Hi-Time Wine Cellars
Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 94 | Reviews: 93 | Show All Ratings:
5/5 rDev +9.2%
quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5
Well I have the new beer bug pretty bad at the moment, you know where you want to try something new, but you have pretty much wiped out all your local beer stores and even tried the crappy beers. So being as I had some time on my hands this morning I figured it was time to spread my wings and take the 25 mile drive south to Costa Mesa and the legendary Hi-Times that I have heard so much about from my fellow BAs who all live much further away from here than I do oddly enough.
Well, first off, I was not disappointed, this place just oozes quality, as soon as you walk in you know this Alcohol Heaven. As the name suggest it has a strong focus on Wines, but it also has fantastic range of just about any other fermented or distilled beverage you can think of. In addition, it has all those mechanical accoutrements required to keep even the best bar stocked, Bottle Openers, Corkscrews, more Glasses than you can shake a stick at, etc. etc. I even noticed a large range of Chocolates and some Olde World Candies piled high in Glass Jars.
But I was here for Beer. To the right as you enter there are some coolers that are full of multiple bottled beer packs, and these alone are a good range. But the real deal is a little further back. A Walk-In Cooler. You will have to leave your Trolley outside and pick up a smaller hand basket, put this does at least help to prevent excessive involuntary beer grabbing. For once inside there is a fantastic range of beers. To the left is a wall full of German beers, to the right British and Belgium, in the middle there are many US Craft beers. On shelves and in open boxes, its like Xmas time and Santas Grotto for Beer geeks. Too many beers to list just check the Website, but a very good range of traditional lambics is sold here, and they still have supplies of Our Beersel Gueuze. Several check-outs make the hard part a quick and painless operation. Very friendly staff that was incredibly helpful to this Virgin Hi-Time shopper. Ill be back.
The only minor complaint I had was that it was quite busy when I was here, but sadly with what I call eye shoppers rather than the real deal, you know the ones that wonder around and buy nothing they stumble about and shout ooh look dear at every pretty bottle and then they just stop dead in the aisles. Negotiating the aisles with a Trolley even only half-full of Beer isnt easy here, but there is talk of expansion I see.
Bring the Reserve Credit Card, youll need it!
Last Visit: 27 Dec. 03
12-27-2003 21:25:04 | More by TheLongBeachBum
4.65/5 rDev +1.5%
quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | $$
Hi-Time is located in the middle of a residental area just south of 17th street, which may make you think you've gone the wrong way to find the place. When you see the sign, you'll know you've made it. The main entrance takes you inside to a room full of vintage wines, cigars, and liquor. To reach the beer, you'll need to walk to the right and continue down. When you've reached a big coolor with beer inside, you've hit the jackpot. Insde the cooler at a bunch of beers of all origins. The selection is superb, and the prices aren't bad. I was still able to find the winter version of YuleSmith, making me a happy camper, along with Kulmbacher Eisbock in 6-packs. Those are just a few samples you'll come across. International and domestic mix packs are also available for purchase. Because most of the beer there is cold, it means it's ready for consumption rather than setting it in your fridge for a few hours before you're ready to have it. Glassware is also available is several shapes and sizes. Go there for hard to find beers or if you live nearby, your jaw will drop!
06-27-2007 21:13:47 | More by DoubleJ
4.7/5 rDev +2.6%
quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | $$
I stopped here after finding it on BA. What an awesome store. There is an incredible selection of wine and chocolates and all kinds of kick-ass things worth stopping for, but on top of that they have such a good selection of beer. So many USA micros and CA beers and imports to choose from. I counted about 60 Belgians, 40 Germans, well over 50 USA, and 20 UK beers to choose from. The prices were mostly OK, sort of hit or miss.
If you're in southern LA, this is definitely the place to stop for beer. The staff is very knowledgable and helpful, and the prices are not set to gouge.
05-18-2006 02:37:14 | More by TurdFurgison
3.1/5 rDev -32.3%
quality: 4 | service: 1 | selection: 4 | $$$$
SO I shopped online, first of all, like 5 of the bottles I ordered they didn't have. So take them off the website. The shipping is expensive. Then one of the beers they sent was the wrong one, and did not reply to emails after that. It happened to be Orange Blossom Ale and it was terrible when I drank it after I figured there was no return.
So their service is really low, they at least emailed saying they didn't have a few products though.
The quality is fine, they shipped it in a a nice shipper, the beer seemed fresh. They also have a good selection of domestics and also imports unavailable to me.
But they have some issues. So be careful when ordering online.
03-22-2010 17:45:46 | More by crossovert
4.45/5 rDev -2.8%
quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | $
Located in a Costa Mesa neighborhood
Beer is located in the pack in a large refrigerated room along with 8 different fridges outside of that
Super cheap and can buy singles out of six packs
Found some nice gems here, Avery Czar, Flying Dog Woodie Creek, Firestone Walker Reserve, Bornem Double, and Flying Dog Horn Dog barleywine
Only spent 28 dollars on 10 different beers, some were 22 ouncers too
Nice selection of glasses
Very helpful workers
Could have spent a lot more money here and I probably will if I make it back there soon
09-09-2007 01:16:34 | More by Floydster
4/5 rDev -12.7%
quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
Im really not a big fan what I saw of the OC. I guess its partly because of the area where our hotel was in Costa Mesa, there literally was nothing nearby, except a few bad chain restaurants where we ended up eating anyway, houses that all look the same and just a boring, soul-crushing suburban feel. I guess Ive always been a city kid, even if (or probably because) I grew up in an environment just like this one. So its sort of a surprise for me to see a store like Hi-Times liquor in a place like this. Mind you, the store itself is a perfect match for this neighborhood, half upscale gourmet boutique and half stripped-down warehouse liquidation center. You can get a 40 oz of vodka for under 10 bucks to go with that 100$ an ounce caviar! Handcrafted Lagiole cheese knives to spread your cheese whiz! Grand cru wines from Bordeaux and the plastic party cups to serve it in! Anyway, what really stunned me was the Beer selection.
Great walk-in fridge section that my shivering girlfriend stayed in no more than 10 seconds, so everything is kept nice and cool. A few specials and cleanouts as you walk in, they just got some Lost Abbey beers, some Stone 10th anniversary and 6.6.6 vertical epic and some YuleSmith, both summer and winter. Good start!
Browsing through the 4-5 aisles, selection covering a lot of Californian micros, both big and small, a few others from out-of-state, an import section with a few eyebrow lifters, ciders and meads (not too much local rep here, but that was the case everywhere Ive been to), I was totally satisfied with what they had. Prices were okay in general, with some bargains and some rip-offs, so it evens out.
Outside the refrigerated section you could find a rack with some glassware (basically a collection of shaker pints and a few Belgians), a fridge with liquid yeast and other very basic homebrewing supplies, and a few T-Shirts.
No staff to help out, just a guy at the checkout who promptly packed my bottles in boxes and I was on my way.
Even a diehard urbanite like me would suffer through traffic to head towards suburban hell as long as theres a store with this kind of selection.
10-03-2006 15:21:50 | More by Goldorak
4.65/5 rDev +1.5%
quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
*** A MUST STOP WITHIN HOUR DRIVE ***
*** Ask about special beers not on the shelves! ***
Located only 5 miles from my Radisson Hotel, this place is a veritable goldmine. Not just a great beer store, and not just a great wine store but Hi-Time Wine Cellars also packs a punch with a stunning tobacco and cigar collection, corked bottle openers, knives, limited artisianal cheeses, and aisles of awl-kee-hawl hooch.
Beer is back to the right. There is a row of room temp beers of the "basic nature" and a row of opening door tall cold boxes offering up local suspects, but the treasures lie inside the giant walk in cooler area. All imports are lumped together with six foot tall and several feet wide shelves for each locale such as German, English and Belgian...but don't just think that it's all Chimay and Weinstephaner...it's much much more. So many that I can't even put a dent in the selection. ANY BEER FAN WILL BE HAPPY. I snagged some local CA beers that are not usually out my way like Alesmith ESB, Wee Heavy, Decadedance, Moylans 2IPA, Speakeasy Barelywine, Stone Old Guard 2006, and others. Excellent single selection that WILL NOT DISAPOINT!
Tempted to give 5/5 Selection due to every time I am here they have serious new brews.
Most 22 oz local bottles are $4 - $6 with a few rare boys clocking in at $10. Very reasonable and darn near cheap!
GO GO GO TO HI-TIME!
10-09-2006 06:42:00 | More by blitheringidiot
4.8/5 rDev +4.8%
quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5
After living and working in this area for nearly three months a couple summers ago, I never found this place in person. We searched local Wild Oat stores, Trader Joe's, and grocery stores for beers to bring out but we never heard about this place even though we frequented the Yardhouse and Goat Hill Tavern a stone's throw away. Selection on the online store is massive all of the west coast brews that don't come to Pittsburgh can be found, and in addition to west coast micros they have a slew of others plus imports including German and Belgian ales. After placing my order within a couple days they called my cell to confirm my order in person, now that's service. I couldn't have been more happy with my purchases got some hard to get Alesmith brews great source of finding beers online.
05-06-2004 16:20:05 | More by WVbeergeek
4.5/5 rDev -1.7%
quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | $$
Definitely the best retail place I visited while in CA.
Quality is good. All beers are away from any kind of direct sunlight and there are a ton in a huge walk-in cooler.
Service is good. I didn't have any specific questions but everyone was friendly enough and no surliness was observed.
Selection was great. Tons of offerings from CA breweries, including Cuvee de Tomme, Sculpin, Consecration, etc. There really wasn't anything that I didn't see here that I did see elsewhere.
Value is good - prices seemed about par for the course.
Overall this was a huge stop and I only wish I'd seen this place first before going to a local BevMo. Definitely make a stop here if you can.
09-07-2009 00:53:58 | More by glid02
4.7/5 rDev +2.6%
quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
I have been to a lot of good bottle shops, but this one ranks very much up at the top.
I was initially concerned as I turned onto Ogle (from Orange) to see what appeared to be a residential area. I almost missed the place at first, but was able to slow down and make it into the parking lot.
I walked in through the main entrance to see quite the expanse of cigars, wines, and spirits. I was (again) a bit confused until I looked to my right to see a hallway were I could see some cooler doors and a walk-in cooler through a hallway.
The initial confusion was quickly replaced with a feeling of elation. There are about 6-8 cooler doors and a substantial pile of cases to the left of the doorway. Next to/behind the cooler doors is a large walk-in cooler where there is even more good stuff.
Lots of, well, just about everything. Plenty of German beers, a pretty good selection of Belgians, as well as other imports such as Mikkeller and Nogne-O. All the usual suspects from CA and the west coast, and quite a few you don't usually see (most notably Kern River, Mammoth, and Caldera). Plenty of stuff from DFH, Flying Dog, New Belgium, HotD, Russian River, The Bruery, Stone, Deschutes, North Coast, and more (too many to name).
I wish I had more money to spend here because I could have easily bought a few cases full of beer (I went conservative and only bought one case worth).
If you're anywhere near here, make the trip and check out Hi-Time.
10-17-2009 01:02:03 | More by womencantsail
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Hi-Time Wine Cellars in Costa Mesa, CA
100 out of 100 based on 94 user ratings.