Starbucks Gets Swanky With Latest UWS Store Renovation

Click to enlarge.

When the Starbucks on 86th Street and Columbus closed last month for an upgrade, some locals worried it would go the way of the location on 67th that closed for good. But the coffee empire instead gave the location a whole new look. Here are some pics of what it once looked like, pretty standard for a city Starbucks.

When the picture above was snapped on Monday night, it wasn’t open, but that may have changed by this morning (no one was answering the phone when we called).

As Kenneth explained: “Everything is new. They gutted it back to the masonry walls and completely rebuilt it. It was an empty box 3 weeks ago. It has been closed for about a month.”

Will this be one of those Reserve or Roastery stores where they sell $10 coffee? Let us know if you go.

Thanks to Kenneth for the photo.

NEWS | 29 comments | permalink
    1. UWSHebrew says:

      Looks fantastic.

    2. Che says:

      It’s different from before, within boundaries (black furniture, several seating options, a possible news rack, spicery, patisseries) , but every Stabucks I go to (12, maybe) looks different from the rest. One has a pair of armchairs halfway up a spiral staircase. The design department clearly has leeway, within boundaries.

      It always perplexed me that a Starbucks small black cost the same as a Dunkin Donuts; the recent Starbucks 22-cents price rise makes sense to me; I’m amazed there’s still great coffee for less than $2.50.

    3. dannyboy says:

      I’ve been reading “Vanishing New York: How a Great City Lost Its Soul” by Jerimiah Moss. Six pages in, Starbucks is identified as a marker for Gentrification. Starbucks gets lots more mentions as Hypergentrification takes over.

      This latest Starbucks move appears to be a marker for the third phase…Luxurification.

      • GG says:

        I think I’m more concerned about the fact that people think Starbucks is the height of luxury.

        And people say the middle class is disappearing from the UWS.:)

      • Scott says:

        “Moss” isn’t even from the city. I find it amusing when people from Massachusetts come here and bark orders at us, demanding a return to a city they never saw. He’s probably a Red Sox fan too, like DeBolshevik.

        • RWC10025 says:

          Moss is a historian, read this book!

        • dannyboy says:

          Scott, my family is 4 generation ny’ers, and accept people arriving into the community.

          I believe Moss is here for 25 years. What’s the minimum tenure for acceptance?

          • Cato says:

            Welcome back, dannyboy! You’ve been missed!

            (PS: I’m a fan of Jeremiah Moss, too.)

          • Scott says:

            More than 25 years, ace.

            • dannyboy says:

              So you won’t listen to people who’ve been in nyc for less than 25 years. Interesting perspective.

            • GG says:

              Yeah, I think if you are going to be a “historian” you should be somewhere longer than 25 years.

              I know in this digital age 25 years seems like a long time. Everyone is so into instant gratification and such. After 25 years you are just STARTING to figure things out. You kids will realize that when you get a little older.

              Anyway, enjoy your youth…don’t argue with your elders about how much more insightful and knowledgeable you are just because you have Google and we didn’t. We had to work hard for it..and be patient. 25 years is a good start though.

            • Scott says:

              I didn’t say I wouldn’t listen to him. Not that I have much choice–he’s a media darling and is all over the place. He’s a loudmouth, in other words. The standards for being a transplant AND being a loudmouth are a bit tougher. Wouldn’t you agree?

    4. Mark says:

      Now if only the scaffolding that looms over the place would go away…

      • Scourge of scaffolding continues. When will it ever end? You’d have to be a regular to even know what’s going on inside. But. It looks nice!

        • Foodtrucks says:

          Noticed this morning the decking and mesh covering the building is gone and appears the scaffolding is coming down with it. Currently the medal bars and support beams are the only things remaining.

    5. Sam K says:

      The renovations have less todo with “upscaling” and more to do with increasing mobile order workflow for the baristas. The bar and back space had been increased while seat space has been decreased. Seems like a trend to focus on what has been a big driver of sales growth for sbux – a move away from the 3rd space originally inspired by Shultz and into the 4th digital space.

      • dannyboy says:

        “a move away from the 3rd space originally inspired by Shultz and into the 4th digital space.”

        Yes, minimize the social interaction.

    6. Poco McSwanky says:

      They could building the Venti Mahal at 86/Columbus, but that venue was always saw so much traffic that it felt like a stockyard. Not so much the physical facilities, as lack of maintenance.

      This is what passes for luxe and swanky on the UWS? You people are why we can’t have nice things.

    7. UWSfoodie says:

      WOW! It’s amazing how fresh and different the store looks now, a huge improvement.

    8. Nycuwsmom says:

      My husband proposed to me at this Starbucks 14 years ago! I was worried they were going to close for good. Renovations look great.

      • GG says:

        Wow! Engaged at a Starbucks. This reminded me so much of the movie Best in Show. Great movie, one of my favorites.

        Christopher Guest, the genius behind Spinal Tap and many others, made this movie as a spoof of the Westminster Dog Show and its participants. I am laughing to myself just thinking about it.:) Eugene Levy might be the most underrated comedic genius of a generation…

        Anyway, one of the younger couples (Parker Posey?) in the show is totally obsessed with Starbucks, where they met, and go everyday, etc. Check it out if you haven’t seen it. I personally guarantee two hours of hilarity.:)

    9. BrendaT says:

      Tres Nespresso, no?

    10. Wijmlet says:

      Backless seats–oy!

    11. IKemp says:


      But the funds they didn’t spend on 66th and Amsterdam must have been put into that one.
      66th still portable AC no Outlets and few tables remaining

    12. Filatura says:

      The redo appears to be geared toward increasing turnover — keeping people slightly uncomfortable while they finish their drinks so they leave more quickly. The old configuration encouraged some of the clientele to use S’Bucks as quasi-offices or extensions of their living rooms, sipping a single Tall (small) coffee while studying, working or chatting on their mobiles for hours at a time. It’s hard to make this retail model profitable, whatever you charge for the brew. The new model swerves more in the direction of an Italian coffee bar, where people pop in for a quick caffeine fix (often standing up) and are on their way.

    13. Dale says:

      Happened to walk by there late last night and there were a few guys still working on the store.

    14. Vince says:

      Starbucks still does not know how to prepare a cappuccino the right way. Do you recall several years ago when all their stores closed for a half day to train their baristas to make a better beverage? Well, it didn’t work. Starbucks has become the McDonald’s of coffee shops. Better options now available in our hood.

    15. Wendy says:

      looks like a bar without the high bar tables 🙂

    16. GG says:

      Remember when we all used to go to a bodega or a Korean deli to grab a cup of coffee for 50 cents? Usually in one of those blue and white cups.

      It wasn’t great and it wasn’t awful but it was fine and it provided the fuel for generations of world class NYC achievement. The Brits need their tea and the French love their wine but NY’er’s like highly caffeinated, mediocre coffee that has been sitting in a warm pot for at least 2 hours and costs 50 cents.