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Genius: Former Fyshwick brothel reopens as the “Happy Ending” cafe

Genius: Former Fyshwick brothel reopens as the “Happy Ending” cafe

Google ‘Happy Ending Canberra’ and you’ll get a surprise Reddit thread of local massage parlours that offer special services for those feeling a little bit … stiff (cough). 

But a new cafe is making the most of its questionable past and has named itself Happy Ending – after the services the former business there once provided.

Located at 106-108 Gladstone Street, Fyshwick, the cafe sits opposite sex shop Adam and Eve and adjacent to a business called Bongsnbits.


“We wanted to have a bit of fun with the name and the venue, and not shy away from its history,” says owner Kent Nhan.

The cafe was once home to a brothel named “Lollipop Lounge” (just up from Capital Mens Club for all you young Queanbeyan boys). 

The owners said the property had tell-tale signs of sex work when they moved in, including cellophane-covered lightbulbs, group lounging areas and even festive Christmas decorations hanging from the windows. 

Happy Ending is the vision of Canberran locals and friends Kent Nhan, Greg Lally (of XO and ILY restaurants) and Frank Iannelli (of Alpha Fresh Foods).


The café has a fun fresh vibe and offers services from smoko for the Fyshwick tradies to a longer lunch date for those working in offices in Canberra’s south. Serving up locally-roasted coffee and a menu of rotating sandwiches, sweets, pastries and savoury bites, Happy Ending is ideal for those after lunch in a hurry – or a “quickie”, as the team cheekily refer to it.

“Some highlights on our opening week menu include Nonna’s Meatball Sub, with meatballs and tomato sugo handmade by Frank’s mum, as well as a cold Mac sandwich of wagyu pastrami, mac sauce, lettuce and pesto,” Kent says.

“The Mac originally made a name for itself as a favourite staff meal at XO, with the mac sauce recipe derived by our Head Chef AK.”

Other items include Italian-inspired ham and cheese croissant using provolone cheese and premium pastoral smoked leg ham, a caprese panino and prosciutto panino (AKA top shelf meats and cheeses). They also offer delicious traditional bomboloni doughnuts with jam and custard fillings. Bloody delicious. 

The idea for the café came about when the team transitioned New Acton venue ILY from a daytime venue into an evening venue. The owners admit that their new location is a bit cheeky, but that’s what makes it so special.

“We also believe it’s a bit of a happy ending for the building as well, which gets to live on in a completely new format,” Kent says.

“It’s another reason for people to get excited in Fyshwick, and one that we can all enjoy.”

Getting excited in Fyshwick is a favourite Queanbeyan pastime, but now you can do it in the daytime! Happy Ending is open Monday to Friday from 6:30am to 2:30pm at 106-108 Gladstone Street.

Follow Happy Ending on Instagram: @h4ppy.end1ng

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About the Author: Holly Winchester

Part Jennifer Coolidge, part Jennifer Garner (gaudy and geeky), Holly idolises Dolly Parton and Princess Di and loves NRL. When she's not creating killer content, you’ll find Holly at the Maccas drive thru getting her chai latte fix or buying 1990s memorabilia for the walls of her Googong home. Specialist subject: the Woolies carpark.