The new Starbucks Reserve Roastery in New York is designed to be a sleek, inspiring coffee extravaganza in the heart of the city’s vibrant meatpacking district.
Locals and tourists alike pass through the historic, ultra-hip neighborhood in droves on their way to or from work, museums, shopping, the Chelsea Market and the High Line, and the Roastery offers them a place to stop in, to stay for hours or to visit after hours for a coffee or tea-infused craft cocktail. There’s a working coffee roaster, freshly made Princi baked goods, an expansive mezzanine bar with adventurous craft cocktails, a surprise terrarium, a Starbucks Siren emerging from sculpted metal water – the list goes on.
So where to start? We’ve got you. Here are 10 things to look for when visiting the New York Roastery, opening Friday.
1. A New York state of design
The New York Roastery is opening its doors on the street level of a new nine-story office building designed by architect Rafael Vinoly in the heart of Manhattan’s vibrant meatpacking district (more on the neighborhood later).
“The really striking quality of the building itself is that it’s made up of these beautiful, rigid squares and rectangles, pushed and pulled. Where they are pulled in it becomes a terrace and it makes these little gardens,” said Jill Enomoto, a design director at Starbucks. “We fell in love with the geometry of the building and riffed off that idea.”
Inside, the Roastery ceiling features an “undulating ocean” of squares and rectangles inspired by the building’s exterior and by the grid of New York City blocks outside. The ceiling also features a network of twisting, subway-like “symphony pipes” through which the freshly roasted beans travel (making the tinkling sound of rain along the way) to their ultimate destination – silos at the main bar, or the take-home scoop bar.
The New York-inspired design isn’t just symbolic. It’s practical as well, down to the window ledges that can be used as seats or tables by city goers accustomed to crowds and using every available space to sit or hang. There’s also a fireplace.
“It gets cold in Manhattan, but people are not scared. Even if there’s a blizzard, they walk, they go out,” said Liz Muller, chief design officer and senior vice president of Starbucks. She and her team led the design of New York Roastery and the three other Starbucks Roasteries in Seattle, Shanghai and Milan. “New Yorkers are out more than they’re in. They are out eating and meeting and this can be their true Third Place. You can have a party here. You can meet your love here. You can come here on your own. You can come here when you’re visiting the neighborhood. You could come here as your daily ritual. I think this does a little bit of all of that, and it is very much New York.”
2. The Siren emerges
Each Roastery features a unique art piece to bring the centerpiece of the Starbucks logo to life, and in New York, a 10-foot, 2,000-pound copper Siren will keep watch over the new space. Designed to appear as if she is emerging from water, the New York Roastery’s Siren was created by Brooklyn artist Max Steiner, who collaborated on the metal forging with Polich Tallix foundry in Rock Tavern, N.Y.
“Every Roastery has to have her, and this Siren is very unique, and very New York,” Muller said. “She’s the overarching beacon of our brand.”
3. Built for bustle
It can be a challenge for designers to create a stylish and functional space that is also built to withstand heavy use over time. Starbucks worked with longtime collaborator BassamFellows on the design of an exclusive suite of walnut furniture for the New York Roastery. It’s beautiful furniture with a classic yet modern American style – and also sturdy, Muller said.
“The furniture has to look great but also perform like a truck,” Muller said. “It’s perfect for this location, which I know will be busy.”
4. A tiny corner of Costa Rica
The cellar level features a first for a Roastery, a terrarium inspired by Hacienda Alsacia, the Starbucks coffee farm in Costa Rica. The lush vegetation includes coffee plants, ferns and philodendrons common to Costa Rica. A company called Furbish in Baltimore created the terrarium; the team there has been cultivating and curating the plants for about six months before installing them in the Roastery. “It’s a beautiful surprise down there,” Enomoto said. “You could be wandering around and end up in a pocket of Costa Rica.”
5. The journey of the green bean
The New York Roastery features the largest fully-operational coffee roasting plant on the island of Manhattan, which will roast more than 1.5 million pounds of coffee per year. Each Roastery features a custom cask, the large container used to hold freshly roasted beans as they rest before being used in beverages, and New York is no exception. New York’s cask is a 30-foot sleek, hammered copper cask fabricated and installed by A. Zahner, an internationally known engineering and fabrication company best known for the use of metal in the world of art and architecture.
The roasting process at the New York Roastery includes a few other nods to its home in the city’s historic meatpacking district. The bags of green coffee beans will make their way up from the cellar via hooks on a conveyer, where they will be cut open and the green beans will fall into a copper vessel and begin their journey to roasting.
6. A neighborhood buzzing with past and future
The New York Reserve Roastery is located in the heart of the meatpacking district, a vibrant neighborhood on the west side of Manhattan that was historically a hub of industry and manufacturing, including meatpacking. The district is now home to the Whitney Museum of American Art, a hopping restaurant scene, a number of high-end retailers and the popular High Line, a section of obsolete railroad tracks that were redeveloped as a park and walking trail in 2009.
“The meatpacking district has become this incredible place of food and taste,” Muller said. “We wanted an experience that meets and adds inspiration to this fantastic neighborhood. Something for people to do as they’re coming out of the subway or off the High Line or out of the Chelsea Market. Something to make people say, ‘Wow.’”
The new Roastery is across the street from Chelsea Market, a shopping and food mall in the factory where Oreo cookies were invented and once produced.
“The neighborhood has so much energy,” Enomoto said. “The thing that excites me the most is that we’re an operational coffee roasting plant in a neighborhood with a fantastic history of industry. So we’re using it as it’s historically been used but bringing this really incredible experience along with it. There’s tradition and history all around us and a fantastic mix of locals and tourists.
7. You have arrived
Arriviamo means “we have arrived” in Italian, and visitors to the Roastery will arrive to find a 60-foot mixology bar on the mezzanine. The Arriviamo Bar, which Muller said will be the longest mixology bar in any Roastery, is front and center on the space’s mezzanine and can be viewed from every corner of the Roastery. “We knew if we were opening a bar in this neighborhood, it had to be among the best, and this is truly a statement,” Muller said. “I want to have my party there.”
8. Fancy a drink?
Inspired by the Arriviamo Bar in the Milan Roastery and the tradition of the Italian aperitivo (early evening social cocktails paired with small bites), the Arriviamo Bar in New York City features an assortment of traditional and unique cocktails ranging from classics like Aperol Spritz to coffee- and tea-inspired creations. The bar menu was concepted by award-winning mixologist Julia Momose.
“Opening a bar with beautiful wine and drinks is one thing, but we’re taking what we know best, coffee and tea, and using that to elevate everything,” Muller said. “The unique drinks, the glassware – it will be an experience to open your palette and your mind to new tastes and combinations.”
Her current favorite: The Nocino Notte, an adventurous take on the classic Negroni with Starbucks Reserve Cold Brew, Pine Barrens Barrel Reserve Botanical Gin, Gran Classico Bitter, Don Ciccio & Figli Nocino and black truffle salt.
9. A beautiful bakery experience
As if the smell of freshly roasting coffee weren’t enough, at the New York Roastery it will mingle with freshly baked bread from Princi. Princi was founded by baker Rocco Princi in Milan, and is now the exclusive food purveyor in Starbucks Roasteries. Teams of bakers will spend each day pulling artisanal baked goods, both savory and sweet, from the cast-iron ovens.
“There’s a glorious display counter with bakery items, salads and desserts, and you can stand outside on the street and see bakers taking fresh bread from the ovens through the window,” Muller said. “It’s a really beautiful bakery experience.”
10. The inside scoop
Customers can visit the Roastery’s “scoop bar” to take home some bags of some of the 14 rotating, freshly roasted coffees from farms around the world.
“In true mercantile tradition, we wanted to make sure we showed the customer what we were trading,” Muller said. “The scoop bar features a vintage hanging scale to celebrate the tradition of the neighborhood and nine beautiful coffee bean silos in the window that will be manually filled each morning, so you’ll be able to walk by and say, ‘Wow, they’ve got Colombia and Brazil today.’”