The iconic symbol of the twin-tailed mermaid surrounded by green that has made its way onto millions of coffee cups represents so much more than the coffee shop, Starbucks. It represents a brand of good coffee, fun times and taking Instagram photos of your drinks for the sake of garnering likes. The Starbucks Coffee Company started in Seattle, Washington in 1971 and since its opening has expanded to over 22,000 stores worldwide. It is one of the most well-known coffee shops in the world, one that is close to many people’s hearts here
on Long Island.
However, this famous coffee company is facing backlash in a certain part of Long Island, where a store has recently acquired a liquor license. The store is in Long Beach, located at 101 West Park Avenue and will be able to serve alcoholic beverages between 5:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m., according to The Long Beach Patch. Starbucks was issued a wine tavern license, which, according to New York State Liquor Authority, allows sale for on-premises consumption of wine and beer.
This may bring in a little more business if people want a coffee-shop-feel in a place where they can get alcohol, but Starbucks does not need to be the place for this, nor should it be the place to provide booze.
Many community members of Long Beach have voiced concerns about this for many reasons, one being that many teenagers choose the local Starbucks as a hang out spot to grab a cup of coffee and do homework. Surrounding them with adults drinking alcoholic beverages would just lead to trouble. They would feel more like they are in a bar environment instead of a coffee shop, and they might feel pressured to be drinking as well.
However, I’m not oblivious and know that underage kids will find ways to drink illegally regardless. But Starbucks, a known coffee spot for teenagers to not feel the pressure to drink anything but caffeinated beverages, is not the place for teenagers to be drinking alcohol.
Many community members have pointed out that there are many other places in Long Beach to get alcoholic beverages. It is not as if Starbucks will be a rare breed of places in the town. It is not necessary for them to be serving alcohol.
I think this is not only an issue for the reasons the community members brought up, but also an issue of safety and liability. Drunk driving is something we have all been taught is life-endangering and happens after leaving a place like a bar or party, not a Starbucks.
People consider Starbucks to be a place to grab a cup of coffee, not a possible hub where drunk drivers will risk their lives and those around them to get home. No one expects someone to leave a Starbucks drunk and certainly won’t be looking out for it.
This liquor license could prove to be a liability for Starbucks and, if it not executed properly, could easily be taken away. As I said about the drunk drivers endangering themselves and others, if anything were to happen, the Starbucks could possibly be sued for allowing people to leave and drive in an intoxicated state.
Also, I have a suspicion that this Starbucks will quickly lose their liquor license if they do not follow the rules of owning one, which patrons may unintentionally break. One of the main rules that comes to mind is people carrying out the alcoholic beverages when they leave.
I used to work at a Mexican restaurant where people would try to take our margaritas out in a soda cup, but we always had to stop and basically give them the option of throwing it out or chugging it right there. It was not the best option, but due to the liquor license we had, taking drinks outside was not allowed.
The wine-tavern license that Starbucks has follows the same rules. If someone carries out alcohol and is caught with it, Starbucks could have their license taken away because they did not stop them.
If you have ever been in a Starbucks you know that it is bustling most of the time with employees running around trying to finish all the drink orders in a timely manner. They do not have time to be checking that no one is carrying out alcohol.
Also, it is typical for Starbucks customers to get a drink then run out with it, onto the next activity of the day. This could lead to people doing the same thing with an alcoholic drink.
Although it may bring in some more business, serving alcohol at the Starbucks in Long Island would ultimately be a mistake. The community is not in favor of it and the legal issues that could come with it would not be worth the business.