By OnMilwaukee Staff Writers   Published Sep 09, 2010 at 7:10 PM
We live in a world where cigarette smoking is less and less tolerated, yet drinking is more popular than ever, even in places where it seems really out of place. Even a pious summer church festival serves cold tappers, maybe to loosen up visitors for a little bingo or water pistol racing.

But aside from church parking lots in June, there are many other establishments in Milwaukee -- that aren't bars and typical wine-list restaurants -- where booze is served.

Beans & Barley -- Beans doesn't serve diet soda, but it does have a fine variety of beers and wine. This is the kind of church festival hypocrisy we all live for because it justifies our own contrasting behaviors. So go ahead: wash down a black bean burger with three or four beers. Why not?

Benji's -- This Shorewood delicatessen also has a liquor license, but has anyone in the history of kosher eating ever craved a beer and a bagel? How 'bout super hopple popple with a chaser? Oy.

Brewers game -- Of course, beer and sporting events go together like, well, beer and sporting events. But of all the places in town to get a drink outside a tavern, there's nothing quite like the old ballyard. Sunny day, some local suds (yup, you can get 'em there, just gotta look) and the Brewers on the field? Perfection.

Chuck E. Cheese's --  Based on the drunken behavior of some parents, it's clear that beer and The Chuck are not a good idea. But drink at your own discretion. 

Fred Boutique -- It's becoming a trend in the fashion world to offer complementary wine to shoppers as they peruse and try on clothing. Fred Boutique, 524 N. Water St., is one of the several Milwaukee boutiques that offer a glass of red or white to customers nightly from 6 to 10 p.m. In that vein, Fred's shopping parties and monthly martini nights combine what might be the ultimate in female attractions: boutique shopping and frou frou drinks.

Groom -- You can't buy beer at groom, 330 E. St. Paul Ave., but upon entering and checking in for your hair cut, you're always offered a frosty Miller (or other beverage, of course, if you prefer). A beer, neck rub, shave and a hair cut. Does it get much better?

Mars Cheese Castle -- This place has such a limited choice of food items -- basically if it can't be sizzled on a griddle or reheated in the nuke box, forget it -- yet it hosts a full bar pouring every cocktail imaginable to Cheeseheads and FIBs alike.

New-school "fast" food -- We've all heard of McBeers in Europe, but here in the United States we usually keep our to-go cups filled with virgin liquids. However, fast food chains Chipotle and Q-Doba serve both beer and margaritas. What next? Frangelica frosties at Wendy's? Whiskey mixers at Arby's? Now that's a grown up taste you could give into, yes?

Southridge Athletic Club -- OK, this fitness center doesn’t actually serve alcohol, but it is attached to Jimmy K’s Sports Bar & Grill, 6815 W. Edgerton Ave. Occasionally, the Greenfield-based athletic club advertises for the sports bar, too. It’s all about balance, they say.

Tall boys -- Some bars double as music venues, but not all music venues double as bars. Sure, it's common to find alcohol at most live shows in Milwaukee but you're likely paying twice what you'd normally pay for that plastic cup of Miller Lite. The Pabst, Riverside and Turner Hall team changed that when they introduced the famous $3 Pabst "Tall Boy" cans a few years ago. At 16 ounces, these puppies sell like hotcakes to concert-goers who like an affordable libation or three while taking in a live performance.

The Milwaukee County Zoo -- For some reason walking around with a kid looking at the animals and carrying a beer feels a little wrong and sometimes we have to fight the urge to hide it, as if someone will bust us. But, hey, the beer is on sale and it's allowed. On an especially hot day, it's also very refreshing. Just go easy there, fella.

Upscale movie theaters -- Whatever happened to sneaking in a flask to dump into an overpriced cherry Coke? Several of your finer area theaters, including the Rosebud, IPic, Fox Bay, The Oriental and Majestic, let you get your drink on while you take in a movie. Just like every concession, prices are steep. But think of how cool it would've been to enjoy a White Russian while watching "The Big Lebowski." Or to sip a screwdriver during "Leaving Las Vegas." Wait, that wouldn't have been cool at all.

Whole Foods & Metro Market -- Again, it seems like the place where you'd have to keep the cup under your jacket, but Whole Foods has a beer and brat bar toward the north end of the store and as far as we can tell, there's no reason why you can't stick your brew in the shopping cart cup holder and get a little shopping done, too! There's also a by-the-glass wine vending machine, too. Metro Market also has beer and wine ready for you.