The Last Of The Famous International Milk Bars

Herald Sun 1988
Herald Sun 1988

The Herald Sun declared this milk bar in Brunswick (a suburb of Melbourne, Victoria) “a sight unlikely to last much into the 21st century.”

But what is a milk bar? Those two words don’t go together. Perhaps a milk chocolate bar, like a satisfying Snickers (not fun-size please). But when I think of a bar (and I do, often), milk is not included. No dairy, no cream, no White Russians for me. Just the pints, ma’am. And maybe a whiskey sour. But certainly not a glass of milk.

Actually, the USA does have seven bakeries called milk bar, which its own website praises as “a culinary empire and lifestyle brand founded by award-winning pastry chef and masterchef judge christina tosi.” You see how they did that? They used lowercase on her name to balance out the pretentiousness of overpriced dessert. Bad grammar doesn’t fix the fact that a SIX INCH birthday cake is $50.50 online. Holy Mary mother of God, I saw an 8″ fresh fruit tart at Sprouts yesterday for $6.99. Now what’s the better deal? Sorry, it’s just that when I see terms like “lifestyle brand,” I throw up a little in my mouth.

But back to real milk bars. It’s actually quite simple. They were general stores/corner stores, where one could go to pick up groceries such as milk. They are being replaced by more modern convenience stores such as 7-11, and the ones that do exist serve mainly ice cream and milkshakes. Below is said to be the first recorded milk bar in Australia.

Englishman James Meadow Charles opened the first milk bar in 1930 as the “Lake View Milk Bar” at Bangalore, India. The concept spread to the UK, where it became a morally acceptable alternative to the pub–a place to get diabetes instead of alcohol poisoning. By 1936, over 1,000 milk bars had opened nationally. Sounds like a perfect place for teens to gather.

And this one is full of Australian brands of which I’ve never heard: Streets, Peter Jackson, Tarax?


He’s a cute little bugger, no?

8 thoughts on “The Last Of The Famous International Milk Bars

  1. Milk bar? The only milk bar I’ve heard of was the milk bar at the State Fair grounds and it’s only open during the run of the fair. They serve ice cream and grilled cheese as well as milk. No chocolate milk though. Fifty bucks for a 6 inch cake!. Little Debbie’s cakes are 50 cents. So they are saying their cakes are 100 times better. Don’t think so.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, the protagonist and his friends attend a local “milkbar” where they buy milk spiced with different types of drugs. Can’t blame you for not being able to watch it fully. I read the book and still get nightmares 😛

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Peter Jackson is actually a brand of cigarettes sold here in Canada too.hey are made by Imperial Tobacco – a subsidiary of a British corp. That explains why it is in Australia too. I like the name “milk bars” – it reminds me of a tall cold glass of milk on a hot day. Or of big chocolate milkshakes that are poured into a tall fancy glass and then the remainder in the tin mixing cup is given to the customer as well to refill. And banana splits dripping with strawberry sauce and chocolate sauce and pineapple sauce and caramel sauce – on heaps of ice cream with cherries on top. And two long-handled spoons – because you always have to share a banana split – it is too good to eat alone.

    Liked by 2 people

Observation and Interpretation:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s