Harry Potter house editions displayed on a shelf in a bookstore
cafe reviews

Writing in Cafes Review: The Annexe, Whitcoulls aka The Cafe of Awkward Bathroom Escorts

Cafes and bookshops are two of my favourite things, so cafes IN bookshops = happy me. In central Wellington, this combo exists only in The Annexe, which is the cafe on the second floor of the Whitcoulls bookshop on Lambton Quay. I hang out here a lot on weekends, because of the following paragraph of reasons (and despite the anti-reasons in the rest of this post):

Reasons to go there

This is a large, airy cafe with a cosy atmosphere (I mean, it’s in a bookstore!) and a sweet people-watching view of Lambton Quay, the main shopping street in Wellington. It’s never so busy that I feel guilty for laying claim to a table for hours at a time. There’s free WiFi, but only half an hour of it (maybe this is their way of encouraging you to leave after that amount of time, but I actually find it helpful in terms of preventing me from procrastinating by reading the internet instead of writing). The food for purchase is entirely edible.

Small laptop on a cafe table with a view of The Annexe

Reasons not to go there

The greatest downside to this cafe isn’t that you might accidentally purchase books on your way out despite the fact that you swore you were cutting down on spending and promised yourself that this would be a coffee-ONLY trip even if the new house editions of the Harry Potter books are super neat and right THERE on the shelf where you could buy them but you DEFINITELY DON’T NEED THEM YOU ALREADY OWN COPIES OF ALL THE HARRY POTTER BOOKS. Ahem.

Harry Potter house editions displayed on a shelf in a bookstore

The greatest downside isn’t even the fact that the coffee is pretty dreadful. No, by far the worst thing about The Annexe is the bathroom situation. The bathroom is locked, and you have to go up and ask the staff if you want to use it. They won’t give you the code for the bathroom door (or even *gasp* have an unlocked bathroom). That would be way too sensible. No, they escort you there and let you in personally. Since the bathroom is located on the other side of the floor, through the bookshop, this means having to make awkward so-how’s-your-day-going conversation whilst trying not to feel like a small child being taken for a bathroom break.

For my list of optimum cafe writing conditions, see here.

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