There’s something different about the new Starbucks at Terry and Republican.
It certainly looks different, with its exposed steel beams stretching across the ceiling, distressed leather lining cozy booths, and dramatic velvet curtains framing the windows.
Even its drink menu will be different. In the spring, it is set to become one of the few Starbucks stores in the world to serve wine and beer.
"Starbucks’ newest store is a wonderful addition to our neighborhood's many unique places to meet,” said Jodie King, the new executive director of the South Lake Union Chamber of Commerce. “Our neighbors are abuzz with excitement over this creative gathering space. It brings much more to the neighborhood than just a great cup of Joe.”
At this location, baristas have swapped the usual green aprons for slick black ones. Customers sit on plush gray armchairs under lanterns with trendy mesh shades, typing away on laptops and drinking specialty “Clover” coffee. Brewed by the cup, the Clover drip is only available at select locations. It’s deeper, fancier stuff.
Since 2009, Starbucks has experimented with a new type of store – one-of-a-kind hangouts that mirror the personality of the neighborhood and feature a small selection of wine and beer. Granted, these special Starbucks stores are very rare. Of its 17,000 stores worldwide, Starbucks only has six that serve beer and wine right now. Five of those are in the Seattle area and one is in Portland.
“We've seen a really positive response from our Seattle customers from this concept, and we've heard from them that they want to see more of these kinds of stores in Seattle,” said Starbucks spokesman Alan Hilowitz.
The community’s delighted reaction suggests South Lake Union was just the right location for the new store.
“It’s popular,” one customer said about the store as he waited for his morning latte. He works at Amazon and his office looks down on the new Starbucks. “I get to see a long line all day.”
Lee Schoentrup, who works in South Lake Union at Seattle Biomedical Research Institute, says she’s glad to have another Starbucks so close to her office. “The bonus is having another place for an after-work drink in the neighborhood,” she said.
Hilowitz from Starbucks said the company plans to serve wine and beer there soon, and will likely start in the spring. The stores that currently sell wine and beer usually do so after 2 p.m., and also offer small food plates, like bread with dip or cured meats. Some have live music or other entertainment.
Although the beer and wine stores account for only a sliver of Starbucks’ inventory, the number is going up. In December, Starbucks announced it plans to open five to seven of these stores in Chicago.
“So far, we are pleased with the response of our customers to the introduction of wine and beer in the stores where it is served and we are excited to see how the concept translates to new locations,” said Hilowitz.
Want to know the exact moment you can go grab a glass of Merlot there? The store has set up its own Twitter handle, where you can get updates: @StarbucksTandR