Café dreaming

Greek café and milk bar style

Research output: Non-traditional research outputExhibition


Style was an essential element of Australia’s Greek cafés and milk bars. Both their exteriors and interiors, from the 1930s to the 1960s, expressed the glamour and allure of America – dazzling Art Deco streamlined and reflective surfaces, multi-coloured etched mirrors, badged silver-plated and ceramic tableware, flashing neon lights, gleaming soda fountain counters, exotic marble-toped tables or highly-polished wooden booths, with waiting staff in stylish uniforms that matched the interior décor. A new world of visual delight provided Australians with a taste of the American Dream – the fantasy of a life-style that was better, richer, fuller. This object-based exhibition provides an insight into this lost world of food-catering décor wonder.

The show was co-badged by the Australian History Museum and displayed at the Exhibition Space, Macquarie University Library, from 16 April – 30 May 2018. It was formally launched by the Consul General of Greece, Mr Christos Karras as a major event of the 2018 Greek Festival of Sydney.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Greek-run cafes
  • Greek-run milk bars
  • Australian history
  • Australian popular culture
  • Exhibition
  • object-based display
  • Greek-Australians history

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