As he handed over the change he confided in me “this is the last Saturday we’ll be open”. Damn, damn, damn, damn, DAMN! I love this cafe, I love everything about it and it’s been squeezed out because of US!
I love caffs. I don’t really like coffee houses. There’s a clue in the company name. I like moulded plastic seats, Formica tables, high-fat low-cost all-day breakfasts, sitting with builders and pensioners, being called “love”, “pet” and “mate” by the staff. The Warstone Cafe has been my favourite for some time but now it’s gone.
The Jewellery Quarter has been gentrifying. Construction has re-started on the next tsunami of luxury apartments. With the apartments have come the cafés (note the accent). It has been progressively possible to pay more and more for less and less. The Golden Square is under construction, creating an informal public meeting place where there was once a pockmarked car park. Warstone Cafe will look out over the square (currently they look out on its building site) for the privilege their rent has gone up and they have had to go.
Theatre companies moving into an area is a sure sign that regeneration is just a few years off, as we first walked in the cafe staff must have known we signaled the beginning of the end, but despite this they were always friendly and polite. I asked what the plan was. There didn’t seem to be much of a plan, a mobile catering business perhaps. I left a tip, enough to buy all the staff a pint or glass of wine – conscience salving cash. There are only so many fry-ups one man and his family can eat. I’m sorry it wasn’t enough. I wish the staff well, but doubt we’ll be seeing them in whatever coffee house springs up in its place.