The Fremont neighborhood in Seattle really is the center of the universe

I am delighted to write a blog post about the Starbucks in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle.  Though I have never worked nor lived in this neighborhood, I have long believed it has got to be the neighborhood in Seattle with the most personality.  Where else can you find a HUGE statue of Lenin, a troll under a bridge (under the Aurora Bridge but still in this neighborhood), and a heavily decorated statue called “Waiting for the Interurban”?  On top of it all, Fremont has the Fremont Bridge, which according to urban legend, is the drawbridge with the very highest number of bridge openings yearly anywhere in the United States.

Amidst the troll, the statue of the Russian revolutionary Lenin, the statues, the sights, and the bridge you find, not surprisingly, a Starbucks.  True to form, this Starbucks is also unique.  The store went through a remodel in about September of this year, and now has a Clover brewer also.

I visited the store today (Friday November 26, 2010) and it was fairly busy.  I tried to get a good photo of the two very large photos hanging on a wall, over the comfy chairs.  One shows the sign in Seattle that gives Fremont its nickname “the center of the universe”.  There is a sign in Fremont designating it as such.  The other shows bicyclists heading in the direction of the Fremont Bridge.  I have heard that these two large photos were actually taken by a store partner in that very store, and that Starbucks liked them so much that they bought the rights to the photos from the partner!  Also notice the neon “F” on the community board in the store!!! I LOVE it!! That so fits with the quirkiness of the store’s neighborhood.

My visit today was met with the store manager on register, and a barista on bar.  My drink (a tall chai with one pump vanilla) was perfect.  I hung out and took photos, though the store was quite busy so it was difficult to get everything I wanted without getting customers right in some of the pictures.  One person, wearing a heavy coat and reading a book, sitting near the Clover volunteered to be featured in the blog!  His name is Josh, and I told him I was writing a blog entry about the store, and he was quite intrigued.  I showed him the photo I took with him in it, and he very cheerfully encouraged me to use it here! What a good sport!

I want to introduce blog readers to the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle with this post.  I should have walked over and taken a picture of the troll but I was a bit lazy.  But you do get Lenin below.  Somewhere in Fremont, there is a rocket ship too, but I am not sure where.  Just as an aside, for the chocolate lovers out there, Theo Chocolates is headquartered in Fremont, not far from the Starbucks.  Sometimes what I want to do with this blog is really show people what a great city Seattle is, and not just that we have great Starbucks.  Well, we DO have great Starbucks, but I have a bias for the city too.

I notice that I rarely feature any Starbucks that are north of the  Lake Washington Ship Canal and the Fremont Cut, but this Starbucks is indeed north of that major Seattle divisor.  Barely north of it. 😉  If you are reading this and want to revisit the many downtown Seattle Starbucks I’ve reviewed, check out the links below:

6th and Union Starbucks (A barista gets her black apron event)

The First Starbucks – 1912 Pike Place (Store #301)

The Columbia Center Starbucks – Store #101 – Includes some interesting Starbucks history

Pioneer Square Starbucks (Store #363)

4th and Seneca Starbucks (Store #392)


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  • Winter

    Cool post–I need to revisit that store one of these days!

  • Sebastian

    Wow!! This store looks really cozy…

    I love the interior…the big wooden balks on the top, the beautiful warm colors and the new design (chairs etc). This store really seems like introducing its community very well…I also know a few stores like that representing their areas as well. For example the store in Castro in San Francisco, or the store at the Zoo in Washington DC.

  • Melody

    Hi Sebastian and Winter!! I was still adding a couple pics of the neighborhood when you guys left comments! And I have to run- I will soon be late for work!

  • Sebastian

    Great pics!! Have to get to Seattle in 2011…I really have to. 😀
    And now hurry, Mel! Starbucks takes you so much time!

  • Emily

    What a fun post, Melody! I love the look of this Starbucks, it is gorgeous and looks very cozy. Thanks for posting the neat photos, and I loved the bits about the neighborhood too! It really makes me want to get out and visit Seattle again!

  • purple1

    Melody this has to be one of the best stores around! I wish the stores around here were as inviting. Thank you.

  • Coolwatyr

    This blog just makes me want to go to Seattle now. If only to wander about!

    The pictures are great! The playful sense of humor is very apparent. I can’t wait to see it all in person!

  • Hayley

    I love the way all these Seattle stores look! And that is the first time I got to see where they keep the Reserve coffees! :)

  • CD

    I like the more personalized community boards that the remodeled stores are getting. The one in my town doesn’t have a neon C, but is nicely personalized, just the same. (There are also small local photos, which are a nice touch.)

    By the way, I like Josh’s bookmark! 😉

  • Nob

    Great! I have to visit the store.

  • Kaori

    I’ve never been to Seattle but this great post makes me want to go! I love the glow of the huge “F” on the wall :-)

  • kirsten

    thank you so much for your kind words! it was truly an honor to have you visit our store! i must say, i’m starstruck :)
    we look forward to you coming back!

    store manager of fremont

  • Jess (Ninja Barista) one of the original Fremonsters

    I worked at this Starbucks for almost two years and I can say, hands down this is my favorite Starbucks ever…both to work at and be a customer. I have worked at 5 different Starbucks (and visited hundreds) and not only are the employees great (Kirsten knows how to run an awesome ship) but also the regulars are unbelievable. Both Google and Getty Images have headquarters within walking distance so we get many of them every day but then we also get the eclectic group of regulars from all around Fremont…from Jon over at Dusty Strings, to Karen from upstairs, to Sarah & Elizabeth from around the corner, oh and Gina…I love Gina…too many to name.

    Someone once told me that there are around 30 coffee shops within a 2 mile radius of Fremont…meaning people around there have a HUGE variety of places to get there coffee yet our regulars come back over and over and over…every day..sometimes twice or three times a day (don’t worry I won’t name drop you) because of Kirsten and her amazing staff.

  • Anthony

    I haven’t been to that Starbucks but I have been to Fremont! Theo Chocolates is really great and I also like the Flying Apron bakery nearby. I really like the exterior of that Starbucks — the brown is really understated and elegant.

  • denise r

    Very cool looking store!….nice combo of modern and sleek and still warm and cozy. I especially like those tables with stools…against a wall? The street and sidewalk remind me of neighborhoods in Chicago, home sweet home. (of course, many city sidewalks might do that.)
    I also think it’s interesting when there’s a condiment bar right in front of the community board. ??? I wonder how easily one can then reach the board. ? or is there space to walk behind this bar?
    I would LOVE for you to come to Streets of Woodfield, Melody… of our two Clover stores in the whole Chicago area. It is a cool cool store. If I had to design what I’d want in a Sbux, it would be Streets. It feels like it has everything and is beautiful. (except they would do away with ALL PPR, of course, in my ideal Sbux world:)
    Beautiful thread, thanx Melody.
    (I hope you come here when we can sit by one of the fireplaces at Streets, or several other stores! )

  • CD

    @denise r – I agree that the Streets is a beautiful store and one that Melody should visit. The recent remodel has really transformed that store. Previously it was large but not quite right. The remodel really did enliven the space. Perhaps you should take some pictures and help entice Melody to visit…um, I mean help Melody write a post on that store…

  • AmazonV

    Oh now I am extra sad that I didn’t get time to wander this area! 4 days was not enough in Seattle. Hopefully next time.

    Not only is it unique, it’s cozy.

    mmmm vanilla chai delicious choice Melody! :)

  • denise r

    @CD: oh Melody has plenty of pics from my first trip to Streets last yr. (well, some anyway!) she had many comments on it. (good) If she ever wants to do a thread on a RARE MIDWESTERN beautiful store, I will take all the pics she could possibly use!
    which, btw, is perfectly ok with the policy of Sbux! this was brought up after I had a bad (wrong) experience in my regular store taking a pic of a mug….. long longer: the OFFICIAL WORD IS: YES, customers are defintiely allowed to take pics for their perosnal use in any Sbux cafe. straight from the correct horses mouth!

  • CABarista

    I love exploring new places, neighborhoods ect. This looks like it would be an amazing spot to do that in! Thanks melody!

  • Brendon

    Hey Melody, you can find the rocket ship just a block east of Theo Chocolates (and Brouwers).

  • Chris W.

    I had the opportunity to visit this store a few years ago while on a work trip to Seattle. A partner from the SSC took us to see a few ‘interesting’ stores, and this one was first on the list. The atmosphere was amazing, I can’t wait to get back up north to see it again.

  • Taylor

    Melody, i really like this store based on what i see here! I especially love where Josh is sitting…the smell right by the clover must be amazing! I just tried Clover at a store in Dallas yesterday and I love it! I am so excited about and love the new Starbucks Reserve coffee line! I can’t wait to see whats coming up next!

  • Melody

    I have been so bad about coming back to my blog and commenting on the comments! Sorry. But Taylor you bring a GREAT point!! True!! I know from experience that if you sit next to a Clover for a while, you will smell coffee!!! It’s a beautiful coffee small all day coming from that section of the store, just like the old days. I’ve noticed this in several Starbucks with the Clover!! Josh has the best seat in the house.

  • Melody

    @Denise – I just need a vacation. Perhaps a trip to Chicago is a great idea. I have tons of vacation time, and if I don’t use it I will lose it. Maybe I could do a long weekend in Chicago and then we’d visit Streets on a Saturday and I would write a review. Actually, you could pick a store for me to photograph excessively … 😉

  • LatteRose

    Melody – that would be great if you did a review of the Chicago Starbucks! Been years since I’ve been back to Chicago, will get back there someday.
    Great review on Fremont, I never get there enough!

    (Cute photo of Josh, btw!)

  • Amy

    awesome pics Melody. I really want to go to Seattle in 2011. I really wish they would redesign some of the Boston cafes to make them look distinctive. I find that a lot of the Boston Starbucks look very much alike.

  • AmazonV

    well if you have tons of vacation you should do a lot of trips! chicago, philadelphia, somewhere down south and warm…


  • Taylor

    “somewhere down south and warm”
    YES!!! Melody, come to Texas!!!

  • Hayley

    and then hop over to Arizona!!

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