Virtual Road Trip: Starbucks Stores Shine Among the Bright Lights of Las Vegas


Nearly 40 million visitors see the bright lights of Las Vegas each year. It's the ultimate tourist destination known for high rollers, Elvis impersonators, luxurious spas, high-end shopping, wedding chapels, circus shows, and expansive buffets.

The pulsing heart of the city is Las Vegas Boulevard, known as the Las Vegas Strip. There are more than 30 Starbucks® stores along four miles of the Strip between the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino to the Stratosphere Tower.

Three years ago, Justine McHart, Starbucks designer for U.S. Licensed Stores, was tapped to build the Starbucks brand presence on the Strip with distinctive new licensed store designs.

"On the Las Vegas Strip, a customer can literally see all 35 stores in one visit, so it's really important to differentiate each one," McHart said. "We want people to feel the difference and generate buzz about our stores."

As with all her designs, McHart worked to create unique store experiences that are locally relevant to their environment.

"When I begin thinking about a new design, I go and stay at the property for a few days and just absorb the ambiance and personality of the space," she said. "It's important that our stores are true to our brand, but also fit seamlessly into the overall environment."

Here are a few of McHart’s favorite new designs:

Caesars Palace

The Starbucks store at Caesars Palace reflects the glitz and glamour of its Grecian surroundings with gilded surfaces throughout, including handmade tiles behind the bar backed in gold leaf. McCart commissioned unique artwork for the space, including a riff on the famous Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign – which has become a favorite photo backdrop for customers.

"In Las Vegas, our designs can be slightly kitchy, while still being sophisticated,” she said.

Aria Resort and Casino

The Aria store is one of McHart’s favorites, with an elegant neutral design palate accented with bronze tones and warm woods.

"We kept the color neutral and focused on texture,” she said. “In a store with no exterior walls, the ceiling was a very prominent feature – so we created boxes of different heights with a sunburst pattern on each to create movement and interest."

The LINQ Las Vegas

The High Roller, the world's tallest observation wheel, anchors the LINQ in Las Vegas. The store at The LINQ is designed to pay tribute with mechanical details throughout.

"All of the artwork is mechanically inspired, starting with the custom art on the wall that represents the machinery it takes to run the High Roller. Even the coffee artwork reflects the mechanical aspects of coffee production, such the coffee going through a washer or the spin of a roaster,” she said.

Treasure Island

"When we started to think about the design for the Starbucks location at Treasure Island, we were inspired by both the Robert Louis Stevenson novel and the mythology of the Starbucks siren,” McHart said. “Our design ties the two stories together."

A large illustration of the Starbucks siren beckons visitors to come in, while antique maps, burlap coffee bags, and nautical elements - such as rope chandeliers and mirrors reminiscent of port holes - are a nod to adventures the siren might have taken.

New York, New York

The store reflects the varied nature of The Big Apple, with rugged industrial materials like concrete and steel balanced by sleek walnut wood finishes and warm brick tiles. Names of Brooklyn subway stops are incorporated into the artwork, and posters are pasted the back wall.

"We have a bit of fun with our Las Vegas designs,” she said. “We're not intending to create a replica of New York or Greece. We're creating the Vegas version."

Did You Know?

  • The golden rings of the chandeliers in the Starbucks® store at Caesars Palace are a nod to the Greco-Roman circles that are found throughout the casino.
  • At The LINQ store, even the table tops pay tribute to the nearby High Roller, the long wood community table design represents the High Roller with spokes and pods.
  • The seating at the entrance to the Starbucks at New York, New York is a replica of the park benches found in New York's Central Park. The stencils on the floor represent directionals from a city sidewalk. Look closely, and you'll see the pedestrian is holding a cup on his way out.
  • Treasure Island, first published as a book in 1883, is one of the most often dramatized novels of all time. It has had a tremendous influence on popular notions of pirates, such as schooner ships, tropical islands, peg-legged seamen with parrots, and treasure maps marked with an X.

For Your Travels

Pack some Starbucks VIA® French Roast for a delicious cup of coffee wherever your Vegas adventure takes you. Our darkest, boldest coffee, with surprisingly low acidity and a light body. Each packet of 100% natural roasted arabica beans delivers intense, smoky flavor to rival even the swankiest Vegas nightclub.

Our Next Stop

Join our virtual road trip as we take customers around the world on a tour of Starbucks stores this summer. Next week, we’ll take to the skies to visit these unique Starbucks locations.

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How Starbucks partners help create change, one community at a time, with Neighborhood Grants