So I did a little intelligence gathering today… For a couple of months now, the wonderful Urban Coffee Company has been running a tiny cubicle in the Mailbox. Here is a handy picture:
and yesterday I heard a very intriguing rumour which I set out to verify. A little coffee bean reliably informs me that UCC has submitted a proposal to open a permanent coffee shop in one of the (many) vacant units in the Mailbox. If they are given the go ahead, this neighbourhood could see a good quality independent coffee shop by the end of October. In which case this would be my reaction:
Further to this intrigue is the mystery of Caffe Vergnano 1882. On the third level of the Mailbox stands a fully operational coffee shop which has not been open during my three years in this city. Like a service industry Mary Celeste, the tables are wiped down, the plates are laid out, the espresso machines are polished but the lights remain permanently off and no sign of it ever being open exists. A web search yields very scant results. The facts are that this chain is thriving in London and throughout Europe and the Birmingham Post did report that the Birmingham branch was due to open in March 2010. One solitary photo shows the cafe open (but it looks like a publicity shot).
Today I was going to photograph this unusual sight but to my surprise the cafe had been sealed over with billboards. This coupled with the rumour of a new coffee shop is surely more than a coincidence. Has UCC done a deal to take on this deserted cafe? Stay tuned to find out.