"I'll have a double strong latte, an espresso, and a pale ale".  What?!

It looks like Starbucks is getting ready to roll out wine and beer offerings as a means to boost sales.

The Seattle-based coffee giant has been testing a more community-oriented store concept to boost traffic in the evening for more than two years. These stores offer savory, high-quality, small-plate options like cured meats, and beer and wine, in addition to the usual coffee and tea. Starbucks has also been experimenting with live entertainment, including music, poetry readings or theater, depending on the neighborhood.

A national roll-out is a ways off, but Starbucks already has plans for a test market.

Starbucks Coffee Co. plans to open as many as seven stores that sell beer and wine in the Chicago area by the end of 2012.

Critics may scoff at the idea of non-traditional items on a Starbucks menu, but the Seattle-based company is only following a trend that many "fast-service" restaurants have started.

Darren Tristano, executive vice president of Technomic, said the move makes sense given the cafe environment, adding that Burger King is also experimenting with beer service at its Whopper Bar chain.

Starbucks bringing beer and wine to Chicago - chicagotribune.com.