About one year ago, Starbucks opened up their first Reserve Bar in downtown Seattle at 1305 1st Avenue. Here’s my story from one year ago and another site’s article with some great photos of the Reserve Bar.

The “Reserve Bar” concept was intended by a hybrid store between a Roastery experience and a core store. A Reserve Bar would offer both core beverage favorites like Frappuccinos and Caramel Macchiatos, as well as elevated brew methods and beverages, like the seasonal Juniper Latte. A perfect example of a “Reserve Bar” is the gorgeous Starbucks in Los Angeles at Hillhurst and Avocado.

So what’s the difference between a “Reserve store” and “Reserve Bar”?

A Reserve store does not offer core beverage favorites and has only premium beverage offerings, inspired by the Roastery and more. You won’t find a Frappuccino, a cup of Pike Place Roast or a smoothie at a “Reserve store”. I know that many baristas work in stores which offer Reserve coffees. However, there are core stores with Reserve coffees, but that doesn’t turn them into a “Reserve store.” If you can buy a Frappuccino and a cup of  Pike Place Roast at your Starbucks, you are not in a Reserve store.

On February 2, 2018, Starbucks opened their first Reserve store. The Starbucks at 1305 1st Avenue in Seattle transformed into a Reserve store. It is no longer a Reserve bar. Gone are Frappuccinos, Pike Place Roast, Passion Tea Lemonades, and core Iced Coffee.

Take a look at a few of the menu options:

The fact that Starbucks has introduced the Strato blended beverage is pretty interesting. It was in testing 2 years ago!

Related: Starbucks tests the Affogato Strato

It’s amazing. It’s like a less sweet, more coffee forwarded blended, frozen coffee drink:

^ The above is the Caramelized Honey Strato (with my Spinach Feta Wrap adjacent to it).

I also tried the Espresso Doppio Strato:

The Strato doesn’t have quintessential Frappuccino syrups in it. It is absolutely a lot less sweet than a Frappuccino.

Enjoy a few more photos of this store! Notice that there are no menuboards on the walls and the brewed coffee by the cup comes from a Clover X machine. Every cup of coffee is made to order. The Clover X (in an early prototype stage it was called the Arrow) has been in testing for several years.

I think it’s incredible that within a couple mile radius of each other, in downtown Seattle, a person could have nearly a walking history lesson of Starbucks:

One can go from some of the oldest stores with historical nods to their past to state of the art newest concept stores, within a few miles. Look at what you can do with a lot of walking or a few Lyfts, cab rides or buses:

1912 Pike Place:

At 1912 Pike Place, one can see the “First Starbucks” which is often said to be “Where it all began…”

Opened in 1986: Visit the 1986 Starbucks that was Howard’s “Il Giornale” – 701 – 5th Avenue:

At the Columbia Tower Starbucks, you can visit one of the oldest Starbucks stores in the company, and the first Starbucks store to be Howard Schultz’s vision of the Italian coffee bar experience. The Columbia Tower Starbucks began as an “Il Giornale” which is a significant piece of Starbucks history. You can see the original Il Giornale logo on display at the Columbia Tower Starbucks. The current Starbucks logo is a bit of a marriage between the Il Giornale logo and the old 1970s brown logo Starbucks siren.

Opened in 2017 – Visit 1st and University Reserve store – 1305 – 1st Avenue:

1st and University Starbucks From the Columbia Tower, one could walk to First and University. It is the most modern incarnation of that 1986 vision of Starbucks. So interesting to see where it all began, where the vision grew into a coffeehouse, and where it ended up modernly.

Opened in 2014: Visit the Roastery – 1124 Pike Street:

From 1st and University, visit the Roastery and see where Reserve coffees are roasted, to be shipped across the United States to stores all over which offer Reserve coffees.

Opened in 2009 – Roy Street Coffee and Tea – 700 Broadway East:

From the Roastery, take a Lyft (or the number 49 bus) up the hill to Roy Street Coffee and Tea. It represents the vision of a true “learning laboratory” or “experimental” store for Starbucks. Many people don’t know they’re in a Starbucks when they visit Roy Street. Roy Street is so unique from other Starbucks operations that it’s worth exploring.

If you visit the 5 stores above, you’ll see something old, something new, something experimental and many things truly all about the coffee.