While some thought he was barking up the wrong tree, Ben Coyle has proved the doubters wrong by making his cafe a creative home in Footscray.
But after 15 years running the Dancing Dog Cafe, he is heading overseas.
He hopes the Albert Street institution will continue in one form or another and is calling for anyone interested in taking over the business to get in touch.
“Nothing really existed like this in the area when I opened – a loungey sort of cafe,” he said.
“I wanted somewhere for good coffee with a bit more of a community vibe.”
The cafe began with a gallery space, moving on to host award-winning theatre and, more recently comedy, poetry and music.
More than two million coffees and 1000 events later, the former Customs dog handler has decided it is time for a new adventure.
After writing a book based on his hospitality experience, Spilling the Beans, Mr Coyle is heading to Singapore to pursue hospitality consulting.
He hopes the spirit of the Dancing Dog Cafe can continue on, pointing out that a crowd-funding campaign last year in a bid to buy the building in which it is housed showed the depth of community feeling for the space.
“Obviously, the community cares about the venue so hopefully the next owners can take it to the next level,” he said.
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