In the story Marco has followed the latest trend and refurbished his ice-cream shop as an espresso bar, with juke box and Formica-topped tables. Espresso bars like this, usually run by Italian immigrants, first appeared in Soho in the 1950s (the first was The Moka in Frith Street) and later spread to other urban centres in the UK. They were haunts for teenagers, providing a cheap and warm place to congregate, drink coffee and act cool while listening to the latest hits. The hip status of such places was given a boost by the 1957 film musical The Tommy Steele Story (recalling the cheeky Cockney's early days singing in the 2i's Coffee Bar) and the 1959 film musical Expresso Bongo, starring Cliff Richard.
Here's Cliff and the Shadows singing and playing in the Expresso Bongo coffee bar. Cliff's on bongos.