Starbucks opens its third “beer and wine” store: Madison Park

Tonight (May 20, 2011) was the official grand re-opening party for the Madison Park Starbucks.  I was sitting at my desk on a Friday afternoon, and shortly before 3 pm I received an email from a contact person in the Starbucks PR department telling me about the party from 4 to 6 pm.  I arrived quite late, and stayed for about an hour from 5 to 6.  I tried to take a number of photos but the store was packed with people, much like the Olive Way Starbucks party was.  There was live music performed by a band called Jubilee, which was  a great pick.  I liked the music.  I guess I would describe them as soft rock.

At tonight’s party we did the traditional thing – had a big coffee tasting, and tonight it was Sumatra Tapanuli.  A delicious coffee, indeed.  I spent quite a bit of time talking to one of my all-time favorite store partners, who (unfortunately for me) was promoted from the stores to the SSC.  I’ll call her “Lisa” though that’s not her real name.  I told her that I’m working on writing a book, and in her quick wit she said, ‘So, you’re working on the Other Onward’ and we joked that the working title should be “The Other Onward.”  Lisa’s reasoning was fabulous – it’s the customer version of the Onward story.  Of course, Howard Schultz has a built in audience of 200,000 partners and 60 million customers a week.  I might be delusional to think that I’ll sell a few thousand copies, but I’m happily dreaming about the book nonetheless.

I chatted with a number of friendly partners whom I know, and took pictures.

I just want to mention a few details about this store:  This Starbucks store features reclaimed wood throughout.  The detailing of the wood is beautiful.  The edging along the bar and retail area features a “live edge” to the wood, which means that it shows off natural contours of the wood.  There is a small kid’s area too.  I like the community bulletin board area which is unusually large and includes both a chalkboard and a cork board.  There has been a tremendous amount of care taken in the details of this store.  I like the use of coffee sacks to decorate the stool-style seating in one area of the lobby.  I absolutely love the store’s Clover brewer.  Notice that Starbucks has managed to make it color-coordinate with the Mastrena espresso machine!  It’s copper!  And of course, it’s important to point out the new logo which features the “Black Label” Starbucks logo.  It’s black and not green! (I featured a Starbucks with the new green logo in the blog post here about a drive thru store in Kanazawa, Japan.)

This store is a remodel of the existing Starbucks that was there.  The Madison Park Starbucks has a long history since 1991.  At one brief point in its history, it had even been a full service restaurant style cafe Starbucks. There’s a news mention of that here in the Seattle Times.

So here are a few photos from the Madison Park grand re-opening party on May 20, 2011:

I went back to this store the very next morning because I wanted to get some photos showing off the store without it being packed with people.  I managed to arrive shortly before 7:00 am on May 21, 2011, and found the store had a small number of customers in it.  I spent about 45 minutes visiting and it really got busier  with customers during that time.  I ordered oatmeal and a Clover cup of Sumatra Tapanuli.  I spent a few minutes chatting with a friendly partner named Jesse.  I learned from him that beer and wine are offered after 2:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, and after noon on the weekends.  The bottles of wine laying flat near the Clover brewer are labeled “14 Hands.”  I don’t know anything about wine so I can’t comment if that’s a good wine or not, or anything at all about that brand of wine.

If you want to visit this Starbucks, here’s the store address:

Madison Park Starbucks
Starbucks Store 3702
4000 East Madison Avenue
Seattle, WA
206 329 3736

If you’re wondering where the first two beer and wine “Black Label” Starbucks are, they’re in Seattle, located at the Starbucks on 15th Avenue East, and also the Olive Way Starbucks.  Madison Park is number three.  The fourth beer and wine Starbucks is slated to open early next month in Portland, Oregon.

Okay, here are the photos from early morning Saturday, May 21, 2011:


I hope you enjoyed all the photos of this gorgeous Starbucks and you’ll tell me what you think! I heard that Starbucks carefully selected this location with some partners asking regular customers what they would think if their store turned into a store offering wine and beer.  In fact, it seems like a good fit for this neighborhood in my mind.  What do you think?

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  • David A Lee

    Such a great idea. I remember years ago sitting in a Starbucks on a cold night thinking they needed beer and wine. Add more years and more travel and I’d now say they need to offer adult coffee drinks. One of my favorite places in San Francisco is known for their Irish Coffees, etc. Do they offer this or is it just beer and wine?

  • Melody

    Hi David! It’s just beer and wine. No hard alcohol of any kind. In Seattle, it’s a very common situation for any local indy coffee house to offer a limited beer and wine menu too. That’s a normal thing in Seattle. Hard alcohol, no. Hope that helps!
    Take care!

  • JLove

    What a BEAUTIFUL store! Thanks so much for sharing. I have this plan in my mind to someday take a Starbucks touring road trip. Your blog is always inspiration & motivation. : )

  • Melody

    Good morning JLove! (It’s 4:20 am here in Seattle.) Glad you like it! Though I didn’t write this in the post, somehow this store feels much more warmer and inviting from what it was before. It was actually a pretty store before the remodel, but this design just feels welcoming to me. I hope you DO visit it! Hey, you may run into Howard here. I hear he visits this store often. 😉

  • denise r

    what a BEAUTIFUL store. just totally warm, altho appears very spacious.
    Love the look of the ‘black label’ siren….at least for this one place! Have never been a fan of the beer and wine concept (in Sbux) but this place is beutiful.. more soon, need coffee! Tanx for sharing Melody!

  • purple1

    Ok again it has to be said that these redesigned stores are just beautiful and this one looks so inviting as you say Melody. I still am curious as to why (I know corporate is in Seattle) it seems changes are always made to stores in Seattle. What are other stores not important? Sounds like there are a great group of partners at this store. p.s. the new Harvard Square store sounds wonderful though! (and that is of course outside of Seattle!)

  • Melody

    I rarely do this, so ignore this comment if it bores, but looking back at this store’s party and photos, I feel like I lived two days worth of life in yesterday. Ignore this comment! I know people who read this blog, do NOT want to hear about Starbucks and not Melody’s real world! On Friday night I went to the opening party. I actually did see Howard there but didn’t get any photos of him. I chatted with him for like a minute.

    I left the party, went home and worked on picking out some photos, and wrote the beginning first piece of this article. I made a mental note that I would have to go back early in the morning and take photos when the store was empty. I have the DUI beeper, and amazingly, people weren’t drinking Friday night, so I slept well. I got up very early, like literally 4:30 or 5 in the morning on the 21st, so that I could get to this Starbucks early. I arrived at about 6:50 am, and took the second round of photos.

    I ordered oatmeal and a Clover cup of coffee in a for-here cup. I was sort of at the point of getting ready to leave, and I found myself wondering around the store looking for the tubs for the for-here ware. I could not find them. Cliff Burrows was visiting the store, so I walked up to him, and somewhat matter-of-factly (with a smile on my face) advised him that I would like to see tubs in the store for for-here ware like Olive Way has. He really chuckled and agreed 100% and said essentially, “don’t worry, they’re coming soon.” I’m quite sure that to be a VP or higher at Starbucks, you have to have a great sense of humor. I chatted with him for a moment just telling him how much I loved the store and then I was on my way home.

    I wasn’t home very long, and had to leave again to meet some friends to go to the University District Street Fair. It’s an annual tradition. We walked around and saw the booths and went to both of the Starbucks on the Ave. The one at 42nd appeared to be handling being slammed better than the one at 47th which appeared purely frazzled. Both looked like they were doing the best they could, but it’s a street fair pouring into two Starbucks, and you end up with incredible lines.
    I bought a new watch at the street fair too – Only $20 on sale, so I liked it enough to buy. Very cute!
    ^ The watch.

    From the street fair my two friends & I walked over to the Metro and saw the new Pirates movie. It was okay, but I felt like the mermaids were the best part of the whole story.

    We all took a bus back to my friend’s house where we hung out and talked and played Scrabble, and enjoyed Via (me) and tea for one of my two friends.

    Finally I got home after 6 pm had dinner, and finished working on writing the blog post, resizing photos, and even started the very beginning of working on a blog post that might update at the end of the week.

    Finally at 11:30 pm, I went to bed, and I slept for about an hour possibly less!, and then got up taking several DUI calls. I didn’t go back to sleep because I’d sit down for 15 minutes to check twitter between calls, and then another one would come in!

    edit on 5-22 – One more funny thing. Again this is the kind of thing that would be borderline BAD to put IN the blog post (though these are the kinds of side stories that might make the book) – At one point during the party on the 20th, I was circling around the store, and I approached a friendly partner who was standing near the Madison Avenue (side) entrance to the store, talking to another man whom I didn’t know. I assume that the other guy was a partner just simply because 99% of everyone at the party was a partner. The friendly partner whom I know (we’ll say Mitch) introduced me ever briefly to the other guy who was heading out the door. The other guy – who I didn’t know from Adam – says, “you’re Melody?” and then again with more emphasis, “you’re MELODY???” and I said yes, and he said, “You’re THE BOMB” smiling ear to ear, kind of as he was walking out the door. I don’t think I ever caught his name, but I laughed and felt hugely flattered. Hugely flattered.
    At 4:30 in the morning I finished the last DUI call, and then I finally got to go to sleep.
    That felt like a long day!
    As I said, this blog is NOT “Melody’s personal diary” which is why you rarely see this kind of story as part of the articles, but man that was a long day!

  • denise r

    @Melody: (you are ‘the bomb’!!!) cute phrase, too. 😉

  • Nob

    This is excellent, so nice remodeled. Yes, I remember this store well.

    Melody, The 1st photo is very good, photography from the inside. I like it!
    I’m interested in that, favorite wine of “Howard Schultz”. (or his wife’s)

  • Melody

    @Nob thanks for saying that about the first pic. I just snap away, and I don’t think I have a strong sense for what really will look good when it’s done – But I liked how that pic gave you the sense of being in a Starbucks, and a sense of being behind the scenes, and still the wine bottle were quite prominent in the photo too.
    @denise – it amazes me that your comment was the 9,500th comment this blog has received since it started. Wow.

  • Sue Spaight

    Hi Mel, thanks for following me today and bringing your blog to my attention. It’s really nice, nice design, and the lighting in your photos is beautiful. As a newbie here, it may take me a while to warm up to the concept of wine at Starbucks. I’m a long-time brand strategist and that just seems like a TOTAL brand disconnect to me. I can sort of see how wine and coffee are related, but…not really. Is this something Starbucks plans to expand into many more stores?


  • Melody

    Hi Sue! Will this expand? I think it might expand very slowly to a few more stores, but it will never be wide-spread or easy to find. Whenever Starbucks has done any kind of “concept” stores, they’ve been very few and far between. That’s something that could also be seen when Starbucks had “Hear Music” stores. There were just a few of them.

    On Friday night, I did try to get a little more info about where there might be future beer and wine stores. After hearing the responses I got, I’m sure this is still in an early “experimental” phase. It will work in so few communities!

    So don’t worry – unlikely your local Starbucks will ever see beer or wine! And on twitter you mentioned that you’re a Starbucks coffee drinker too. Welcome to the blog!!

  • AmazonV

    Well due to crazy alcohol laws i don’t think Philly will ever get one of these, but i look forward to visiting this store and olive way when i next visit (hopefully october!)

    You had a very busy weekend! and many blog posts, no wonder you need so much coffee :)

  • CD

    I really like this concept and hope it expands out of Seattle. Coffee is my “adult beverage” of choice, and many of my friends would prefer beer or wine on a late evening so something like this would be a nice fit.

    Also am loving the black siren. (and cool watch too!)

  • Kaori

    What a great store! It looks really large and spacious…love the inviting atmosphere! And reading about your interesting (if long) day kind of felt like we’re getting a sneak peek into your book 😀

  • Melody

    @CD and AmazonV – Thanks! Glad you noticed the watch too.
    @Kaori – Oh my you’re good! You’re sort of right. The long comment I wrote which sort of told the story >around< the blog post is the direction the book is going. The book will be some articles from here republished, and then lots of added behind the scenes stuff. 😉

  • LatteRose

    Beautiful store! It does look big, but inviting!

  • camspi

    When I was in Seattle at the beginning of the month we stopped by this store hoping to run across someone special…. but it was closed because it was being remodeled! One of the SS saw us and recognized us from Olive Way and nicely told us what was going on… It is absolutely gorgeous! I want to do cart wheels in that Starbucks because it is just so beautiful, lol!!!

  • Nob

    I think the store has substantial food menu.
    In any case I like Starbucks selling the Caramel Macchiato chocolate and banana. 😀

    What kind of wineglass does the store release???

  • nnaylime

    There’s a possibility I’ll get up that way for work this year, and the chance to sample some beer and wine at this Starbucks is a big reason I’m looking forward to it. This looks amazing!

  • Zombarista

    Melody! Thanks for these pictures. Sometimes I just love seeing what the thinktanks at corporate are doing. Makes me forget that my Wyoming store is getting no love from anyone. :-(

    Also, I see a lot of great ideas for connecting with customers and the community on your blog. More than comes through the pipeline they call “the portal.” DUMB DUMB DUMB.

  • Amy in Boston

    I love the coffee bar and how open the store looks. I don’t think boston will ever get a Starbucks that sells alcohol but we have one open until 1:00 am everynight so I can’t complain :)

  • Melody

    @Amy in Boston – I think you’ve got some pretty great Starbucks stores in Boston. You’ve had the Clover since 2008 in your area! And I love the photos you sent me of the new Harvard Square Starbucks. I am going to try and get out there at some point this year. Thanks for commenting here, and I totally agree the store looks open and it’s very welcoming now!

  • Amy in Boston

    thanks Mel. We are truly spoiled here that most stores in the city have a clover. Everytime I go outside of the city, (I was in NH this past weekend) and went to a nonclover store and it just puts it all in perspective. I would love to make it out to Seattle sometime in the next year. I really want to do a Northwest trip :)

  • Hayley

    Wow a Starbucks with a fireplace AND a clover?! I just drooled on my keyboard a little :)

  • Melody


  • Hayley

    Thank you 😉

  • Amy in Boston

    After relooking at these pictures, I’m in love with this store much more. I love those darn long tables and the windows. It looks like there is so much natural light coming in via those windows.

    It truly is a beautiful store :)

  • rebecca

    oh my, it’s so beautiful. It will certainly become a gathering place.

  • Fran Morgan

    This is amazing, i work in a store in Newcastle, England. Unfortunatly we have nothing like this! Transfer me over please!

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