Regulars can still order a venti mocha Frappuccino with a pastry at the Seacliff Village Starbucks, but starting this week, adults will be able to sip a glass of red wine from Paso Robles and munch on bacon-wrapped dates with a balsamic glaze.
The coffeehouse at Yorktown Avenue and Goldenwest Street on Wednesday became the nation's 29th Starbucks Evenings store.
Along with a variety of wines, the Seacliff store will serve various beers and several other food dishes starting at 2 p.m. weekdays and noon on weekends, according to Alisha Damodaran, spokeswoman for the Seattle-based company.
"It's a new concept that we're testing in select locations," she said. "It's really designed for customers who want a comfortable and familiar place to meet and unwind, not like a bar or restaurant where you have to make reservations."
Starbucks started the program in 2010 at its downtown Seattle store. It gradually expanded to several markets in the United States, including Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Portland and Chicago.
Damodaran said the Evenings program came to Southern California in 2012. Rancho Santa Margarita, Calabasas and the Tom Bradley Terminal at Los Angeles International Airport are the other stores in the region that are participating.
"I don't really see a problem with this," Huntington Beach Councilman Joe Carchio said. "If it means that they feel that they can increase their business that way and they think they can maintain it, it's OK with me."
All businesses in California that want to serve alcohol need to get a permit from the Alcoholic Beverage Control.
ABC spokesman John Carr said the agency issued the Surf City Starbucks' business its permit Nov. 27 and did not receive any opposition from the public.
"They have to follow all ABC laws," he said. "They have to get identification to make sure they're not selling to minors. They can't serve someone who is obviously intoxicated — and all those alcoholic beverage laws, just like any other restaurant or bar that is issued a license."
Most Starbucks baristas are 18 years old or older, Damodaran said. The employees at the Seacliff store, however, will be at least 21 years old, she added.
"They all receive extensive alcohol and beverage training that is part of our Evenings program and the standards set by the state of California," she said.
The Starbucks spokeswoman added that hard liquor will not be served at the store.
Damodaran said the company is actively looking for other locations that could be a good fit for its Evenings program. She said a corporate demographic analysis and input from customers determines which locations get the makeover.
"From our studies of the community and speaking with customers in [Huntington Beach], we found that it's home to not just coffee enthusiasts, but wine enthusiasts as well," she said. "We figured that would be a really good fit for us to bring the program there."