The historic, weird and wonderful former lives of Starbucks stores across EMEA 

At Starbucks, location is everything. Providing people across EMEA with access to not just great tasting coffee, but to a Third Place to thrive in, is a key part of our mission to nurture the limitless possibilities of human connection with every cup, with every connection and with every community.  

That’s why our Store Development and Design teams work tirelessly, both to select only the best sites where new Starbucks stores should open and, through the store’s design, reflect the cultural heritage and local communities that it will serve.  

While some stores (like drive-thrus) are purpose built, many Starbucks stores across Europe, the Middle East and Africa have been passed the baton by an array of eclectic and culturally significant businesses and institutions. Keep scrolling to discover some of the most unique former lives of Starbucks stores across EMEA.  

Battersea Power Station (London, UK) 

Alongside Big Ben and The Shard, Battersea Power Station is one of London’s reigning landmarks, attracting over 11.2 million visitors in 2023 after its conversion into a shopping, restaurant and leisure complex the year prior. Built between 1929 and 1941, the station provided the city with a fifth of its power at its peak before closing in the 1980s.  

Found at the entrance of Turbine A and opened as part of the redevelopment, the design of the Battersea Power Station Starbucks store looks to the industrial elements of its home for inspiration, combining this with Art Deco design elements, mechanical accents and of course, a key focus on coffee equipment.  

Ayvalık Kirlangic (Ayvalık, Turkey) 

Located on the northwestern Aegean coast of Turkey, Ayvalık is a town known for its production of high quality olive oil. There’s no better place, then, for the Ayvalık Kirlangic Starbucks store to be housed in a former olive oil and soap factory built in the Greek period.  

With an immigration museum upstairs opened to recognise the important role that immigrants have played in the town’s development, across Ayvalık there are more than 100 similar factories still standing. The building’s status as a historical monument meant converting the space into a Starbucks store was no small feat, however the design and interior is a tribute to the local architecture of the town, incorporating arches, a warm rustic colour palette and wooden panelling.  

Boulevard des Capucines (Paris, France) 

Opened a stone’s throw from the iconic Opera Garnier opera house in the 9th arrondissement of Paris in 2006, the Boulevard des Capucines Starbucks store has a rich history of its own, dating all the way back to the 17th century.  

Selling upscale fabrics, textiles and art, the building was formerly home to luxurious department store La Maison Liberty until 1929. None of this luxury has been lost though – the store’s interior (which was refurbished in 2017) reflects its Baroque beginnings, featuring chandeliers, ornate 19th century murals and motifs and touches of gold for those looking to enjoy one of the most opulent of coffee-sipping experiences around. 

Prague Castle (Prague, Czech Republic) 

Thought to be founded in 880 AD by Prince Bořijov of the Přemyslid dynasty, at nearly 750,000 sq ft Prague Castle is recognized as the largest ancient castle in the world. In addition to being one of the city’s leading landmarks, a UNESCO World Heritage site and the official residence of the president of the Czech Republic, the castle is home to not one, but two Starbucks stores, opened in 2013 and 2023. While the first store to open in the castle offers panoramic views of the city, the second opened in the castle’s courtyard and utilizes a palette of refined, natural materials to work in harmony with its spectacular historic surroundings.  

Starbucks Reserve Roastery Milan (Milan, Italy) 

Starbucks’ first location to open in Italy and arguably one of the most beautiful in Europe, the Starbucks Reserve Roastery Milan opened on the city’s iconic Piazza Cordusio in 2018, a short walk from the iconic Duomo di Milano.

The second Roastery to open after Seattle and Shanghai, the Milanese counterpart was designed as homage to the Italian espresso culture that inspired Howard Schultz, Starbucks former leader, to create the Starbucks Experience over 40 years ago. Built in 1901 as the last of the Piazza’s ellipse designed by architect Luigi Broggi, the Umbertino (a style of renaissance revival Italian architecture) building – which has formerly housed a Post Office and an Embassy – provides a grandiose setting for the ultimate Starbucks experience.  

Cόrdoba Mezquita (Cόrdoba, Spain) 

Mezquita-Catedral de Cόrdoba (Mosque-Cathedral of Cόrdoba) is one of the most important monuments in the Western Islamic world. With construction beginning in 786 and spreading over four centuries – not to be completed until the end of the 10th century – the building is an icon of Islamic Moorish architecture, despite being converted into a cathedral in 1236.

Opened across from the UNESCO World Heritage building in 2022, the Cόrdoba Mezquita Starbucks store has its own unique design. After peeling away the many layers built over the years, the original building’s beautiful brick archways are now the store’s focal point, complimented with soft in-store lightening and brass details.  

Findlater’s Corner (London, UK) 

London’s Findlater’s Corner is a Victorian-era site named after the wine and spirit dealer Findlater, Mackie, Todd & Co. Nestled in the arches that sit on the approach to London Bridge station, the site – which dates to 1863 – was restored in 2022, unveiling not only a historic tearoom, but its original blue mosaic facade designed by mosaicist Jesse Rust.

Notably a safe meeting point during the emancipation of women in London, the site was transformed into a Starbucks store in 2023, continuing the building’s long legacy of bringing people together over a beverage.  

Narmanli Han (Istanbul, Turkey) 

Nearly 20 years after first arriving in the city, 2020 saw the Narmanli Han Starbucks store open its doors on Istanbul’s iconic Istiklal Avenue. Created by Swiss-Italian architects Gaspare and Giuseppe Fossati in 1831, the building boasts a colourful history. Before being bought by the wealthy Narmanli family (where the building takes its name) in 1933, the site was used as the city’s Russian Embassy until 1880 and as a prison until 1914. After a number of renovation projects, today the two-storied store combines the building’s historic design with an array modern touches and furnishings and a distinctive water feature in its courtyard. 

Carbrook Hall (Sheffield, UK)

Let’s end things on a more spooky note, shall we? The English city of Sheffield might be known for its history of steel production or even being home to the world’s oldest football club, but it’s also known for Carbrook Hall – which is said to be one of the city’s most haunted buildings.  

The original historic house, which has been owned by a number of wealthy families, was demolished and rebuilt in the 19th century (except for its Grade II listed stone wing, which dates back to 1620) and run as a pub until 2016. Three years later, the Carbrook Hall Starbucks Drive Thru opened, but it appears nothing about its ghostly reputation has changed. 

In 2022, Starbucks invited professional ghost hunters Lee and Linzi Steer to visit the property to confirm the other-worldly energy. “Our specialist equipment was reaction quickly and with strength – the most we’ve seen in a while and in more than one room, including the wood panelled Oak Room where we often come to enjoy a Starbucks coffee,” they said. “We would undoubtedly say this is the most haunted coffee shop in the UK.”