Starbucks Rolls Out New Cafes Serving Beer and Wine | The Fix
facebook twitter RSS
HOT TOPICS: Alcoholism  Addiction  AA  Cocaine  Heroin

Starbucks Rolls Out New Cafes Serving Beer and Wine

Salvaged wood paneling, art made from inner tubes, and perhaps a fruity local Pinot Gris. This is a Starbucks?


Too much coffee? Starbucks can help.
Photo via usaliveheadlines

By Dirk Hanson


| Share

“I’ll have a shot” is taking on a whole new meaning at selected Starbucks cafes. Last October, the company quietly started using three Starbucks in the company’s hometown of Seattle to test-market the idea of selling regional wines and beers to go with that half-caf latte. And now the company is starting to roll out the New Starbucks, starting with a café in Portland, where the usual coffee beverages and snacks will be augmented by an extended food menu—and a selection of beers and wines. Open till midnight on Fridays and Saturdays, even. As Laura Gunderson wrote in the Portland Oregonian: “A venti pinot anyone?” Beer and wine sales will begin at 2:00 PM in the new 2,300 square-foot store. Well, okay, noon on weekends. The new “wet” Starbucks in Portland is decidedly upscale and green: salvaged Douglas fir paneling, art made out of bicycle inner tubes, and leather recycled from local auto scrap yards. Zacks Equity Research says the coffee chain will soon be opening another beer and wine outlet in an existing café in nearby Issaquah. Can America’s most lucrative chain of coffee cantatas—all 16,858 stores—be far behind?

In retrospect, it all seems so inevitable. There’s a recession on, after all, and consumption of alcohol is rising, and the bane of Starbucks’ existence has been the friendly neighborhood indie shop that serves good coffee and local brews and wines. The dirty secret lurking behind the Starbuck’s success story is that the company makes 70% of its money before 2:OO in the afternoon. From then on, the search turns from coffee to a cold one. The chain coffee business is worth $15 billion, says USA Today, and Starbucks’ coffee-only competitors are watching all of this very keenly, as you might imagine. The company turns 40 next year, and wants in on neighborhood traffic in the evening. Starbucks Global Development Chief Arthur Rubinfeld told USA Today: “This is the natural evolution of the brand. This is all about elevating the brand’s position worldwide.”

Others aren’t so sure. Robert Thompson, a professor of culture at Syracuse University, said that the idea of jazzing up customers with coffee all day, then sedating them with booze at night “sounds like a perpetual motion machine.” We don’t know about that, but we’re fairly certain that Starbuck, the Quaker first mate in Melville’s Moby Dick and the company’s namesake, would never have stood for it.

So if you wander into a Starbucks in the near future, and it is dark and cozy, and has an outdoor deck, and an indoor fireplace, and a flock of baristas selling alcohol, you’ll know that this is all about branding. We feel so foolish—we were beginning to think it was all about drinking.

Rehabilitation Directories

Most Popular
Sober Living
Suboxone: Trading One Prison Cell for Another

Suboxone seemed like a get-out-of-jail-free card, the answer to my opiate addiction. Instead, I had a new ten-year addiction, complete with thinning hair and lost motivation.

The Rehab Review
Cliffside Malibu

The “beach-house-relaxed” Cliffside Malibu claims to provide an oasis for recovering addicts and alcoholics. And that’s just what you'll get—if you’ve got the cash.

Morningside Recovery

For a “rehab near the beach” experience that isn’t quite as costly as similar SoCal competitors, head to this Newport Beach treatment facility.

AToN Center

Whether you’re interested in the 12 Steps, SMART Recovery, or holistic treatments, this luxurious, appealing and commendable 4.5 star (our system doesn't yet show the 1/2 star) San Diego rehab has a program for you. 


This exclusive Northern California rehab is all about client choice—as well as golf outings, Buddhist field trips and keeping up with the office.

Capo By The Sea

Capo By The Sea offers an executive rehab program complete with medical detox and a focus on dual-diagnosis issues, as well as an outpatient option in an environment that exudes the kind of beach house optimism one would expect from an Orange County recovery outfit.

Journey Malibu

Want many of the luxury amenities A-listers have come to expect—including an enormous backyard with a pool and patio, an herb garden, a volleyball net and a spectacular vista of the Santa Monica mountains—with a recovery program to match?

The Ultimate Guide to Rehab

What you need to know when choosing an addiction treatment center.

the fix tv