Five stories tall with coffee cocktails: The Starbucks Reserve Roastery opens its doors in Chicago

Starbucks to open its biggest location ever on Chicago's Magnificent Mile.
Image: Starbucks

Caffeine giant Starbucks currently operates nearly 800 stores in the Illinois region alone. Now, it’s about to get one more—the epic Starbucks Reserve Roastery on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile. Starbucks announced plans for the Reserve Roastery back in September, and now it is finally time for its doors to open to the public on November 15. 

Inside The Roastery

While most people pile into their cramped local Starbucks for skosh of caffeine, The Reserve Roastery is decidedly the Starbucks experience on an entirely different level. Judging by the pictures, it scarcely resembles a Starbucks and looks more like a Willy Wonka-esque factory of coffee. The Roastery stands at five stories tall and 35,000 sq. feet, making it the largest Starbucks in the country. Meanwhile, the coffee megaplex also has the midwest’s first curved elevator

This is the third Roastery in the United States after New York and Seattle. It’s also the sixth Roastery in the world, following in the footsteps of Shanghai, Milan, and Tokyo. The Chicago Roastery will employ approximately 200 people and will include roles not typically seen at Starbucks, like commessas, bakers, and mixologists. It’s essentially a Starbucks, but with a ton of add-ons. 

“The design of the Chicago Roastery was inspired by the iconic Chicago landmark, and the city itself,” said Jill Enomoto, Vice President of Roastery Design & Concept in a press release. “We embraced the building’s natural light, married it with shades of classic Starbucks greens and intentionally wove in design features to encourage customer exploration and highlight the love and respect we have for coffee.”

Highlighting love and respect for coffee comes in the form of not one but three coffee bars in the Roastery. The Starbucks Reserve Coffee Bar is the first area that greets visitors. Customers can order classic espresso beverages at that bar. However, the third floor holds the Experiential Coffee Bar. Like it says in the name, the Experiential Coffee Bar exists for those who want their dark roast with a side of experience. In Starbucks’ eyes, “experience” means drinking coffee flights while immersing yourself in the “art, science, and theatre of coffee.” 

Artisanal Cocktails, but with Coffee

The fourth floor holds the Barrel-Aged Coffee Bar. Along with the other two bars, customers can try a number of unique, bougie Roastery cocktail creations and drinks that you can’t find at any other Starbucks in the U.S.

The Roastery features three cocktails that nod to the Windy City, including The Roastery Boilermaker, the Pour Over Bijou, and the Lake Shore. 

The former includes the eye-opening combination of Starbucks Reserve Cold Brew mixed with Koval Four Grain Whiskey, Chicago cult liqueur Malort, and grapefruit bitters. Starbucks’ menu then pairs the drink with a sidecar of Rhine Hall Bierschnapps. The Pour Over Bijou is no slouch either. It includes Nikka Coffey Gin, Carpano Blanco, Green Chartreuse, and Liquore Strega that is extracted through Starbucks Reserve Coffee. Basically, you can get your coffee fix while getting sh*tfaced on fancy liquor. It is truly Starbucks like you’ve never experienced it.

The Reserve Roastery opens its doors on Friday, November 15.