We expect a lot from our cafes. Coffee must have body and pep, our milk must come in flora and fauna varietals, and our food must traverse the spectrum from tea-room scone to raw-food slice. And we want a space that’s equal parts comfortable and cool.
Doubles delivers on all fronts – the new Ōtautahi Christchurch offering from the couple behind popular Lux Espresso has opened at the base of a central city office building. Working with Prue Johnstone and Mike Callaghan, they’ve transformed a dark, dated space into a bright, contemporary eatery.
Entering the cafe through a covered courtyard, Doubles is crisp but inviting. Green is the hero colour here and introduced in a medley of tones on the splashback, counter and terrazzo-topped steel tables, with the rest of the space a fresh shade of white. A row of large pendant lights soften the interior, while the architects have subtly toyed with the theme of ‘doubles’ by grouping smaller ceiling lights in pairs.
The cafe occupies only a modest corner of the building’s ground floor, but big windows and concertina doors prevent the space from feeling confined. The concrete floor was a happy discovery under layers of tarnished carpet and tiles. “We wanted to create a calming backdrop, which allows the focus to be on great service, food and coffee,” says architect Prue Johnstone.
Doubles sits on Worcester Boulevard, a tourist corridor that links some of the city’s top attractions. The location makes it a practical pit stop for hungry city visitors, but this is no tourist trap, and locals have gravitated to Doubles and its 8am weekend opening.
When I took my kids (early) one Sunday, the tables were already scattered with rowdy kids burning off hot-chocolate highs. Just as my three-year-old son joined the ruckus by belting out a verse of ‘Let it Go’, two elderly women arrived. Taking in the lively surroundings, one turned to the other and, without an ounce of irony, summed the place up: “You know, it’s got a good vibe.”
62 Worcester Boulevard