Earlier this year, Starbucks reported plans to test-market beer and wine sales in a few, select markets across the country, naming Southern California as one such region. We learned the chain has chosen two Orange County locations at which the baristi won't have to change job titles, since the word in Italian also means "bartender."
The move to sell alcohol extends Starbucks' sales appeal past the hours when customers taper off their caffeine intake and switch over to beer and wine. It's almost creepy how keenly they understand our vices. What's next? Starbucks selling cannabis in states where medical marijuana is legal?
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The two Orange County Starbucks stores to get your wine buzz on are smaller locations in Rancho Santa Margarita and Huntington Beach, where, presumably, bigwigs can quietly monitor customer response. The liquor licenses for the first four California locations are pending with state authorities at this time. An employee we spoke with at the HB store says that licensing is but one hurdle before alcohol sales can begin later this year, perhaps as early as July. Other requirements include employee training and remodeling.
Where our fair county gets two test stores, massively sprawling LA County only gets one in the yuppie hinterlands of Calabasas (the RSM of LA). San Diego County also gets just one for starters, in Coronado. Pacific Beach is more like HB than Coronado in our neighboring county to the south, but there's gotta be some logic in placing the test stores with such similar demographics.
30465 Avenida de las Flores, Ste. D, Rancho Santa Margarita, (949) 589-9028.
7101 Yorktown Ave., Ste. 104, Huntington Beach, (714) 374-3325.