Starbucks Takes Its Booze, Small Plates Menu To Two Dozen More Stores

Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 9.52.57 AMOver the past several years, Starbucks has toyed with the idea of offering customers beverages with a bit more bitetesting an evening menu with booze and more substantial food than its typical bakery fare. Now, the company appears to be taking the plunge, announcing an expansion of its Evenings menu, which includes wine, craft beer and savory small plates.

The company announced the move today, saying it doesn’t just want to be your morning go-to, but your night-time one, too.

Starting on Wednesday, Starbucks’ Evenings menu will be offered at two dozen new locations across the U.S., including some in the Brooklyn, Denver, Miami, Orlando and Northern California areas, USA Today reports.

By the end of the week the new menu, which features decadent small plates like bacon-wrapped dates and truffle mac ‘n cheese, will be available at 70 Starbucks stores – select locations in Seattle, Portland, California, Chicago and Atlanta already provide Evenings libations.

Starbucks offers a sample version of its Evenings menu. [Click to enlarge]

Starbucks offers a sample version of its Evenings menu. [Click to enlarge]

The new Evenings menu locations will feature a different aesthetic than your typical Starbucks, complete with more seating and mood lighting.

Customers can still expect to pick up their beverages at the counter, but the company says to avoid spills they’ve ditched stemmed glasses in favor or more sturdy stemless glassware.

The adult beverages will vary from store to store, with the company trying to keep things local by partnering with craft brewers and area wineries.

Starbucks doesn’t appear content with just adding a few dozen stores slinging the boozy drinks, as it currently has liquor licenses pending for several hundred other locations across the country.

Rachel Antalek, vice president of concept innovations for Starbucks, says the company is optimistic it will be granted the licenses, and have the stores up and running by the end of the year.

“We learned resoundingly that our customers want to come to Starbucks and have a glass of wine or a craft beer,” Antalek said. “There aren’t that many places to go in the evening where you can go very relaxed, very casual. It’s not loud. You can actually have a small group and hear yourself talk.”

Starbucks has been cautious about rolling out its adult-only beverage options since first announcing the concept back in 2009 as an attempt to drum up sales after 4 p.m.

The company made a big ado about expanding the program in 2012, but only about 40 of the company’s U.S. coffee shops provided the offerings.

Now, Antalek says the company plans to implement the Evenings menu in more than 2,000 of the company 12,000 stores.

‘Evenings’ at Starbucks: Coffee shop to sell wine, craft beer, small plates [USA Today]
We love seeing you a little later. [Starbucks]