Back in August, we learned that the new N. 7th Street Starbucks in Williamsburg (one of two in the neighborhood) had applied for a license to serve beer and wine on premises. And even though we dismissed the company’s rationale for why this particular branch would be benefited by offering alcoholic drinks in addition to its regualr highly caffeinated, sugar-laden options (a company spokesperson credited it to Williamsburg residents’ “tremendous thirst and varied tastes,” which ok, sure), we never really doubted that Starbucks would achieve its mission and get what it wanted. After all, it’s a corporate Goliath in Williamsburg! What obstacles could possibly exist there anymore? Are there even any Davids left in the northside?
As it turns out, yes! There are! DNAinfo reports that Starbucks has been denied a liquor license “saying that it was not in the public interest for the mega-chain’s newest location to serve beer and wine.” After news first got out that Starbucks was applying for a liquor license, nearby coffee shop The West started a petition for residents to sign indicating that they didn’t think the neighborhood needed another business selling alcohol. The new Starbucks falls under the 500-foot rule, which means that restrictions can apply on granting liquor licenses to businesses that are close to other alcohol-selling enterprises, and that licenses will only be granted if there is proof that the area in question will be benefited by having more alcohol sold within it. But because The West’s petition held the signatures of about 500 Williamsburg residents, explicitly demonstrating that plenty of area people did not think a Starbucks bar would add anything to the neighborhood, other than, you know, even more pumpkin-spiced alcoholic drinks.
So, you know, Starbucks got shut down! Only not literally, of course, it’s still going to be in business. Just not selling booze. So maybe this isn’t the kind of victory that makes you tear your shirt off and go running around wildly, letting our primal screams. But that’s ok, for now. It’s something, you know? And in a time when so many long-standing beloved spots are shutting down and mega-chains like J. Crew have cringe-worthy signs out front of their Wythe Avenue store saying “kale-free zone” and it’s pretty damn clear that the snake is eating its own tail and we’re all stuck somewhere in the middle of that, it’s nice when even a small victory is achieved. We’ll take what we can get.
Follow Kristin Iversen on twitter @kmiversen