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Even Coffee Giant Starbucks Has Closed Dozens of Bay Area Stores Due to Staff Shortages

Plus, Pacific Cocktail Haven is finally back and more Bay Area food news

The Starbucks logo amongst a mess of coffee beans.
Starbucks faces temporary closures throughout the Bay Area.
Paolo Bicchieri is a reporter at Eater SF writing about Bay Area restaurant and bar trends, coffee and cafes, and pop-ups.

For all the wrath and ire chucked at Starbucks through the decades, and perhaps rightfully so, it remains an essential employer for many workers. But SFGATE now reports the Seattle-based coffee company has closed some stores around the Bay Area due to staffing shortages, proving not even giant coffee companies are immune to the staffing issues plaguing the restaurant industry. Per SFGATE, dozens of the popular coffee shops have closed in multiple cities; in San Francisco, locations including those at Bush and Van Ness, Grant and Bush, the Folsom Street Target, the Westfield Centre, and Union Square are closed or closing earlier than normal — with no definitive return to normalcy in sight. Outside the city, KRON4 reports a Starbucks in Walnut Creek has been closed since Monday with a sign reading “Sorry for the inconvenience, our store is temporarily closed” hanging on the front door. At least three Oakland stores are under similar conditions.

“When a store is experiencing a temporary staff shortage, we respond by reducing hours to be mindful that our partners aren’t overworked — prioritizing their health & well-being in our decision making,” the coffee chain wrote in a statement to KRON4. “These decisions are made on a store-by-store and market-by-market basis, and our customers can check the Starbucks Locator on our website or app for their store’s current hours of operation.” SFist adds that these closures seem dissonant with Starbucks’ pledge to open 500 stores, albeit upgraded ones, in North America as it retired some 600 shops. [SFGATE/KRON4]

Pacific Cocktail Haven sails back into action this week

After a fire tore through the bar’s original location last year, fan-favorite cocktail bar Pacific Cocktail Haven is scheduled to reopen in its new location at 550 Sutter Street on Wednesday, March 16. Kevin Diedrich, owner and operator, was awarded “American Bartender of the Year” at the bar industry Spirited Awards in 2020, the same year that PCH was also selected as “Best American Bar.” Opening hours will be Wednesday through Saturday, 5 p.m. to midnight.

Pacific Cocktail Haven drinks
Drinks from Pacific Cocktail Haven

New SoMa queer party gets Holy Cow dancing again

As SFist reports, a group of friends got together to plan the post-pandemic party they felt they all needed. The result was Gemini, San Francisco’s new queer day party at the Holy Cow Nightclub. The theme for the first party, held on February 12, was red and pink. “Planning a party these days means embracing uncertainty,” co-host Tyler Hopf told SFist. “But now I think we landed on the perfect time to kick start this new adventure.” Next month partygoers can expect a silver-themed bash.

Hometown Creamery unveils inventive new flavor

The brothers behind the Inner Sunset’s Hometown Creamery have created delicious ice cream for years. But the most recent flavor from Saadi and Adar Halil is a bit more inventive: Chicken n’ Waffles is a brown sugar ice cream with syrup-soaked waffles and savory fried chicken batter. A disclaimer that there’s no chicken in the ice cream sits below the description, and below that there’s a second postscript encouraging customers to ask for a side of complimentary Red Rooster hot sauce caramel.

A written description of an ice cream flavor.
The description for Hometown Creamery’s newest flavor.
Eater SF

These couples found love at Berkeley Bowl

The fine folks at Berkeleyside have covered the Valentine’s Day story no one was brave enough to investigate: is Berkeley Bowl the most romantic grocery store in the East Bay? Frozen food aisle meet-cutes, Buddha’s hands and kumquats, and near-rotten produce were just a few highlights for the couples who found love amongst the coupons and carrots.