Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This

Food

Photos: Sad Highland Park Starbucks Called The 'Most Depressing Starbucks In America'

LAist relies on your reader support, not paywalls.
Freely accessible local news is vital. Please power our reporters and help keep us independent with a donation today.

There was Dumb Starbucks and now there's Sad Starbucks. It's not a Nathan Fielder prank, but a new drive-thru Starbucks in Highland Park that opened a couple of weeks ago. It has a few stools, a concrete floor and all the depressing, khaki-colored stucco walls you could ever want. Maybe Sad Keanu would go there.

LAist visited the new coffee shop that some have called the "most depressing Starbucks in America" this afternoon. It's located in the bustling 6400 block of York Boulevard. For a moment we thought we were in the wrong place. A couple of cars were waiting in the drive-thru queue—it could've doubled as a Jack In the Box. They're not really expecting anyone to actually hang out there for long as there isn't an indoor section, and there are a total of five parking spots. So much for a "third place."

You can sit in a covered, open-air space on a few metal stools with a thin, small table attached to the wall. Three framed pictures hang on the wall advertising Starbucks drinks. There isn't even a bar with milk and sugar either. There are four concrete patio tables outside with umbrellas over them. We doubt anyone would want to hang out there for more than a few minutes. Design seems to have been an afterthought for these guys.

Oh, and it sucks for employees, too. The two windows where baristas can peer out are tiny and prison-like.

Support for LAist comes from

Eastsider LA had local architect Catherine Garrison review the building, and she wrote that not only was it "disappointing" and "insulting" to Highland Park, but it "does not match the design sophistication of the neighborhood."

We write this as we're inside Highland Cafe down the street, where there are a bunch of tables and couches, filled with people chatting and working away on their laptops. The front window lets a lot of light in. There's nary a stucco wall. This feels more like Highland Park.

Highland Park residents were already up in arms about the coffee shop entering their neighborhood and were afraid it would take away from local businesses. Plus, it looks like the locals were misled about how the Starbucks would look. Business Insider reported that the neighborhood was promised indoor seating for 30 people, but that didn't happen. Others have been giving less-than-enthused reviews on the spot on Yelp. As of today, there are 27 reviews with a 1.5-star rating, with some calling the building a "DUMP" and a "horror show."

It's worth noting that a well-designed Starbucks is not impossible.

Update [8/16]: Starbucks has heard all the criticism and agrees that the Highland Park Starbucks definitely needs a little remodeling. "We agree this store is not representative of this neighborhood, and are committed to taking specific actions that will address the concerns we've heard" a Starbucks spokesman said to ABC 7 in a statement.