A no messing around guide to the coolest things to eat, drink and do in Vancouver and beyond. Community. Not clickbait.

Mah Milk Bar Aims to Blend Local Community Charm with Melbourne Coffee Culture


Mah stands for “Maggie and Harry”: Maggie Campbell and Harry Swinburn | Owners of Mah Milk Bar

Mah Milk Bar is the joint effort of two cafe pros: Harry Swinburn, from Melbourne, Australia, and ‘Vancouverite’, Maggie Campbell. Since acquiring the keys to 1502 Victoria Drive (previously South China Seas Trading Co.) this past June, the duo has been working to remodel the 550-square-foot space on the corner of Victoria Drive and Grant Street into a proper neighbourhood ‘Milk Bar.’

“What’s a ‘Milk Bar’?” you ask. In Australia (where Swinburn is from, and Campbell has worked) it’s a go-to spot for daily basics, synonymous with a corner store. And that’s precisely what Mah Milk Bar hopes to become: somewhere for people to nip in to to grab milk or bread, or the eggs you ran out of halfway through making your breakfast pancakes. But the vision for Mah doesn’t stop at convenience; the deeper motivation here is to create a warm and welcoming space for the local community to congregate.

“We want to create a warm, welcoming space that offers all the conveniences of a small grocery store with the coziness of a local coffee shop,” says Campbell. “We will have fresh, high-quality espresso coffee and made-to-order breakfast and lunch options. We also want to give a platform to locally owned and produced brands and add value to the already amazing East Van community.”

Though the space is tiny, it’s still big enough to fit six indoor seats. A small North-facing patio area along Grant St. will offer up additional spots via built-in bench seating, where visitors can relax. As the duo is aiming to open in a couple of months, they’re already working on their stock selection to fill the compact store.

“We’ve dreamt about this for over five years, and now feels like the right time,” says Swinburn. “Vancouverites are starting to see the value in smaller, locally-owned businesses that help create a stronger sense of community.”

Fingers crossed for an opening day this Fall! Stay tune to the Mah Milk Bar Instagram feed here for updates.

Brendan Cairns, Harry Swinburn and Maggie Campbell | Mah Milk Bar


Mah Milk Bar
Neighbourhood: East Vancouver
1502 Victoria Dr.

There are 5 comments

  1. Yay!!! We’re only a couple of blocks away; welcome to the neighbourhood 🙂

  2. What nice news! Welcome to the neighborhood. It’s a neat spot to do what you’re planning. And I look forward to being a “regular.”

A New Hub for Coffee Innovation is Set to Open in Vancouver Next Week

Although a new showroom setting up shop in Vancouver simply isn’t typically compelling enough to merit an ‘Opening Soon’ feature on Scout… after visiting the soon-to-open La Marzocco space in Vancouver, we’ve reevaluated our stance.

Osteria Elio Volpe Officially Opens In Cambie Street Village

The time has finally come: Osteria Elio Volpe will open at 540 West 17th Avenue this Thursday, March 14th - take a look at what you can expect...

New Chinatown Bar, Meo, Set to Officially Open March 13th

The highly anticipated retro-inspired cocktail bar brought to us by the team behind Bao Bei and Kissa Tanto (Tannis Ling, Joël Watanabe and Alain Chow) is on track to open doors next week.

Good Thief is Coming to Main Street

Scout has toured Good Thief, a new concept by Amélie and Vincent Nguyễn, the sibling duo behind the celebrated Anh and Chi. Although we're sworn to secrecy on the finer points, we can confirm that the "thrilling extension of their vision" will be very, very cool.