The Ballard Clover Starbucks: One of the best in Seattle (Store Review)

The Starbucks in Ballard, Washington just relaunched and relocated, adding a Clover brewer.  The new location opened on Sunday, April 8, 2012.  For those who don’t know, Ballard is one of Seattle’s adorable neighborhoods, and not an actual city.  For long-term Seattleites, the building will bring back fond memories of the Italian restaurant, Lombardi’s, which sat in that location for 23 years.  In 2010, Lombardi’s closed their doors, only to be replaced with another restaurant that seemed to be only fleetingly in that location.  When Lombardi’s successor moved out, Starbucks jumped at the location.

Perhaps I should start with a brief history lesson for the Ballard Starbucks.  This Starbucks first opened brand new at 2204 NW Market Street (in Ballard) on July 21, 1989, as one of the very earliest Starbucks in the business.   The location at 2204 was narrow and small, with only limited seating.  So for more than two decades, it sat immediately next to Lombardi’s, a true Seattle favorite Italian restaurant.  I remember eating at Lombardi’s often in the 1990s! After 23 years of being a neighborhood Starbucks at 2204 NW Market, Starbucks re-opened at their new address:  2200 NW Market Street.

If you want to visit, here’s the complete address:

Starbucks store #318
2200 NW Market Street
Seattle, WA 98107
206 – 782 – 2795

The exterior sign on the Starbucks at 2200 NW Market was designed to be reminiscent of the “Bagdad Theatre,” which was a nearby movie theater, which operated from 1927 to 1949 at 2218 NW Market Street.  That theater is now long gone, but I like how the current signage calls up memories from that old historical Ballard building.

Back to the Ballard Starbucks.  It is gorgeous.  As I have mentioned in many blog articles, I love the store designs which feature the “live edge” to espresso bar woodworking.  There is plenty of seating, and a number of comfy seats close to the door along the east wall of the lobby.  The comfy seating is not shown below because too many customers were sitting in them during my visit.  The community table is large and spacious, and there is even a children’s community table too!

I love that every detail has been well thought out.  The window seating near the Clover area has an abundance of outlets too.  Towards the back of the store, there is a long hallway leading to the restrooms, and I love the fact that the store displays local art along this wall.

Best of all, the store’s manager is absolutely fantastic.  There is only one Jen.  I actually knew her long before I even planned on writing this store article, and before she was the manager of this store.  Jen is genuinely very enthusiastic about coffee, and coffee education.  I’ve met up with her in person at the Olive Way coffee tasting events. I think I’ve known her for about one year, long before she took over this store.   I’m always impressed when partners go on their own time to learn more about coffee, and the world-class coffee tastings at Olive Way are a great way to do this.  Jen has been a partner for five years, and just recently began managing the Ballard Starbucks.  I really can’t say enough good things about her.  I arrived today (April 30, 2012) shortly before 7:00 a.m., and she welcomed me in the store (of course, she immediately knew me) and helped answer my questions about the store’s design.  I learned the tidbit about the Bagdad Theatre from her today.  And best of all, as I mentioned, she loves coffee.  It is perfect that she has a Clover store to manage.  Here is the Clover area:

I can’t really pick a favorite Clover store because there are so many wonderful stores, but this is indeed at least one of my favorites.  If you’re ever in Ballard, you must stop by.

Here are the rest of the photos:

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  • Starbucks Dave

    That sign is absolutely gorgeous! I love when stores have these unique touches… gives me a fuzzy feeling! Haha

  • CD

    What a great store. The sign is fantastic and how nice they didn’t just retrofit the old restaurant’s sign or put up a generic sign but went the extra step of putting up one like one that used to be in the neighborhood.

    I could see myself spending a lot of time at this location.

    Thanks Melody!

  • Amy in Boston

    What a great store. From your pictures, that looks like a very large Starbucks, especially considering that it is in Seattle.

    One of the unique things about that store is the high round table with the hightop chairs. I have never seen that in a Starbucks and I adore the lightning over it. I also adore how they turned that large column into seating. So very cool.

    One day I’ll visit :)

  • purple1

    The charm in this store is beyond belief. Also, that they considered the flavor of the neighborhood says alot about the renovation. I also think that the passion that the SM has will go lengths in providing outstanding customer service.

  • Melody

    Hi Amy (and thank you to Dave , purple1, and CD for your comments.) The high round table might have a distinct reason for being there. I’m pretty sure I’ve heard that the major remodels with Clovers are supposed to all have some sort of round table perfect for tastings or cupping. That’s a great table to have a few people sit around for a coffee tasting, and somehow round works great!

  • Amy in Boston


    What a great idea! I don’t think I’ve seen that before. The closest store to me in Brookline has a round table but its lower but a lot of the remodels in Boston feature smaller square tables to make more space.

  • denise r

    very cool looking store! I think I like the theatre-type sign….not positive. But the interior and the seating is really nice.
    At one remodel nr me, done summer 2011, they put in high round tables with tall seats like this. They’re not very big…maybe seat 4? But they do look really nice and fit very well. and, this is in one of the smallest stores I know, with no Reserve or Clover.
    Thanx for the tour Melody!

  • Sebastian

    What a gorgeous store! I really like that sign outside that reminds me a little bit of Broadway in Manhattan. The store is very clean and these different kinds of lamps give it a special note.

    But, most of all, I am a huge fan of high ceilings. These high ceilings can handle great with many people talking in the room and I always like when the voices of all talking people in a busy store spread all over the room due to that. I hope, I could descrive myself well enough… :)

  • Sandra Trolinger

    Stunning, gorgeous, practical yet indulgent…and yep, I am jealous! LOL

  • Chgo.

    I really like the sign on the buildings exterior. It looks like it belongs on that building, even without the Siren. @Melody…. Is that sign NEON??? I’m looking at the interior and seeing some similarities to the recent 10 yr. remodel at a local store. It looks a bit like this store and kind of nice, but……..

    @Denise – How is it going in Mount Prospect? The remodel by me is done. Pros: The decor is a nice change and has a nice feel. Cons: Sloppy painting in spots. They brought bigger tables in and the store is not big enough to accommodate them. They were better off with the smaller round bistro tables. Those were replaced by bigger bistro style tables with little space to get between them. It’s kind of like stuffing a 2 ton elephant in a 1 ton box. The booth seating? LOL! Eventually you find yourself sliding closer to the table. Beer and wine coming to Chicago soon……

  • LatteRose

    Went to this store today – very nice, and quite busy! The baristas were super friendly. I liked the dark wood – had the feeling of a library reading room (except it was so busy!). Nice large windows, good for people-watching.

  • Kaori

    I absolutely agree with Sebastian. The high ceiling is the first thing that caught my eye in your photos. And I’m in love with that fancy chandelier! I’ve never seen that before…the atmosphere must be fabulous at night 😀

  • Hayley

    I’m really in awe of how many Clover stores there are in Seattle. I cannot wait until I get to try a coffee through the Clover someday. The exterior sign is really neat, and I like how they kept in theme with the theater.

  • denise r

    @Chgo: our “re-model” is done, apparently. It has some of the same cons (and many many more!) that you mentioned….trying to squeeze tables that are too large into a small space….altho this was actually a pretty large store…it’s amazing that it could end up looking so over-crowded with cheap tables and chairs. They did finally get new lights over the computer (too large for the space) table and those are nice. But overall, such a huge “fail”, as they say today. I actually find it harder to comment on these stores that Melody writes about, especially any that are recently remodeled …because I am so disheartened by “my” place. (of course, I try to keep this is perspective…” there’s stuff, and then there’s stuff”…so, I get a grip!)
    If you see the small original Mt Pros. store on NW Hwy…just west of 83…..they had a remodel last summer and it’s just stunning! especially in comparison.
    re: the beer and wine…..I read that..also that STREET’s will be one of them. ? oh well….

  • CD

    @denise r – Streets is going to be a beer/wine location? I guess I should have expected that, but it will be interesting to see the change in dynamic. I tend to spend most of my time there late in the evenings on weekends. It’s always busy at those times, both with students and laptop users as well as friends meeting up after movies, etc. I’ll be interested to see how it evolves.

  • CD

    P.S. @Denise – I forgot to tease you about not being sure if you liked the sign on this location. Even before your comment I thought of you immediately. It says “Coffee” at the bottom!

  • Steve Zussino - Grocery Alerts

    It looks really sharp in there. I might have to take a closer look next time in Washington State.

    I like how the sign fits with the building.

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