Starbucks on Clematis Street and in City Place
This is something that is NOT new in downtown West Palm Beach. I'm not sure how long the Starbucks has been there on the 200 block of Clematis Street, but it has been there at least 3 1/2 years and probably a lot longer. I remember when there wasn't much else on the 200 block. Located right next to the Rocco's Tacos restaurant, it's now in the middle of a hotbed of activity. But even before Roccos' Tacos was there, it attracted a loyal crowd. Yeah, Starbucks is a national chain, which causes a lot of people to criticize them as overly commercial, and they do charge a bit more for their drinks, but the Starbucks Company has been really good at creating stores that blend in with their surroundings.
In the case of the Clematis Street Starbucks, it has a really rustic neighborhood feel, which blends in well with the historic nature of the blocks surrounding it. It appears to draw a crowd of regular West Palm Beach residents who start their mornings there every day, as well as the professionals who work in nearby office buildings during the week. The "baristas" seem to have relatively good continuity, with some of the same folks continuing to work there for years at a time. This Starbucks is usually quite crowded, in the morning, at lunchtime, and just after lunch. Starbucks has a loyal following, despite its detractors. It serves a lot of great drinks. Like anything good (and especially with Starbucks), moderation is important, as some of their most popular drinks are laced with higher-than-normal percentages of caffeine and sugar).
In summary, the Clematis Street Starbucks, though it's part of the larger national chain and serves the same items, does not feel like most other Starbucks stores; it feels rustic and historic, like the rest of Clematis Street, and it draws a much more laid-back crowd than the more typical yuppie Starbucks crowd.
One of the great things about living at the 610 Clematis condominimum is that you live within three blocks of two different Starbucks stores. Go east down Clematis Street to the Clematis Street Starbucks, or go south down Rosemary Avenue to the City Place Starbucks. The City Place Starbucks is a more typical Starbucks store, more crowded during prime shopping hours than the Clematis Street Starbucks, and not as laid-back. The decor also fits in with the rest of City Place, a bit more upscale and modern than its Clematis Street counterpart. From 610 Clematis, both are about an equal distance walk, and you can choose between them based on your mood.
Starbucks has been incredibly successful nationally, although they have had some recent difficulties due to excessively fast growth and the downturn in the economy, which led to some store closings. They closed a small second kiosk store in City Place last year, which really wasn't needed, since it was right next to the main Starbucks City Place store (and the Barnes and Noble in City Place also serves Starbucks products). It doesn't appear that either of the remaining two stores in downtown West Palm Beach should be in any danger of closing. They are both very busy stores, and they are both in great locations. Despite the fact that a large contingent of people don't like Starbucks and profess to prefer more local neighborhood shops, Starbucks stores always seem to add significant activity to whatever location they move into, and downtown West Palm is lucky to have these two stores.
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