We headed in to see the cool new Velo Precinct Play Cafe, “Spokey Dokey” in the Grandstand of Victoria Park Racecourse and loved it! A friend and I were looking for somewhere to catch up for a coffee, and preferably somewhere that suited our 3 kids too – and the newly opened Velo Precinct Play Cafe certainly fit that bill perfectly! The new cafe is well located, classy, functional, great for families, serves good food and drinks and owned by Stuart O’Grady – he was even there the day we went!
Situated under the big old heritage-listed grandstand on the corner of Victoria Park, the cafe is roomy, has a lot of options for seating and great food and drinks. Parking was a breeze and FREE along the sliplane next to the Grandstand on Fullarton Road. (see below for more info on location). Enter from the front of the grandstand and you’ll see the outdoor tables with a beautiful view over the whole parklands and cycling criterium track. This would be a great place to bring the dog for a walk and have a coffee or meal too. If your kids are older or like to be active outside then bring their bikes or scooters and you can enjoy a meal or coffee outside while watching them burn some energy off riding around the very nice track. (Note: at busy times the track can be well used by ‘real cyclists’ who won’t appreciate kids playing all over the track as it’s designed for proper track training so please keep kids off if thats the case!)
If the weather, the cyclist numbers or your own kids are pushing you inside, fear not because inside is just as good! In addition to the main airy cafe, as you head down the stairs inside, cyclist training room and well stocked bar. But turn right and through the small door at the end of the bar you’ll find a large, light and child friendly play cafe area.
Spokey Dokey (Velo Precinct’s Play Cafe) has been well designed and thought out. The play gym/equipment is the same type you’ll find as most indoor place cafes, and while it’s small, it’s padded, safe, and clean! and a good design allowing kids to run past and through a few obstacles to the large trampoline. Bigger kids (say 3years and up) will be able to manage the padded climb up to the ‘second floor’ where there is a clear ‘helicoptor’ viewing bubble and a double slide to return back to the start. The thick wall that separates the rest of the cafe from the play area keeps out a lot of the kids noise so you don’t need to worry about disturbing the kid-free folks next door.
With about 10 tables, high chairs and some free space for kids to play outside the equipment zone, there’s everything you’ll need. The bathrooms are lovely, clean and have excellent design touches including pull down change tables and appy bins. There’s a good range of tasty breakfast, italian lunches, impressive cakes, gelati fridge and plenty of great options for the kids too. They apparently do takeaway as well if you’re keen for a picnic! Their coffee is spot on (as it needs to be when you cater for the discerning cycling community!), and their smoothies get an honourable mention from us too! The only surprise was the $5 entry fee per child (including the barely 1 year old), which is a bit higher than I might have expected and many places are free under 2-3years. But then, I can understand it too, and our three kids range from 1 to 3 years old and enjoyed the place to themselves for well over an hour on it – so that’s worth the $5 entry fee for an hour of relative peace in my opinion!! Note: I’m told that if you order a meal then kids can play for free, but can’t verify that as it wasn’t informed to us when visiting and we paid for the kids before we ordered anything at all. I will try to find out though!
Opening hours: Tues – Friday 7:30am – 5:30pm, Sat & Sun 8:30am – 5:30pm. Closed Mondays
Address: Lower level, Victoria Park Grandstand.
This awesome Victoria Park Play Cafe is in the corner of the parklands, just South-West of the Dequettveille Terrace/Brittania roundabout. Best parking is south of the grandstand along Fullarton Road, Victoria Park side, entry to the parking area is approx 300m before the Dequettiville Rd roundabout. If parking there is full I’d try finding a spot on Wakefield Road and walking back – at least you won’t have to cross the road at the not-so-kid-friendly Dequettiville Tce roundabout!