|The east wall of the Gate of Heavenly Purity 乾清门 (Qiánqīng Mén) is seen over the balustrades of the Outer Court. The building jutting out from the wall was the hall where senior government officials waited to see the emperor. It was used by Starbucks from 2000 until 2007. Now it is the "Forbidden City Cafe" where you can still get very expensive coffee, but not as good. There are other more affordable cafes.
There was quite a bit of controversy about the Starbucks Cafe. A lot of people didn't want any foreign businesses in the Forbidden City - or elsewhere, to tell the truth. The feelings about foreign brands seem strange to us, when the smallest of our towns have Chinese restaurants and we drive for miles to get good Thai, Indian, French, or Mexican food. The major objection was to having a foreign company visible in the Forbidden City. The Palace Museum offered to let Starbucks stay if they would remove their logo. They left.
Last update: January 2010
© Marilyn Shea, 2009