The West is ready to do battle with Williamsburg’s first Starbucks

thewestWhen I heard Starbucks was officially opening its first location in Williamsburg my first concern was the excellent coffee shop The West, located about 100 feet from the new Starbucks. In the wake of smaller stores like Kings Pharmacy being forced out of the neighborhood because of big chains like Duane Reade, The West is planning on holding their ground. They released a statement on their website today about why they are here to stay:

In response to the Starbucks opening, The West’s owner, Esther Bell, says, “We have bathrooms too… no seriously we’ve always been about supporting the community—we have great locally roasted coffee, craft beer, and cocktails. But above all, we partner with artists, web developers and programmers for presentations, fundraisers, screenings, and readings. Our neighbors come to us because they feel we are an extension of their home, or a comfortable place to work and have a good time.”

We’re rooting for you! Check out their full statement here.



  1. Does “ready to do battle” mean not even acknowledging a patron, with so much as a hello, at the walk up window while you dick around with something else? Seems like they’re really making a push to keep their customers.

    The West used to be my number two after Gimme, when I didn’t feel like walking the extra half block. Starbucks coffee sucks but I can’t say I’ve ever been outright ignored there.

    This was at 1pm today, no one else was even in line.

    • I started frequenting The West this year and I’ve always gotten friendly service. I’ve even struck up conversations with the baristas on multiple occasions.

      There’s definitely a sense of community with all the regulars that stop by, not only to get coffee but to chat. Hell, I went in there once to get a chai and stayed for 4 hours talking with friends and working on my laptop. Not once did I get awkward glances- I felt welcomed the whole time.

      Perhaps something can be said for making your presence known and/ or being personable….

  2. charlie says:

    Also, Starbucks actually hires ‘people of color’ – while ‘The West’ only hires white pseudo-intellectuals who think they’re the coolest people in a ten block radius.

    • Douglas Turner says:

      Hello… I can’t let this comment go without response… it is a serious accusation, which is wholly unfounded. This is Douglas, the gentlemen who wrote the open letter. I am also a ‘people of color’. The owner is a longtime friend, and I also handle the West’s press and social media. Speak with Kavi, Shantell, or Isiah… who either work at the West now, or have in the past— they are all people of color. Do your research before spouting out your Truths.

  3. Kimberly says:

    I love The West. I have recently moved to Ohio but I used to live in Williamsburg and would go there nearly every day for yummy food and the best, velvety coffee I ever had. Loved the atmosphere and the people and the great tunes and of course, the coffee. I am rooting for The West too!!

  4. I’ve lived around the corner from The West since before it opened and it’s hands down my favorite coffee shop. I appreciate their coffee, customer service, great lighting, outdoor seating, and offerings of community events like open-mics and showing Breaking Bad. More neighborhoods need locally-minded and community-supporting watering holes like this one.

  5. When I lived nearby, I spent many weekend afternoons and evenings engaged in freelance work at The West (outside my day job). Tea was always comforting, and I relished the egg cheddar baguette sandwich with aioli sauce. Service was friendly and atmosphere conducive to one’s own tasks and projects.

    Moreover, I have enjoyed art exhibitions there as well as film showings. This is a precious establishment and a true test to the Bburg inhabitants is which location they opt to patronize. People can lament the loss of this institution or another, but it all comes down to where the customer money flows. You make the decision ultimately.

  6. I’ve been a patron of the West since early April when I moved to the neighborhood. The coffee is excellent and the cocktails are delicious! Jordan is an evil genius of mixology and Joe is a sweetheart. Everyone else I’ve come in contact there has been pretty cool too. My favorite spot in my hood. The vibe is also great. Can you really say any of this about a Starbucks? Nope!

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