Are you ready for a Starbucks that parties?
The downtown Sheraton in Columbia is converting its former basement bar, Main Street Tavern, into a 1,500-square-foot store that will feature beer and wine, an expanded menu and perhaps even spirits.
Manager Kelly Nurick said the store, in addition to alcohol sales, will feature fare like a brie cheese plate, heavy hors d’oeuvres and small, warm plates.
“It will be more like a full-service restaurant,” she said.
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The new Starbucks is scheduled to open in the boutique hotel, which also features a rooftop bar and a lounge in the former bank building’s vault, on July 20. But final approval on alcohol sales might take six months to a year, Nurick said.
The room is undergoing complete renovation. And Starbucks has to approve each stage of the renovation, said Nurick, who ran Starbucks in Charleston and Las Vegas before coming to Columbia.
The concept is called Starbucks Evening. The franchise is owned by Columbia hotelier Rick Patel.
There are more than 20,100 Starbucks locations worldwide and 11,500 locations in the United States, according to reports. But only about 40 locations in Atlanta, Portland, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, Seattle, Chicago and Orlando offer the new menu and beverages, according to the Starbucks Evening website.
Columbia would be only the third market in the Southeast to have the new Evening fare.
For years the space was operated as the Sherlock Holmes Pub, a cozy, hidden room that actually extends underneath Main Street. The new concept would replace the small Starbucks counter in the hotel’s lobby.
Matt Kennell, president and CEO of City Center Partnership, which encourages and guides investment in the central business district, said the new concept would be welcome.
“Adding the Starbucks Evening is something unique and we’re glad to see it,” he said. “It will be a unique twist.”
For recent University of South Carolina grad Will Price, having a beer at Starbucks is a concept that might take a little getting used to.
“The girlfriend loves Starbucks,” he said while ordering a beverage at the Sheraton lobby store. “She could get a coffee. I could have a cold beer. That could work.”