San Francisco

Starbucks Looks To Sell Beer And Wine In SoMa, May Cancel Booze Plans In Sunset and Wharf

In recent months, Starbucks has set its sights on selling beverages to help people relax— instead of getting them revved up. The Seattle-based coffee chain appears to be in the process of launching its Starbucks Evenings concept in locations across the Bay Area, serving beer, wine, and appetizers after 4pm to draw the after-work crowd. 

Back in December, Starbucks applied for a beer and wine license for a location in Fisherman's Wharf (685 Beach St.), and Hoodline reported last month that it was also in the process of bringing beer and wine to its Inner Sunset location (744 Irving St.) Now, a SoMa outpost has been added to the mix. This week, Starbucks filed to sell beer and wine at its 280 King St. location, right near Caltrain. (SoMa is apparently the place to be when it comes to chains trying out alcohol: a boozy Taco Bell is slated to debut just a block away from the planned Starbucks Evenings location, at 710 3rd St.)

The company has even more applications pending for beer and wine at stores across the Bay Area, including Alameda, Burlingame, Millbrae, Mountain View, Napa, and San Mateo. 

But while plans for SoMa appear to be full steam ahead, Starbucks Evenings may not make it to the Wharf or Sunset locations. "It's my understanding that [Starbucks is] no longer seeking that permit" to offer alcohol at the Beach Street location, Troy Campbell, executive director of the Fisherman's Wharf Community Benefit District, told Hoodline. (With that said, the company has yet to cancel its liquor license application.)

And while the freshly renovated Sunset location had hinted at the addition of Starbucks Evenings in tweets and Facebook posts, those social media communications have since been taken down—and a liquor license application for the location remains yet to be filed. 

What's up, Starbucks? When we emailed its corporate media relations team about the possible changes, we got this non-committal reply:

Thanks so much for your interest in Starbucks! Just as each customer is unique, so are our stores, and we consider a broad range of products and experiences for each neighborhood. We are currently evaluating the right coffee and food experience for this neighborhood, including our Starbucks Evenings menu. While we don’t have additional details to share at this time, we will be sure to keep you up to date going forward. As background, here is a complete list of Evenings stores.

Given that the company has already been in the news this week for its plans to shut down all 23 Bay Area locations of La Boulange, which it purchased in 2012, it's understandable that they might be trying to stay out of the media spotlight for a while.

The Starbucks Evenings concept was announced last March, and has already been rolled out in select locations in Seattle, Chicago, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Portland, Orlando and Washington, D.C. It's being billed as a way to unwind and get a bite to eat at night, without the fuss of making a restaurant reservation. As Starbucks' marketing materials put it: "The food is amazing. The wine selection is simple and smart. The chairs are just as comfortable as they are in the morning." Whether San Franciscans will be able to experience the excitement for themselves remains to be seen. 

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