WICKER PARK — A small but oft-packed Starbucks at Wicker Park's Milwaukee, Damen and North avenues intersection will be closing Tuesday and reopening next month as a much bigger spot with expanded seating — and a new emphasis on different brewing methods.
Located at 1588 N. Milwaukee Ave., the Starbucks location's revamp to a Starbucks "Reserve Bar" was first announced over a year ago. The cafe will be expanding into an adjacent storefront that was formerly home to City Soles, a shoe store.
On Monday, a manager for the Reserve Bar said that the spot will be the first in Chicago for Starbucks and the 13th for the Seattle-based company, following a Reserve Bar in suburban Lake Forest that opened last fall.
Contrary to previous plans announced last year, beer and wine will not be served.
A sign in the window posted on Sunday says that the Starbucks will close at 11 a.m. Tuesday and reopen in February. Hours for the new Reserve Bar have not yet been determined, the manager said.
Fans can check out the progress on Instagram, at @Bucktown_Starbucks_Reserve_Bar.
Located in the triangular 1880s-era "Black Building Trust" that straddles Damen, Milwaukee and North avenues, the existing Starbucks is about 600 square feet and offers just a few chairs for customers.
The new space will offer more than 20 seats and the Reserve Bar will be staffed by the same workers at the current location, the manager said.
When Starbucks opened in 2002, protesters angry about the encroachment of a national brand and the closure of its predecessor, indie staple Cafe Cafeina, shattered windows, according to reports.
Last year, Marshall Black, the building's owner and Starbucks' landlord, said that Starbucks had signed a lease to rent out the additional 2,100-square-foot spot next door, with entrances on Milwaukee and North Avenue. The added space will allow for more seating and a bathroom, Black said.
"It took Starbucks two years; there was a lot of planning. [Starbucks] architects said that the building is built better than most of the new ones made today," Black said.
Starbucks representatives have been in talks with Black for at least three years about the expansion.
The triangular 1880s-era 'Black Building Trust' that straddles Damen, Milwaukee and North avenues. [Emily Morris]
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