• Infinite beer, infinite food, infinite parking, infinite options, and a gun in your face

    May 24th, 2010mr meanerwhole foods

    Imagine, if you would, a relaxed bar with six craft beers on tap and 16 great wines by the glass.

    Add in over 100 bottled beers…

    and around 300 bottled wines…

    I have your attention?

    Good. Imagine if this bar had a “create your own pizza” counter with Daiya cheese and 10 vegan toppings as well as a deli with many vegan sandwiches.

    But wait, there’s more…

    Add in a 100+ selection salad bar and 10-15 hot vegan prepared dishes as well as vegan deserts, ice creams, candies and smoothies. Oh, there’s also a full-on bakery, coffee roaster and juice bar.

    Sounds too good to be true? Read on. This bar also has a 2,000 space parking lot outside, incredibly friendly staff, decent prices and when you order a beer it comes in a special glass with the name of the brewery. Add in a daily session at 5pm with tastings of exotic beers and wines as well as food specially created by one of THREE in-house chefs.

    Also, imagine that if your vegan appetite is still needing, the same parking lot houses a Veggie Grill with its own beer selection and one of the best fast-food plant-based (they don’t like us using the word “vegan”) menus on the planet. Oh, and this whole thing is 5 minutes off the 405 freeway just south of LAX and also has just about every vegan grocery and item you could possibly imagine.

    our haul: beers, salad bar, and pre-made plantains w/ rice and beans.

    This place does exist, and it’s probably one of LA’s best kept secrets. The El Segundo location of Whole Foods has a full-on bar hidden away behind the racks of wine and beer where you can take any food item you like (prepared, groceries, pizza and even pay-by-weight deli food like the salad and hot food bars) and sit down to enjoy it with a glass or two of tap beer or wine. Heck, they’ll even open any bottle of wine or beer from the store’s massive selection and give you glasses to pour it into.

    While the bar is chill and relatively quiet (considering it’s in the middle of a grocery store) with super-friendly staff and the aforementioned massive selection it isn’t your typical bar vibe. More of a cross between an airport lounge and the kind of bar you find at a Cheescake Factory (the exterior sense of hustle and bustle is always in your ears), this isn’t the place to settle down and sit for hours but it IS a great way to break up your exhausting shopping experience and to enjoy your carry-out spoils in a lovely atmosphere with real tap beer and a superb wine selection.

    I doubt there’s a single location on earth (other than another Whole Foods with a bar) where you can choose from hundreds of awesome vegan meals and groceries to pair them up with your favorite beer, wine or non-alcoholic smoothie or juice beverage and enjoy them in a relaxing environment.

    Of course, this being a Whole Foods you also have access to a microwave, panini press and all the kitchen gadgets and ingredients you need to get creative – we bought hot sauce, for example, to put on our prepared food choices. This means you really have no excuse not to pig out and drink up!

    They even have an entire vegan chocolate section…

    …so you can go crazy with the cruelty-free chocolate and wine pairings.

    While it might seem anathema to drink a beer in a grocery store, it really is worth trying out. You might not enjoy the atmosphere quite as much as a trip to your local watering hole, but the selection alone makes it worthwhile. I know which Whole Foods I’ll be stopping by at least once a week going forward.

    Oh, and finally, be careful if you’re a blogger like me. I was taking photos, and a burly security guard with a large gun on his holster asked me to leave with a snarling: “You can’t take photos in here. Please leave, sir. Now.”. Of course, I obliged and immediately left (I mean, guns are scary, right?) but snuck in through another door and continued to take pictures while dodging the guard as a game, just like playing soldiers when I was a kid.

    I mean, Daiya pizza, all the vegan food you could imagine from breakfast to chocolates as well as tap beer (and I’m not talking about Bud and Bud Lite here, but honest, rare craft beers that are terribly difficult to find in LA) can only be a good thing.

    Remember to dodge the bullets while you’re snapping your food, though, or you might just end up dead.

    Also, please note that, as in all bars, not all beers served are vegan. We definitely knew at least two were on this list, but it’s good to check in advance as they do rotate the taps regularly.

    Whole Foods El Segundo. Go there.


24 responses to “Infinite beer, infinite food, infinite parking, infinite options, and a gun in your face” RSS icon

  • Wow! I thought the Venice Whole Foods, or Pasadena Whole Foods, took top spot, but this one looks awesome. I will definitely check it out. It’s such a shame that some of the older Whole Foods have slipped. The WeHo one on Fairfax and Santa Monica has stopped carrying M Chaya salads and Cru desserts, and has a very poor selection of ready made vegan meals. The one on Wilshire and 5th (I think) in Santa Monica is extremely disappointing. They didn’t even display the ingredients on the soups so I didn’t know if they were vegan. And no one could seem to find the ingredients. Are Whole Foods centrally managed or are they franchises? Do you know?

  • My husband and I visit this location almost every single Sunday. But first we have lunch at Veggie Grill. Then walk it off at WHOLE FOODS. I LOVE THIS LOCATION. Everyone is so friendly and have an excellent selection of products.

  • This store is amazing! Just be prepared to spend a lot or out yourself on a serious budget. Once you’ve gone to this whole foods it will be hard to go to any other. Trust me!

  • Holy shit. i could move into that place and never go anywhere else…

  • Yesterday i went to the Pasadena Wholefoods and was blown away. Very similar… I want to move in!!

  • I’m a Pasadena girl so I’m really glad for the Arroyo Whole Foods, and this ES Whole Foods looks amazing as well!!
    Must check it out sometime for sure.

  • Yeah, I go every week and always end up eating way more than I should. Probably the best day to go is on Wednesday. There’s a small Farmer’s market in their parking lot and the Food Bar drops down to $5.99 a pound instead of $7.99.

  • One of my oldest friends lives in El Segundo, and when I make the trek from Echo Park to visit her, we love hitting up that beautifus giant Whole Foods and grabbing a bite, either there or at Veggie Grill. But out of all the times we’ve done that, I never knew there was a secret amazing bar area tucked away. A must see on our next visit.

  • There’s no way that this post is MADD approved.

  • @B Laden… LOL yeah, and imagine shopping in wholefoods while you’re buzzed? shit, I buy enough stuff i don’t need there when I’m stone cold sober.

  • Its…beautiful…

  • Oh my goodness! A bar in Whole Foods! Outrageous! I live in Winter Park FL and not even the brand new HUGE Whole Foods in the touristy area has that. So envious but it’s awesome. Love Whole Foods. The people who work at the one by me are the best.

  • I’ve been living off vegan sandwiches from the WF deli near my house (not the Arroyo one, another smaller Pasadena one.) Really good sandwiches, not very expensive, and cool, informed people behind the counter who definitely know the difference between vegan and vegetarian. All stuff I totally appreciate 😀

  • Everybody bags on the prices there, but you can get out cheap if you’re smart. The daiya pizza is pretty cheap, due to the thin crust. The plain ‘cheese’ is $5.99 a pound, which works out roughly to $3 an acre, I think. Honestly, I think a whole ‘tongue’-pizza would be less than $10.

    They also have a eggless-salad wedge sandwich for $3.65, a tofu and shallots salad with a bunch of yummy stuff for $3.65. They’ll custom make a giant sandwich for $5.99 with a bunch of gardein options.

    There’s cheap options, you just gotta find ’em.

  • I think we need to schedule vegan beer meetups there and just turn it into a full on bar!

  • Damn you, other states and your liberal liquor laws.

    Terrible Toal in Pennsylvania

  • @Terriblr_Toal: the reason I moved to CA from CO was for exactly this. going to government-owned liquor stores us like visiting the DMV. only cheaper.

  • I totally agree. This is an awesome wholefoods. I get my grilled chicken from Veggie grill and stop at Whole Foods for my vegan desserts. They also have a Vegan Dessert area with Fresh whole Chocolate Cakes, Apple Pies, Brownies etc. “need i say more”.

  • I love that Whole Foods. : )

  • im jealous of you guys who live in la…

  • Da Data Monkey

    Fuck it I’m coming to LA for a holiday and to pig out!

  • WHY do the norcal whole foods SUCK when it comes to vegan options!?!? that one, and the vegas ones have TONS of vegan stuff! all we have are a few lousy donuts and on occasion some chocolate mousse cake. oh, ONCE i saw a vegan pizza, and i’m in WF like 4 times a week.

  • Has anyone tried Sunergia Soyfoods cheeses? I just saw (and bought) the bleu cheese at Whole Foods on 3rd… havent opened it yet but I’m thinking it would be good crumbled on Gardein beefless tips

  • I love this store too! My favorite feature is the tall, sexy African American guy that works in the grocery department! 🙂

    The vast selection of vegan items is great as well!

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