Amidst the hustle and bustle of Parramatta road, with cars, buses and semi-trailors wizzing by, stands a small Greek milk-bar from a bygone era which to most commuters would go unnoticed.
This is the Olympia Milk Bar standing at 190 Parramatta Road. It is an iconic shop particularly for locals as it has remained relatively unchanged since it’s opening in 1939.
Before becoming the Olympia, the building was a billiard room (1912) which complemented the skating rink next door. In 1939 it became the Olympia, which predominantly served theatre goers of the Olympia Picture Theatre (later the Stanmore Twin Theatre). The theatre had replaced the skating rink and operated until the late 1990s.
A visit to the Olympia is as intimidating as it is intriguing. The inside is dim and still has its multi-coloured checked floor and retro counter. I’m also lead to believe the tables and chairs are originals, at least from the 60s.The elderly gentleman who runs the shop has done so since 1959. Everyone knows him but not many know much about him. It’s said he ran the milk bar with his brother who sadly passed away in the 80s. Legend has it that he made a promise to his brother to continue running the Olympia without changing a thing. If true it is both a sad and sweet story.
While I’d encourage a visit for a milkshake, I’d also encourage you not to take photos whilst inside as I believe owner prefers to keep a low profile. Please respect his wishes but enjoy the experience that many have for almost 80 years.
I’d also recommend listening to the ABC podcast found in the sources section below for a feel for what a visit to the Olympia is like and its significance to many people.
Note: I try to be as accurate as possible but make no guarantees. Please use this info at your own risk.