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Williamsburg Starbucks to Start Serving Beer and Wine

By Serena Dai | August 17, 2015 7:21am
 Starbucks opened its second Williamsburg location at 154 North Seventh St. on Monday, Nov. 3, 2014.
Williamsburg's North Seventh St. Starbucks
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WILLIASMBURG — Now you can skip the macchiato and head straight for the Malbec.

Williamsburg's "coolest" Starbucks, at 154 North Seventh St., will start slinging booze Wednesday as part of "Starbucks Evenings," in which the coffee chain will serve wine, beer and small plates in the late afternoon and evening.

Starbucks nabbed its beer-and-wine license from the State Liquor Authority late last year, despite opposition from Community Board 1 and an anti-Starbucks petition signed by more than 500 locals.

However, the Seattle-based chain's vice president of Concept Innovation, Rachel Antalek, said many locals supported the license, noting that they "might not have been as loud" as the chain's detractors.

She said the evening addition creates an opportunity for groups like artist collectives, writer clubs and homeowner associations to meet.

"We felt the vibrancy for the community," Antalek said, "This is [a neighborhood] that would really respond to having an evening gathering place."

More than 70 shops across the country feature the Starbucks Evening program. Only one other outpost in New York City has a liquor license, the "stealth" Starbucks in Macy's called Herald Square Cafe.

After 4 p.m., the Williamsburg location will be serving four different craft beers by Brooklyn Brewery, Antalek said. It will also offer 10 different types of wine, including a prosecco and Malbec.

Small plates on the menu include a truffle mac and cheese, bacon-wrapped dates and a salumi plate.

Locals rallied against the location's bid to serve beer and wine last year, saying the mega-chain's ability to serve alcohol threatened small business in the area. The opponents ultimately convinced Community Board 1 to reject the license, but the board's vote was only advisory to the State Liquor Authority, which made the final decision.

Starbucks currently has no plans to implement the same program at its other Williamsburg location, located at 405-409 Union Ave., Antalek said.

But if things go well and people want beer and wine at the second spot, it's a possibility, she said.

"We’re always evaluating," she said, "and we’re always looking to see where the community is coming from."