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Pairing fast food with an alcoholic drink seems like a no-brainer. Burgers and beer are a timeless combo, and fast food is the ultimate drunk food. Oddly enough, however, the vast majority of fast food chains — in America, at least — don’t sell alcohol. Some do, however, and certain locations of the big guys do as well. If you want to down a beer with your fast food burger, you just need to know where to look.
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BK Whopper Bar is a high-end offshoot of Burger King, with locations across the world and in high-traffic areas like Las Vegas, Universal CityWalk in Orlando, and Miami’s South Beach (The one in Times Square recently closed). Guests can choose between three burger sizes and 22 different toppings, and they also have their option of a variety of domestic beers.
It’s not easy to find a location of Moe’s Southwest Grill that serves alcohol – ones in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles we called didn’t – but at a location we tracked down in Tampa, Florida, diners can purchase Corona, Corona Light, Bud, or Bud Light with their meal. So make sure you call ahead.
Since exiting bankruptcy protection in 2014, Sbarro has been working hard to reclaim its place as a go-to pizza chain, and a part of that effort is alcohol sales. While not every location serves alcohol, if you visit your local location the odds are good that you’ll be able to buy a beer with your slice.
Shake Shack has put a lot of thought into its wine and beer program, and they’ve partnered with Brooklyn Brewery to develop their own house beer, Shackmeister Ale, which is sold at all American locations. Frog’s Leap red and white wines are also available by the glass or bottle, as are a variety of beers tailored to each location.
Starbucks is well on its way to becoming a full-service café, thanks to a pilot wine and beer program that launched in Seattle and Portland in 2010 and expanded to Southern California and Atlanta in 2012. Now, as part of its “Starbucks Evenings” experiment, you can order small plates like flatbreads and truffle mac and cheese along with wine and craft beer at dozens of Starbucks scattered throughout the country, in major markets like Chicago, Miami, San Francisco, and the aforementioned ones. The company has applied for hundreds of liquor licenses in recent months, so expect to see this program expand rapidly.
Steak ‘n Shake is the only traditional old-school major burger chain that sells alcohol. Not every location does so make sure you call ahead, but at their Times Square location you can purchase Bud, But Light, Bud Light Lime, Michelob Ultra, and Brooklyn lager on tap, as well as several varieties of red and white wine.
Taco Bell is also dipping its toes in the booze pool, with the opening of the first Taco Bell Cantina in Chicago. This new concept sells more upscale offerings (for Taco Bell, anyway) like chicken tenders, rolled chicken tacos, and mini quesadillas) as well as drinks like frozen drinks spiked with rum, vodka, or tequila; beer from Dos Equis and New Belgium; and wine from Steelhead Vineyards and Stack Wine. A second location, which will sell only beer and wine, will be opening soon near San Francisco’s AT&T Park.