Winston-Salem has a new coffee shop to add to the ranks of Krankies, Camino, Bobby Boy Bakeshop and many others. Clutch Coffee Bar just opened a new location on University Parkway, two lights past Target. One wonders how a new coffee shop could afford to open in an area where the coffee market is already saturized. Not to mention the difficulty of opening a business during a global pandemic. However, the Clutch model seems poised for success in the COVID-19 era. Like the Krankies Airstream, Clutch is a drive through-style establishment, although it looks like they will have a storefront opening as well. The menu boasts a lengthy list of Clutch crafted beverages, each one unique and crafted with care. The staff is friendly, accommodating and is always willing to give a drink recommendation.
I must preface this review by acknowledging a slight bias in favor of Clutch. The Winston-Salem location is not their first. A North Carolina-based chain, the two original locations are situated in Mooresville, NC about 30 minutes outside of Charlotte. My cousins showed me the chain over the summer, and I fell in love. Honestly, had they not opened the W-S location, I probably would have driven an hour each way to get my fix.
A first time Clutch customer might find the menu a little overwhelming. The options are endless, and it can be difficult coming to a decision. The signature mochas and lattes feature bold flavor profiles and creative combinations. Fair warning, all of their flavored drinks are made with syrups, and are incredibly sweet. I typically don’t like sweet coffee, but I love a lot of their drinks. I used to get the Dream Bar Mocha, which has flavors of chocolate, caramel and hazelnut. But I’ve only tried a few drinks on the menu, and through trial and error, I have finally discovered my go-to: the classic mocha with an extra shot, which is made with chocolate milk instead of normal milk, is subtle and luscious without being overly sweet. I order all of their coffee beverages iced; they have a really solid ice cube size ratio that doesn’t melt too quickly and water down your coffee.
Their menu is not strictly comprised of coffee drinks, though. They also offer a wide variety of fruity beverages and energy drinks made in-store. I have always intended to try one, but never made a foray into that side of the menu. Maybe I’ll ask for the staff’s recommendation on my next visit. I could actually sing the praises of the Clutch staff members as much as I could their products. Always greeted with a friendly face and small talk, the clutch window workers have a customer service attitude akin to that of Chick-Fil-A. My cousins and I used to joke they were all secretly working for the CDC during the pandemic because they would always make conversation about where we had been and where we were going.
All in all, Clutch is a friendly, creative, affordable option to suit your coffee needs. For their W-S opening this past Monday, they offered free unlimited 16 oz. drinks all day. Their hours are great if you need an early morning jolt or a late evening pick-me-up. I can see Clutch Coffee Bar becoming a new Winston-Salem staple and I implore you to swing in their direction the next time a caffeine craving hits.