The original Starbucks near Pike Place Market is a popular tourist attraction in Seattle. It's something people visiting always want to see and as a result I've taken a bunch of friends and family there. After living in Seattle for three years I've been into that Starbucks maybe 20 times or so. Say what you will about Starbucks coffee, visiting the original site is a fun experience considering the breadth of what the Starbucks empire has become. It's old, quaint, and feels a bit like stepping into a coffee shop time machine. Everyone who visits snaps photos, buys lots of "original starbucks" swag, and they revel in the novelty of being in the birthplace of the world's most commercially successful coffee.
Except there's just one thing wrong: it's not the original Starbucks.
The first Starbucks was opened by an English teacher, a history teacher, and a writer in 1971 in a location a few blocks north of the highly trafficked "original" Starbucks. The three entrepreneurs were impressed by the dark roasted coffee offered by Peet's at the time and wanted to make their own in Seattle, so they started Starbucks as a coffee bean company. The store they first opened was on 2000 Western Ave
. It moved to its location in Pike Place Market
five years later.
So there's a partial truth to the Pike Place location being the original Starbucks -- it was one
of the first stores, but not the
first. The very first store located up on Western Ave has a far less dramatic interior and looks pretty much like any other Starbucks in the world.
So if you want to impress someone who tells you they visited the first Starbucks, (or just be a pedantic buzzkill), let them in on our little secret.
*Update* I made a mistake.
The original Starbucks is actually no longer at the location on 2000 Western Ave. When they moved it, they actually moved it (meaning the original was gone after that).