We're about to have four, perhaps five Starbucks in Malibu, a town of 13,000 people. No one seems to be all that thrilled. Since the demise of Diedrichs, the regulars have dispersed to cafes and restaurants spread around town. Not too many of them have settled for Starbucks and, after two weeks of steady patronage, I can see why.
Walk into either of the existing shops here in Malibu (one in Trancas, one at Cross Creek) and you smell...nothing. Well, maybe the perfume or aftershave or, if it's a surfer or biker or runner fresh from a workout, the body odor of the person in front of you, but never coffee. Which is pretty weird for a place that prides itself on the scorched flavor of the over-roasted blends it serves. The lines are always long and there's rarely a place to sit. The counter help behave about the way you'd expect from someone making a crappy wage. They rarely say hello. They rarely look you in the eye. Say "thank you" as they toss your pastry on the counter and the answer is, if you're lucky, "No problem."
Well, not exactly. A group of Pepperdine students waited (and waited and waited as the counter help slowly chatted about how peculiar Gwyneth Paltrow looked at the Oscars) for their coffee.
"This place sucks," one of them said.
"What about Coffee Bean?"
"You gotta sit outside and it's way too cold."
"As soon as it's warmer, we're going to the Bean."