Five Starbucks Store Designs Inspired by History

Every neighborhood has a story, and often that history can be inspiration for Starbucks store designers.

Here are a five Starbucks® stores that pay tribute to the past with reimagined spaces: a warehouse loading dock transformed with a nod to its maritime roots, an abandoned gas station restored to its heyday, and a new Starbucks home for baseball fans in an old Chicago bar.

Zulily, Seattle

Maritime heritage has been part of Starbucks from the beginning – its name borrowed from the first mate in the seafaring novel “Moby Dick” and its twin-tailed siren logo a tribute to the journey its coffee beans make by ship around the world. Starbucks first store in Pike Place Market is also part of the tale. The store overlooks Seattle’s Elliott Bay waterfront and close is enough to get a whiff of the salty air or a glimpse of the cargo ships sailing in and out of port.

Just north of Pike Place Market is a new Starbucks store that highlights the company’s nautical past in a lively space that adapted from a loading dock for a maritime warehouse. The new store, located at the headquarters for online retailer Zulily, reflects its neighborhood with a banquette and seating island made from shipping pallets, exposed industrial-style lighting, and custom art from a local tattoo artist. The playfulness extends to the exterior with neon signage and an enormous Siren on an interior masonry wall to lure passerby into the store.

Richmond & Spadina, Toronto

Located in the heart of the fashion district in Toronto, the Starbucks store on the corner of Richmond and Spadina showcases the neighborhood’s textile roots. The design team created a welcoming space that echoes with notes of a textile merchant’s workshop, with framed coffee bags and recessed yardsticks in the counters. With antique sewing machines displayed next to burlap coffee bags, customers can imagine that a textile merchant simply stepped away from his labor of love to enjoy a coffee.

11 Penn Plaza, New York

New York’s store at 11 Penn Plaza is inspired by nearby Penn Station and Hudson Rail Yards with a design that conveys the electric energy of the city. On the ceiling, illuminated tracks snake through the space, drawing customers in from the busy sidewalk of 32nd Street. The work of artist Jake Wallace, influenced by the industrial architecture of New York City and the textures of the railroad system, shines above the back bar.

Addison & Sheffield, Chicago

Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs, is one of baseball’s oldest and most storied ballparks. Now fans can enjoy a beverage on game days at a new Starbucks location on Addison and Sheffield in Wrigleyville with an authentic old Chicago vibe. The store brings to life a space that had once been a restaurant and bar, but was empty most of the year as a temporary store for selling Halloween costumes. The Starbucks design team worked to bring out the natural charm of the building’s past days: a sky light, old glass, pub furniture, vintage floor tile, artwork, displays, luxurious dark wood throughout. Designers also preserved the most prominent feature from the original building, a long bar that ran the entire length of the space.

Highland & Willoughby, Hollywood

On the corner of Highland and Willoughby in Los Angeles, the historic Gilmore Gas Station sat vacant and fenced off for 20 years until Starbucks restored it to another auto-centric use as a Drive Thru with a walk-up window and patio.

The curvilinear art deco structure was built in 1935 during the early days of California’s automobile age and the Golden Era of filmmaking in Hollywood. It operated as a gas station for decades until it was vacated in the 1990s. The design team restored the main existing structures, preserving and restoring existing glass and metal elements wherever possible. The team also made some modern-day updates, adding energy efficient LED rope lights to replicate the old tubes of neon lighting – allowing the space to shine brightly once again.

About Starbucks Design

With more than 18 in-house design studios around the world, Starbucks is driven by its commitment to environmental sustainability, local relevancy, and bringing bold and innovative design to customers.

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