Americans use bookshops as pick-up joints. Your average Briton uses them to meet their mother where they know she'll be safe. Foyle's is a rabbit warren which, once entered, holds out little hope of egress let alone

finding the aged relative. Books etc have had the

brilliant idea of

allowing a coffee bar to

operate on their premises, so you can buy your copy of Death, Dissection and the

Destitute and start reading it straight away with a sticky cake. The bar, tucked in the window between book stacks, is bright and cheery and the coffee is good (pounds 1 for filter, pounds 1.20 for cappuccino).

But watch out for men with American accents.

Aroma Espresso Bar, in Books etc, 120 Charing Cross Rd WC2 (071-240 4030)

Serena Mackesy

Tomorrow: Olivo, Eccleston St SW1

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