Even before its opening date on Jan. 14, everyone was stoked for Stokes. There were photos of the highly anticipated, newly renovated Chocolate/Coffee Bar floating around Instagram and Facebook long before Stokes was open to the public, which built the excitement even more. These pictures showcased the new menu (which included gelato, gourmet coffee and baked goods), the elegant interior design and the seemingly large seating area.
Now, we’re almost a month into the Spring Semester and slowly, but surely, we’re getting used to the fact that Stokes (NOT the Dustbowl) is part of our daily lives. As a coffee and tea addict, I go to the Chocolate Bar almost every day, and as much as I want to go on and on about how much I love it, I can’t help but be a little bit disappointed.
First of all, I remember BC promising us gourmet, freshly brewed, delicious coffee before they opened up Stokes. Although the Chocolate Bar always had better coffee than most places on campus, I was let down by the quality. It was exactly the same as the coffee served when the Chocolate Bar was in McElroy, sometimes worse.
On opening day, I patiently stood in line and ordered my favorite coffee, a Soy Latte. As soon as I took a sip, I immediately regretted my decision. It tasted nothing like my usual cup of coffee and seemed extremely watered down.
Fortunately, it’s improved from this weak first impression. I don’t know if I’m getting used to the coffee or if the Chocolate Bar is getting into the flow of things, but my coffee has been getting better. Nevertheless the coffee does not quite live up to the expectations BC set for it.
Secondly, the space around the Chocolate Bar is ridiculously tight. If you’re lucky enough to go before everyone get’s out of class, it’s not a problem. However, if you decide to grab a cup of coffee a few minutes before everyone's classes start you’re most likely going to be the 30th person in line and spend the next 10 minutes awkwardly checking your phone.
Furthermore, the line extends out to the pathway and it’s a struggle to walk through the people without them thinking that I’m cutting in line. On top of the long wait, there is always a crowd of people waiting for their coffee around the seating area making it even harder to navigate. It puzzles me that the space around the Chocolate Bar in Stokes is so tight, when there was always enough space to stand in line in the old Chocolate Bar.
Third of all, there is never enough seating. There were never enough seats when the Chocolate Bar was in McElroy and, once again, there’s never enough seating around the Chocolate Bar in Stokes. Although there are more tables and chairs in Stokes, so far, finding a table to sit at with my friends has been a 100 percent failure.
The pictures that floated around the Internet made it look like there was far more seating. Although it’s not completely the Chocolate Bar’s fault (mostly, I blame the people who sit at a four-seat table when they’re by themselves), it would have been nice if there were more seats.
Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate the new Chocolate Bar. I actually like it a lot more than the old one. When I say “It’s disappointing” I certainly don’t mean that it’s bad or that everything about it is disappointing.
For instance, the people who work at the Chocolate Bar are extremely nice and happy which always puts me in a good mood, despite how badly my morning is going. Also, even though I haven’t had the opportunity to try the gelato yet, knowing that I have the option to have some delicious dessert makes me extremely happy. I can’t wait to try the “Hazelnut Biscotti” flavor!
In the end, whether you and I love it or not, the Chocolate Bar is here to stay, so we might as well use up those Eagle Bucks on a caffeine boost or to satisfy our sweet tooth.