I was walking around the neighborhood today and passed this well-known milk bar on Parramatta Road:
I decided to check it out inside as it had quite a reputation amongst locals; some called it ‘Dracula’s Den’, others called it ‘The Haunted Milk Bar on Parramatta Road, and on it went.
My first footstep inside was greeted with ‘Do you want anything?‘ croak coming from somewhere at the back of a dark corner (and when I say ‘dark’ I mean “a distinct absence of ALL light” save for the entrance).
I replied back, ‘Excuse me?’ after being taken aback by the sudden grunt and foreign accent.
‘Do you want anything?’ the man repeated with the same tone and vague English.
For a second time, I failed to understand him. ‘I beg your pardon?’ I asked as I was squinted towards the general direction of the voice.
‘Do you want anything?‘ the man repeated again, this time somewhat commanding.
That last reply shot across the room and hit my eardrums with crystal clear clarity, or perhaps I was in the wrong and I was now clearly focussing on his words. I was somewhat embarrassed at this stage for having to ask the man to repeat himself.
‘Oh, I’m sorry. No, not at the moment.‘ I stammered. ‘I’m just looking.’
With that, I quickly glanced around the place to confirm my intent; I saw an assortment of chocolate bars sitting on top of derelict shelves, the bench was unkempt and has clearly seen better days, and the decor was a throwback from the 1950’s. An image flashed through my head of what it once might have looked like:
After the quick look around, I hurried myself out of the milk bar, ‘Thank you, and have a good day’ I said feeling sheepish for walking into something unprepared.
As soon as I arrived home, I googled ‘milk bar Parramatta road‘ and was quite surprised at the number of results that came back:
..and on it went – also discovered that it’s called ‘The Olympia Milk Bar’.
Having read and watched the video, I now feel like quite a heel; I should have prepared myself for talking to the owner (but in my defense this was a random walk, BAM: ‘Milk Bar’ sign when I looked up, and my natural curiosity spontaneously hurried me inside). The man clearly does not want to change with the times and he has every right not too. It’s a bit unfair for people to tag his shop as ‘Dracula’s Den’ – but I’m sure he couldn’t care less.
I might go back one day after I have carefully scripted an initial icebreaker. I might even draw up the courage to order a milkshake.
But I’ll probably start with a Kit Kat.