When we boomers became “legal” in the 60s and 70s, there were basically two types of places we could get a drink: at a bar or a packie (a New England term for liquor, or package, store).
Our access to adult beverages was further limited by blue laws—strict religious laws that harken back to colonial days—prohibiting activities such as working or selling alcohol on Sundays. This meant you had to plan ahead and hit the packie by Saturday if you wanted to imbibe on the day our puritan forefathers said was meant for worship.
Well, to the great relief of those of us with a taste for tippling, times have changed. In most communities today, you can buy alcohol 7 days a week at the grocery store, drug store, gas station convenience store or state-run liquor store. Some liquor stores have drive-up windows so you don’t have to leave your car. And you can even order booze on the Internet and have it delivered to your door.
But that’s just a drop in the proverbial bucket—these days, you can get a buzz on in some of the most unexpected places:
Shoes and booze
It’s nirvana for some women (and maybe men with a ladies’ shoe fetish): Shop for shoes while swilling sipping wine. Stilettos Wine Bar in Saratoga, CA, is a trendy boutique that sells shoes and wine under the same roof. You can try on stylish shoes, then walk on over to the bar for a nice cab or chardonnay—or vice versa (walking in high heels might pose more of a challenge if you drink first, however). I’d also wager that after a couple of drinks, you’re likely to spend more on shoes than you might sans lubrication.
Sip and read
Literary lushes can savor a good vintage along with a good read at an increasing number of bookstores peddling drinks along with bestsellers. While it’s mostly indie establishments going this route—with names like Books & Brews (Indianapolis), Book Bar (Denver), The Spotty Dog Books & Ale (in a refurbished firehouse in Hudson, NY) and I Know You Like a Book (Peoria Heights, IL)—Barnes & Noble reportedly is exploring a booze option at select locations as well.
Shop (and/or drink) ‘til you drop
At Nordstrom in Chicago, there’s a bar in the men’s department serving up swanky cocktails for $10 to $12. For guys who accompany their wives to the store, the missus can shop ‘til she drops—and you can drink until you do. Sounds way more fun than sitting in a chair outside the dressing room, doesn’t it?
A candy bar for adults
Dylan’s Candy Bar, also in Chicago, is a two-story candy store on Michigan Avenue that also has a real bar for adults—and every cocktail is made with candy. So while the kids get a sugar high, mom and dad can indulge their grownup sweet tooth with concoctions like a Pop Rocks Explosion (a mix of gin, elderflower, hibiscus and lemon which, when poured into a martini glass filled with Pop Rocks, sends the candy flying from the glass). How adult!
Chuck E Cheese
If anybody deserves a drink, it’s beleaguered parents forced to attend a kid’s birthday party at one of these places. Apparently management agrees because about 70% of locations serve beer and wine. It’s likely as lousy as the pizza they serve—but it just might take the edge off dealing with screaming kids, blaring video games and an adult-sized singing rodent.
“What would Jesus brew?”
Hey, Trappist monks have been brewing beer for centuries, and there are at least 10 patron saints of wine and beer. So why shouldn’t you be able to get a drink at church? Some progressive churches evidently agree and have begun offering beer tastings-cum-Bible study sessions in order to attract younger churchgoers. In Fort Worth, TX, parishioners gather in a local bar to jaw about Jesus, and there are church meetings in Michigan called “What would Jesus brew?” Amen!
From the yoga mat to the barstool
While a brewery isn’t an unusual place to get beer, it’s not where you’d expect to take a yoga class—yet that’s exactly what’s happening. And the classes are attracting a growing number of men enticed by the reward of a cold one after class, says the founder of “Bendy Brewski” in Charleston, SC and Memphis, TN. There also are brewery-based classes called “Hatha & Hops” in Fort Collins, CO, Williamsport, PA, and Greenville, SC. So if the yoga doesn’t loosen you up, just throw back an IPA or three.
The magical world of Disney
It’s no surprise that you can get a drink at Disney World, with all its restaurants and carts (spiked slush, anyone?). But lest you walk any farther than necessary to do so, an enterprising woman named Helen Rosner has compiled a helpful guide to the alcoholic beverage closest to every major Disney World attraction. So when you lurch off a ride and mutter, “Gawd, I need a drink,” now you’ll know exactly where to go.
I’m not sure what the here-there-and-everywhere availability of booze says about us as a society today. Or how difficult it must be for folks who struggle to stay sober. But it does in inspire this Boomer Haiku:
Nowadays there are
few places that you can’t say
I’d like a stiff one.
What do you think? Is alcohol too readily available? Or is it no big deal? Want to talk about it over a glass of wine? Cheers!