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Guest Review: Jack’s Coffee House Plays Part to the Coffee Revolution

In this review, Guest Blogger Emma Smith went along to the newly re-opened Jack's to see how their new café fits within Old Town's already vibrant coffee-culture offering.

Can the coffee revolution explain “Jacks” formerly “Café Art” recent reinvention into a coffee house /restaurant? And, the question is, has the risk paid dividends to both its proprietor and customers?

Coffee shops are on the increase whilst pubs are on the decline.  Between 2011 and 2016 coffee shops in our high streets increased by 31%. Whilst juice bars and speciality restaurants increased by 46%.

As a former customer of Cafe Art, I was keen to see the results of the reinvention and welcomed it’s opening after a lengthy ten-week closure (originally planned for ten days). Muted tones of grey, teal and bronze, welcome customers as you enter the refurbished eatery; cleverly lit with low lighting to assist with its eventual transition from coffee house to restaurant.  High back diner style booth seating compliments the low hanging lighting and jam jar table number holders.

The counter which originally was central to the café has been relocated to the back of the coffee house where its framing facility originally resided. As a customer, we can only surmise the move is for convenience of the new bar/waiting area which is still presently under construction in preparation for Jack’s Steakhouse restaurant predicted to launch in April this year.

Although the theme of “under construction” appears to apply to some of the café’s features the introduction of Jack’s new lunch menu has certainly restored its customer base. By seeking to introduce variety by its daily changing menu; specialist deli counter, locally sourced ingredients and homemade dishes. Couple these with a reasonable and easy to navigate pricing structure and it appears that a Jack’s lunch is a winning combination.

But, Jack’s main plus points are features that cannot be bought or sold; location and atmosphere. Situated in the heart of Old Town its recent renovation has not changed the café ambience but enhanced it. Pockets of conversation and laughter above the low music and the soothing décor provide a homely environment to which I could happily lose an hour.

The coffee still rivals that of any franchise coffeehouse coupled with a warm greeting from one of its long-standing staff members “Jacks” is still a cut above its competitors.

Where other coffee houses appear to cater to a specific demographic, Jack’s varies between mothers with young babies to working professionals seeking a quiet space. Therefore, “Jack’s” central location, larger space and tolerance for children will see it through its construction and contribute to its success. Because, truly, for a coffee house to thrive it needs to attain the core requisites; good coffee, good environment and good service. I believe “Jack’s” has it all it just needs some time to brew.

I, for, one will be returning for “Jack’s” restaurant launch be it in April or beyond.

If you enjoyed Emma's article and would like to see more, check out her blog!


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