The Duane Reade With the Bar in It

by Liz Colville

In order to charm the neighborhood of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, the ubiquitous drugstore chain Duane Reade knew it had to do something special, and next to selling vegetable starter kits and composting worms, beer is probably one of the most on-point things they could offer, and so they are. While taking over all vacant and/or lagging commercial corners of the New York metropolitan area, the company is also “trying to find what works in our community,” a representative told the Times, and Williamsburg “was an area that was devoid of opportunities for beer.” Um! In drugstores, maybe.

Duane Reade is actually owned by Walgreens now, and over the past year or so you may have noticed how big and bright and we-have-everything-y the stores have become. They feel like supermarkets, only slightly less daunting, due to their slightly lower ceilings. They still feel very, “Oh god, where the hell are the feminine products/paper towels/celebrity magazines/chocolate-covered almonds? Please say they’re not downstairs. Of course they are.” (Also, this post about Duane Reade by one our blog-brothers.) But now, in one store at least, you can add, “Where is the pub again?” to your confused shopping experience. At the store, you can fill up growlers with the beer of your choice, and brewery reps are even on hand to provide tastings. How Portland (either one) of it!