In case you haven’t heard, Foyles flagship bookstore is moving from its home of 85 years at 113-119 Charing Cross Road to the old Central Saint Martin’s College building a few doors down at 107 Charing Cross Road. The spanking new 37,000 square feet store promises to house 200,000 different titles on four miles (6.5km) of shelves (which they claim is the equivalent of lining one bank of the Thames with books from Battersea Power Station to the Tower of London). Impressive! We’re extremely excited to have this mammoth new bookshop open at a time when bookshops are having a tough old time.
However, one inevitable consequence of this move is that the wonderful second floor Café at Foyles will also be moving. Over the years, the cafe has grown in size and selection. What once was just a few tables amongst the records of Ray’s Jazz Shop (see photo below) is now a popular spot for anyone needing a browsing break, bite to eat or evening coffee. The free wifi means that there are always creative types with their laptops lining the benches and you often end up sitting next to someone having an eavesdrop-worthy chat. There are tasty sandwiches, soups and cakes on offer but the main appeal is always the buzzing atmosphere, interesting clientele and occasional live music.
But surely they will have a new Café at Foyles in this literature oasis I hear you cry? Yes, there will be. But will it be the same? We’re not sure. I chatted to one of the shop staff who didn’t know much about the new cafe incarnation except that it won’t be run by the same people so will most probably be a whole different offering. She seemed as upset as I was about this news. I’m sure it’ll be a nice new watering hole but I fear it will lack the well-worn wooden charm of the current spot. Let’s hope they keep as much of the integrity as possible. So, if you haven’t paid a visit to this central London institution, we urge you to pop in for a cuppa before it closes on Saturday May 31. Sonya Barber