Happy Sweet 16 Birthday Green Lake Starbucks!  This store first opened January 17, 1996, and so today is its 16th birthday!

The Starbucks along Green Lake Way in Seattle just recently had a major remodel, so I thought it would be fun to drop by and visit this store.  The store manager is “Yumi” and she welcomed me into the store and pointed out some of the fun aspects of the remodel.  This store is always busy.  It took me several visits to get some good photos.

The Green Lake area has grown and changed tremendously over the past 20 years, and in some ways Starbucks has always been a part of that.  When I first moved to Seattle, there was an active Vitamilk Diary within a couple blocks of the Green Lake Starbucks.  Every year, Green Lake has a tradition of a milk carton derby on the lake.  Contestants build objects that float – made solely out of milk cartons!  I assume that the tradition began because of the active diary within a few blocks of the lake.  In the past, Starbucks would contribute used milk cartons to participants, and set up a booth at the lake on the Milk Carton Derby day.

One unchanging aspect of the Green Lake neighborhood is that Gregg’s Cycle has been neighbors with this Starbucks for like 20 years.  (I think that the Gregg’s Cycle long pre-dates the Starbucks.)  I like how this Starbucks incorporates lots of cycle-related design features into the store.  There is a wall made out of bicycle tires, all donated by Gregg’s.  There is a lighting fixture designed from bicycle rims.  And the front of the store has stroller, and bicycle parking areas.

Some of the cool things to point out about this store include that it is a two story building, and has a great upstairs patio too.  The upstairs mural was designed with the neighborhood in mind, and is a typical scene from Green Lake.  One odd thing is that the wall adjacent to the stairs has the word “Chat” on it in metal lettering.  My understanding is that it was retained (and unchanged) from before the major remodel.  I don’t know the story behind the oddly large “chat” along the staircase wall.

The store’s remodel is definitely beautiful.  I tried to include a very large number of photos below to give you a sense of it.  Notice the custom chalk art on this Starbucks’ community board:  it’s very rich and beautiful looking.  This store looks very welcoming, and I like lots of the design aspects, including the light fixture produced from bicycle tire rims, but I have to admit that I had the passing thought that the store could’ve been more striking.  For example, the tire wall is solid black.  I would have liked to see Starbucks add some kind of design to that space.  And I enjoyed the tire rim lighting fixture, but I think I would have liked to see more than just one of them.  Having said all that, I still think this is a beautiful remodel, with beautiful wood tones in the espresso bar, and I like the velvety curtains too. 

Absolutely, I will easily recommend this store.  It is gorgeous.  And you will get a perfect drink from a friendly crew of partners.  Happy 16th birthday Green Lake Starbucks!  Drop by and tell me what you think of your experience!

All of the photos below were taken sometime between December 24, 2011, and January 2, 2012.

If you want to visit, the address is as follows:

Green Lake Starbucks
7100 East Green Lake Drive North
Seattle, WA 98115
(206) 523 9594

Enjoy the photos!