Council Close Down Classic Sydney Milk Bar
One of the country's oldest milk bars, the infamous Olympia in Stanmore, has been closed down by local council.
The dilapidated store, which has gained notoriety for it's boarded up windows and run down 1930's decor, has been declared dangerous with urgent repairs needed to its ceiling and facade.
The reclusive elderly owner of the Olympia, Nicholas Fotiou, aged in his 80s, has been supported by members of the local community who are rallying around him in the hope of having the store re-opened.
A friend of Mr Fotiou, Effy Alexakis said,
“It’s an amazing place and it would be terrible to lose it,”
“That’s his life and he has nowhere else to go, and has no family. His life is that shop."
“But I’m not surprised that the council got involved. I think they’ve been turning a blind eye for a long time. All the front is ready to collapse and while he had some repairs done, they look pretty shonky. I think it really is a health risk now.”
With a fit-out that includes original etched glass plates behind the back bar, a panel advertising ‘ice cream sodas’ and the coloured terrazzo with the word ‘Olympia’, the milk bar is a real throw back to another time.
Despite being listed on the NSW Heritage Register, ever since the closure of a nearby picture theater, the milk bar has gradually fallen into a state of disrepair.
Mr Fotiou, who lives above the milk bar, was still serving milkshakes, tea and sandwiches last week with parts of the ceiling having collapsed.
The Inner West Council said they had to close the Olympia after being notified from the community about its condition.
“At the moment, the bare minimum requirement is internal propping, but council is working with the owner and a family member towards a longer-term solution to ensure the premises are safe,” a spokesperson said.
“Council will not force a sale [but] it cannot give authorisation to reopen until the building is made safe for both the owner and the public.”
Mr Fotiou bought the building on Parramatta Road in 1959 with his late brother John.
One commercial real estate expert on Sydney’s Parramatta Road says despite being in poor condition, the premises may be worth around $1.5 million.