Sneak preview of the 4th beer & wine Starbucks, opening in Portland, Monday June 13, 2011

Starbucks is opening up its fourth beer and wine location at 5:00 a.m., on Monday June 13, 2011.   The address is 1039 NW Couch Street, Portland, Oregon 97209.   This brand spanking new Starbucks is in Portland’s  “Brewery Blocks” neighborhood.  Today (June 10, 2011), I got a chance to step inside for a sneak preview of the store.  Unfortunately, since I worked during the day, and then hurriedly drove to Portland, I arrived quite late and missed the first hour.  I missed the traditional coffee tasting (I don’t even know which coffee was being sampled), and most of the introductory speeches from partners about the store.

When I arrived, Cliff Burrows (president, Starbucks Coffee, US) had the microphone and was describing some of the repurposed materials in the store, and discussed how the store was designed to suit its neighborhood:

Much of the alcohol featured comes from local suppliers.  The wall that says “One Person, One Cup, One Neighborhood” was designed from used bicycle tires.  The wood countertops were made with fallen walnut salvaged from an Oregon City farm.

There was quite a crowd at this event.  I looked around and didn’t really see faces that I recognized (other than Cliff Burrows!).  I wanted to connect with some of the store’s partners, but wasn’t totally sure who to reach out to.  So, I walked up to Cliff and said, “Hey, Cliff would you do me a favor?”  He immediately said, “Sure, Melody.”  I said, “Would you introduce me to the store manager?”  That was easy enough.  In a flash he located her in the crowd of people, and introduced me to Jenn McPoland, a seventeen-year partner.  Jenn introduced me to a number of people, and I had a great time chatting about the beautiful store.

I nearly missed the fact that the door to the back of the store (a partner only door) doubles as a menu for beer and wine!

I happen to take a photo of the door right when Sasha (from facilities) was coming out of it, and ended up with a great “action” photo! With her permission, there’s the door that is the beer menu.

I want to note that in the photos I’ve uploaded, some show the large gathering and some are nearly empty.  It was a fairly large party, but most people left shortly after 7:00 p.m.  I stayed a little longer so that I could take a few photos of the empty store, so that’s why there’s a mix of photos, some with no crowd, and some with a huge crowd.

At one point I asked a partner to take a close up of the beer offerings, (which are stored on a shelf behind the bar) and so here’s what the store has on its shelf:

This store isn’t particularly large, yet every nook and cranny of the space available has been painstakingly thought out for its best use.  Overall, the store has sort of an industrial feel to it, though I think that’s hard to see from the photos.  But here are more photos take today June 10, 2011, showing off the store:

Meet the store manager too!  She is standing next to a member of the design team in this photo.  (Store manger on left, brown hair.  Design team person on right).  Notice that the wall behind them is the one designed from used bicycle tires.

When all is said and done, it’s the partners that make the store.  The party had almost completely come to an end, and I lingered a moment in the comfy seating area, charging up my phone.  A barista came by with a broom and was sweeping up around me.  We made small talk, and he said he has been partner for about five years.  I asked him what he liked best about being a partner.  Without hesitation he said that it was two things:  the connections made every day with customers and partners and that Starbucks takes good care of their employees.  I couldn’t help but think that partners like him are what make the Starbucks experience work.  It doesn’t matter how gorgeous the store is.  The store has to have great partners with great attitudes.

I think Jenn has a great team.  It sounds like there are no brand new partners, and she’s managed to find really passionate people who love the brand.  This is what it really takes for a big success.  Love what you do, and do it well every single day…

Last but not least, here’s a short clip with some audio of Cliff Burrows. It’s only about the last thirty seconds or so of him speaking, but for those who have never heard him, here it is:



If you want to read about other beer and wine Starbucks stores, click back to these old posts:

Madison Park – Starbucks opens its 3rd beer and wine store

Olive Way Starbucks – First official beer and wine Starbucks

15th Avenue Coffee and Tea turns back into a Starbucks

Edit on June 12, 2011 – Decided to add a few more photos:

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  • Amy in Boston

    Thanks for sharing the pics Mel. The store looks great.

    I love the reserve display with the french press located right underneath it :)

  • Pencil to Paper

    Very cool! I keep waiting for Starbucks to open one of these somewhere in Texas. Preferably near me. I’d love to check one out in person. I love all of your photos! It’s the next best thing to being there! :)

  • Starbucks Dave

    Wow! Great looking store, and it sounds like a wonderful team! You’re so right though, it’s the partners that make or break a store. So good to get a sneak preview of this one! Thanks!

  • purple1

    OMG what can I say! Absolutely terrific store and the pics are outstanding. I agree they (SB) have to move these stores out of the northwest and to other areas. Why should we be cheated? Love the wall made of bicycles. And Melody so totally agree that the partners connecting with customers is so so important and love that there is a partner that verbalized this. I just wish there were more partners that had this passion about their jobs.

  • Bryan

    Melody…what a treat, and what a party. Looking forward to seeing what they do to the Gilman street location in by hood. Should lay odds on the number of stores serving beer and wine in say 5 years. I am going to go with 500?

  • purple1

    Really think it will reach 500 stores in five years! How do you think they will determine where these stores will be? And just out of curiosity, how do they control the serving of the wine and beer so no one underage orders it? BTW can you only order it by the glass or can you purchase a bottle?

  • @uniqueblog

    Will we see more beer and wine offerings in the future? Seems like this is a good area for sbux as long as these stores stay open really late for the night crowd. Would love when out or about to head out on the town (doesn’t happen often with little one) to stop at Starbucks and have a real drink.

  • Melody

    @uniqueblog and @purple1 – I would be absolutely stunned if it reaches 500 stores ever. Whenever Starbucks has done concept stores, they’ve kept it small. Like only 4 or 5 Circadia stores, and less than a dozen Hear Music Stores, and nearly 3 years into Clover stores, there are about 200 of them.

    I would say there could be up to about 50 max, of these stores. Even that seems like a lot to me!

  • purple1

    I agree with you Melody that it seems sort of odd that they would achieve 500 stores especially since there was a period when they were not opening any stores at all. But that being said I sure hope they expand this concept out beyond the northwest and into different regions.

  • Melody

    To anyone: Apologies for typos and grammar problems with this article. I will get it cleaned up- It shows that I wrote it in the wee hours of the morning.

    @pencil_to_paper and @starbucksdave Glad you like the pics. I doubt there will ever be too many of these but maybe this would work at Streets of Woodfield (I know that is not near you but I am just thinking where it will work outside of Seattle.) Come here to Seattle!

    @purple1 There is no place like home.There are lots of great partners everywhere, and everyone has got their home store, usually not something like this Brewery Blocks store. I am sorry, cant explain this well, and I’m typing this on my phone.

  • Bryan Hyland schedule

    Perhaps 500 is wishful thinking. In a Schultzesque moment I fondly recalled my own first exposure to cafe culture as an exchange student in La Rochelle France. Sneaking away from the industrial block architecture of the high school to waste the days away at the ornamental Cafe de la Paix sipping espressos and the not so infrequent glass of whatever we felt like that day, the marriage of coffee, libations, and warm surroundings is a concept that has always worked for me. Indeed at a recent chamber of commerce event Schultz was asked how the concept stores were doing, his reply “probably too well”. That said scalability is certainly an issue not to mention regulations and perhaps the biggest potential headache qualified staffing will most likely limit the growth of the concept…one can still dream.

  • Melody

    @Bryan – That is an interesting comment! I’ve never heard the “probably too well” as to how they’re doing, but they look like they’re busy. It seems like with concept stores there’s got to be a top limit number. It seems like there can only be so many Reserve stores or Clover Stores, or Black Label Beer and Wine stores … ?? The top number for just Reserve Stores without a Clover is probably fairly high – Like 800 or 900. ??

    And I’m impressed that you turned Howard Schultz’s last name into an adjective. I can still remember an elementary school teacher telling us that a person was really famous when their name could be used as an adjective – Like they were Shakespearean! Her definition of famous was that the person’s name could be an adjective too.

    And those French memories sound amazing. I remember being at Torrejon, AB and going to Madrid and having a “coffee con leche” because that’s what the Spanish order and drinking something that was indeed very espresso and breve like.

    Always a pleasure to see you here Bryan!

  • camspi

    I agree with @Pencil to Paper, Texas needs a store like this!
    Thanks for letting us visit Portland with you! My friends erica (the manager who you met in Dallas, and who’s store we visited in Bedford) and Marcus are gonna love seeing the beer selection.

  • Nick

    We REALLY need one of these in NYC. I think it would go over VERY well. Especially in the outer-boroughs!!!!

  • denise r

    email problems (ONLY) on the phone w/ geeks all morn

  • Amy in Boston

    Mel- how late are these stores open to?

    I don’t know- I think the Starbucks in the Northwest selling alcohol works but I don’t see them working in the northeast. For a while, I thought it might work in Boston but then a district manager explained me that he didn’t think it would work in the Boston area because people don’t go to those Starbucks to get drunk. They go there to have a drink or two and it’s not the drinks are cheap. Boston and some parts of NYC, are college areas and don’t think it would work there.

    I have this feeling that it will be a while before Starbucks opens up a store that sells alcohol outside of the Northwest. I also think it is better to keep them limited and probably keep them in suburban areas.

  • Melody

    @Amy in Boston – None of these four beer and wine locations are in suburban areas. ?? I forgot to ask how late the store is open to. Good question. I think Olive Way closes at 10 or at 11 pm. So far, every one of these stores I’ve seen, you can’t buy alcohol before 2:00 pm. And I think there has got to be neighborhoods in Boston where this would work! Boston is an incredible city!

  • purple1

    I agree that I think these stores would work in the Boston/Cambridge area even though there are many colleges in the area. I think the DM is off base in saying people don’t go to SB to get drunk because right now there are so few stores that carry the wine and beer and also not everyone that gets a glass of wine or a beer are intending to get drunk. Interesting perspective on the DM’s part.

  • purple1

    I also think the stores would work in the NYC area.

  • Melody

    @purple1 – There is a Clover store in SoHo that I would like to get to someday – Supposed to be really beautiful. (Maybe some day I’ll travel to all 200 Clover stores!) I remember going to Soho on a vacation in like 2004 – I can sort of see it as one of these beer and wine stores even though I know so very little about NYC. But there have got to be a number of locations in NYC that would work!

  • Amy in Boston

    okay maybe I’m totally wrong :)

    Thanks Melody for creating a site where we can communicate about topics like this!

  • purple1

    Melody I think you are correct a SB in Soho would work with beer and wine and also some stores on the Upper West Side or the Meatpacking District as well. Marcus if you see this comment what do you think? Also, Amy in Boston, from my view the stores in Boston/Cambridge all have their own character and I guess if you pick a good one to test this concept it might work.

  • purple1

    Just looked at the added pics and this store is so beautiful. Thanks for adding them to this post.

  • Melody

    Thanks purple1 – I had meant to get a photo of the upper foyer area with the hanging sign, but I first wrote this article in a half asleep state. Now it’s up with a few others! Glad you like.

  • Sebastian

    Gorgeous photos of a great store!

    It seems like this beer/wine concept goes well at Starbucks…I would love to visit these stores someday. This is the first thing I will do when I become 21…HaHa. 😀

  • Melody

    Oh Sebastian I think we found the right spot for you to have a 21st birthday celebration. 😉

  • denise r

    I agree that to me, this combo of coffee and alcohol just doesn’t go totgether. Obvuoiusly it does, for lots of people..but,not me. I am kind of a purist (???) when it comes to a coffee house. I dont’ think any alchohol belongs there. which, actually has little to do with how I feel about alcohol….more baout the coffee.
    too tired with email issues today to add more. need a nap on this PERECT weather day…..mostly sunny, cool lo 60’s) and QUIET. I love thst. Then I can wake up and have some canned dounblehsot.
    Great post Melody, and pics, and info and lots of work for you, I know.
    btwl had the BEST sweetest doppio con panna in a little Arlington Hts store nr me yesterday,……one I wish we’d had time for. Very small but good baristas….who appreciate a perfect shot! you would have loved it! (plus dark and cool outside;)

  • Julianne

    my best friend works at this new location!!!!

  • Sebastian


    HaHa!! Oh yes…how cool would that be!

  • denise r

    also really loved the pics, especially the scale and the wooden sign : ‘YOU…’s bigger than coffee”. gorgoeus store.

  • Mike

    I would love Starbucks to take this model national. The people who drink and appreciate good craft beer are cut from the same cloth as those who enjoy good coffee. It’s all about the flavors, not overindulging. If they do it right, it will keep the feel of a Starbucks while expanding the product offerings. Maybe even a Starbucks Coffee Stout could be in the cards?

  • Karl Dahlquist

    Great blog post! I have been trying to think of an LA location where this concept would work and am not sure I can come up with anything! Maybe on Montana in Santa Monica but that area already had a lot of notable IPA bars like Father’s Office. And Old Town Pasadena but that location is too small to pull it off.

  • Melody

    @DeniseR – I actually don’t order a lot of those doppio con pannas. It’s not really a to go drink, and it has to be great shots! Sounds great having one on a cool evening. In Seattle, most of the little indy coffee houses DO offer beer, so I guess I’ve been persuaded to believe that they go together, though I have never once yet bought any alcohol at a Starbucks.
    @Mike – It is hard to figure out where these stores fit! Boston, NYC, San Francisco, ?? Thanks for weighing in.
    @KarlDahlquist – What about old town Orange? I have no idea where in LA County it could possibly work. You’ll just have to come north to check it out in person. :)

  • Sue

    Huh, $7 for a glass of wine that I can buy an entire bottle of in most grocery stores for $7. Prices are a bit high, even for Starbucks.

  • Karl Dahlquist

    Maybe Howard can introduce some Two Buck Chuck…..or Three Buck Chuck as it is now known.

  • Rachel Carter

    Oh how I would have enjoyed being here. I enjoy both beer and coffee. Both rich and complex. Wonderful.

  • Will Scriven


    My name is Will Scriven,
    I am a guitarist/vocalist of 30+ years, the last three of which I’ve been honing my skills as a solo artist and would welcome the opportunity to perform at your establishment/venue.
    I do not have a demo, but I do have a link to YouTube footage of me performing on the street:
    I have recently performed several times at McKeown’s in Seaside, currently play at the Davis Street Tavern in downtown Portland every Tuesday night (since Nov of 2008) and the Milwaukee Art Walk (first Fridays).
    I have also played The Muddy Rudder Public House in Sellwood.

    List of popular cover songs that I perform regularly:
    1. This Masquerade George Benson
    2. Needle and the Damage Done Neil Young
    3. Old Man Neil Young
    4. Heart of Gold Neil Young
    5. Sarah Smile Hall and Oates
    6. Cruisin Smokie Robinson
    7. Classical Gas Mason Williams
    8. The Girl From Ipanema Astrud Gilberto and Stan Getz
    9. Hotel California Eagles
    10. Do I Do Stevie Wonder
    11. I Feel Like Making Love Roberta Flack
    12. Time in a Bottle Jim Croce
    13. Water Runs Dry Boys II Men
    14. Stairway to Heaven Led Zeppelin
    15. Just My Imagination Temptations
    16. Beautiful India Aire
    17. Tin Man America
    18. Daisy Jane America
    19. Georgy Porgy Toto
    20. Helplessly Hoping CSNY
    21. Peg Steely Dan
    22. Kiss Prince
    23. Little Red Corvette Prince
    24. Your Just What I Needed The Cars
    25. Sweet Home Alabama Lynyrd Skynyrd
    26. The Ballad of Curtis Lowe Lynyrd Skynyrd
    27. Ordinary People John Legend
    28. Dust in the Wind Kansas
    29. The Lazy Song Bruno Mars

    And more…..

    Thanks in advance for your consideration.

    I look forward to communicating with you and/or the person in charge of booking talent for your establishment.

    Will Scriven
    Guitarist /Vocalist
    Mobile (503) 853-0027

  • Melody

    Hello Will! This is my blog – and I am a customer just like you. I don’t work for Starbucks, and there is nothing official about this blog. I intend it only to be a fan site. I’m thankful that there are others interested in Starbucks. However, I recommend that you contact the store directly and talk to them about your interest in playing there.

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