The original Starbucks near Pike Place Market (photo by Sheila Scarborough)There are many who decry the “Starbucks on every corner” dominance of the Seattle-based coffee shop chain, but I would submit that they’ve sure done a great job of elevating the average American’s sophistication about coffee.

I mean, Folger’s, anyone? Maxwell House?

I didn’t think so.

So, in homage to their influence, after a divine salmon taco lunch I visit the original Starbucks store (established in 1971) in Seattle’s Pike Place Market.

It looks much less perfect and corporate than the average franchise shop, with dark, worn wooden floors, a big wooden counter/bar and older light fixtures suspended from the ceiling.

Souvenir mugs at the original Starbucks, Pike Place Market, Seattle (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

I liked it a lot, but on the day we stopped in it was totally mobbed with Japanese tourists buying souvenir brown mugs with the store original logo.

Since I was a tourist….I bought one, too. :)

Make sure you go to the correct one – there is yet another Starbucks across the street from Pike Place (on 1st Avenue, I think) with the same brown sign, but it is NOT the more cramped, older-looking original. Accept no substitutes.

If you’re in doubt, tweet @SeattleMaven who is Ann Peavey from the city’s Tourism office. ¬†She’ll be happy to guide you to the original (and she’ll hook you up with all sorts of other cool Seattle ideas and tips – just ask!)

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I'm a writer and speaker specializing in tourism, travel and social media. NHRA drag racing fan. Co-founder of Tourism Currents. U.S. Navy veteran. Caffeinated.