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Do you have grocery store bars?


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We have a regional grocery chain here that has a bar in it, and the bar is almost always full after working hours and on weekends. These are not people killing time while waiting for others to shop. They have regulars and it appears to be a destination. FWIW there is a good pub in the same shopping center.

Are grocery store bars a thing where you live? 

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23 minutes ago, TechWife said:

We have a regional grocery chain here that has a bar in it, and the bar is almost always full after working hours and on weekends. These are not people killing time while waiting for others to shop. They have regulars and it appears to be a destination. FWIW there is a good pub in the same shopping center.

Are grocery store bars a thing where you live? 

Whole Foods.

Kroger and a local chain both have some locations with wine tasting events.

We have a gas station with a bar because that seems like a great idea, right?! 

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23 minutes ago, TechWife said:

We have a regional grocery chain here that has a bar in it, and the bar is almost always full after working hours and on weekends. These are not people killing time while waiting for others to shop. They have regulars and it appears to be a destination. FWIW there is a good pub in the same shopping center.

Are grocery store bars a thing where you live? 

Yes, but I'm in the same state as you. I know the chain you're referring to, and I shop there often. I find the bar kind of weird, but I always shop in the mornings, so I have no idea how much business the one near me does. I've heard that some of them stay very busy.

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One Wegmans (mid-atlantic region chain) near me has a pub. I've never noticed how busy or quiet it is. Another might have a wine bar? Not sure. I don't really have an opinion about it. I guess it seems no stranger than a coffee stand or food court. 

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Oh that is interesting. I haven’t seen that anywhere. However, I wouldn’t expect it in my area of the Bible Belt. Drinking is pretty taboo. I can’t imagine people relaxing in a bar in a grocery store when there is a chance they could get “caught” by neighbors or acquaintances or their pastor 😂

We finally got wine in grocery stores a few years go but no one really makes eye contact in the wine aisle. Haha.

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No; strangely, Maryland still has separation laws in most jurisdictions and alcohol is not sold in grocery stores. You have to go to a liquor store. There’s no such thing as Costco wine here. 

Tangentially, we used to go to a type of kids’ indoor gym; for years they even had specific times for homeschoolers. Just prior to the pandemic, though, they re-worked their concept and were applying for licensing to serve alcohol and real food. Now *that* I did find really weird, because to me, driving my kids to a gym is not (ever, never, ever) going to be a location where I would buy a drink. Definitely all my hs friends thought it was nonsense. 

I’m not certain what happened to them after the pandemic, though. 

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Whole Foods does here.  I think they serve only beer and wine, but I have never checked to make sure.  Grocery stores can only sell beer and wine, but if they have a license to serve alcohol I don't know if it can be for liquor or not.  My sister lives in Austin and I know several of the stores I have visited with her have bars.  

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Whole Foods also is the only one I know with a bar. Their actual bar area is pretty nice, but the general seating area is not the most comfortable either for relaxing or socializing. It wouldn't be my first choice as place to go because I can't afford to shop regularly at Whole Paycheck Foods anyway.

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I haven't seen that in the UK. Just coffee shops and restaurants, even though alcohol is sold in the shop. You may be able to buy a beer in the restaurant,  but I don't know.

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Our Kroger built a new building that is HUGE that tries to have this (and a sandwhich shop and and). I'm not sure it's doing so well. I just sort of skip that whole side of the store. Whole Foods in the big city does that for happy hour on days too, sure. Just doesn't interest me. 

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8 hours ago, Joker2 said:

I’ve only seen that at a few Whole Foods. I find it strange.

Our whole foods, has a pizza place that is sort of its thing. It has an separate entrance too though you can go there from the store but also it has a separate name outside.  It does sell beer but that is normal at pizza places and everyone I have ever seen there has a pizza to go w their beer or waiting for one or just finished eating their pizza.  

I don't consider a bar.

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7 hours ago, kristin0713 said:

Never heard of this. Grocery stores aren’t even allowed to sell alcohol in NJ. 

Yes. I thought that was so weird.  I live in Al and we get to buy wine, beer, and even higher alcohol wines in grocery stores and at least beer in pharmacies and convenience stores.  

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8 hours ago, sweet2ndchance said:

Nope but, to be fair, there are no bars here period. We live in a dry county.

What state? 

We moved to Al in 2011 and I was just remarking to find how much liberated tge state and counties and cities have become about alcohol over these last ten years.  My city allowed alcohol buy overtime. I think every area around us has voted to allow it too if it was dry before. 

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1 hour ago, TravelingChris said:

What state? 

We moved to Al in 2011 and I was just remarking to find how much liberated tge state and counties and cities have become about alcohol over these last ten years.  My city allowed alcohol buy overtime. I think every area around us has voted to allow it too if it was dry before. 

There are 34 dry counties in AR, which is almost half of them. It's funny, in every direction in which you can drive out of this county into a wet county or another state, there is a bar or liquor store within feet of the county line lol. At our one and only Walmart in our county, you can buy all the fixings to make mixed drinks but you cannot buy the alcohol lol.

It makes no difference to me or dh. Neither of us can drink due to the medications we take on a daily basis. Last I heard though, they had voted to remain a dry county.

Until recently, you couldn't buy bingo markers here either. It was considered gambling paraphernalia. ROTFL.

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I've never seen open liquor in grocery stores anywhere in Canada. Some provinces sell wine and beer. 

I think the concept of hanging out in grocery stores to do anything other than shop and leave is strange. It's so busy and noisy. I never felt they were the cleanest of places even before covid.  I won't be eating or drinking in a grocery store ever in the future. 😉 

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Lots of grocery stores around here have areas to buy prepared food and eat it there. Recently, PA started allowing some stores to sell beer and wine, so I guess a natural progression would be to include ordering a beer or glass of wine with a meal that is to be eaten on-site. Grocery stores can't sell hard liquor (at this point, anyway). 

I don't know... I don't see anything particularly strange about it. Just another option for people to eat or have a drink. I doubt that I'd pop into the grocery store bar for a cocktail before starting my shopping... though that could be a way for the store to boost sales in general. 

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31 minutes ago, wintermom said:

r. 

I think the concept of hanging out in grocery stores to do anything other than shop and leave is strange. It's so busy and noisy. I never felt they were the cleanest of places even before covid.  I won't be eating or drinking in a grocery store ever in the future. 😉 

I only shop in clean, bright stores as a regular shopper (I avoid the local Kroger which is dingy and has nasty floors-and I have no idea why the closed the really nice and clean and well lit Kroger and left this nasty small dark one, etc).  I also don't shop at any  of the member stores like Sam's Club and Costo because they are way too big, have way too large items for me to buy-like six packs of large salad dressings and there are only 2 of us- plus at least Sam's Club has awful fluorescent lighting that triggers my immune system to attack me.  I also occasionally go to ethnic markets but none of them have any eating places and none look like any place I would eat either.

Out of the three stores I do shop at more regularly- Publix, Fresh Market and Whole Foods-only whole foods has an eating section, plus the separate pizza restaurant.  I have not eaten at the Whole Foods ready to go food and that is not my preference since their ready to go food is  taken out by the public  and that is too risky for me, COVID or not- I am at high risk from lots of infectious diseases.  The Pizza joint is fine and as was the Publix Apron cooking samples which were hygienically cooked in front of the public and also served in a safe manner.

Now the super interesting thing is that my Pastor, who used to be in banking and finance, was talking about one of his favorite books in that field, Good to Great by Jim Collins, which is about business practices that work vs don't work and uses case studies.  The first one my pastor talked about was Kroger and AP.  They were both over 100 years old and giant chains back in the late 60's-early 70's (I think that is the time he mentioned).  They both wanted to expand and experimented with a new kind of grocery store= ones which had better fresh fruit and vegetable areas and added floral, fresh bakeries, pharmacies, etc   The results were the same for both chains-consumers loved the cleaner, brighter, more useful stores.  Kroger saw the research and embraced the chain.  A&P buried the research and continued to do the old style, darker, smaller, less variety store--- and I don't know if they are completely gone but they certainly have almost completely disappeared and they used to be the biggest chain.   (This story was related as part of a series called the Big Yes, and this sermon was entitled Your Big Yes Won't Come True Until the Brutal Truth)

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I've seen olive bars and salad bars and cookie bars in grocery stores, but never an alcoholic drink serving bar.  The food bars are just grab a container and fill it up, weigh it at the bar code machine, and proceed on. No one is standing there eating, although there are a few grocery stores that have a small inside eating area and sometimes outside tables. 

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Kroger and Wegmans have them here.

5 hours ago, sweet2ndchance said:

There are 34 dry counties in AR, which is almost half of them. It's funny, in every direction in which you can drive out of this county into a wet county or another state, there is a bar or liquor store within feet of the county line lol. At our one and only Walmart in our county, you can buy all the fixings to make mixed drinks but you cannot buy the alcohol lol.

It makes no difference to me or dh. Neither of us can drink due to the medications we take on a daily basis. Last I heard though, they had voted to remain a dry county.

Until recently, you couldn't buy bingo markers here either. It was considered gambling paraphernalia. ROTFL.

Ironically, those wet counties also have drive through liquor stores where you can buy a single 40oz can at the window. My high school years were...interesting.

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Our newest local Whole Foods had one last time I was in there.  I don't know if covid changed that. It wasn't a BAR in the sense of late night hangout.  But you could get a local rotating craft brew with your deli meal in a high pedestrian area.  That WF also has a huge deli area with custom made sandwiches, hot and cold food bars, pizza by the slice etc etc etc and had a large seating area.   It was especially busy for lunch.  Pretty common place for quick working lunches, small meetings, maybe a little after work snacking.  It wasn't open beyond regular store orders though, I think they closed at 10 pm normally.

Anyway, not common but fit alright with the model that particular store had.  

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A few of our grocery stores do have them.  It caught me off guard at first but it doesn't bother me.  I am a firm believer in "you do you" as long as it doesn't hurt anyone else and if someone needs a glass of wine to make their grocery shopping doable, then go for it.

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A local chain (HyVee) has a bar inside the restaurant they have in the store. They have happy hours. I think it's supposed to be a sports bar type setting. Pre-Covid, I tried to get lunch at one of the restaurants but despite being open, no one ever came to my table to take my order, so I left. 

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We have one newer grocery store near us that has a bar. There is an entire end of the store that has all kinds of hot foods, a wine section with wine bar, the regular bar, and an upstairs loft area with tables where people can eat. I guess the food area works well for local employees who want options for lunch. We used to have a small group of women who got together once a month and we went there a few times because people could buy whatever food they wanted and then we could hang out there. It solved the problems of some women needing gluten free or vegetarian or low cost because everyone could find something in the grocery store to eat. I was surprised by the bar because I couldn't believe that people wanted to hang out in a high traffic grocery store bar, but whatever. It must work because the bar I saw was crowded.

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Whole Foods have bars. The bar area has become the staging area for instacart after indoor dining was suspended due to COVID-19. They do have a different staging area for Amazon Fresh. The smaller size Whole Foods don’t have bars.

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I'm trying to imagine how that works with kids - is it legal for kids to be in the same area in the US? In Australia no one under 18 is allowed in a pub or at the bar area of a restaurant. And I associate supermarkets (grocery stores) with dragging kids around the place! Some supermarkets do have an alcohol area but it has to be totally separate, with big signs saying no one under 18 is allowed in. 

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3 hours ago, bookbard said:

I'm trying to imagine how that works with kids - is it legal for kids to be in the same area in the US? In Australia no one under 18 is allowed in a pub or at the bar area of a restaurant. And I associate supermarkets (grocery stores) with dragging kids around the place! Some supermarkets do have an alcohol area but it has to be totally separate, with big signs saying no one under 18 is allowed in. 

Kids are allowed in bars, at least in my state.

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20 hours ago, prairiewindmomma said:

No, but I wish it did. I'd love to have mixed drinks to go (which is allowable in our state). 

We've lived in states with grocery stores with restaurants inside.

I wouldn't mind sipping a glass of wine while I did my grocery shopping!

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45 minutes ago, J-rap said:

I wouldn't mind sipping a glass of wine while I did my grocery shopping!

At the one by my mother in law's house, the wine bar is a very clearly defined area (different flooring and such) and all alcohol has to stay in that area.  I don't believe children are allowed in there, but I'm not 100% sure.  But you can't sip a glass of wine as you shop.  There are no doors or anything; the wine bar is completely visible from the rest of the store, but the parameters are clearly defined.  

You can also purchase beer or wine in the grocery store part of the store, but that's unopened stuff that you have to purchase through the check out.  

ETA:  In a really depressing turn of events, I was buying beer for my husband, and they needed to see my ID.  Grocery store employee from a ways away said, "Oh, it's fine, I can see the 1."  I was like, "What?"  He was like, "You were born before 2000, so you're plenty old enough."  

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17 hours ago, mom2scouts said:

Kids are allowed in bars, at least in my state.

Fascinating - I always imagine the US as far stricter in terms of alcohol (isn't the minimum drinking age 21?) but sounds like it's really variable. 

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