Manager: ‘No definite date’ for beer, wine at downtown Evanston Starbucks

Kelly Gonsalves, Reporter

Although Evanston aldermen have approved a liquor license for the downtown Starbucks, a manager said Sunday there is “no definite date” for when the coffee shop will start serving alcohol.

City Council agreed Oct. 28 to allow Starbucks, 1734 Sherman Ave., to offer a small selection of beer and wine after 4 p.m. as part of the “Starbucks Evenings” pilot program. The location will become the eighth Starbucks in the Chicago area to participate in the initiative, which aims to create an evening atmosphere at the coffee shop once the workday ends.

“We’re definitely going to be getting a different feel at night,” said Joel Recinto, manager of the Starbucks in downtown Evanston. “At night it’s usually just studying and coffee, but now it’s going to be studying, coffee and there’s going to be drinks as well.”

Recinto said the program was supposed to launch in October, but the restaurant is still waiting for the city to finalize the license. He said he has no estimate for when to expect the program to begin.

Nonetheless, the coffee shop has already undergone preparations to transition into Starbucks Evenings, including training all employees on how to distribute alcohol and ensuring all Evenings servers are 21 years or older.

Recinto said Evenings servers will wait on and bring items directly to tables, rather than the order-at-the-counter system used during the day. The coffee shop will also serve small, “classy” food items with its alcohol selections, he said.

“All our preparations are there,” Recinto said. “We’re ready for it. We’re just waiting for it to launch.”

Recinto said he is also certain the program will appeal to Northwestern students.

“I just think it’s perfect if students are wanting to get a pick-me-up or wanting to get a little bit of energy or somewhere calm to pregame right before heading to the bar,” Recinto said. “There’s a bunch of ways you can look at it. Alcohol brings a whole new perception to the table.”

Kelly Gonsalves