I sometimes forget that there are people in Crewe that can read. Novels I mean, not the instructions on their Methadone medication or the text of a police caution.

Crewe has Waterstones but it’s not the cheapest place to buy books. I remember one book being £20 in there and £6.99 in The Works (nothing to do with needles). A cheaper alternative for anyone on a limited budget is to visit Rhode Island Coffee for a free read.

Like all Rhode Islands it has a number of displays on the walls to allow punters to gawk at whilst chewing on toasted teacakes. This branch has three large book shelves to form a sort of library at the back (near the facilities) and at the entrance, colourful mugs are ranged along eight shelves.

I was quite giddy with excitement when this place opened several years ago now. I’d been to a few other sister branches in various Northern towns and had pleasant experiences in most of them. This was before there was a Starbucks and even less options for some bean juice than there is now. The staff were good; there was a Thai guy who was very friendly and a tall Geordie manager who seemed to be on top of things. Much like Cafe Nero in Nantwich, the staff seemed to have move onwards and upwards and less capable / willing to engage with customers.

Still it’s nice inside with a good vibe with some coffee music at the perfect vol. Spotlights, wooden tales and upholstered chairs and bonkets ranged along the walls. There is also some art and a few coffee percolators made into lights dangling from the back corner of the cafe. The menu is on various boards behind the metro-tiled counter among other box-shelves containing various teas and coffees which makes it quite interesting to look at. Food is a bit limited to cakes and paninis but there are a few crisps and biscuits too and it’s all decent. Porridge and soup is also available.

Coffee was still the same decent standard but my GF toast (yes they do it) was soggy and the dopey waitress, maybe waiting to go into rehab, thought I wouldn’t want a knife to spread my butter. Am I supposed to use my fucking tallywhacker?

It’s interesting to see whether a place like his could survive in Crewe. A place where many of the more scabby visitors feel intimidated used to getting a coffee from the local ASDA.

Right now my fellow slurpers are: a couple of immigrant cleaners, 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), couples that don’t talk to each other (I love watching them sit in 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.

Verdict: 4/5

Good: Most things really.

Bad: Staff training could be better.