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Santa Monica Starbucks Could Offer Wine and Beer

Phil Brock For Council 2014

Santa Monica Real Estate Company, Roque and Mark

Michael Feinstein for Santa Monica City Council 2014Harding Larmore Kutcher & Kozal, LLP  law firm
Harding, Larmore Kutcher & Kozal, LLP

Pacific Park, Santa Monica Pier

Santa Monica Convention and Visitors BureauWhen one lives in a city as breathtakingly beautiful and unique as Santa Monica, inevitably that city will be shared with visitors.

By Jonathan Friedman
Associate Editor

August 25, 2014 -- Double-fisting a caffè latte and beer could soon become the latest fad in Santa Monica. Starbucks has applied for a conditional-use permit to serve alcohol at a new location expected to open at the southwest corner of Main Street and Olympic Drive in the Civic Center.

The Planning Commission will consider the permit request on Wednesday. City staff has recommended approval.

This would be the third Starbucks in Los Angeles County to serve alcohol as part of the “Starbucks Evenings” concept. A Starbucks in Calabasas began serving alcohol in 2012. A location offering beer and wine opened at LAX’s Tom Bradley International Terminal last year.

Media reports say the alcohol permit for the Calabasas location was approved by that city’s planning commission with limited opposition. There is no known opposition to the Santa Monica proposal.

A staff report written by Planning Manager Amanda Schachter says beer and wine would be served Monday through Saturday from  2 p.m. to 12 a.m. and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 11 p.m. To comply with state law for selling alcohol, the menu would also include “food service of warm and cold small meals on ceramic dishware.”

Food and non-alcoholic drinks offered at traditional Starbucks locations would also be included on the menu.

“There is no bar area proposed, and it is not the applicant’s intent to materially change the atmosphere or the environment of what is typically associated with a Starbucks location,” Schachter wrote. 

The 2,400-square-foot Starbucks will be part of the mixed-use development Village at Santa Monica, which was approved in 2008 and is under construction. Schachter’s report says there would be a limit of 90 seats, including 29 in a 441-square-foot outdoor patio.

Alcohol service on the patio would stop an hour before the Starbucks closes, which Schachter wrote “will further lessen any potential alcohol-related impacts from the proposed use.”

Other proposed requirements are that all servers be at least 21 years old, closed circuit security cameras be installed “at strategic locations both inside the store and in the patio area” and that everybody must leave the premises within one hour of closure.

A Starbucks spokesperson told The Lookout there are no immediate plans to offer alcohol at additional locations in Santa Monica. Alcohol is served at four Starbucks locations in California, including in Calabasas and at LAX. It is also served at Starbucks locations in several other states and Washington D.C.

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