Standing Room is a delightful little coffee shop that hides along a side arm of Royal Arcade. Aptly named for its limited size, Standing Room still manages to be welcoming, as well as making a great coffee. The staff here are very friendly, and they don't leave you just hanging – or standing – while they make your coffee. They like to chat and ask you about your day, in a way that doesn't feel forced. It feels like they are genuinely interested in the people who come through – though to be fair, they've probably been standing here a while and we're the only amusement they get. Regardless of the reason, it's a nice place to drop into.
The space, while only a humble 4 by 2 metres, is nonetheless interesting. The shops down this arm of the arcade have storage space above them, accessed by narrow, antique stairs, which give the space a great atmosphere.
The coffee itself is delicious – nutty and smooth yet with plenty of kick. A regular latte will set you back $3.70, which in this neighbourhood isn't expensive. And I much prefer getting my coffee from a lovely little place like this than somewhere on the beaten track, or from a chain (heaven forbid).
Standing Room offers a limited range of snacks, including croissants, and those Butterbing biscuits that recently popped up all around Melbourne cafes. These are a dangerous mix of brownie-like cookie with a filling of caramel, chocolate or peanut butter cream. They are way too good.
So the next time you're shopping on Bourke Street Mall or in Royal Arcade, I highly recommend you make this your coffee stop. Enjoy the atmosphere, a lovely coffee, and the sense of getting coffee the Melbourne way.