It’s not just the trademark green and white exterior that everyone loves at this Kobe, Japan, location. What you may not know is that the building was originally built by Americans in 1907, and was damaged in the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake. The owner then sold the building to the city of Kobe, where it was stripped, the materials preserved, and built in its present location. The Starbucks, which opened in 2009, has an Old World coffeehouse charm, with its original 20th-century décor, that’s unlike what you’d expect to find in Japan.
We love a good Starbucks drive-thru, and this may just rival the urban container Starbucks drive-thrus in the U.S. The first drive-thru Starbucks in Thailand (and the first Starbucks in Asia to receive a gold LEED certification for its environmentally friendly practices), the Porto Chino drive-thru takes a modernist approach to the traditional Starbucks store. At the end of 2012, the number of Starbucks planned for Thailand numbered at 154 — but this just may be the coolest one there.
This gorgeous Starbucks is located in a mall — would you believe it? The newly opened Starbucks location has all of the décor you’d expect from a Starbucks and we can’t get enough of it. Bonus? It's open 24 hours a day.
Cruise ship Starbucks are so yesterday. Introducing the newest floating Starbucks aboard the USS Boxer, a navy warship, called the "Starboxer." It’s a fully functioning coffee shop with trained baristas and the Starbucks signature drinks, but all earnings from the Starbucks location go to the Boxer’s Morale, Welfare, and Recreation Fund. (Of course, Starbucks coffee has been served on navy ships since 2011, The Huffington Post points out, aboard the USS Carl Vinson.)
In the heart of Xintiandi, a popular tourist district in Shanghai, are several mainstream commercial stores — including a Starbucks in a traditional Shikumen building. One of two Starbucks in the area, this one sits in the promenade and the heart of the shopping district.
Located in a former bank, the 4,500-square-foot subterranean concept store is apparently a "glimpse into Starbucks’ vision of the future." And with everything from floating communal seating and local design touches (think Delft tiles, bike-inspired décor) to an on-site bakery and something called the "Slow" Coffee Theatre, the future definitely looks different.
When it opened last February, the Squaw Valley location earned the distinction of being the world’s first ski-in/ski-out Starbucks. Located at a staggering elevation of 8,000 feet, it’s essentially the skier’s answer to a drive-thru Starbucks. Upon its opening, Squaw Valley president and CEO, Andy Wirth, explained the concept's appeal: "Nowhere else in the world can skiers and riders enjoy a delicious Starbucks coffee without missing a beat on the slopes."
There’s no arguing that this Tukila, Wash., Starbucks stands out — and for all the right reasons. Made using four reclaimed shipping containers, the design is as eco-friendly as it is innovative and, quite frankly, just plain cool looking. Starbucks representative Alan Hilowitz explained, "Our designers were inspired to create this store both as a result of the shipyard that can be seen out the back windows of our headquarters in South Seattle, as well as a desire to recycle the same kind of shipping containers that transport our coffees and teas around the world." There’s been additional shipping container stores built now, including one in Northglenn, Colo.
Designed by Kengo Kuma & Associates, the store is located on the street leading to the Dazaifu Tenmangu shrine, which apparently influenced the firm's approach to the project. The designers wanted to have the store fit in seamlessly with the setting, and so the interior features some 2,000 light wood blocks interwoven throughout the length of the store. According to reports, the stunning effect is meant to evoke the look of branches in a forest, giving the impression that the store is "nestled in a tree." Design-wise, it might just be the coolest Starbucks ever.
It may more or less look like the kind of garden variety Starbucks outlet you’d find at your local mall, but this shop has the benefit of a slightly more unique location: on board Royal Caribbean Cruises’Allure of the Seas. The 5,400-passenger ship debuted in October of 2010, and featured everything from a zip line and surfing simulators to an open-air, tree-lined "Central Park." Not exactly what you’d consider typical digs for a Starbucks store.
Looking like some sort of futuristic battleship, this Starbucks in Xi’an, China (apparently the city’s first when it opened in 2007), has quite a unique exterior. The sharp angles and symmetric wood paneling make for quite the stand-out-in-the-crowd design.
Talk about a mall Starbucks outlet unlike any other. Located inside Dubai’s extravagantly decorated Ibn Battuta Mall — allegedly the world’s largest themed shopping mall — this Starbucks location benefits from some pretty stunning surrounding design. Namely, a gorgeous blue-and-yellow, mosaic-tiled domed ceiling and a showpiece of a chandelier.
There’s no high-concept architectural design or special eco-friendly elements incorporated — it’s just a cute little yellow cottage of a coffee shop, and if there wasn’t a sign, you might not even realize it was a Starbucks from the outside.