Take a Look Inside the World's Largest Starbucks in Chicago

The 35,000-square-foot Chicago Reserve Roastery offers interactive tours, on-site roasting, and exclusive drinks inspired by the Windy City's culture and history.

Although Starbucks was founded in Seattle, you'll have to head to Chicago to experience its largest coffee shop in the world. Ringing in at 35,000 square feet, the Starbucks Reserve Roastery in the Magnificent Mile neighborhood dwarfs other locations that previously held the title (including the Tokyo Reserve Roastery at 32,000 square feet and the Shanghai location at 30,000 square feet.) The store, which opened in 2019, takes up five floors of a North Michigan Avenue building. Spread out across them you'll find 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.

Starbucks Chicago
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."

Starbucks Chicago Reserve Roastery
Connor Surdi

The coffee roasted on-site is served exclusively to guests at the Chicago Reserve Roastery and each floor offers a different experience. At the coffee bar on the main level, baristas serve classic espresso beverages such as cappuccinos, lattes, and cortados. On the third floor, an experiential coffee bar is dedicated to specialty creations such as pistachio lattes, siphon-brewed coffee flights, and affogatos made with nitrogen-infused gelato. And there's more than just coffee. On the fourth floor, the Arriviamo Bar serves exclusive cocktails by acclaimed local mixologists Annie Beebe-Tron of Fat Rice, Julia Momose of Oriole and Kumiko, and Rachel Miller of Community Tavern. You can also enjoy your drinks on the fifth-story rooftop deck.

An affogatto. Connor Surdi

To create its cocktails, the team drew inspiration from "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. The bar also serves Chicago-made beer and wine.

Starbucks Reserve Roastery Chicago
Connor Surdi

Beyond the exclusive drinks, the Reserve Roastery in Chicago is the only Starbucks in the country to serve on-demand liquid nitrogen gelato, which 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 bread, cornetti, focaccia, salads, and pizza in addition to cakes, tarts, and other pastries.

Starbucks Reserve Roastery Chicago
The cask. Connor Surdi

The store marks the sixth Reserve Roastery in the world, joining locations in Seattle, New York City, Milan, Shanghai, and Tokyo. Even before the sprawling roastery opened, Starbucks and Chicago had a long history. The first Starbucks outside of the Pacific Northwest opened in Chicago in 1987 and its Rush Street store briefly held the title of the world's largest Starbucks back in 1995. Over a decade later, The Windy City is now back on the throne — this time, with a whiskey barrel-aged cold brew in hand.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles