Starbucks Reserve Empire State Building celebrates grand opening with local icons and customer fanfare


Start spreading the news! The Starbucks Reserve Empire State Building store recently opened its doors to the public, welcoming a crowd of excited customers to explore three floors of one-of-a-kind coffee and food experiences

NEW YORK – The corner of 34th Street and 5th Avenue in midtown Manhattan was bustling more than usual on the morning of November 16, as the new Starbucks Reserve Empire State Building store celebrated its grand opening. Boasting 23,000 square feet across three floors, the store was quickly filled with customers – locals and visitors alike – who spent the day sampling innovative coffee drinks and beverage flights, brushing up on their skills with new hands-on workshops and purchasing exclusive merchandise to celebrate the newest Starbucks Reserve location to open in the city that never sleeps. 

Here are some scenes from the opening week at the Starbucks Reserve Empire State Building store 

Light It Up 

The night before the grand opening, Starbucks partners were delighted to welcome 15-time Grammy Award-winning artist and iconic New Yorker Alicia Keys to light up the Empire State Building in Starbucks green. A friend of Starbucks over the last 20 years – since Starbucks proudly sold her 2001 breakthrough album, Songs in A Minor – Starbucks stores around the world are also featuring a holiday playlist of original music and holiday classics handpicked by Alicia (see playlist here) to celebrate the release of her first holiday album, Santa Baby.  

Starbucks and Alicia Keys are also proud to partner on a special donation to Big Brothers Big Sisters, the nation’s largest donor and volunteer supported mentoring network, offering coffee (for Bigs) and hot chocolate (for Littles) this holiday season. 

The Empire State Building stood out against the famous NYC skyline in Starbucks green. 

A Landmark Experience  

On opening day, Starbucks Rewards members were among the first customers of the Starbucks Reserve Empire State Building store.  

Taya Stenson, managing director of the Starbucks Reserve Empire State Building store, welcomes customers to the store for the first time Wednesday morning. 

Starbucks partners stood at the ready throughout the store to welcome customers amid the opening day rush. In the kitchens, Chef Rocco Princi appeared alongside the team of bakers and commessas (Italian for “shop assistant”).  

Princi is the exclusive food purveyor at Starbucks Reserve locations worldwide and the curated menus in the store include everything from traditional Princi bakery favorites, perfect for a coffee catch-up, to new and exclusive dishes served at the Level 2 Restaurant and Bar for dinner with family and friends. 

First Impressions 

Upon entering the store, customers are greeted by a colorful Starbucks Siren art installation designed by Brooklyn-based artist Jade Purple Brown.  

The Siren art installation stands next to the merchandise collection also designed by Jade Purple Brown, which includes apparel, drinkware, prints, and more. 

The Main Bar is the heart of the Level 1 coffee experience, where baristas craft Starbucks Reserve specialty coffee beverages as well as seasonal favorites. On this floor, customers can wait in line to order directly from Starbucks partners carrying handheld devices or order on their phones.

The store will also serve and sell the Starbucks Reserve Empire State Building Microblend, a coffee blend that honors the iconic Empire State Building and is roasted at the Starbucks Reserve Roastery New York located in the Meatpacking district.  

Customers on the Concourse Floor can book a ticket for hands-on Starbucks Reserve Coffee Workshops offered throughout the day. Reservations can be made in advance online for workshops including Whiskey Barrel-Aged 101, Starbucks Reserve Brewtender for a Day, Espresso Martini Flight Fundamentals and Fun with Spirit-Free Spritzes.  

For those looking to relax and recharge, customers can order drinks and food by scanning a QR code at their tables and selecting menu items. Orders will be delivered directly to their table.  

As the afternoon becomes evening, the Starbucks Reserve Restaurant & Bar opens for service, featuring a curated menu of Princi artisanal recipes developed by Starbucks Reserve chefs in Milan, New York, and Seattle. Customers start their meal with a complimentary “First Sip” Starbucks Reserve coffee tasting. 

The restaurant also features a full bar with a menu of new and exclusive shareable cocktails – like the Big Apple Blossom and Empire Negroni – inspired by the spirit of New York City. The Starbucks Reserve Restaurant & Bar takes reservations online as well as walk-ins. The restaurant will expand into brunch and lunch service later in 2022.  

thumbnail for Full circle: Starbucks partner gives back to non-profit that helped her as a teen

Full circle: Starbucks partner gives back to non-profit that helped her as a teen