An elite group of extraordinary storefronts across the nation serve as beacons of cutting-edge design, uncommonly elegant décor, and one-of-a-kind aesthetics. They can be found from north to south and coast to coast, in just as many small towns as in the biggest cities, demonstrating just how far we’ve come in a few short years of legal cannabis. Some inhabit historic buildings dating back to past centuries; others embrace modernity with ultra-minimalist spaces and white-on-white color schemes. Every detail of these dispensary designs, looks, and layouts is thought out, tinkered with, and improved upon, and the end results are nothing short of stunning.
While we considered hundreds of fantastic candidates, the following 10 are the most beautiful dispensaries in America.
160 Washington St., Brookline, MA
Almost no one would look at the exterior of the historic Brookline Bank building and guess that a dispensary lies within. It wasn’t easy to get it there; rather, it took three years of meetings, lobbying, and a lawsuit before Brookline, Mass. – the birthplace of JFK – finally allowed the New England Treatment Access (NETA) to take up residence at the vacant address in February of 2016. Designed by Swiss-American architect Franz Joseph Untersee, whose main specialty was Roman Catholic churches, the airy interior features a wide stone floor, soaring blue domed ceiling, towering columns, high arched windows, and a wood-lined balcony.
952 Mission St., San Francisco, CA
Exposed brick, mahogany accents, brass-studded bar stools, and Oriental-style rugs come together to make a statement at Barbary Coast. It’s a luxurious dispensary that harkens back to San Francisco’s historic red-light district of the same name, and the Hollywood-sexy space recalls the retrospective glamour of Prohibition-era speakeasies and jazz clubs. Forget the cookie-cutter couches found in most waiting rooms; here, visitors relax on ornate settees upholstered in rich fabrics, and peruse stylishly designed menus that look far more like craft cocktail lists than cannabis catalogs.
220 SW 1st Ave., Portland, OR
Almost everything in Portland is beautifully designed and finished with plenty of hipster essentials (Edison bulbs and letterpress printed paper products, we’re looking at you). Serra, with a tongue-in-cheek “Purveyors of Quality Drugs” printed in little white letters across its big front windows, fits right in. The downtown location’s classic, matte black façade is as inviting as that of any Pearl District boutique or Nob Hill brunchery, and the interior is even more awe-inspiring. Simple shapes crop up throughout the décor, from the small ringed light fixtures in the window to the triangular display cases set out across the floor. Within the space, cannabis products are presented to visitors with museum-like care.
5001 N Clark St., Chicago, IL
Chicago’s Dispensary 33 celebrates the natural beauty of cannabis itself, with line-drawn murals splashed across walls depicting the plant and its constituent parts. At the front of the store, wide windows set into a white brick wall welcome a bounty of natural light inside, which plays well with the light wood floor, front desk, and counter display. Hexagonal cases of various sizes dot the open space, each of them showing off sparkling glass pipes and other products within.
1100 W Dillon Rd. D-3, Louisville, CO
Louisville, Colo., is continuously counted among the best places in America to live, and with Ajoya as the town’s daily-driver dispensary, we can see why. Ajoya’s futuristic counter area, which looks like an Apple-designed craft cocktail bar, feels 50 years ahead of its time; above it, circles of colorful lights glitter on the ceiling. Glass display cases let consumers peruse accessories at the counter, an on-screen menu up above displays a complete range of offerings, and budtenders pull products from an impeccably organized wall of drawers and refrigerators built in behind the bar.
4811 Geary Blvd., San Francisco, CA
Imagine a cross between your favorite coffee shop and local natural market. Harvest on Geary draws cues from both styles: for instance, the dispensary thinks to offer petite metal shopping baskets so visitors can pick and choose flowers, concentrates, and accessories as they browse the cozy space. A tastefully merchandized array of brands basks on wooden shelves beneath soft lighting, and a cheery sunburst motif is integrated throughout the store.
14980 N 78th Way, Ste. 204, Scottsdale, AZ
Soothing and sophisticated, Level Up’s interiors were brought to life by High Road Design Studio, a dispensary-focused firm that also counts several other beautifully-designed projects among its successes. We love Level Up for its instantly calming interior – it’s unlikely that anyone, cannabis consumer or not, would feel ill at ease here. The front desk looks more like that of a spa; herringbone floors add subtle texture and detail, and a dark green and gray color scheme throughout lets the cannabis itself shine in custom illuminated display cases.
916 SE Hawthorne Blvd., Portland, OR
While many recreational dispensaries purposely depart from the clinical feel of medicinal establishments, Farma embraces it and redefines the concept. Smooth surfaces, bright lighting, and white walls and accents all communicate that this is a clean, professional place to be. On the other hand, comforting touches – a circular rug, informal blue bar chairs, a single homey light fixture that departs from the rest of the bright track lighting – guarantee that patients will feel at ease. Even the classic green cross on the wall gets an update – it’s overflowing with real plants.
1944 1st Ave. S, Seattle, WA
Vela offers an otherworldly departure from dreary Seattle days, beginning in an entryway that features a liquid-inspired full wall mural of aquamarine and burnt sienna. Beyond the information desk, a modern artistic space plays the part of cannabis gallery, showing off a colorful mix of local products and, through a window, the in-house Grow Lab. A strip of rainbow lighting on the wall brings an extra swash of color to the room.
1327 E St. Gertrude Pl., Santa Ana, CA
There’s an unmistakable element of industrial chic to Santa Ana’s Bud and Bloom. Pipes criss-cross the ceiling, sleek light fixtures hang down from the rafters, an uncommonly tasteful neon sign proclaims the store name from an exposed brick wall, and the floor has the look of reclaimed wood. Up front, budtenders weigh cannabis out on a white marble countertop, and customers can navigate the menu via iPad. In short, the dispensary emblemizes California cool at its finest.
Did your favorite dispensary make the list? If not, make a case for it in the comments!