Around 500 metres from the sweeping sands of Newport Beach in northern Sydney, Zubi Bar is connecting the community through good vibes and specialty coffee.
“We really embrace the community. People treat Zubi like a meeting place. We sponsor Newport’s local rugby club, lifesaving club, and the local school. There’s the feeling that if you come down, you’re guaranteed to run into someone you know,” says Steve Hulley, Owner of Zubi Bar.
Zubi serves Campos’ Superior blend as the house coffee and the Blade Runner, a slightly lighter Scandinavian roast, for its cold brew. Single origin options are regularly rotated.
“At the moment we’re running single origins from Honduras and Thailand. The Thai one is the first we’ve tried, and it has shattered our expectations. It’s amazing,” Steve says.
“Campos is one of the pioneers of specialty coffee in Australia. I love what they stand for. All of their beans are sourced ethically and sustainably. They are great to work with.”
Steve adds that Sydney’s northern beaches have a unique market which he has adapted to over the years.
“Newport is a village on the beach. It’s so scenic and has an active, surfer lifestyle. People in this area know what good coffee tastes like and what it should taste like,” Steve says.
“Modern shifts in the coffee industry come to Newport a lot later than in the city. The people here are a lot less influenced by trends.”
Zubi’s garden is one of its crowning features. It seats up to 60 people and entertains guests with live music on Sundays during the summer. The café also has its own bees which are used to produce honey used and sold in the store.
As for Zubi’s aesthetic, the café blends stylish urban grunge with a fresh beachside feel.
“You’ll struggle to find a backyard in Sydney like we have. It’s a beautiful oasis. We have a coffee tree growing there and beautiful old mosaic tables,” Steve says.
“The café wouldn’t be out of place in a Melbourne alleyway. We used a lot of recycled timber to create a beachside feed, but everything is also distressed and mismatched.”
While Zubi is a thriving coastal café under Steve’s ownership, he took over the business under unfortunate circumstances.
“Zubi was started by Peter Dyball, who tragically contracted motor neuron disease. His family wanted to pass it onto someone who had a passion for coffee and the industry, so I was the lucky recipient,” Steve says.
“It was Peter’s baby and sadly I never got to meet him, but a lot of my customers were Peter’s original customers and he is spoken about so highly. I feel like I got to know him through them. His wife also comes in every day for her morning coffee, we have a really good connection.”
Steve moved to Sydney with his Australian wife 11 years ago after owning pubs and cafés in his native South Africa and acquired Zubi shortly after. Following Zubi’s success, Steve has opened two other Zubi-branded venues In Narrabeen and Bilgola Beach, NSW.
“It may be a cliché, but as someone who moved here from another country, the most rewarding part of my experience is the people. It’s been amazing to engage in the community and be taken in by them,” Steve says.
“I still enjoy going to work after 10 years. It’s humbling and we feel so supported.”
323C Barrenjoey Rd, Newport, New South Wales, 2106
Open Monday to Saturday 5:45am to 2:00pm and Sunday 6:45am to 2pm
(02) 9999 1519