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CBD Cafe Hardware Societe Has Closed Indefinitely After More Than a Decade

A third lockdown has proved the final straw for the long-running laneway institution.
By Libby Curran
February 16, 2021
By Libby Curran
February 16, 2021

Melbourne's current circuit breaker lockdown might only be scheduled to last for five days, but even so it has proved the final nail in the coffin for one CBD cafe. Long-running laneway haunt Hardware Societe has called last drinks after more than 11 years, with Di Keser, who co-owns the cafe with her husband Will, announcing the cafe's indefinite closure via Instagram yesterday, Monday, February 15.

"Since reopening in October 2020, it's been very very hard," Di explained in the post, citing the loss of tourists, international students and office workers as being simply too huge a blow for the business. Di labelled lockdown 3.0 as "the last straw", comparing that day's takings with those of a regular Monday. According to the owner, the difference was a whopping $10,000, with the cafe pulling just $391 yesterday.

The duo has assured fans the Katherine Place outpost, which opened in 2019, will continue to operate, though the closure of the OG cafe serves as a stark reminder of just how tough COVID-19 has been for Melbourne's food and drink industry. "I am sure many other hospitality businesses are suffering the same fate and are just too embarrassed to put it out there," the post continued. "I urge you to support all local hospitality businesses and avoid using delivery platforms."

Launched in 2009, Hardware Societe was one of Melbourne's original laneway cafes, known for its French-inspired fare and the lengthy queues of customers that would spill down Hardware Street waiting to nab a coveted table.

Its closure is just the latest in a string of shutterings for Melbourne's hospitality industry, with COVID-19 already claiming the likes of Chinatown's Shark Fin House, Flinders Lane fine diner Ezard and Middle Eastern restaurant Bar Saracen as victims in recent months.

Hardware Societe's Hardware Street outpost has closed indefinitely, but its sibling remains open at 10 Katherine Place, Melbourne.

Published on February 16, 2021 by Libby Curran

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