Hideout is a coffee outlet located on the National Circuit in Barton, 5kms south of the CBD. Due to its central location, only a couple of blocks from Parliament House and set amongst several government agencies, it is a busy takeaway coffee location for Canberra's public servants and local workers. Before you even get close to Hideout, you can hear names being called over the PA system, as people wait outside for their takeaway orders and socialise until their order is called.
There is a sign out the front inviting you in to try Canberra's Best Coffee – quite a bold claim when there are so many other high quality coffee producers in the city. Canberrans love their coffee - there is no doubt about that - so if there are dozens of people waiting outside and a PA system needs to be installed, then this coffee must be good. How do you judge the best coffee in Canberra? I was intrigued to find out…
When you get inside, the line for coffee is surprisingly quite short, considering the amount of people milling outside. The friendly staff (with eight baristas behind the counter!) keep the orders coming in and going out at a fast rate, with a calm sense of organisation which comes from drinking enough coffee. When paying for your coffee, it is important to note that Hideout only takes cash, no credit or EFTPOS, so you need to be organised with cash before you go. As primarily a coffee destination, this café only has a limited amount of food options to choose from with a glass display of tasty looking lamingtons, muffins, carrot cake and raisin toast on offer.
I decided to sit inside to wait for the best coffee in the Canberra (no pressure), and enjoy watching the busy morning coffee rush unfold in front of me. The inside of the café is warm and inviting, with a whole wall covered in a library of used books – an intriguing collection of eclectic themes which makes you wonder where they all came from.
The interior décor is eclectic and interesting. Behind the counter there is a shelving unit with vintage trophies, simple industrial lighting dangles from high ceilings, plant fixtures perch above the waiting area and there is comfortable bench seating along open windows – creating a bright open feel and bringing the outside in.
My coffee and cake arrived with some friendly chat from the barista and I couldn't wait to see what all the fuss was about. I ordered a cappuccino and it was refreshing to see they don't skimp on the chocolate on top. After a much anticipated sip I could say that yes, the hype is true – it is a particularly good cup of smooth-tasting coffee. I can't pretend to be a coffee aficionado, but I know what I like. Hideouts coffee is not too strong, nor too weak, and certainly not bitter at all. It is just a comforting cup of delicious creamy coffee – I wish I had ordered a mug. Although the cakes at Hideout almost seem like an afterthought, the moist carrot cake was certainly up there with the coffee, making for a very tasty and comforting combination.
Regular cappuccino with the perfect amount of chocolate on top
Hideout has a strong following, after more than three years in this location. It is also owned by the equally as popular Harvest café, situated in the city centre on Marcus Clarke Street - another coffee location with takeaway lines around the corner.
When I visited Hideout on the first few days of Autumn, this coffee outlet was doing a phenomenal trade. When the chill starts to get in the air and more people are venturing out for a hot drink, this coffee outlet will be wall to wall in winter. With efficient staff and a prominent loud speaker system (a little overwhelming when you are sitting inside for a coffee, however it does provide entertainment), you won't be waiting long before you have the best coffee in Canberra in your gloved hand.
Why not try it for yourself and see what you think – is it the best coffee in Canberra?