More than two years after it was first announced, Starbucks Reserve Roastery Chicago will finally open its doors to the public on Friday, November 15. Located at 646 N Michigan Avenue in a building that formerly housed a Crate & Barrel, the 35,000-square-foot outpost is the company's largest public roastery to date, packed with exclusive beverages, food and experiences that differentiate the sprawling destination from your usual neighborhood Starbucks. It's a little bit like Eataly for the coffee-obsessed.
Upon entering the five-story Reserve Roastery, you'll immediately notice the metal tubes that snake across the ceiling of every floor. They're not just decorative—the pipes ferry freshly roasted beans from a 56-foot steel cask (where beans go to rest after they're roasted) to each of the coffee bars, where they can immediately be used to create drinks. The space also features a first-floor roastery, a sleek curved escalator (the first of its kind in the Midwest, according to Starbucks) that ushers visitors to the building's second floor and a series of murals by local artist Eulojio Ortega.
If you're going to the Starbucks Reserve Roastery looking for a Frappuccino or caramel macchiato fix, you're going to be disappointed—those drinks aren't on the menu. Instead, the various coffee bars throughout the Reserve Roastery focus on classic espresso beverages (think lattes, cappuccinos and cortados) and coffee blends that are made with small batches of beans that are roasted in-house. An "experiential coffee bar" on the third floor allows guests to sample drinks prepared using pour-over, coffee-press, siphon, Chemex, Clover and cold-brewing methods, while a bar on the fourth floor focuses on barrel-aged coffee using beans that spend time in wooden vessels that were formerly filled with booze.
Even the coffee-averse will be able to find something to enjoy at the Reserve Roastery, which also hosts a cocktail bar, a spritz bar, a Princi bakery and a nitrogen-infused gelato station. The fourth-floor Arriviamo Cocktail Bar will likely prove to be the most popular destination—it's where you'll find boozy concoctions created in collaboration with local mixologists such as Julia Momose, Annie Beebe-Tron and Rachel Miller, including a Roastery Boilermaker that combines cold brew, whiskey and Malört with a sidecar of Rhine Hall Bierschnaps. If you're hungry, choose from an array of sweet and savory baked goods from the Princi Bakery, as well as pizza, pasta and salads served at various bars within the Reserve Roastery.
Itching for a sneak peek inside Chicago's latest Starbucks before the caffeinated drinks begin flowing on Friday? Check out these photos from inside the massive new space, which promises to be a destination for anyone looking for a pick-me-up on the Magnificent Mile.