Nov 20, 2023 - Things to Do

We tried Tysons' drinking-while-shopping scheme and, yes, we got tipsy

The Cooling Paloma from TGI Friday's. Photo: Mimi Montgomery/Axios

Drinking alone outside the Tysons TGI Friday's on a weekday night will cause you to reevaluate your life — which I know because I did it last week.

What's happening: Tysons Corner Center recently announced "Shopping With a Twist," meaning you can buy boozy drinks at participating restaurants, carry them around the mall while you shop and take them into certain stores. So, obviously, I had to try this.

My first stop was at the American Girl Bistro, which I am devastated to report was closed, dashing my dreams of sipping a mediocre Savvy B while surrounded by an army of Bitty Babys.

So I headed to the TGI Friday's, where I ordered a Cooling Paloma cocktail to-go.

  • It was good, although a little sweeter than I would have liked thanks to the grapefruit soda. And the mint was a nice touch — classy move, TGIF!
  • I got major drinking-in-an-airport vibes as I sipped my cocktail standing outside the restaurant: No windows, no natural light, just one long dissociation from space and time fueled by the buttered popcorn scent wafting from the nearby AMC theater.
  • Meanwhile, the frazzled-looking guy driving the children's Christmas train in Sisyphean loops around the mall's third floor looked like he could have used multiple Cooling Palomas himself.
A hand holds a cocktail in the air in front of an Abercrombie & Fitch store at the mall.
An espresso martini from Seasons 51. Photo: Mimi Montgomery/Axios

Up next was the grill and wine bar Seasons 52, where I snagged an Espresso Martini.

  • For a bang for your buck, go here — this was the largest and strongest 'Spresso 'Tini I have ever been served in my entire life.
  • It was good, but I couldn't possibly drink the whole thing — otherwise I might have stumbled into Free People and drunkenly sobbed my life story to a salesperson over a pile of artfully distressed henleys.

Thought bubble: I'd hate to see the kind of brawl shoppers could get into over a pair of linen culottes at Chico's after slamming a couple of these bad boys.

As I walked around with my extremely potent drink, I realized I was the only person carrying one of the clear, "Shopping With a Twist" branded cups in which drinks must be served.

  • It was a Wednesday night, though, so it's possible there will be more partakers on weekends closer to the holiday shopping season.

Zoom in: At this point, I'd consumed enough alcohol to fall prey to Sip & Stroll's likely intended consequences: Spending some money. Thanks to the booze, I decided to engage in some extremely reckless behavior — buying something in-person at the mosh pit that is Zara.

  • Honestly, it's good that the American Girl Bistro was closed — who knows, maybe I would have tipsily purchased 15 Samanthas.
A hand holds a cocktail in front of a Panda Express at a mall.
A California Colada from California Pizza Kitchen. Photo: Mimi Montgomery/Axios

Fifty dollars and one sweater I absolutely didn't need later, I made it to my last stop, that beacon of any suburban shopping mall: California Pizza Kitchen.

  • I already had tequila and vodka in my system, so I decided to throw my body another curveball and go with rum — the California Colada.
  • It had major all-inclusive resort vibes — coconutty and dangerously easy to drink, the kind of thing made to sip while staring out at international waters.

The bottom line: As someone who actively tries to avoid malls, I can say that alcohol definitely makes hanging out at a FootLocker way more enjoyable.

  • And, well-played Tysons: You definitely boozed me up and out of some money — a trend I'm sure will carry itself out come Black Friday.
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