Updated at 11:57a.m, 26 February 2019, to reflect that, despite information to the contrary, the café’s closure is not a result of a rent review.
Updated at 3:40p.m., 26 February 2019, with a statement from Workshop Coffee.
Leading speciality coffee roaster and coffee bar operator Workshop Coffee will close its Holborn café on 8 March after five years. The café, based at Amazon’s London headquarters but open to the public, opened in 2014.
No formal announcement has been made, but staff were informed of the closure with eight weeks notice, and regular customers have been informed in person. Workshop’s flagship coffee bar and all-day restaurant — and formerly its roastery — abruptly closed in Clerkenwell in 2017, with owner James Dickson citing a need to focus “on coffee more intently, removing distractions to make for a better coffee experience.”
Local cave and wine shop Winemakers Club, which also has a branch in Deptford, southeast London, commented on Instagram, focussing in smaller businesses “having to give up stores in areas that are full of the dreadful, unoriginal, inexcusable, dull same.” It is now understood, however, that the closure is not due to a rent review.
A spokesperson for Workshop Coffee said:
Holborn continues to be one of our best coffeebars in terms of its world-class design, the service it offers and its daily trade – we’re sad to be saying goodbye to our loyal cohort of regular guests from the surrounding offices in the area.
However, the broader development has never quite delivered on its original promises of becoming a thriving commuter hub surrounded by a host of exciting operators. That’s made it increasingly difficult to justify the site long-term and so we’ve made the difficult, but sensible, decision to move on.
We’re actively looking for new sites right now, both in the area and further afield.
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As time moves on and the longer that I am on social media, it seems the more we come back to the subject of commercial rents. The latest is our very good friends at workshop. We opened pretty much the same time, they were some of my first customers. Bringing their staff meetings into our bar, they helped us pay our first bills. As a business it's wonderful to see them going from strength to strength, especially with their excellent wholesale. What saddens me is that they are having to give up stores in areas that are full of the dreadful, unoriginal, inexcusable, dull same. Rent revue comes in and from March 8th, pret or Starbucks is the only one serving coffee locally. The site will most likely remain empty for a while, so that's no rent for the landlords. Remarkable that people/hedge fund etc managers have very valuable looking portfolios but actually no money coming in. So no independence just the chain. This comes up so much time and time again in the news on various social platforms, yet nothing changes. Even when the high street struggles. Our rent revue comes in, in the next couple of weeks. Let's see what happens.
Workshop Coffee opened in Clerkenwell under the name St. Ali in April 2011 — a first London import from the Australian coffee roaster and café operator that was, and continues to be, one of Melbourne’s most famous speciality coffee brands. Under the jurisdiction of Dickson and Tim Williams, it established itself as a roaster, and café at the forefront of London’s growing ‘third wave’ coffee movement, on a scene that had previously been dominated by Monmouth Coffee and east London-based Square Mile. It currently operates coffee bars in Marylebone, Fitzrovia, Paddington, and Old Street, as well as Holborn.