Friday, 2 August 2013

Arabica Coffee House, Standard Building, Cleveland, Ohio

I was determined to find some kind of independent coffee house in Cleveland, but kept getting directed to Starbucks – or rather, not directed to Starbucks, but when asked about coffee shops that was the name that was on most people's lips. Still, I managed to find the Arabica Coffee House and at first I was confused as to how to get inside.

The Arabica Coffee House is part of Cleveland's historic Standard Building, owned by the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, a union of some kind and still the driving force behind this amazing building.

To reach the Arabica Coffee House you go into the Standard Building first and there it is, designed no doubt, for those working in the building. It's pretty basic, but the staff are friendly and the prices are ridiculously low when you compare it to a Costa Coffee in the UK. Put it this way, I had a white chocolate and macadamia nut cookie and a medium-sized paper cup of tea – for $2! That's about £1 in UK money. Had I ordered the same thing in a Costa, it would have set me back much more. That cookie would have been, at its cheapest, £1.75 and a pot of tea (carrying much less than my medium-sized paper cup) would have been roughly the same – that's £3.50 (or about $7).
Good value, friendly staff – Arabica Coffee House, Cleveland, Ohio.

When I told the girl serving about this she gasped with horror at the thought of paying so much for just tea and cookie.

I sat down for all of a minute when the phone rang and the girl said I'd have to go as she was getting a delivery, so I went out into the lobby of the Standard Building and watched the Ariel Castro sentencing on the television. Oddly, the whole thing had happened live across the street earlier in the day.

In Cleveland they pronounce 'Arabica' differently from the way we do in the UK. In the UK it's 'A-RAB-ica', but in Cleveland, it's 'ARA-beaker'. Strange but true.

Verdict: nice place and good value for money compared with the UK and, indeed, the Starbucks near the Cleveland Marriott, but they lost points for kicking me out when a delivery arrived.

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