If you only visit one Starbucks in your lifetime (I know that’s unrealistic) it has to be the one in the heart of Annapolis. I happened upon it on a chilly, wet autumn day in a town full of history. It’s a true, hidden jazz treasure off the beaten path. Yes, you heard me right. A Starbucks with its roots in colonial America and American jazz.
When I saw the sign for Starbucks (16 Church Circle), pointing below the historic Maryland Inn, I knew this was the place for me to grab a mocha and regroup. It seemed to be the one place without cadets from the nearby Naval Academy and only a handful of tourists…..and it was cozy!
Much to my pleasant surprise I found a coffee house whose history spans 400 years. It’s true and it’s still evident. There’s a 17th century escape tunnel leading all the way to the State House and the remnants of a legendary jazz club. There’s actually been a tavern on the site ever since the 1640s, the St. France’s Tavern…..George Washington probably grabbed a brewskie there. After all, he resigned his Presidency at the State House at the other end of the tunnel. I just think that’s so cool.
Anyway, the tunnel was re-discovered during excavation in the 1970s and in true entrepreneurial spirit, they turned the place into the “King of France Tavern.” It was a jazz club where Charlie Byrd held court and Richie Havens was among the legendary musicians who performed there. Believe it or not, this town still has clubs that feature live music on the weekends – who knew Annapolis had soul?
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