Edited by: Jessica Merritt
& Keri Stooksbury
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Most people don’t associate banks and fancy coffee shops together, but there are dozens of locations around the country where you can grab a cold brew coffee and open a checking account just a few steps away. Enter Capital One’s bank and coffee shop, the Capital One Café.
I’ve been curious about visiting a Capital One Café, so I stopped by one at the Houston Galleria shopping mall. I visited with my family — kids in tow — in late December 2022, and we found the café a welcoming respite from the holiday hustle and bustle of the mall. The drinks were an absolute bargain. But beyond that, I was impressed by the community spaces and friendly, yet hands-off, financial staff. I was also delighted to walk away with some unexpected souvenirs.
Here’s more on my experience and what you can expect when you visit the Houston Galleria Capital One Café.
Capital One Café is a hybrid of a bank branch and a coffee shop. You can stop by to use an ATM, open an account, get money mentoring, or enjoy a coffee and a snack. There are also facilities for studying, working, or conducting meetings.
These cafés are designed to be friendly community spaces where you can conduct limited financial services, obtain financial education, and spend time with friends, family, or colleagues over coffee. You can also participate in educational workshops hosted by Capital One.
Each Capital One Café offers:
This is the only Capital One Café in Houston, and it’s located within the city’s high-end shopping mall, The Galleria. The Galleria is a major Houston shopping center and tourist destination known for designer stores.
The Houston Galleria Capital One Café is in between Swarovski and The Daily Grill, and just 2 doors down from the Apple Store. It’s very close to an always-busy Starbucks location where I’ve stood in many long lines over the years.
Room balconies of the in-mall hotel, The Westin Galleria Houston, are just steps away from the Capital One Café — which you could make your morning drink stop if you’re not planning breakfast at the hotel.
It takes some effort to reach the café: to get to the space, you’ll have to face Galleria traffic, park in one of the garages, get upstairs, then walk past other stores. This isn’t the sort of café location you can just pop into quickly off the street to grab a coffee, but it’s a good spot if you’re already planning to visit The Galleria.
As we stepped into the café from the frenzied mall corridors, I immediately noticed how quiet and peaceful it was. It was almost like the feeling you get when you walk into an airport lounge — you’re still in a busy area, but it’s a calm within the storm.
Yet Capital One Cafés aren’t exclusive, as anyone can walk in to grab a drink. Like other Capital One perks such as the Capital One Shopping portal and CreditWise’s credit reports and credit monitoring, the café is available to everyone, whether you bank with Capital One or not.
The space was open and inviting and there was definitely a friendly coffee shop vibe. We saw plenty of available seating and a variety of large and small tables.
We visited in the evening, long after what I’m sure was a busy morning and afternoon coffee rush. There were some signs of previous chaos, including a few drinks left behind and a dirty bathroom floor. As I talked to the barista, we found out they’d been slammed that day with a $1 drink promo.
Hot Tip: You don’t have to be a Capital One customer to enjoy the café — it’s open to everyone.
The café was open Monday to Thursday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The Capital One Café’s menu featured cold brew coffee, hot and cold espresso drinks, teas — including tea lattes — and frappés. For snacks, the café had hot naan flatbreads or pastries in a glass display, along with packaged snack options. Capital One Café has since partnered with Verve Coffee Roasters and the offerings will be slightly varied now.
There was also retail tea and coffee to go.
We walked right up to order our drinks with just 1 customer ahead of us. The barista was friendly and immediately informed us that all drinks were $1 that evening — a promotion that Capital One Cafés sometimes offer.
We got our drinks superfast — far faster than the nearby Starbucks we’ve visited on other trips to The Galleria.
Within the café, there are 2 private rooms available for use: a study nook and a community room. Both display an accessibility symbol on the room signs and have plenty of room to maneuver around.
The nook is first come, first served and can be used for small meetings, remote work, studying, or just a quiet private space. I didn’t get a great photo here, as it was in use and I didn’t want to bother the person inside, but this is a small room with a desk, chair, and power outlets. It could comfortably fit 3 to 4 people. I asked the staff about it and they said it’s nearly soundproof, so this is a great space to get some thinking done if it’s available.
The Capital One Café looks like a coffee shop, but it’s definitely still a bank. On the opposite side of the coffee bar is a financial services desk. You won’t see a teller wall here, but ATMs are available.
You can visit ATMs at the front of the café with the coffee bar just steps away.
Each Capital One Café, including Houston’s, has Capital One Ambassadors, who are the financial staff in each café. These staffers can help you open accounts and answer questions about Capital One products. For other transactions, you can hit the ATMs within the café.
I didn’t have any financial tasks to complete when we visited the café, but I did talk to the Ambassadors on the finance side. I asked how much banking people actually get done in the café, and they said it’s mostly self-serve banking with the ATMs, but they can do transactions and open accounts.
I had been a little apprehensive about financial staff pushing products, but at the café, Capital One takes a notably no-pressure approach. The idea is to be comfortable in the café, have information available, and the Ambassadors are there if you want to talk more. But otherwise, they’ll leave you alone to enjoy your coffee.
The Ambassadors also offer financial counseling as part of Capital One’s Money & Life Program. Capital One hosts financial workshop events at the cafés, but I couldn’t find any upcoming events scheduled.
Aside from the Ambassadors, the main features of the financial side of the café were signage and informational pins.
On the landing page was information similar to what’s on the physical card: a snapshot of the Capital One Venture card’s travel rewards and benefits.
When I followed the link to Explore Venture, it took me to a page where I could apply for the card …. just a few steps from café pin to application.
It was a similar story for the shopping bag pin card, which took me to a page advertising some of Capital One’s products for shopping, like Capital One Shopping and the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card.
First, this page told me about Capital One Shopping, which is Capital One’s shopping portal that offers coupons and deals for shopping online.
Next on the page was information about the Quicksilver card’s 1.5% cash-back earning rate. Like the Explore Venture link, the Explore Quicksilver button took me to a page where I could apply for the Quicksilver card.
The happy face pin card said it was for people who want to stress less about the small stuff. When I hit the QR code, it took me to a landing page for Capital One banking products.
The landing page featured Capital One’s 360 Checking product, which promises no monthly fees or minimums along with many no-additional fee ATMs. Like the card pages, clicking on Find out more took me to a page where I could open a 360 Checking account.
I’ll admit I went into the café with a bit of skepticism about Capital One leaning into a coffee shop format for bank branches. I get free coffee and cookies when I visit my regional bank branch down the street — why should I visit a Capital One branch to pay for a drink? But the coffee bar had better offerings than my regional bank branch’s drip coffee, the cost was low, and I could hang out at the café, which would be weird at a regular bank.
I also worried there would be pushy staff hovering around and asking guests to sign up for financial products, but there was zero pressure — it was me who approached the financial team to ask questions.
I’ll be delighted to visit a Capital One Café next time I visit The Galleria or if I find another convenient location. The café was inviting and we enjoyed our extremely cheap food and drinks. It’s a nice space to relax whether or not you need to do any banking. I’d like to try out more of the café’s drinks, and hopefully, the naan flatbreads will be available next time. Plus, I definitely want to pick up the other pins to round out my collection!
The information regarding the Capital One 360 Checking Account was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
Yes, Capital One Cafés are real. These locations are part-bank branch, part-coffee shop.
The coffee isn’t free at Capital One Cafés, but there are a couple of ways to get cheaper coffee than your typical coffee shop. Capital One cardholders get 50% off drinks and the cafés sometimes offer a $1 drink promotion for anyone who walks through the door.
At the Capital One Café, you can visit for drinks and snacks and do limited financial services, including using an ATM or working with an Ambassador to open an account, get financial counseling, or attend a financial workshop.
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