Starbucks slips out of heart of hip Dalston after the US brand fails to make it with cool Hackneyites

Fug: Alessia Mastroleo, L, and Maia Rossi, at Cafe Fugassa Dalston London E8 041215 © DavidAltheer[at]
Bye-bye, Starbucks: Alessia Mastroleo, left, and Maia Rossi start work on their Italian café

starbuxJUST UNDER four years since Starbucks slipped into Dalston by the back door it has just as quietly served its last sip in the land of the hip.

It was always unlikely that hipsters would choose the American company’s coffee over the many others on offer in Hackney and now local businessman Gurkan Bozdere has sold the lease he took on from Hackney council.

Early next year Italian Londoners Maia Rossi and Alessia Mastroleo, above, will unveil a bakery café at the CLR James Library, where Bozdere, set up his café in early 2012. A source close to the new team told Loving Dalston: “Starbucks was the wrong choice. Hackney people were never going to take to one of the big coffee retailers.” The coffee in the new café, Fügassa, Ligurian dialect for focaccia, would be “much better”.

The mere notion that Hackney council wanted Starbucks on a prime site in Dalston aroused fierce and sustained online criticism when the news broke.

libcaf12: Opening of CLR James Library café Dalston Lane E8 3BQ with Starbucks sign outside 150315 © DavidAltheer[at]
Starbucks in E8: sign at opening of previous café

The Seattle-based giant had been reviled over the years of its European operation for paying surprisingly low amounts of corporation tax.

It was thought Hackney should have given a local entrepreneur the chance to run the premises, which is passed by a lot of potential users and has fine transport links.

An irked Ian Burgess, of London Fields coffee-maker Climpson and Sons, told Loving Dalston at the time: “There are so many small independent and quality coffee operators around these parts.”

In the event the Dalston Library Café’s Starbucks attracted aspirational customers rather than young professionals. They were the ones crowding into nearby venues with their laptops and smartphones to drink skinny lattes.

David Altheer 021215

* Backstory: It is a Starbucks, says agent; Not-a-Starbucks library café opens; Opening date for libraryDon’t call my caf a Starbucks, says coffee man

* Donna Fügassa Bakery Café, CLR James Library, Dalston Lane E8 3BQ

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