Starbucks applied for liquor licenses for five of its Northwest Washington, D.C. locations earlier this month as part of the expansion of its “Starbucks Evenings” offerings.
The Wisconsin Avenue, Seventh Street and three Connecticut Avenue locations are all included in the application. If approved, these stores would begin to serve wine and craft beer, along with small gourmet dishes, from 2 to 11 p.m. on weekdays and noon to 11 p.m. on weekends.
The Starbucks location in the Leavey Center was not included in the corporation’s application for D.C. liquor licenses.
Starbucks applied for D.C. Alcoholic Beverage licenses from the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration. According to a Notice of Public Hearing posted online by the ABRA, Starbucks applied for five Class D alcoholic licenses and has a hearing date set for Dec. 7.
ABRA Public Affairs Specialist Jessie Cornelius explained that a Class D license allows for the sale and consumption of solely wine and beer in an email to The Hoya. She added that the final approval of the license is up to discretion of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board.
Following the 2010 debut of the “Starbucks Evenings” at the Starbucks in Seattle, the corporation plans to introduce the expanded menus at more than 2,000 of its 12,000 stores in the United States, according to USA Today. As of August, more than 70 stores offered “Starbucks Evenings.”
Starbucks spokesperson Courtney Edelman said Starbucks selected specific locations for alcohol selections based on the preferences of local customers and surrounding neighborhoods.
“Just as each customer is unique, so are our stores and we consider a broad range of products and experiences for each neighborhood,” Edelman wrote in an email to The Hoya.
On its website, the company cited data regarding customer preferences as impetus for the “Starbucks Evenings” locations.
According to Starbucks, 70 percent of its customers drink wine, as compared to 30 percent of the general U.S. population.
The “Starbucks Evenings” stores are all corporate locations, meaning they are operated directly by Starbucks. In general, non-corporate stores of food vendors are referred to as licensed, including Subway, Cosi and the Starbucks location in the Leavey Center. Edelman declined to comment further regarding the potential expansion of “Starbucks Evenings” to licensed stores.
Aramark Marketing Manager Adam Solloway said that because the Starbucks at Leavey Center is not a corporate location, it is unlikely that it will sell alcoholic drinks.
Associate Vice President for Auxiliary Business Services Joelle Wiese, however, said it is possible that the location on campus could offer alcohol, pending approval from Starbucks.
“Starbucks has to approve licensed stores to actually take on and actually adopt that particular program that has the alcohol,” Wiese said.
She added that if “Starbucks Evenings” are expanded to licensed stores, the university would also have to approve the sale of alcohol in the Leavey Center location.
Wiese said the possibility of the university Starbucks location serving alcohol is still a hypothetical.
“There would be other concerns we’d have to take into consideration, like Epicurean has an alcohol liquor license and they serve drinks,” Wiese said. “I don’t know anything about the entire program until we are presented with it from Starbucks.”
The five Northwest D.C. locations and Leavey Center shop all declined to comment.
Tori Goodell (COL ’16) said that the Starbucks brand is not usually synonymous with a bar-like atmosphere.
“I don’t think I would go to Starbucks for a night time venue mostly because I don’t associate a girl’s night out with a coffee shop,” Goodell said. “But it will be interesting to see if it picks up.”
Emily Jin (COL ’16) agreed and doubted how successful “Starbucks Evenings” would be in D.C. locations.
“I personally go to Starbucks to work, sometimes to catch up with friends. I think if they start serving alcohol, that could create a different culture and ambience, which might cause them to lose some patrons,” she said.
Maxwell Menard (SFS ’16), however, was more optimistic about the possibility of purchasing alcohol at the coffee chain.
“I support Starbucks serving alcohol. A lot of people go to coffee shops to catch up with friends, and during the afternoon I don’t see anything wrong with patrons having a couple of beers instead of a couple of cups of coffee,” Menard said.
Hoya Staff Writers Patricja Okuniewska and Lucy Pash contributed reporting.