Sonic Beach Debuts in Fort Lauderdale with Free Beer

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Sure, a Burger King was nearly robbed by guy with a sock, but it's not all bad news in the fast food world. Sonic opens its second South Florida location in Fort Lauderdale at 5 p.m. today, with a menu of specialty items and a bar serving beer and wine.

This is no ordinary Sonic. It's located on the second floor of the Gallery at Beach Place on A1A, so there's no drive-thru or drive-in service with waiters on rollerskates like you'd find at the Homestead location. But there are perks to this sit-down Sonic: the view of the beach from floor-to-ceiling windows, for instance. There's also an expanded menu including everything on Sonic's traditional menu plus a handful of specialty items including a Carolina pulled pork sandwich, popcorn shrimp and popcorn chicken, and a Philly cheese steak.

And unlike most fast-food joints, this is a restaurant that invites you to sit down and stay awhile. The bar serves beers ranging from Bud Lite to Monk in the Trunk Amber, plus red and white wine and sangria. You can kick back with your drink and watch sports on the flat-screen TVs surrounding the room. And if you want to really class things up, order a $175 bottle of Dom Perignon to pair with your burger and fries -- they'll throw in chocolate-covered strawberries and the champagne flutes are yours to keep. Seriously.

No doubt Sonic fans from all over South Florida will be packing themselves into the new location at tonight's opening, but there is one very compelling reason to join the crowd: free beer from 5 to 8 p.m., as promised on the restaurant's Facebook page.

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