Grocery shopping can be stressful, from the mile-long track from your parking spot, to the crowded isles, and never-ending check-out lines. Sort of makes you think how much easier it would all be if you could shop with a glass of wine or beer in hand.
Well, the next time you visit Whole Foods in select South Florida locations -- you can. The upmarket grocer is now in the bar business, opening small bar areas within its stores serving craft beer and local wine -- even small plates.
Since 2012, more than a dozen Whole Foods stores have opened their own bars. The move comes after a nationwide test where small, locally focused beer and wine bars were opened inside Whole Foods Markets in California, Arizona, Illinois, and Texas.
Across the country, like-minded chains are slowly introducing beer and wine within their stores. Even Starbucks has been testing beer and wine at a few locations in the Seattle area. The idea: it's a low-cost way to make money, while elevating the customers' shopping experience.
Today, South Florida is home to three in-store Whole Foods bars at the Naples, Coral Gables, and Wellington markets. Further north you can find bars in the Orlando, Tampa, Clearwater, Tallahassee, and Jacksonville stores. Each has a unique name, set-up, menu, and hours.
Dubbed simply the Naples Bar, at the Naples Whole Foods store you can find over 30 wines by the glass (some vegan and organic); dozens of local and nationally-sourced craft beers on draft; and a food menu that offers pizza, burgers, chicken wings, salads, and specialty grilled cheese melts. The hours are 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday; and 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Sunday.
In Palm Beach County, the Wellington Whole Foods stands as the only local bar in the Broward and Palm Beach County area -- for now. Upcoming stores -- including the new West Palm Beach, Pompano Beach, and Davie locations -- will also have bars.
The Wellington bar is located inside the market near the bakery. Known as The Stirrup, it offers eight taps featuring a variety of craft beer, as well as wine and food. During the week (Monday through Thursday) the bar offers snack specials for $8 including a charcuterie plate, burgers, wings, and pizza. The Stirrup is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and on Sunday from noon to 8 p.m.
Nicole Danna is a food blogger covering Broward and Palm Beach counties. To get the latest in food and drink news in South Florida, follow her @SoFloNicole or find her latest food pics on Clean Plate's Instagram.
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