Café Closing

Well, this stinks: RBC NYC, the café with very good coffee at 71 Worth, announced yesterday evening on Twitter that it’s closing (“Friends, we’re sorry to inform you we will be closing. Our last day is Wednesday 5/2. Thank you for your support.”) Just last week RBC began baking its pastries in house, and the monitor with swimming-dog video was recently replaced with shelves for more retail, so it must have come as a shock. Perhaps the $18,000 Slayer espresso machine will be put to use at sister restaurant Atera….

I’ll swing by this morning and see if I can find out more.

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  1. That sucks! I will miss RBC very much. I think the location didn’t provide enough foot traffic, especially on weekends. If it was in as good a location as Kaffe 1668, I think it would have been a great success. It’s never a good thing to lose a well made latte downtown. Their cold brew and their Vietnamese coffee were also great. Darn.

  2. RBC has MUCH much better coffee than 1668. These days I’m going to Laughing Man, however.

  3. Is it just me who thought it was REALLY BITTER COFFEE? Though I did love the swimming dog cam.

  4. RBC was one of my top 3 places for espresso drinks, along with Abraco and Third Rail. All three places are places that I have gone well out of my way for.

  5. Sad – And I just discovered their bacon cheddar scones. Well, at least that saves me a lot of calories!!!

  6. Such a shame this place is closing! Best coffee ever, and the people that work there are awesome and friendly. Another NY gem gone…

  7. I recently wrote a large, comprehensive feature on the NYC coffee scene and RBC was one of five places we highlighted. Competing cafes all over town spoke of the place in tones of quiet admiration. RBC was thought of as sort of a “master class” -type place. The kind of shop that gives truth to the overworked term “artisanal”. As others mentioned, the location was poor, but it was regularly filled, at least on weekdays. The room had other logistical problems as well. I think that RBC’s biggest enemy was the economics of the coffee serving enterprise, which I also had a crash course in. That’s a difficult mountain to scale. I got to know the place on an intimate level, and it was the real deal. A shame.

    BTW, re: location – I wonder how great a part that deadly block played in Compose’s demise, and how Atera will fare against it.

  8. Nothing seems to work on that block. I still miss Farinella.

  9. One of the best coffee shops in NY and the best brew bar in the city by far.

  10. RBC was a great coffee shop, however it was too conservative and gave false impressions of elitism even though it makes no sense, on the positive note
    few coffee shops offer a variety of beans, have as good as espresso, and try to but a bit modern while offering varying methods, but offering no espresso over ice, but offering an americano to go is silly, if the americano saves the shot, then why offer too much water, or would you expect it would be saved for a minute?

    It had a student discount, great, but offered no punch cards which coffee shops
    need not of course, its hours were short, not too short, but given kaffee 1668 had longer hours and is only a mere 10 blocks away, it makes folks wonder.

    I wonder who is next, I doubt that rbc didn’t have enough economics, foot traffic was high, prices were not low, and although the staff had a lot of expense, many coffee shops go the extra mile, in addition it was high profile, if rbc fails who is next, blue bird failed, rbc never offered iced espresso drinks except americanos which were not offered on the menu
    , sure we can disagree on the wisdom of ice and milk, but atleast offer a bare option,

    As for location, its presence is bar none, near colleges, city employment
    private companies in downtown manhattan, etc

    Now the block is a bit dead at times, but not when a lot of folks are daytime and certainly not the neighboorhood, given that highly respected folks in the coffee industry do japanese ice coffee (not cold) and other things, I wonder how rbc could justify its purist label.,

  11. so sad. i spent hours and hours and hours there. tell us what happened!!

  12. @Brenda: I went there but the lone barista was overwhelmed… If I were a betting man, I’d go with Bar Atera. Or maybe Atera Market. Some extension of Atera….

  13. Krisfactchecker makes good points. Although I laud the shop’s coffee mastery it made a lot of small mistakes. True, it needed a punch card – never knew why they didn’t get that. They offered retail sales of goods and coffee, but did absolutely no marketing for them, didn’t display prices, and kept them out of reach (exactly the opposite of Laughing Man’s approach, btw). I think what it came down to was a lack of marketing management. The employees (iow baristas) should not have been made responsible for carrying that end of the business. They might have thought their vaunted reputation would take them the extra distance. I saw a lot more than I said when I wrote about them, but I’m afraid that like most writers who wrote about their superb coffee I chose to ignore some obvious evidence of lackluster management.

  14. It had a punch card. It was just a black card they marked with white marker.

    R.I.P. RBC

  15. RBC also gave a sense of , “you don’t know what to expect”, it was too conservative to the point of being silly, but at the same times offered a modernized look with a dog tv, and showing various methods of coffee,
    it took a while for certain things, and they wouldn’t sell other juice at expensive prices if no one purchased at markups such as lemonade (not homemade) or even special brand, the thing is , its a bit of a thought how rbc failed, sure coffee shops fail, even great ones, but with all the hype and the 18k machine
    , location, and its very high profile, it makes you question, why it failed, and why other shops that are not as great stay in business, perhaps it was too new also?