Nestled on an unassuming side street near Covent Garden, London, is the only Starbucks Reserve coffeeshop in the capital city. It’s the brands answer to a more upmarket cafe for theatregoers from the nearby ‘The Mousetrap’ and of course, city workers.
Immediately different from the normal Starbucks you’ll have been in, it’s a lot more modern and tech-savvy. The tables are lined with charging stations for laptops and smartphones, introducing it as the answer to workers who want to enjoy a productive coffee date, as well as for those who want to Instagram their drink. Guilty as charged.
What’s different from a normal Starbucks?
- Charging stations
- Industrial design
- Exclusive coffee menu
- Table service
- Wine and craft beer 4pm – 9pm
Aside from the charging stations, you’ll notice a few more differences. As you enter, the leather seats and copper-tinged industrial design is really inviting and you can choose to slouch on the sofas or sit upright with your laptop at a stool and bench. Here, amidst the smell of roasted coffee and the whoosh of steam from the machines, you can imagine someone writing a thriller or steampunk novel.
Sitting down, you’re provided with a warm hello from the staff and a food and drinks menu unlike the familiar Starbucks offerings. The drinks range is versatile; for example, I opted for a Freddo Cappucino, a cold, frothy caffeine hit that isn’t a regular on the high street. You can also get a Peru Bagua Grande, which seems very fancy indeed and has lemon and chocolate notes. Food includes sandwiches, pastries and cakes, which are beautifully displayed on a breakfast style counter.
The main difference is of course that you sit down first, have your order taken and then your coffee is brought over. Just as in a restaurant, you also pay for your drink afterwards, not before. In essence, this extra level of service is at the heart of ‘posh Starbucks’.
Whatever your feelings are on the influx of coffeeshops, it’s exciting to find one that’s extra special and a real treat. Affordable and friendly, it’s a relaxed place to sit for an afternoon and the coffee I had tasted great. Really quite strong and well presented.
My only slight criticism would be that having city workers discussing business around you isn’t the best environment if you turn up hoping to zone out of the work day and recharge your batteries. However, I’m certain you’ll be able to find quieter hours in the day to visit should you need them.
So, what do you think? Does ‘posh Starbucks’ offer enough of a difference to the regular branches? Let me know with a comment below.
It was actually a little hard to find, which was nice as it felt more exclusive and discreet. The best way to get there it is to head towards The Ivy, up from Leicester Square Station.