I appreciate everything that's been said about Starbucks having a record in places with a poor coffee tradition, and I readily acknowledge that Monmouth makes fantastic coffee, but Monmouth is extraordinarily rare in making filter coffee (my preferred tipple). Outside the Borough Market area, there aren't that many filter coffee options. I wouldn't agree that Starbucksfilter coffee is weak (it's actually a bit too acrid for my taste). It's decent.
I've just had coffee and brekkie in Cafe Riva, which is practically opposite starbucks. Very nice (i can't really comment on the quality of the coffee as i'm NOT coinesseur, but it seemed good to me). good value, a local, well established business, nice staff, bigger than it looks from the outside.
As long as Starbucks keeps arrogantly deciding their advertising takes precedence over my right to walk down that side of the street without avoiding their giant litter (A board), I'll use and recommend to everyone Cafe Riva and nelsons just over the road and to the right.
how can a business move into an area, ride roughshod and expect anything other than hostility???? I really hope Starbucks people from BHS are reading this. I've complained to the council but also tohead office (Starbucks is not a franchise operation as I had assumed).
Yes, it's irritating the way they put those A-boards out on the pavement, but then the Gladstone does as well, and it's a decent institution.
I would go to Cafe Riva, or Nelson's, but the truth is that because I don't work in the area I do not think I have once, in the year I've lived in Borough, seen either of them open (unless I'm just being really thick and think it looks like it's closed on Saturday when it's not?).
Although I prefer the owner-operator model, as the rents go up in Borough High Street (which clearly they are), a place like Cafe Riva simply cannot survive unless it becomes more competitive. Monmouth's is a brilliant coffee shop, and seems to have managed to get the Balance right.
Nelsons and Riva are always open and both are very good. I used to work in Borough (six years ago) and used to go to Riva every day. It was friendly and the coffee was good. Nelsons is a lovely place and when I moved from London Bridge to E&C I went there for lunch and dinner about three times (I had no stuff in my new flat at the time). These places will, of course, survive as they do better priced proper meals and good coffee / tea, rather than the plastic, flavourless, overpriced coffee/tea and cakes purveyed by S*******s and Costa and the like. And have you seen their sweaty, revolting-looking sandwiches? Groo!
I welcome Starbucks to Borough High Street. I don't drink their 'coffee', I dislike their other heavily-sugared drinks, and I don't like the mindless commercialism they stand for. But they provide a warming glow to a stretch of the High Street that wasn't there before. I'd rather see people enjoying other people's company than walk past a cold empty phone shop.
As for coffee quality, Monmouth gets my vote every time. A steaming latte from Borough Market on a chilly weekend is as close to perfection you can get, especially when accompanied by a pork pie. Aside from that, Amano is great for coffees.
While Starbucks adds nothing to the coffee-worthiness of the area, I welcome it because it adds an improvement to a previously dull stretch of street.
Nelson's is a really great place for brekkie and hearty lunches. The guys behind the counter are v friendly and a couple have been there for years - ever since I moved here 6 years ago.
But, funny thing is; I have not gone there for a year or so. Habit I guess. I must alternate with Terry's and El Vergel. All in all, BHS and environs are great for food/drink, and I agree with PP that Starbucks does add more to the street than the defunct phone shop, which even when it was open consigned that portion of the street to retail no-go status.
I must agree, last night I passed by Starbucks on the bus, and thought "How nice, I dont remember that bit of the road being so smart and cosy". Like others here I hold no brief for Starbucks (rather the reverse, over priced, over hyped) but I do think that the branch in BHS has added tone. It's kind of given a face to a faceless stretch of road.