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Dumb Starbucks Coffee is the name of a coffee shop that opened in Los Feliz, California as a parody of the American global coffeehouse chain Starbucks. Upon its opening in February 2014, the store gained much notoriety online after photographs of the storefront began circulating on various social media sites.
On February 7th, 2014, a coffee shop named “Dumb Starbucks Coffee” opened for business in Los Feliz, California. The same day, the store launched the @DumbStarbucks Twitter feed, featuring photographs of the storefront.
As part of the store’s promotional event for its grand opening, all drinks were served to customers free of charge. In addition, the store offered a “frequently asked questions” sheet, which cited the fair use law as legal protection for parodying the Starbucks coffee chain stores.
On February 8th, the @DumbStarbucks Twitter feed posted a photograph of their full menu, which features Starbucks-style beverages prefaced with the word “dumb.”
Enjoy our full menu of coffees and cold drinks pic.twitter.com/wPacrEEH9k— Dumb Starbucks (@dumbstarbucks) February 8, 2014
On February 9th, Southern California Public Radio (SCPR) quoted Starbucks spokesperson Megan Adams who said the company was looking into taking legal action against the store. On the following day, SCPR published a follow-up article which included a statement from spokeswoman Laurel Harper:
“We are evaluating next steps, and while we appreciate the humor, they cannot use our name, which is a protected trademark.”
Nathan Fielder’s Announcement
On February 10th, comedian Nathan Fielder, known for his “If you think you gave an STD” and “2 grams for $40” Twitter pranks, made an announcement in front of the store revealing that he had orchestrated the Dumb Starbucks store claimed that he was not worried about legal action since the coffee house was an art project and that he planned to open a second location in Brooklyn, New York. The same day, the Dumb Starbucks YouTube channel uploaded a video in which Fielder explains that Dumb Starbucks is a “real business I plan to get rich from” (shown below).
News Media Coverage
In the coming days, many news sites published articles about the new coffee shop, including the LA Times, Time,USA Today, The Hollywood Reporter, BuzzFeed, The Daily Mail and Gawker.
On February 10th, Dumb Starbucks was shut down by the Los Angeles Health Department due to the lack of a permit to distribute food.