Food & Drink

Bloc Coffee shop transforms an old toilet block on Victoria Park

A long-neglected block of public toilets on Victoria Park has been brought back to life as a modern, independent park-side café.


After an extensive refurbishment that has taken almost six months to complete, Bloc Coffee will open its doors to the public for the first time this week.


The new venture is the work of Alex Parker and business partner Donna Paton, who chose the Welsh spelling of “block” as a nod to the building’s past as a public loo.


Now completely redesigned as a quirky café, the interior is just 90 square metres, but there’s also additional outdoor seating on a small patio which overlooks the park.


Alex explained, “I looked for a space to turn into a coffee shop for quite a while. Then I saw the lease for this place, and although it might seem weird, I knew it was perfect; the park is such a great location.”


Donna continued, “It has taken a lot of hard work, but we’re finally ready to open and we can’t thank the council enough for the help that they’ve given us to get to this point.”


Alex, who originally comes from a construction background, is a self-confessed travel addict who spent five years living in Melbourne, a city known for its coffee culture. At Bloc, he’ll also be taking inspiration from his favourite European city, Barcelona.


He explained: “In Barcelona it’s common to see people enjoying a glass of Cava in the coffee shops and bars around the city. I want to emulate that a bit, so we’re planning to import the same Cava I love to drink there, to serve by the glass here at Bloc – I just love it, I even had it at my wedding.”


Once the new venue has had time to find its feet, there are also plans for regular supper clubs and pop-up events.


“If a chef or a new business can’t afford to lease some premises, we’d love to have them here to do a pop-up. We have an alcohol license, and we can seat 25 people inside in the evenings, so the space will be just perfect for that sort of thing.”


To celebrate their opening this week, Bloc have teamed up with Wriggle, an app and website designed to help people discover great independent restaurants and cafes in their local area. Via the app, Bloc will be giving away 10 free coffees a day from Wednesday 2nd May – Sunday 6th May. To claim, simply visit: or download your voucher via the Wriggle app.

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