Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Java Jive

Tramping the area north of Oxford Street* with my camera the other day, it suddenly dawned on me why I hadn't felt right since I'd got out of bed. For the first time in about four years, I'd left the house without a coffee. I headed south with the urgency of a junkie looking for a dealer. If all you want is a pure hit of caffeine, all you need is the Algerian Coffee Stores. This Soho stalwart has been in business since 1887, and opening in an area later to become famous for coffee shops and a night-time economy turned out to be a shrewd business move. The shop is beautiful - at first glance it looks like an Edwardian toyshop. Inside there are the original wooden shelves and counter, with smiley blokes in aprons eager to help. It's mainly a retailer, but they'll do you a cappuccino for 95p, or a double espresso for 70p. There's nowhere to sit, but they don't mind if you stand and glug it down - which is exactly what I did before heading back out into the chilly streets. Death to Starbucks.



* The Man wants us all to call it 'NoHo'. Please don't.

5 comments:

A F-A said...

Such cynicism. Don't you realise that, without Starbucks, 23,000 foreign students (mostly from Japan, Korea, Hong Kong and America) would be tramping the streets in a fruitless search for a free internet provider? Can you imagine them blocking up the Library, your favourite pub, Wetherspoons? No, Starbucks performs a vital service (albeit NOT dispensing drinkable coffee!!).

Ten Inch Wheeler said...

I have been in a Starbucks, to my shame. It was in Beijing, where I had an iced coffee. It was either that or pass out with heatstroke.

A F-A said...

*shame*....me too! Hong Kong!!

A F-A said...

Err....what about some photos of the inside, next time you are passing. It looks a really great place.

Ten Inch Wheeler said...

Ah - I would have, but it was just too busy inside. That little white sign on the board with the prices is the blokes inside apologising that they might be too busy to work their coffee machine. I was lucky!