The Library Cafe, Onehunga; do better

Exterior of the Library Cafe, Onehunga

It’s been a while since I have settled my bottom into a chair and written a decent post, and for that I am sorry. I am sorry I have been neglecting you blog. Sorry I went out on a week long binge and left you in a filthy house to look after your 3 younger siblings with nothing but a packet of Doritos and a 2.25 lt. of Mountain Dew.

But I have visited some toilets recently, so all of you waiting with crossed legs for a learned nod from me as to where to deposit your stool, fear not I’m here to help! (Not physically though, because  wiping bums is a bit too visceral for my sensibilities. No. I’m sure you have a very nice anus, that wasn’t what I meant. Oh, so now you’re offended? Well I guess we have different opinions on the level of intimacy in our relationship then don’t we?)

Sign, The Library Cafe, Onehunga

The Library Cafe in Onehunga is housed in the glorious 1912 ex-library building on Princes Street. Ignore the 1911 date on the doorway, it was officially opened in September 1912 with substantial benefaction from Scot-turned-American Philanthropist and successful Santa-beard propagator, Andrew Carnegie. That’s him looking eastward on the central cartouche.

Exterior of Onehunga Library Cafe on Princes Street

For anyone with a love of all things heritage this building is a goldmine of well maintained stained glass, wood work and plaster decoration.

Stain glass, front door The Library Cafe Onehunga

Stained glass,The Library Cafe, Onehunga

Stained glass, The Library Cafe, Onehunga

Face detail, The Library Cafe, Onehunga

Reading room door, The Library Cafe, Onehunga

The Read Room has retained much of it’s original charm with a wall of books, dado rails, chandelier and plaster decorations splattered all over the ceiling. I mean seriously, look at that mother fuckin’ detail!

Ceiling chandelier, Reading room door, The Library Cafe, Onehunga

The fire place was nicely tiled and comparatively understated, but it still worked with the original utilitarian function of the room. Pity it was covered with an ugly modern heater but, hey some people care more for function than style, I’m just not one of them! Give me frozen feet or a working fire place any day.

Fireplace, Reading room door, The Library Cafe, Onehunga

Brass handles , The Library Cafe, Onehunga

These nouveau style brass door handles were one of my favourite features. They were so beautifully crafted. It made me want to return in a stripy top with a flat head screw driver and thieve them all away. Not that I’d do that, being an upstanding member of the community and an heritage professional…..

After the beauty of the original areas of the building I had high hopes for the toilets. Sadly they were more than average. The owners, whose job it had been to refurbished and reinvigorate this space as a cafe obviously didn’t have a thing for cool old shit because when it came to the toilet, it was modern, dull and a bit cheesy. See example of the Art provided.

Art, The Library Cafe, Onehunga

Ladies door signage, The Library Cafe, Onehunga

Thankfully they kept the handsome original doors and didn’t paint over them.

Interior door, The Library Cafe, Onehunga

Sink in the ladies, The Library Cafe, Onehunga

Stall in the ladies, The Library Cafe, Onehunga

Above stall in the ladies, The Library Cafe, Onehunga

The full length windows had been cut part way which ruined the proportions of the room, the tiles were functional but dull and cheap, and the fittings chosen where totally at odds with the character of the building. There was no atmosphere to the room and nothing at all the write home about. I did not in fact write anything home from this loo.

Grubby bin in the ladies, The Library Cafe, Onehunga

It was clean overall but in many places it needed a better going over. Take this grubby bin for example. Why would you not just wipe it off? It would take two minutes and make the place look, at least on the surface, more hygienic.

I guess what it comes down to is that I am a grumpy old bitch moaning about how ‘back in the day things were done better’. But things actually were done better. The staying power and lasting stylistic grandeur of the majority of this building puts into stark contrast the shitty, non-aesthetic, mass-made crap on offer these days if you scrimp to the cheapest option. I know it doesn’t matter to anyone else but it matters to me. This crappy ‘$200 for the lot’ from the seconds warehouse bathroom puts to shame the integrity of design chosen in 1912 when this building was kitted out.


Cleanliness :  4/10  There is something quite unsettling about a bathroom that has only been cleaned on the surface. It makes me think that it hasn’t had a good clean, ever, and that is more worrying than a few bits of paper on the floor or a dusty sink surround.

Interior :  4/10  It had the basics; more than one loo (though they were stalls which suck), sink, hand wash etc but it lacked ANY thought or design. It’s like the owners closed their eyes throughout the whole refurb and just chose shitty fittings by stabbing at the catalogue or just putting in “Lowest Price” into a search engine and pushing BUY.

Exterior :  8/10  Thanks Andrew Carnegie. This building is gorgeous. The architects and construction team did a beautiful job making a building that has lasted over 100 years with integrity and style. The parking was pretty decent too.

Safety :  8/10  It felt like a cosy kind of place, filled with warm morning light and no tribal tattoo’d wigga dudes. My boyfriend did notice a trampoline outside, which could have caused some health ‘n’ safety issues for his bones if we’d had the time to play.

Snugglitude :  5/10  The bathroom gets a 3 but the rest of the place gets a 9, so I tried to find a middle ground snuggle-wise.

Total : 29/50

The food was decent but my long black was burnt and not great.

Tiles, The Library Cafe, Onehunga

Ohhh tiles.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s