To those of you native to Houston, you are quite familiar with the 24 hour Starbucks in the Galleria area appropriately named “Club Starbucks.” The Westheimer and Post Oak location is one of the highest grossing stores for the coffee franchise in the country. The bustling crowd remains strong well through the wee hours of the night on any given weekend. If you frequent the location at night, you can’t help but notice the biker clubs that occupy the majority of the parking spaces out front. One night may feature a number of Harley Davidsons while another night may spotlight a number of Yamahas and Kawasakis. It’s really a trip because the owners of these fine pieces of machinery are hanging out of all places at a STARBUCKS. You’d think these bad mamajammas would be showing off their bad to the bone swagger at a local bar, but nooooo, it seems Starbucks is the new post-up shop for these ‘gangstas’ as evident in a fairly recent California incident.
A few days ago, the worst California Biker feud in a decade erupted in a turf war that started over…you guessed it – Starbucks! Several men were killed and/or wounded at a casino in a scuffle between the notorious Hell’s Angels and their rival Vagos motorcycle club. One of the casualties included the Hells’ Angels president of the California Chapter Jeffrey “Jethro” Pettigrew.
While biker brawls are nothing new, what’s interesting about this one is the source of the conflict. An investigation revealed that the gangs’ rivalry was renewed in January of 2010 over some enviable real estate – Starbucks! The Hell’s Angels were posted up at a Santa Cruz Starbucks, acting cool and collected, when members of the Vagos club came wielding ball-peen hammers. And why? According to Santa Cruz Deputy Police Chief Steve Clark, ”It was all about who would be allowed to hang out at the Starbucks downtown. The Vagos brazenly came in and tried to cement their presence. It was a pretty strong play on their part to establish themselves as the premiere club.”
He added: “Only in Santa Cruz would you have biker wars over who’s going to control pumpkin spice lattes.”
Correction, part two maybe coming to a Houston Starbucks near you…and this time for the seasonal classic peppermint mocha!