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This Fast Food Chain Just Became the First in the UK to Serve Alcohol

A crisp Sauvignon Blanc would pair pretty well with that side of deep-fried cheese balls.
Phoebe Hurst
London, GB
Photo via Flickr user Joey

This post was originally published on MUNCHIES.

Picture the scene: you've managed to bag the window seat in your favourite fast food joint. Unwavered by the surrounding E number-fueled teenagers and stoners relaying complicated orders involving gherkin substitutes, you hold your double bacon cheeseburger aloft like a Fabergé egg and arrange your chips and ketchup within prime dipping distance. That mouthful of illicit, junk-y joy is seconds away. Nothing could make this moment more perfect.


Well, apart from maybe an ice cold beer to wash away any post-burger binge regret. And actually, a crisp Sauvignon Blanc would pair pretty well with that side of deep-fried cheese balls.

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While our refined European cousins have long been trusted to enjoy a McBeer with their chicken nuggets, patrons of Britain's fast food chains make do with soft drinks and strawberry milkshakes.

But this could all be about to change. A branch of Burger King in Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk has become the first fast food chain outlet in the UK to receive an alcohol licence.

The restaurant will now be allowed to serve one beer per adult until 9 PM. No word yet on why the inhabitants of a quiet market town were chosen as the guinea pigs for the country's first booze-n-Whopper experiment.

Burger King originally applied to serve alcoholic drinks seven days a week, from 10 AM to 11 PM, but this was refused by the Suffolk authorities over worries for children's safety and increased risk of disorder.

Local licensing inspector Matt Dee explained his concerns to Suffolk council, saying: "Other night time economies [in Bury] have door staff, CCTV, substantial staff training, and policies for identifying underage customers. The applicant would be free to sell strong spirits in its current application format which the constabulary deem inappropriate for the type of premises and lack of safeguarding."


As well as restricting serving times and not allowing customers to drink outside, Bury's Burger King will only be permitted to sell 330 millilitre-beers with "substantial" meals.

As if you needed another reason to double up on your Rodeo BBQ burger order.

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If the Bury venture is successful, Burger King's parent company CPL Foods hopes to expand to sell alcohol at other UK branches of the restaurant, including those in Hull and Newcastle-under-Lyme.

Will this usher in a new era of getting boozed-up at the country's major fast food chains? Probably not. As The Daily Telegraph notes, while Mcdonald's serves alcohol in many of its European outlets, its website FAQs state that there are no plans to do so in the UK, due to it not being "something that we have experienced customer demand for or something that fits with the family-friendly focus of our restaurants in the UK."

Never mind. Those strawberry milkshakes are pretty good too.