Workshop Coffee has opened its fifth coffee bar and sixth site in London at The Pilgrm Hotel in Paddington. The coffee roaster has now opened two successive coffee bars in non-traditional locations. with the lobby cafe at The Pilgrm following a ground-floor space at The White Collar Factory workspace on Old Street roundabout. The pair joins three cafes in Holborn, Marylebone, Fitzrovia and the roastery on Vyner Street in Bethnal Green.
The change in direction — focussing hard on coffee, in the place of food — started with the sudden closure of the brand’s flagship Clerkenwell coffee shop last year. Founder James Dickson said in an (unpublicised) blog post:
“I believe that to continue our ongoing commitment to quality, we need to renew our focus on providing the best coffee we can. That means focusing on coffee more intently, removing distractions to make for a better coffee experience and a better overall product in our four coffeebars, for our wholesale partners and for our growing community of online and subscription customers.”
That café closed at a week’s notice, with sources close to Workshop telling Eater that staff received a week’s notice in turn, with no warning of the impending closure. This renewed focus on coffee, however, has brought about another change in direction: first, heading (relatively) west, away from the concentration of London’s essential coffee shops. Second, opening bars in existing spaces, reducing overheads and retaining more security. Workshop’s coffee is consistently excellent, and the canny operation could make this a real success.