Starbucks may soon become a lot more boisterous after 4 p.m.
The Seattle-based chain brought their Starbucks Evenings menu to their Williamsburg store on North 7th Street on Wednesday, making it the first New York location to offer wine, beer, and small dinner dishes.
The Evenings menu first began in Seattle in 2010 and has now spread to 76 locations.
While met with some opposition by local businesses over Starbucks’ liquor licence, they’re hoping to become a local destination for the later crowd.
The company is looking for ways to expand its business beyond coffee, and it plans to roll out the new evening menu in 2,000 of its US locations within five years.
I hopped on the train to Williamsburg to see for myself if Starbucks has what it takes to be a nightly social hub.
This story was originally published by Food & Wine.
This Williamsburg location at 154 N 7th Street opened in 2014 and has a Starbucks Reserve coffee bar as well, offering micro-lot coffees and fancy brewing techniques.
Only two hours into the evening menu offering and the place was pretty busy. A large group had reserved a table and seemed to be enjoying the wine selection.
The space boasts ample seating with large and small tables, a long communal bar, and comfy coffee tables and chairs.
The wine menu offers most varieties of whites and reds, as well as prosecco. There are four selections of Brooklyn Brewery craft beers as well. It's definitely a shock to be carded at a Starbucks.
In such a big location, it's easy to find a table for a big group of friends, or to find a secluded spot for yourself. It's busy, but not crazy.
My food promptly arrived, served on a tray by a server who somehow knew where I was sitting. I ordered a salumi plate, truffle mac n' cheese, and a glass of Chardonnay. Everything comes with a bowl of sunflower seeds as well.
Most importantly: the wine. I'm certainly no sommelier, but it seems like pretty good wine to me. Glasses run from $9 to $12, while beers cost between $4 and $5. And sorry, no 'venti' option on the wine glasses.
The salumi plate comes with sliced salami and perfectly thin slices of prosciutto. The portions aren't huge - think tapas sized.
The truffle mac n' cheese was... impressive. The cheese was rich and hot under the crispy breaded crust, and the truffle flavour was subtle, not overpowering. Not bad for a Starbucks meal, and even better at $6.
Along with the salumi plate comes little bread sticks and sweet drop peppers in oil, which add a nice splash of colour.
I also ordered a goat cheese and artichoke flatbread pizza for $7 because I was pretty curious. A Starbucks pizza?
It's decent - not bad, but nothing spectacular, and a tad skimpy on toppings. Luckily, the glass of Sauvignon Blanc I had with it was good enough to make up for it.
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