Originally curing the ails of St. Kilda locals, the purpose-built St. Kilda Dispensary was the biggest of its kind in the British Empire when it opened in 1940. What used to be abuzz with nurses, doctors and dentists, today the only prescription to be handed out is coffee and conversation. As owner, manager, and barista of The St. Kilda Dispensary, Kristy Andruszko, is the life of this venue.
“It has become more of an extension of my social life, as regulars and newcomers make it much more than just a job,” said Kristy. With only its ornate ceilings to attribute to the bygone era, it wasn’t until Kristy took over and oversaw a three-month transformation along with family and friends, that The St. Kilda Dispensary was brought back to life.
Somewhat of a chameleon, Kristy has lived various lives over the years. Beginning as a professional actor with The Melbourne Theatre Company, Kristy went on to live in the Bavarian Alps for three years, build a mini chain of funky pet stores, build up a successful Italian restaurant Saltimbocca, and finally spent three years of travelling as a flight attendant. Donning the airline’s uniform and living a life free of worry about the plights of self-employment did wonders for clearing the head. However, Kristy soon longed for her own bed and her beloved city of Melbourne. An abrupt end to her flying career ensued, shortly followed by the rise of her new institution, The St. Kilda Dispensary.
Conveniently located on Brighton Road in St. Kilda, each morning a throng of commuters stop by as part of their morning ritual before work. A hub to nearby locals, The St. Kilda Dispensary has also attracted an eclectic fan base from the very young to the very old, some who even remember it as the original Dispensary.
Tasting around Melbourne’s coffee scene, Kristy couldn’t go past Allpress’ Supremo Blend to use as her house blend. As Allpress’ first and original blend, it is a blend of beans from Papua New Guinea (fully washed), Colombia (fully washed), and Brazil (Natural). Like all coffee, the beans are changed and selected seasonally to ensure a consistent cup profile and quality. The Colombian has been grown exclusively for Allpress, where the team works directly with the growers. All beans are purchased via direct relationships with growers and people managing the farms.
Other beverages within the cafe have been carefully selected to keep with the theme including the medicinal bottles of cold drip coffee by First Press, and Vitamin Fix. A clever use of flasks, beakers, test tubes, and medicinal cabinets take on the old-world dispensary styling. This is coupled with old-world first aid and doctor signage adorning the walls in the clean aesthetic of white tiles and pastel green walls. The team at The St. Kilda Dispensary, however, are far from clinical with their approach; the warm and friendly atmosphere has encouraged many to call this place their coffee home. Serving spot-on espresso coupled with great vibes, a visit to The St. Kilda Dispensary is just what the doctor ordered.