I love an aperitif, but that’s why bars exist

By Rebecca Firkser
Updated March 01, 2018
Credit: Photo courtesy Starbucks

Your favorite coffee chain wants to get a little fancier. The opening of the new Starbucks Reserve Store in Seattle proved the brand is looking to be known for more than Frappuccinos. More akin in looks to Eataly than your local Starbucks, the Reserve store is large, ornately decorated, serves higher-quality food and, wait for it, cocktails. Apparently, it’s all part of a larger plan to make Starbucks part of your nightly routine as well as your morning pit stop.

Starbucks Reserve stores will serve up classic Italian aperitif-style drinks like the Aperol Spritz, Milano Torino, and Negroni Sbagliato, as well as wine and beer. Patrons also be able to buy Italian-inspired small plates in the evenings, in addition to freshly baked pizza, cornetti, and brioche.

If Starbucks serving booze sounds familiar, you’re not wrong. The chain did try to launch an “Evenings” program at regular Starbucks locations in 2015, in which wine and beer were to be available for purchase from the afternoons on. Ultimately, Starbucks scraped the project in June of 2017, as it never really caught on.

Currently, the beverage program will be exclusive to Starbucks Reserve stores, new locations of which are set to open in New York and Milan sometime in 2018, and in Chicago and Tokyo next year. It has not yet been announced whether the drinks will ever come to original Starbucks stores, but personally, I hope it doesn’t. While I love when a funky local cafe has a wine list, that’s just not what Starbucks is for. Really, all I need from Starbucks is a Venti passion tea lemonade (light ice) and a most-likely clean bathroom experience. But to be fair, if a Reserve were to open in my neighborhood, I wouldn’t turn up my nose at a cold Campari and soda.