Alter Ego is a venue with two personalities: one is a relaxed café serving specialty coffee, the other a bar contributing to Canberra’s nightlife.
Supervising Manager Patrick Egli says combining these two identities allows Alter Ego to cater to a wide array of customers.
“We’ve covered a lot of bases. We see a lot of public servants through the day, young people and older couples at night, then the families drop by on weekends,” Patrick says.
“It’s nice to split the venue up, so that people can sit in a quiet area, but still feel part of the bar.”
Alter Ego’s later-than-ordinary closing hours allow the venue to serve its coffee long after other cafés in the area have closed for the day.
“We want to create a culture of late-night specialty coffee in Canberra. Our machines are on until 10:30pm or 11pm most nights,” Patrick says.
“It’s been a real blessing to a lot of people in Canberra to have a place where you can come and enjoy a coffee late at night that is this high a quality.”
Alter Ego serves Ona Coffee’s The Hitman as its house blend, with The Founder as an alternate option, and rotating single origins for espresso.
“Being involved with Ona Coffee in particular is awesome. They have a great reputation and offer such a good coffee,” Patrick says.
“I’ve been able to go to Honduras with them to see the backend of coffee and how much work the producers put into it. To now see customers appreciate it for what it is and be able to explain it to them has been awesome.”
A Sanremo Café Racer, designed with input from the Ona Coffee team, sits on the bench alongside Anfim and Mahlkönig grinders, and a Juggler milk dispensing system to reduce waste.
Coffee is also prepared via V60 and batch brew. Patrick hopes to soon add Ona Coffee’s Reserve frozen coffee to Alter Ego’s menu.
“We’d like to offer a couple of different espressos that people can choose from, sort of like a wine list,”
he says. “Being a bar as well really helps communicate the idea of a reserve list. You can almost pair the wine list with a frozen espresso list.”
With its coffee, wine, and alcohol, Alter Ego serves a wide food menu fitting a venue open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
“We have a ‘Benny Bar’, where we offer four different types of eggs Benedict,” Patrick says. “It’s a bit different to have a pulled pork, kobe beef, or vegan benedict on top of more traditional breakfast options.
“We also have a couple of nice dinner food items, from the classics like burgers to Asian-inspired items like dumplings and some seafood options. We want it so anyone can come in and enjoy something they are either familiar with or will have them step outside their comfort zone.”
Despite opening in January, Patrick says the Canberran community has been quick to embrace Alter Ego.
“It’s great to have people come in, be excited by the venue, and sit down to enjoy a nice coffee, whether it’s late at night or early in the morning,” he says.
10 Bunda Street, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, 2601
Monday to Thursday 7am to 11pm, Friday 7:30am to 12am, Saturday 8am to 1am, Sunday 8am to 10:30pm
(02) 6174 3397