Starbucks: Changes in Penn Quarter

Something really great has happened at several Starbucks in DC’s Penn Quarter. They’ve been refurbished and the winner is the consumer.

457 7th St NW. This Starbucks now has fewer couches and smaller tables. They’ve been replaced by family-style tables and long counter-tops and stools made from dark wood. The counters face out onto  the street. The refurbishing makes it possible for more people to have a seat and linger over a cup of coffee.

What hasn’t changed is the service and the restrooms. The baristas are the slowest of any Starbucks I’ve encountered. The people are very nice, but they just don’t seem to have their act together when it comes to taking orders and serving coffee.

No revamping of the restrooms. They work and sometimes that’s the most important thing.

800 7th St NW.  This two-level Starbucks has replaced its couches and many smaller tables with large, family-style tables for sharing and long countertops and stools, all made from dark wood. The number of outlets along the walls near the counters makes it easier than ever to hook up to the Internet without exhausting one’s batteries.

This particular Starbucks seems to be home to a lot of writers, students and tourists. The larger tables enable more folk to have a seat while enjoying their lattes.  Although the line of tourists can be frightening, the visitors usually grab their coffee and leave. The staff is also terrific–they are jovial and quick.

What separates this Starbucks from the pack? Three restrooms—a unisex restroom on the first floor and individual men’s and women’s restrooms on the second level. This particular women’s room is gigantic, well-lit and stocked and even has the xcelerator hand-dryer.

Sometimes change is good.

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