We’ve all seen and frequented local Starbucks locations close to where we live. We’re also accustomed to being able to find a Starbucks usually within arms reach of where we travel. Most Starbucks locations have the usual same look and feel but there are also some locations around the world that stray from the chain’s typical commercial cookie cutter look.
Starbuck’s has taken the concept of immersing itself in local culture seriously and there are several locations around the world that apply this concept. The chain has also created ‘concept stores’ where it creates and tests new products and produces unique concepts and designs.
Typically, a store that is expected to be a big earner will have more personalized touches and localized store designs.
The company has experienced a high degree of success in Asia and continues to try to gain ground in Europe.
Here are some of the more unique Starbucks locations that can be found around the world,
“The Bank” (Amsterdam, Holland)
This location is in an old bank vault and incorporates spacious, multi-tiered seating and design and construction from local artisans resembling contemporary Dutch culture. It is a ‘concept store’ that tests new things including the specialty clover brewing system, an on-site bakery and a testing centre for innovative coffee brewing methods in the ‘slow’ coffee theatre.
Seattle Concept Store (15th Avenue E Coffee & Tea)
This location started to test new products by introducing ½ a dozen beers and wines along with special evening snacks. Beer and wine are also sold at various other location across the US.
Clarice Turner, Starbucks’ senior vice president of U.S. operations, told Reuters that many other restaurants sell beer and wine and that Starbucks is no stranger to venturing into new territory. “It’s just a natural place for people to connect and unwind,” Turner said.
She added that the company had carefully chosen aproximately 25 U.S. cafes that will be selling alcohol in the afternoon and evenings and that it has no plans to offer beer and wine in all of its 17,000 cafes around the world. The company is also planning to open juice bars.
Paris, France (Boulevard des Capucines)
Starbucks has been slow to catch on in France, so the company has put effort into designing its locations with special consideration to incorporate local ideals. This location features a lavish, boutique interior complete with beautiful chandeliers designed to impress.
This location sits on the approach to the Shinto shrine. The design is aimed to harmonize with the townscape by using a unique system of 2,000 weaving, diagonal woods. It creates a fluid, cave-like space.
New Orleans, Louisiana
The historic French quarter is home to this location that incorporates the cities rich history as a coffee trading port. There are floor to ceiling shelves behind a large coffee bar that resemble an old fashioned apothecary store. The back room is designed to look like a merchants living space and a chandelier with vintage horn instruments are representative of the cities strong jazz roots.
New Delhi, India
Many wood elements are introduced at this location and local artisans have made furniture and décor that looks nothing like a typical Starbucks interior. Traditional Indian foods are also served up here to please locals.
Customers can order coffee by taking ‘books’ to the counter in this very simplistic location. ‘Starbucks Espresso Journey’ consists of floor to ceiling book shelves that contain book sleeves with nine differently colored covers. Each cover represents a particular type of coffee and customers can find information about the different types of coffee.
Beijing, China (Qianhai Xiyan, XiCheng District)
According to Euromonitor International, China remains a tea-drinking nation, but coffee sales rose 20% in 2011 from a year earlier, reaching US$995 million. China remains an important growth market for Starbucks, so the company is putting special effort in to the design of some of its locations. This location’s exterior is representative of Chinese architecture.
Starbucks In Transit (Swiss Federal Railways – SBB)
This unique concept is housed as a fully-fledged commercial store inside a train. Starbucks already provides some of its products on trains across the US and Europe, but this location is the first actual bricks-and-mortar store design. It was conceived in collaboration with SBB and features a branded bar and seating for up to 50 people across two levels.
London, England (St. Katharine Docks)
This Starbucks is set in a beautiful location, on a marina at St. Katharine Docks. The old-fashioned building has two levels and customers can go upstairs for a great view to watch boats sailing by.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates (Battuta Mall)
So many things in Dubai are extravagant and this Starbucks location holds with that theme. Located in Ibn Battuta mall is this gorgeous blue-and-yellow, mosaic-tiled domed ceiling with a beautiful chandelier.
Denver, Colorado (Experimental Design)
The company’s first 450 square foot reclamation drive-thru and walk-up store was in Tukwila, Washington. This location in Denver is made from the same recycled shipping containers that have been constructed in a factory and delivered from a truck. The tiny structure features Wyoming snow fencing and look like a work of art.
San Francisco, California (3995 24th Street)
This is an example of a not-so-typical building in the United States to house a Starbucks location. The beautiful architecture is a nice departure for a Starbucks café and reminds us of San Francisco.
This previously unused building was formerly used as a temple storehouse. It looks like a regular village building with rustic-looking wood carvings. The most spectacular thing about this location is the great view customers have when they sit and overlook the water palace lotus pond and temple located next door while sipping on a cup of coffee.
‘Porto Chino’ (Bangkok, Thailand)
This is the first drive-thru Starbucks in Thailand and it takes a modernist approach to the traditional Starbucks store. At the end of 2012, the number of Starbucks planned for Thailand numbered at 154.
This unique Starbucks store is located in a former church building in Ketchum, Idaho and just down the road from ski resort Sun Valley. There is an abundance of stone and roughly worked wood which is fitting with a ski resort atmosphere.
“Starboxer” USS Boxer (California, US)
This is the first fully functioning shop serving Starbucks’ line of coffees, teas and smoothies aboard a navy warship. The Navy runs the cafe and all profits go to the ship’s Morale, Welfare and Recreation fund.
Ski In/Ski Out Starbucks (Squaw Valley California)
This full-service Starbucks store is located on the upper mountain at an elevation of 8,000 feet. This revolutionary concept gives a whole new look on the ski hill as skiiers can ski in, get their coffee and ski out.
There are many more unique Starbucks locations around the world and we can see that the company is serious about local culture. Next time you are travelling, you may want to stop by.