Bill DeMarco Rates the Top 50 Starbucks in LA: This Week: #18

demarco#18: the Starbucks in the shopping center at Hollywood & Highland

I actually don’t even like this store very much. But the Hollywood & Highland center holds a lot of memories for me. Some of them latté, some of them dark roast. I was here in ’85 when they were filming a scene for Airwolf. ’85 was a good year for three things: wine, baseball, and movies.

But back to the story. Like I was saying this Starbucks isn’t very good. It’s cramped. It’s like trying to drink coffee in an elevator. Worse. It’s like trying to buy coffee in an elevator. What saves it is the view. You look north, sprightly Highland Avenue. To the south, Sunset Boulevard. No introduction necessary. From left to right: Hollywood hills, wall, Crocodile Dundee impersonator. A perfect vista to compliment the drinking of exceptional coffee.

But this day I have an unexpected visitor. As I’m sipping my java chip frappuccino, a guy yells across the atrium, “Hey DeMarco.” He recognizes me from the column. I try to ignore him. He’s wearing hiking boots. No one said fame was going to be easy. “Hey, DeMarco.” I give in. “Yeah,” I say. “What?”

“I see you’re drinking coffee.”

I let him toy with me. Lull him into a false sense of confidence.


“A cup of Starbucks coffee.”


“What’s your deal with Starbucks? Why don’t you have coffee somewhere else? Like the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf?”

You mean the Coffee Bean & Tea Queef. Why don’t I just get estrogen supplements? This guy’s a moron. Hi, can I have a lobster trap with my coffee? Coffee Bean. Jesus. Why Starbucks instead of Coffee Bean? Because horsepower instead of milliwatts. Because whole hog instead of cold turkey. Because bottom of the 7th, 2 out, bases empty. Dig? As John Tesh once said, if you have to ask, man, then you’ll never know.

“Dude, why don’t you ever go to the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf?” he says again.

I sneer and don’t answer him.