photo-icon Daniel Purvis

Take your coffee like a local

At Work

With all the new openings in the city, it’s easy to overlook some of the places that have been part of local culture for years. Devoid of the hype that the latest, newest spot attracts, these places bubble along – a steady stream of regulars enjoying the familiarity and relative anonymity that comes from the confidence of a place that’s comfortable with what it is.

The loss of Rigioni’s and Flash Gelateria on Leigh and Hindley Streets respectively, has sadly taken with it some of that essence of an old-school European experience in the heart of the city.

When I think of Flash, I picture my father and the owner chatting away in Italian as my sister and I lapped at our gelati; limone for me and nocciola for my sister (my father remains, to this day - a pistacchio man).

And it’s the fondness of these memories, that makes me appreciate Ciao coffee bar in Adelaide Arcade even more. Not only because is it reminiscent of cafes in Italy, where coffee is taken standing, often en route to work, a brief pleasantry exchanged with the barista.

Ciao coffee bar credit daniel purvis
photo-icon Daniel Purvis

CIAO coffee bar in adelaide arcade

Peter and Vivien, the husband and wife team that have owned and run the bar for the last 19 years are the kind of local people that add so much to the culture of a city. Warm, open, informal and absent of all ostentation that erodes the authenticity of a place.

Ciao coffee bar isn’t designed to be an Italian coffee bar, it is one. One with simple coffee and food, no pretention or modern fuss. And this is no more evident than from 11:30 am through to 1 pm, when men in suits descend to huddle over espressi as they discuss work; or stand leaning casually at the bar, a simple panini and coffee at their elbow.

Man standing at coffee counter
photo-icon Daniel Purvis

There are also low tables for those that wish to extend the experience. Order your coffee and people-watch as busy shoppers traverse the arcade. It is, after all, a beautiful place in which to linger, the tilework and cupola details a testament to our city’s aesthetic heritage.

Ciao Coffee Bar

Stall C1 / Shop 14 Ground Level - Adelaide Arcade


The views, information, or opinion expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the Corporation of the City of Adelaide.

Article by

Tania De Masi

Tania De Masi

Tania is a creative director who crossed back over from the dark side and lives by the beach with her partner and puppy. Her quest for a quiet life is habitually interrupted by a fierce passion for creative integrity and sampling the spoils of the city’s west end. She reads voraciously, does not discriminate when it comes to food, and has an enviable veggie garden where she works to maintain her zen.