The World's Coolest Starbucks

Starbucks locations break from the cookie-cutter moldIt's been said that you're never farther than 170 miles from a Starbucks in America - and we can assume that will become only more true as Starbucks continues its global domination. As of July 2012, there were 17,651 Starbucks locations worldwide, with an additional 1,500 planned for 2013. In fact, the company just recently announced that it would be opening its 1,000th location in Japan this summer.

The Coolest Starbucks Stores Around the World

And while a Starbucks location has a certain aesthetic - dark wood paneling, Pantone green accents, chic and comfortable seating for a true coffeehouse vibe - we can all admit that our Starbucks locations have a big box store, cookie-cutter feel to them. So when we find uniquely designed Starbucks stores from Singapore to Amsterdam, we get excited for the unusual. With innovative design, unique architecture that fits within the city's landscape, and unusual concepts, these are the Starbucks worth visiting.

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Credit: Hank deVre/Squaw ValleySki-In/Ski-Out Starbucks (Squaw Valley, Calif.)
When it opened last February, the Squaw Valley location earned the distinction of being the world's first ski-in/ski-out Starbucks. Located at a staggering elevation of 8,000 feet, it's essentially the skier's answer to a drive-thru Starbucks. Upon its opening, Squaw Valley president and CEO, Andy Wirth, explained the concept's appeal: "Nowhere else in the world can skiers and riders enjoy a delicious Starbucks coffee without missing a beat on the slopes."

Credit: Tom Ackerman, StarbucksShipping Container Starbucks (Tukila, Wash.)
There's no arguing that this Tukila, Wash., Starbucks stands out - and for all the right reasons. Made using four reclaimed shipping containers, the design is as eco-friendly as it is innovative and, quite frankly, just plain cool looking. Starbucks representative Alan Hilowitz explained, "Our designers were inspired to create this store both as a result of the shipyard that can be seen out the back windows of our headquarters in South Seattle, as well as a desire to recycle the same kind of shipping containers that transport our coffees and teas around the world." There's been additional shipping container stores built now, including one in Northglenn, Colo.

Credit: KumaFukuoka Starbucks (Fukuoka, Japan)
Designed by Kengo Kuma & Associates, the store is located on the street leading to the Dazaifu Tenmangu shrine, which apparently influenced the firm's approach to the project. The designers wanted to have the store fit in seamlessly with the setting, and so the interior features some 2,000 light wood blocks interwoven throughout the length of the store. According to reports, the stunning effect is meant to evoke the look of branches in a forest, giving the impression that the store is "nestled in a tree." Design-wise, it might just be the coolest Starbucks ever.

Credit: Jouni Saaristo, StarbucksAllure of the Seas Starbucks (Royal Caribbean Cruise)
It may more or less look like the kind of garden variety Starbucks outlet you'd find at your local mall, but this shop has the benefit of a slightly more unique location: on board Royal Caribbean Cruises'Allure of the Seas. The 5,400-passenger ship debuted in October of 2010, and featured everything from a zip line and surfing simulators to an open-air, tree-lined "Central Park." Not exactly what you'd consider typical digs for a Starbucks store.

Credit: Mikel WardXi'an Starbucks (Xi'an, China)
Looking like some sort of futuristic battleship, this Starbucks in Xi'an, China (apparently the city's first when it opened in 2007), has quite a unique exterior. The sharp angles and symmetric wood paneling make for quite the stand-out-in-the-crowd design.

Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Joi ItoStarbucks at the Ibn Battuta Mall (Dubai, UAE)
Talk about a mall Starbucks outlet unlike any other. Located inside Dubai's extravagantly decorated Ibn Battuta Mall - allegedly the world's largest themed shopping mall - this Starbucks location benefits from some pretty stunning surrounding design. Namely, a gorgeous blue-and-yellow, mosaic-tiled domed ceiling and a showpiece of a chandelier.

Credit: Yelp/Nicole W.Breckenridge Starbucks (Breckenridge, Colo.)
There's no high-concept architectural design or special eco-friendly elements incorporated - it's just a cute little yellow cottage of a coffee shop, and if there wasn't a sign, you might not even realize it was a Starbucks from the outside.

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- Marcy Franklin, The Daily Meal

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