huge coffee machines work day and night (well, in the small hours, it's probably one coffee machine). The menu is also huge, the $4 bacon and egg roll is famous, as are other meals from waffles, steaks, fish and chips, the super famous $10 Green and Gold burger with chips, and it goes on and on. Whatever you want, whatever the combination, they will work to please. This place knows the secret: environment, fun, keep the customer happy, and value, value, value: never mind the fact that the Ascot and Hamilton squattocracy live in the place, as someone once said: a rich man knows the value of a dollar (or is that person?). And the wine and beer are good quality and well priced at $7. When you order a Peroni (or other beer), it's served with a chilled glass! How lovely it is when the beer is served with a chilled glass anywhere and it should be law. Sundays, there can be well over 200 people having coffee and breakfast. Café 63 in Hamilton is a major reason why I chose Brisbane when I went in search of a warmer City on the east coast (though Brisbane is well over 20 kilometres up the river from the coast- just in case the travel brochures with beaches lead you to believe there's a surf beach on the door step like in Sydney). There are also flowers there: and on mothers' day there was a paddock of flowers for the customers to buy on the day of days at 63: I reckon there must have been 300 people, tables bunched together with families. So, if you awake at 2am and think, "I feel like a coffee," you can fly around the river (at 40ks), have a coffee, and if you're lucky, the papers might have arrived - but usually at 4am. And there's the Financial Review! But watch for it: there's a race to get hold of a copy over the other offerings. Now, if they had the SMH, (and Sun Herald on Sundays), I wouldn't have to travel over the Story Bridge to read it at the Story Bridge Hotel (but I would, anyway, as the waitresses are always great people there, and the miniature Sydney Harbour Bridge- the Story Bridge, is a true delight to travel over visually and you can almost touch the CBD; just on the Story Bridge, the Brisbane City Empire aka The Council, need to reduce the speed to 50 and write on each lane: give way to left and right). To return to the SMH - Sydney's version of The Age in Melbourne, there are a couple of other little hideaways where I can get a paper over coffee other than the Mail or Aus, like the Double Shot, but I digress.. Did I hear you ask about the Brisbane Times? Sorry, no longer on paper! It should be in inner Brisbane! If you're heading to or from the airport you can always grab a coffee at Café 63 in Hamilton (and avoid that terrible tunnel by using Nudgee Road). It's got character, you might say it's a fast food joint with tables, but it is truly the centre of Brisbane's universe. Give it a try for the experience.
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