Starbucks wants to offer beer, wine

Huntington Beach, a city famous for its many alcohol-serving venues, may get a new watering hole soon — and its name should be familiar.

The Starbucks at 7101 Yorktown Ave. in the Seacliff Village shopping center has applied for a license to sell beer and wine, joining three other Southern California locations for the Seattle-based coffee chain.

Trung Vo, a supervising investigator for the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, said the department received the application in March and that it usually takes 60 to 90 days to grant a license.

Zack Hutson, a spokesman for Starbucks, said the company began selling beer and wine in fall 2010 and now offers it at seven locations: five in the Seattle area, one in Portland, Ore., and one in Sun Valley, Idaho. The Seattle-based company plans to expand the service this year to Southern California, Atlanta and the Chicago area.

So far, the menu additions, which Starbucks adopted for customers who want to relax in the evening, appear to be a success, Hutson said.

“The feedback and reaction from our customers has been really positive,” he said. “We don’t break out store-level specifics for financial reasons, but the feedback has been positive.”

The other California locations that have applied for licenses are in Rancho Santa Margarita, Coronado and Calabasas.

The Huntington Beach location by Yorktown and Main Street is a short drive from downtown, an area that has garnered controversy in recent years due to its large number of alcohol-serving establishments.

Police have said they automatically protest every alcohol license application downtown and withdraw the protest if the applicant agrees to meet certain conditions.

Lt. Mitch O’Brien said vice detectives will review Starbucks’ application, as they do all others citywide, but knew of no plans to protest it.

David Rice of HB Neighbors, a group that has opposed new alcohol licenses downtown, said the Starbucks was far enough away from problem areas that it wouldn’t cause concern.

He said, though, that his group would protest if the downtown Starbucks sought an alcohol license.

“If that Starbucks were part of this, we would absolutely oppose it and go to the mat, so to speak,” Rice said.

Eric Mendez, an assistant manager at the Starbucks on Yorktown, said the location would undergo a remodel if the alcohol license were approved, but couldn’t provide details.

Twitter @MichaelMillerHB