Expect exclusive coffee drinks, liquid nitrogen gelato, and cocktails designed by local mixologists.

By Bridget Hallinan
November 13, 2019

After confirming the date back in September, Starbucks is finally opening its largest store ever on Friday. Ringing in at 35,000 square feet, the Reserve Roastery is located in Chicago’s Magnificent Mile neighborhood and dwarfs other locations around the world that previously held the title—the Tokyo Reserve Roastery at 32,000 square feet and the Shanghai location at 30,000, respectively. In total, the store takes up five floors, with three main coffee bars—a Starbucks Reserve Coffee Bar, Experiential Coffee Bar, and Barrel-Aged Coffee Bar—an Arriviamo Cocktail Bar, and an outpost of Princi, the brand’s Italian bakery partner.

The Main Bar.
Connor Surdi

“The design of the Chicago Roastery was inspired by the iconic Chicago landmark, and the city itself,” Jill Enomoto, vice president of Roastery Design & Concept for Starbucks, said in a statement. “We embraced the building’s natural light, married it with shades of classic Starbucks greens and intentionally wove in design features to encourage customer exploration and highlight the love and respect we have for coffee.”

Connor Surdi

The coffee roasted on-site will be served exclusively to guests at the Chicago Reserve Roastery, featuring Starbucks’ “rarest single-origin coffees and blends.” At the Reserve Coffee bar on the main level, baristas will serve classic espresso beverages such as cappuccinos, lattes, and cortados; the third floor Experiential Coffee Bar, on the other hand, will be home to specialty drinks, tasting flights, pairings, and drinks made with “elevated brew methods.” Like the Tokyo Reserve Roastery that debuted earlier this year, the Chicago location will also feature exclusive drinks, and guests will find them at the Barrel-Aged Coffee Bar on the fourth floor. They’re cocktail-inspired but alcohol-free—think a Smoked Cola Old Fashioned (a lightly sweetened whiskey barrel-aged cold brew with aromatic bitters, smoked tableside), and Minted Cold Brew shaken with mint syrup and served over pebble ice. 

An affogatto.
Connor Surdi

As for cocktails, the Arriviamo Bar on the fourth floor has a robust menu curated by local mixologists Julia Momose, Annie Beebe-Tron and Rachel Miller. Classic drinks will be available, along with Chicago-made beer and wine—the specialty drinks feature Starbucks Reserve coffee and tea, and are inspired by “the culture and traditions of Chicago.” Examples include the Roastery Boilermaker, which is a Chicago riff on the classic beer and a shot, made with Starbucks Reserve Cold Brew, Koval Four Grain Whiskey, local favorite Malort, grapefruit bitters and a sidecar of Rhine Hall Bierschnapps. There’s also the Pour Over Bijou, a nod to architect Louis Sullivan’s jewel box style; the Lake Shore is inspired by “icy paletas,” with Teavana Zen Clouds Oolong, El Tesoro Añejo Tequila, mango yogurt syrup, mango popsicle, lime juice, lime zest, and sea salt tincture.

Connor Surdi

Beyond the exclusive drinks, the Reserve Roastery in Chicago will also be the only Starbucks in the country to serve on-demand liquid nitrogen gelato—it first debuted at the Milan Roastery that opened in 2018. It’s hand-mixed and made on-site, and designed to be paired with Starbucks Reserve coffee. However, for guests craving something decidedly less sweet, the Princi bakery will have fresh breads, cornetti, focaccia, salads, and pizza in addition to cakes, tarts, and other pastries.

The cask.
Connor Surdi

Once the store does open on Friday, it will mark the sixth Reserve Roastery in the world, joining Seattle, New York, and the aforementioned locations in Milan, Shanghai, and Tokyo. If you’re interested in a visit, the building is on North Michigan Avenue and Erie Street—doors open at 9 a.m CT.

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