Starbucks wants you to think it's just like your neighborhood cafe from 100 years ago. The coffee mega-chain has opened a New Orleans location with an interior design inspired by what the coffee giant thinks a Louisiana apothecary's shop at the turn of the 20th century would have looked like. It's part of the company's attempts to create "locally relevant" stores—as opposed to the same old cookie-cutter atmosphere.
Apart from the fact that it's totally absurd for a giant corporation to try to feel like a small business, the design does look nice, and seems to mean some extra work for artists, usually a good thing. The strategy, clever in a mercenary sort of way, stretches from Seattle—where there are apparently some jarring anecdotes about members of Starbucks research team hanging out at the local competition and taking extensive notes—to Tokyo, where one store's design reportedly pays homage to traditional tea houses.
The concept even comes with a cringeworthy oxymoron of a portmanteau (not the sole purview of Starbucks), which really only emphasizes how ridiculous the whole thing is. Plus, no matter how the inside of the store looks, the coffee will remain mediocre.