For those of you in states where this does not exist, let us be the first to introduce the magnificent unicorn of the alcohol market: the drive-thru liquor store. Brew-thru, party barn, bootlegger, bottle shop—no matter what you call ‘em in your area, drive-thru liquor stores are a thing of majesty, making it stupid easy to pick up drinks on your way to a party, campsite or al fresco drinking spot. Here, every state where drive-thru liquor stores are legal.
Arizona is one of the best states for lazy drinkers who want to cruise through a liquor store without getting out of the car. While some states ostracize drive-thrus to the rural areas, Arizona proudly boasts a wealth of them in Phoenix—enough to warrant a field guide, as well as multiple categories of Best Drive Through Liquor Store in the Phoenix New Times’ annual roundup.
Arkansas is rife with “county line” liquor stores, which are perched on the borders of dry counties to draw thirsty patrons across on quick booze runs. To make this trip all the more efficient, many of these stores offer drive-thru service, so you can pop across the border and back with a six pack in no time.
San Diego has perfected the drive-thru experience in Alta Dena Drive-In Dairy. Instead of a window outside the store dispensing items to drivers, Alta Dena actually allows you to drive through the inside of the store. It’s even more joyous than it sounds.
Liquor stores aren’t the only shops you can drive through in Colorado. In 2007, Tumbleweed Express opened in Parachute to sell recreational marijuana to drive-by customers. Now you’ve got two stops to make on your “errands run.”
Of course Florida has drive-thru liquor stores because… well, because Florida.
In Georgia, package stores (which sell booze in special sealed packaging) are legally able to sell via drive-thrus and service windows.
On a cross-country journey, you’re probably not stopping in Idaho, but you might pull into a drive-thru beverage barn long enough to load up on drinks to enjoy when you hit Oregon.
You won’t come across too many drive-thru stores in Chicago. But get outside the Windy City, and you’ll easily find spots to grab tall boys.
In terms of ridiculous liquor laws, Iowa is tops. You can’t put a beer on your tab at a bar, but you can buy that same beer from a drive-thru shop.
The state capital Topeka contains its fair share of drive-thru spots, none with a better name than Lady Jewell’s Drive Thru Liquor.
If you’re travelling the Bourbon Trail, it’s best to make a pit stop at one of Kentucky’s drive-thru stores, where you can pick from a massive variety of brown spirits right from your driver’s seat.
Frozen Daiquiris are an obsession around New Orleans, and drive-in Daiqs are their own special breed. The king of kings is Cajun Daiquiri & Café, which sells one of our favorite takes on the Frozen Daiquiri, the Sex in a Jeep. It’s a shockingly strong drink that mixes four of the bar’s other cocktails together: Sex on the Beach, Strawberry, Jungle Juice and Cajun Adjustment.
Should you start a cross-country journey in the tippy tip of Maine in Estcourt Station, be sure to grab a six pack somewhere before Vermont—or else you’ll have to get out of your seat to get it.
Just outside our nation’s capital, drive-thru liquor stores supply thirsty politicians with all the grab-and-go booze they can handle.
Sure, party poopers have destroyed Michigan drive-thru booze stores like the Beer Depot in Ann Arbor, but everyone except University of Michigan students are still pretty excited about drive-thru spots elsewhere in the state.
Our favorite thing about the entire state of Missouri: You can legally drink pretty much anywhere in the state (except schools, churches and courthouses). But no matter where you’re going, you’ll need to drive by a liquor store on your way.
New Yorkers may insult Jersey a lot, but at least the Garden State has drive-thru liquor stores on its neighbor. For a good example, try Hoboken Beer and Soda Outlet, where workers will happily load a keg into your trunk without you lifting a finger.
On your way to the Outer Banks (where, pro tip, you can drink legally on the sand), stock up at a so-called brew-thru.
Luckily, you can get your heart-warming booze in ND without ever stepping out of your vehicle because winter temperatures in the state can reach as low as negative 60 degrees.
Another capital proudly serving lazy drinkers, Columbus goes big on the drive-thrus, and Cincinnati is right there alongside.
Pennsylvania may be notorious for its restrictive state-run liquor stores, but at least the state allows beer stores to set up drive-thrus.
Rhode Island is perfectly positioned for booze cruises along the sound, but drive-thru liquor stores make a strong case for staying on dry land.
South Dakota is only slightly more bearable than North Dakota, but you can still stay in your car when the weather turns drastic during a booze run.
Buying booze from your car means you don’t have to get up and walk into a store, but you still have to interact with another human being. If that effort sounds like just too much, visit a Smartmart in Tennessee—an automated, attendant-less shop that unloads goods by conveyor belt, including beer.
Drive-thru Frozen Margs from Eskimo Hut are the only things that can give Louisiana Daiquiris a run for their money. But if you prefer to mix up your own drinks at home, Texas has a ton of drive-thru retail stores as well.
Drinkers around Salt Lake City are accustomed to strict alcohol laws, but the state’s drive-thru policy seems especially harsh. Retailers can sell beer and wine, but only up to 3.2 percent.
Along with North Carolina, the regional drive-thru beer shops known as “brew-thrus” are so specific to Virginia, the phrase is used by those online regional slang quizzes to pinpoint Virginians.
A chain known as Gumby’s Cigarette & Beer World has the drive-thru market on lock in WV, with locations all up and down the Northern Panhandle. How can you not love a place called Gumby’s that sells beer, wine and cigars to drinkers and smokers on the go?
Wisconsin is surprisingly ahead of the curve on drinking laws, with lawmakers there recently pushing to lower the drinking age in the state to 19 in order to cut down on college binge drinking. Hopefully 19-year-olds can soon drive through one of the state’s shops on their way to a totally civilized frat party.
Since the establishment of Wyoming Whiskey back in 2009, the Cowboy State has been putting out some quality craft spirits, especially whiskey. Score a locally distilled bottle on your way to a Rocky Mountains campsite for a true Western experience.