We all know the golden rule to grocery shopping is to never go when you’re hungry. Local markets have taken this proverb to heart and are expanding their stores beyond standard shelves and coolers to include full-scale bars and buffet options so we can sip before we shop.
Whether you’re on the Peninsula or Southside, we’ve discovered the best grocers for turning your nightly food run into happy hour too.
Kroger is taking the edge off that lengthy grocery list with over a dozen beers and wines on tap. Rotating through Chesapeake and Suffolk stores are pours from St. George’s Brewing Company, Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewing, Wild Wolf Brewing Company, Commonwealth Brewing, Apocalypse Ale Works, Barboursville Vineyards and more.
In Chesapeake, snag $3 off when you bring your own growler on Tuesdays or enjoy $1 off all flights on Thursdays. Tap Takeovers are hosted every Friday from 4 to 7 p.m. as well.
Suffolk kicks it up a notch with refreshing cocktail options like bubbly mimosas and fruit-forward sangrias. Select beer and wine tastings are offered as well.
Pair any of these handcrafted libations with hot plates, salads, deli sandwiches and more from Kroger’s Marketplace.
Kroger Store #557 is located at 1653 Sentential Drive, Chesapeake and Kroger Store #554 is located at 1017 University Blvd., Suffolk.
The colorful buffets and smoky aromas of meat and pizzas are hard to pass up at this health food joint. Jumpstart your Whole Foods visit with an assortment of delicious eats from fresh fruits and veggies and salad fixings to hand-tossed pasta salad, creamy soups and internationally inspired cuisine.
Want to see an actual menu? Pop into The Porch in Virginia Beach or the Oyster Point Pub in Newport News. At these Whole Foods eateries, you can choose from an array of starters, sandwiches, daily specials and region-specific eats like brunch at the beach or oysters on the half shell.
Booze is ever flowing too. Each Whole Foods pub is rigged with tap handles, wine coolers and renderings for a French 75, Old Fashioned and other classic cocktails.
The Porch is located at 1800 Laskin Road, Virginia Beach and Oyster Point Pub is located at 12090 Jefferson Ave., Suite 100, Newport News.
The average Joe shopper is well acquainted with its complimentary coffee station and daily dish sampling, but did you know your neighborhood TJ offers wine tastings too? Seven days a week, crew members pour selections of red, white and bubbly from around the world for shoppers to taste. A basket of palate-cleansing crackers are always on hand too.
At the Virginia Beach location, tastings are offered between 4 and 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from noon to 6 p.m. Friday through Sunday.
Trader Joe’s is located at 12551 Jefferson Ave., Newport News, 503 Hilltop Plaza, Virginia Beach and 5000 Settlers Market Blvd., Williamsburg. Tasting times may vary at Williamsburg and Newport News locations.
The northern chain made its debut in Virginia Beach late in April and is certainly living up to the hype. Its pre-shopping food offerings outdo any other grocer in the region. Nearly a quarter of the Town Center Wegmans is dedicated to both its wine and beer shop and a plethora of eats from an internal sub shop, pizza joint, Burger Bar, market café, Asian bar and sushi stop. If you weren’t hungry when you walked in, you certainly will be before you leave.
Wegmans is located at 4271 Virginia Beach Blvd., Virginia Beach.
This beach café may be sans liquor, but its offerings will certainly curb your grocery store munchies. The natural market crafts a diverse menu of wraps, soups, salads, smoothies and organic juices made from the freshest ingredients. Heritage is ultra-accommodating of vegetarian, gluten-free and vegan diners as well.
If you aren’t hungry but need something to sip on while you shop, stop in the café for a tea or coffee to-go.
Heritage Natural Market is located at 984 Laskin Road, Virginia Beach
This Williamsburg market in Merchants Square is a mecca for wine, beer and cheese lovers alike. It’s not uncommon to stop in for charcuterie fixings and leave with a made-to-order sandwich from the shop’s laundry list of creamy, savory and meat-centered handhelds.
Equally as appealing as the market’s sandwich shop is the wine cellar that sits just one story down from The Cheese Shop. Travel downstairs for select tastings of global wines and a selection of over 120 beers from Virginia and beyond.
The Cheese Shop is located at 410 W. Duke of Gloucester St., Williamsburg