Princes St Coffee Haunts

by Insiders Dunedin

For many years the long grey trudge of Princes street hasn’t inspired commuters to linger. With a couple of sandwich shops and many derelict buildings, the walk from south to central Dunedin could be a little depressing.

But steadily Princes is undergoing a significant sea-change, with new coffee bars and street art livening up this once grand dame. Here are a few picks that make lower Princes street well-worth a linger on a Saturday morning - especially combined with a wander through Hayward's Auction House and a couple of the excellent second-hand bookstores in the area.

Wolf at the Door

The second cafe outing from Troy of the very hip Morning Magpie, Wolf (as everyone calls it) is darker and edgier, with a palette of moody woods, an imposing grandfather clock and snug booth seating out the back.

A staunch favourite of staff from Natural History New Zealand down the road, Wolf’s Carol Street set-up is a breath of fresh air for this neglected corner of town, and with excellent coffee and tasty cinnamon buns, it’s my choice for a casual weekday catch-up with other stay-home writers.

The Daily Coffee Co.

Petite and perfectly formed, the Daily Coffee Co. has quickly gained a cult following for its funky modern interior (think whitewashed walls and quirky shaped mirrors), excellent coffee and almond croissants.

Ex-Aucklander Jayren Dixon had long dreamed of opening his own cafe on K Road, but the price was prohibitive and competition stiff, so he and his young family shifted south to try their luck in Dunedin.

A coffee roaster for eight years and a barista for 13, it is fair to say Dixon is obsessed with good coffee, and it’s a dream come true for him to finally hold the keys to his own cafe.

“I want this to be a neighbourhood cafe, where locals know my name and I know theirs,” says Dixon, who already has a raft of regulars every weekday morning, largely drawn from the local businesses in the area.

“So far customers have heard about me by word of mouth, which is really cool. Eventually I’d like to start roasting again, but at the moment I’m using Miller’s from Auckland, which is a boutique roaster that has been operating since 1988.”

Dixon is open from seven am weekday mornings, and “most of the time” on Saturday’s till two pm.

Most of the time? I ask.

“My son’s really into rugby,” he says with a grin. “I want to go and watch some of his games during the winter!”.

A good barista and a good father? Winner, mate.


With it’s lofty ceilings and warehouse vibe, Vanguard is the most modern offering on Princes Street, and the perfect choice for group brunches or work meetings. Although the food isn’t cheap it is always tasty (there’s a menu and a well-stocked cabinet) , and the impressive selection of glossy magazines is a great way to while away a languid Saturday morning. 

Vanguard is one of a handful of new Dunedin cafes which feel very ‘big-city’ - slick, slightly glam and very reliable. Full of light and with cosy booth seating by the windows it’s the perfect spot to people watch while tucking into a home-made sausage roll.

Purple Rain

Cluttered, eccentric and fabulous, head to Purple Rain when you want some personality with your cup of joe.

Antique lovers Fritz and Debbie have styled their cafe and private function space (check out the downstairs basement on the weekends for gigs) with a rich array of their beloved treasures, collected over 35 years of globetrotting. A leather jacket worn to a 1970s Rolling Stones concert sits alongside a church altar and mannequin heads. Sip your flat white slowly here,  because there is much to see and admire.

Post submitted by Eleanor Ainge Roy

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