Monday 3 April 2017

WTW: Department of Coffee and Social Affairs

Where to Write (WTW): Good places to write. Places I like to write or have written, from libraries to cafes to park benches starting in London and going further afield. Following recommendations, geographical convenience and my nose for good coffee and cake.

 (Whitechapel, London/ Monday, April 3rd, 2017/ 430pm to 6pm)

I checked the criteria (in no particular order):
  1. Accessibility: A chain, so available elsewhere. This one was on a main road, by tube and buses and especially accessible for me being on the No 15.bus route. However the front door step will be a challenge for wheel chair users. And times are limited (as we found when at 5.25 the condiments were cleared from the tables) from 7.30 am to 6pm. So forget any evening writing.
  2. Breath-ability: Its airy (mainly due to the door being wedged open with a folded piece of cardboard) although air-con could be seen ready for summer. Generally open space with a good flow.
  3. Decor: Blank, but probably not blank enough for the loading depot cold-war communist feel I was hoping for. The polished cement floor said it was polished and painted with dots and stripes to show the way. Too much shine and colour for the industrial look, maybe after some wear and tear it will get there.
  4. Furniture: There were various sized tables for different numbers of people and comfortable 60s bucket seats which may have that sweaty bottom effect in summer but in April worked. The science bench and school stools were the usual opportunity to stand or sit but a big soaker-upper of the quick coffee drinker in busy times. Also sofas and low tables were another option.
  5. Music: Generic and in the background as it should be with the hotspot being behind the counter where it should be.
  6. Sockets: Not enough for when your battery or charger runs down.
  7. Space: There was room at a table or sofa, and enough for extras ie. partner, laptops, cups and saucers and plates, as well as room to feel like every time someone passes they are not going to either bump into your or you are going to get up close and personal with a stranger. 
  8. Service: Fast with pay at one counter and pick up at other unless at table when the coffee and cake came separately, and not so fast. Sounds of coffee machines did not overpower. Were told twice 'We're closing in 5 minutes' so although sign (see below) might say 'loitering encouraged' we didn't.
  9. Food:  Good but limited selection of cakes and sandwiches (possibly as it was 4.30 on a Monday). The banana peanut butter cake and salted caramel brownies were tasty but dry.
  10. Drink: Great Americanos which didn't come in stupid cups with handles which are impossible to hold especially when hot.
  11. Wifi: Available (and reliable) with an easy-to-see notice with the name and password. 
  12. Toilets: Unfinished but in existence.
  13. Guilt: Seems to be a company with a conscience (see below) so a guilt-free visit.
  14. Writing: The sounds of the room dull into the background with enough stimulus like the large WHITECHAPEL sign (below) and traffic outside and passersby. 
  15. Rating: Overall 5/10 for writing, little adds and little detracts.
We measure our commercial success equally to our social impact, we think that, every company, everywhere, should do the same.” Chairman Stefan Allesch-Taylor CBE

Just not after 6pm @ Department of Social Affairs, London

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