With the holidays upon us, the need for last-minute grocery reinforcements and for a stiff drink, consumed alone while staring blankly at no one, tend to increase in tandem.

Enter Whole Foods. Not only does this chain of supermarkets cater to health nuts and people who say “ancient grains” a lot, it’s also a surprisingly good place to drink. Whether you’re on a mission to acquire trans-fat-free pie crust or just escaping the in-laws, stress relief and salvation can be found at your nearest grocery store bar. Once you locate it, there’s a certain booze-fueled blueprint you’re destined to follow.


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STAGE 1: Getting There

Not all Whole Foods locations have in-store bars but, so long as there’s one within driving distance, it’s totally justifiable to venture a little bit farther than your local supermarket and do your shopping there. Sure, the carbon footprint from that extra 90 minutes might negate the environmental benefits of your pesticide-free produce, but life is all about finding balance.

(Note: You will absolutely accrue a substantial amount of credit-card debt due to this philosophy.)

STAGE 2: Well, While I’m Here…

You had good intentions.

You got halfway through your grocery list; you sampled some coconut water; you felt up some unidentifiable fruits. You even examined 18 types of barley and Googled “nutritional yeast.” Knowledge is power!

But when the siren song of the bar calls, you have no choice but to spin that green cart 180 degrees, take a shortcut through dairy, and probably mow over a few yoga pants-wearing moms in the process. (They’re wearing activewear — they really should be moving faster anyway.)

When your parents, S.O., or sponsor (wait, what?) ask where you are, the answer “Whole Foods” always goes over better than “the bar” — even if they have to translate a text that actually reads “WhOle Fooodz1!” … which kind of sounds like an awesome AIM screen name now that you think about it.

STAGE 3: Go Big or Go Home

A glass of Prosecco is $8. The bottle is $17. There are four to five glasses of wine in a bottle. If you can do third-grade math, you know what you’ve got to do. It’s not about the drinking, it’s about economics. Plus, with all the money you’re saving, you can probably purchase at least one more half an avocado, which are like 19 cents cheaper since Amazon bought the place. (#blessed #Bezos)

As long as you ignore the fact that this decision might cost you a $27 Uber ride home and a $200 fee when they tow your car because apparently Whole Foods doesn’t double as an overnight parking garage, this is a really sound investment.

STAGE 4: Super-Smart Politics Talk

There’s no need to sign up for The Bubble — you can engage in your own liberal circle jerk right here, by the deli aisle!

The Whole Foods bar is a safe (blue) space where the only heated, booze-fueled arguments going down are over totally trivial topics… like what hummus brand is the best. Have a few glasses of whatever organic wine your resident bearded bartender has suggested, and befriend your invariably like-minded neighbors. Your Bernie Sanders shirt is sure to help you find common ground when you’re a few IPAs deep and passionately arguing your #TeamSabra position to the man bun munching on roasted marcona almonds next to you. Agree to disagree, Pita Pal! Feel the Bern!


STAGE 5: I Need Free-Trade Socks From Guatemala!

Bottom-of-the-bottle logic: “If I can afford the second-cheapest Chardonnay and live in an area gentrified enough to have a Whole Foods, I must karmically redeem myself by supporting women villagers who have been empowered to make a living via these handcrafted, one-of-a-kind accessories!”

Plus, while you’re there, you might as well get some holiday shopping done. “Hope you enjoy this handwoven basket, Jimmy Jr.!” Six-year-olds love that stuff — and Santa’s never been a more conscious consumer.

STAGE 6: Sobering Up Via Samples

Whole Foods is already a proponent of the “try before you buy” thing, and when you’ve spent enough at the bar to purchase your own vineyard, it seems fair to simplify the store’s generous policy to just, uh, “try.” Plus, you won’t feel shy asking for six sample cups after consuming a veritable pond of Prosecco. And they’re totally gonna throw those samosas out at the end of the night anyway.

STAGE 7: Wait — Did I Match on Tinder With That Bro in the Sushi Section?

You did. And no, that doesn’t mean you should try and start a conversation wi—

Too late.