Hence, the Roy Street Coffee & Tea café that opened today on Capitol Hill. It joins the nearby four-month-old 15th Ave. Coffee & Tea café as the second "Inspired by Starbucks" coffeehouse. Don't let the names fool you. The only thing there that's "inspired by Starbucks" is the soullessness and utter disdain for the surrounding neighborhood. So if you've been waiting for me to really sharpen up the teeth and unleash on a review, here's some sugar. These dumps get an appalled F rating.
The Roy Street space really needs to be seen to fully gauge the overdone horror of it all. It's huge. You could fit three or four decent small cafés into the space they've chosen, basically across the street from a beloved neighborhood café (Joe Bar) that's typically filled with a neighborhood melting pot that includes students from the Cornish School for the Arts down the block. Roy Street actually feels like three or four really poorly organized cafés inside. The furnishings of those cafés include a few huger-than-usable tables that probably cost as much as a new Prius, insane Restoration Hardware-quality overstated doodads everywhere, and scattered orange-velvet-covered chairs that look like they're on loan from a Lady Gaga video set.
They have four bathrooms (all of which require a keyless code) and an utterly insane bank of sinks outside of the bathrooms. I guess some overpaid designer would prefer to openly verify whether the people that work there wash their hands after taking a dump rather than keep that detail appropriately private. You can imagine all the rest — dark wood everywhere ready to hide thousands of coffee stains but meant to keep the place from ever getting truly cleaned, micro spot lighting that probably will make it all feel like a gallery when sunlight's not plentiful (as if that's a problem in Seattle), garish murals and an utterly out-of-place entrance deco wall sculpture and cats and dogs sleeping together and utter Goldman Sachs-like disregard for taste. If Roy Street Coffee & Tea were a rock tour, it would be U2's ZooTV. If it were a drink, it would be a Long Island Iced Tea with Bacardi 151. If it were a porn star, it would be skinny Jenna Jameson. If it were a car, it would be a hybrid Escalade. If it were a chef, it would be Wolfgang Puck. In other words — yucky without even a hint of self-awareness.