When I visit a more downtrodden town, I sometimes forget that there are people there that can read. Or want to read. Novels I mean, not the instructions on their Methadone medication or the text of a police caution.
Crewies though, wishing to score some reading fodder whilst eschewing Amazon, have Waterstones but it’s not the cheapest place to buy books. I remember one being £20 in there and £6.99 in nearby bargain chain The Works (nothing to do with heroin needles though). A cheaper alternative is to get a free read in Rhode Island Coffee as this branch has shelf loads of books to flick through if you need to get a hit of a few lines of Jo Nesbo.
Like all Rhode Island Coffee shops, its walls also hold a smattering of pictures from the obscure to the esoteric providing gawking material for punters chowing down on toasted teacakes. If the excitement isn’t too much, there is also a large array of colourful mugs ranged along eight shelves which makes you wonder if there’s been a robbery recently down the road in Stoke-on-Trent.
So it’s quite agreeable inside with ‘coffee music’ playing at the perfect volume whilst percolators converted into dangly lights shine onto wooden tables, upholstered chairs and the odd bonket.
The menu is printed on boards behind the metro-tiled counter among box-shelving containing various teas and coffees. The food options are limited though to cakes and paninis but you can get porridge or soup if you prefer those to fill your small intestine for the duration.
I was a shade giddy with excitement when this place opened in 2016 as I’d had a few pleasant experiences in sister branches in grimy Northern towns. The staff were excellent; there was a Thai guy who was hyper-friendly and a towering Geordie manager who seemed to be on top of things (literally). Much like Cafe Nero in Nantwich, the staff moved onwards and upwards and replacements seemed less capable and as willing to engage with customers. Recently though the staff here seemed to be much more amiable, on-the-ball and able to operate a Gaggia. Which is all you can ask for really.
That said, this particular afternoon my gluten-free toast was soggy and the waitress seemed to think that I wouldn’t want a knife to spread my butter. Was I supposed to use my effing tallywhacker then? Still my latte was fine and maybe she was having an off day like the town itself does every day sadly.
It’s been interesting to see whether a place like his could survive in Crewe. I heard a couple of passing Neanderthals bemoaning that is was ‘too posh’ – presumably they were used to getting a coffee from the local ASDA or drinking mud and water in a ditch somewhere.
I relaxed and, being one of the nosiest blokes in Western Europe, glanced around at my fellow slurpers. A couple of immigrant cleaners having a chat, a few neglectful parents (ignoring their kids, more interested in their phones), an odd beardy (who kept scratching his ankles and making a weird squeaking noise), a couple that sit in stony silence and a man from East Timor (presumably finished his shift at the local factory) staring out of the window – probably wondering how the smeg he ended up in Crewe.
Good: Most things really.
Bad: Needs more food variety. Occasional staff hiccup.