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John's Grocery Inc.
$$ - reasonable
[ Store ]
401 E Market St
phone: (319) 337-2183
Specializes in imported beer and glassware; also known as Dirty Johns for selling Playboy magazines in the 1950s.
Monday - Thursday: 7:30am - Midnight
Friday & Saturday: 7:30am - 2:00am)
Sunday: 9:00am - Midnight
(Place added by: BeerAdvocate)
Ratings & Reviews
| Reviews: 62 | Show All Ratings:
quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | $
I have used this store online for ordering, so this review does not apply to the physical location very well.
The selection is very good, covering most important imports and a lot of american beers as well. The selection I received felt fresh, and it seems they keep it fresh as they have a high volume of sales.
The website is kind of poor, you cannot order directly and have to call; the beer list is not updated frequently, so a lot of stuff listed is out, and I would suspect they have a lot of stuff that is not listed.
Despite that, service is stellar, courteous and efficient.
Prices are very good, and shipping is as inexpensive as I have seen.
Now, I always check if they have it before ordering from someone else.
05-12-2009 16:15:42 |
More by brdc
quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | $$
This is is the place to find the best selection of beer in Iowa City. However, the selection is still only moderate in comparison to places in Illinois and Indiana (where I spend a great deal of time). I feel that the selection overall is over-hyped and their website has a great deal more beers than there store actually has. An employee told me this is because they haven't updated the web site in ages. Prices are good and usually you can find someone to help you find what your looking for unless its a friday or saturday night.
Overall if your in Iowa City and don't want the usual keystone hard liquor combo then you will be able to find a good to decent beer at John's
03-25-2009 23:21:55 |
More by Jbeyer
quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
I had a great experience ordering belgian glassware online from this place - which I found on Google. Good selection of glasses at some of the best prices on the net. The belgian glass sampler was a nice deal and had to pick up a very cool Aventinus glass. With standard UPS ground shipping, the order made it in a 5 days. The packing materials were first rate and the handful of free beer coasters were a nice touch. I only wish Pennsylvania allowed out of state beer shipments. I will be making future purchases from John's. Cheers!
03-21-2009 12:41:33 |
More by JoePetto
quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | $$$
I love this place. It is a hole that maintains itself in a manner beyond all comprehension. The beer selection is exceptional for Iowa City but the cooler is small and cramped and they sell only in small denominations. Their mixed-six packs are wonderful ways to peruse their selection.
Outside the cooler is the sixer pick area with warm single beers to choose from. To my delight there is a wide selection of Belgian ales and big hoppy American IPA's.
Sadly the prices are outrageous most times and the service is incredibly snooty. They would do well to better educate the public than to alienate possible beer-lovers.
03-16-2009 19:09:47 |
More by cullenvens
quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
This was my neighborhood beer store when I went to college (the first time) back in late 80's/early 90's. I was transitioning toward craft from macros at the time, and they had the goods. But Dirty John's, as it is known locally, has grown and matured amazingly. went there last weekend to stock up for a tasting and was truly impressed. Doug, the manager, was very hands on helpful and extremely enthusiastic about beer! The selection was extensive and everything that wasn't already available as singles could be broken out of a sixpack, which is a tremendous benefit for the customer. The only detraction from the selection is Iowa's bass-ackwards liquor laws, where anything over 6.25% is considered liquor, and the State is the distributor for liquor. Hence, some breweries don't want to deal with Iowa, or at least for their big beers (one distributor for <6.25, another for >6.25). The only style that wasn't well represented was big double IPA's, that being the result of the law I spoke of. Another shop next door with glassware and trinkets. Worth the detour off of I-80 if you are passing by.
12-13-2008 01:26:34 |
More by sprucetip
quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4 | $$
So I moved down to Iowa City about 4 months ago and was asking around where a good beer store was that I could get beers that most places don't carry! People kept telling me you have to go to John's Grocery there one of the best in the Midwest if not the U.S.A. I final got to stop down there last week and boy was I blown away by the selection and a very friendly atmosphere and knowledgeable staff! I will be a regular for years to come and can't wait to stop back down soon! I highly recommend that every BA stop by if you are ever traveling down I-80!
10-29-2008 04:22:26 |
More by LordofTime25
quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | $$
AKA Dirty John's. Lived in Iowa City for 4 years and this is one of the few places I ALWAYS make a point of stopping by when I happen to be in town. I remember when their beer selection was a tiny fraction of what it is now (they moved the wine into the former beer section, added a large walk-in cooler, and significantly expanded their beer selection...especially Belgians). They also now have their glassware housed in a neighboring house-turned-storefront. Needless to say, nostalgia certainly plays a role with my experience here. They have some truly knowledgeable staff (as long as you don't ask the newbie). Their prices are much more reasonable than bigger city stores. And they actually are a grocery...check out their deli and find some good picnic items for City Park. It is cramped, but that is part of the homey charm. You will always find something new and/or intersting here. An absolute must if you are in the area.
10-04-2008 05:05:28 |
More by mwilbur
quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
Very much a nostalgia trip for me. It was here that I could buy cheap beer while coming in under the drinking age, with no I.D., fake or legit (this is the late '80s), and here that many kegs were purchased for many an Iowa City blowout. It was also here I bought my first ever legal beer, Old Nick from England (only because of the cool label), and of course they didn't card me the one time I actually wanted them to.
The atmosphere hasn't changed much in 20 years...it's still small and cozy and some might say cramped. The wine room is now where the beer used to be, and I think they knocked a few walls out to make way for the expanded beer selection. The options are weighted heavily toward imports, with Belgians a strong point. Lots of German and English stuff too, and a small but respectable selection of U.S. microbrews. In a time when it's easier and easier to locate a ton of great U.S. stuff, John's has a nice old-school feel with their Euro-centric selection.
Everything seemed a lot newer and less dusty than the last time I was there (2004). The service was top-notch. I didn't need any help, but the offer of assistance that was extended as soon as I walked in the room was enthusiastic and you have to appreciate that. I know for sure that the people in the beer room at John's know their shit.
The 1970s small town mom-and-pop corner market vibe is very much intact here, and the deli is worth checking out as well. It's an Iowa City treasure and institution. You can't help but walk out with something good every time, be it beer, wine, food or whatever.
P.S. As I biked away with a Catherine The Great Imperial Stout stubbie in my backpack, I noticed that they've bought a space in an old house next door to sell beer glassware, beer shirts, and such...I didn't bother checking it out, but maybe I should have. I guess the beer biz is going well for John's.
09-12-2008 01:39:53 |
More by Metalmonk
quality: 3 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | $$
Update 2: This is my first visit to John's since they moved the beer in the backroom and this is my first visit since the beer selection has increased and dramatically improved in Nebraska.
I am sorry but John's is not anywhere near as good as I remember. Where did all the Belgian ales go? There are obviously fewer American craft beers as well. I was sort of confused/concerned about all the X-mas beers still on the shelves. Sure, most are still good to drink but are some of the other beers equally as old? Honestly, there was nothing I *needed* to buy but I did pick up a couple bottles for the hell of it.
John's is just not what it once was... IMO.
Update: Okay, I've been here a "few" more times since my original review. Let me say a few things. Johns' has the best selection of beer in the state; it is better than Cyclone in Ames. The Belgian selection is as good as I've seen anywhere (including Blue Max in MN). Also the service has been perfect every time I've been there. If Doug is not in, ask for Eric, and if he is not in... you are NOT out of luck. The beer knowledge runs deep here, so does passion. The workers are friendly but honest; ask questions they can help.
Don't expect a lot of American micros because they don't exist in Iowa. I don't down grade their selection for that; it is not their fault. Blame Iowa laws. The prices are a little high (compared to say, Gomers in KC but on par with Blue Max) but, again, this is not their fault. Blame Iowa laws.
John's is a gem.
This is my original review and first impression:
I was completely impressed when I visited John's Grocery. The beer selection was awesome; they had a slew of Belgium beers... including Westy. It seemed like most of the beer they sold was various European imports. Many of the micros they carried I've never seen in the greater Mid-West and many were indigenous to the local area. A good chunk of the beer is in a cooler. Bottom line the beer selection is great.
Anyway... when I visited John's it was 8:30 am on a Friday. I was greeted (almost at the door) by Doug Alberhasky, the store manager and "Bier Guy." He asked us (my girlfriend and I) if we needed anything. Long story short... he took us on a personal tour of the whole building, he talked about John's history, he was a great guy to shoot the shit with about beer, plus he took my girlfriend to the "(ware-) house" so she could peruse their pint glasses for sale. We got absolutely detailed help. Doug also pointed me out a few beers and I took his advice on all of them, he was right... they were excellent.
John's is a grocery store, and a small, unassuming one at that. They do have a deli but I did not check it out. I thought the prices were very good. You need to visit this place; Iowa City is on I-80 so what is you excuse!
08-06-2008 15:16:13 |
More by bditty187
quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | $$
This store really opened my eyes to craft beer as a college student in the mid-90s. I didn't develop a real appreciation for the stuff until after I left town, but I still stop through on occasion on the way to visit my wife's family in Iowa.
Quality is quite good, I have had very few instances of getting "out of date" beer over the years (far fewer than you'd expect considering the selection).
I think they always (or at least usually) have a dedicated "beer" person on-hand, but I have never really talked to one (I usually stop through on a random weekday morning so I don't expect their beer person to be working). The rest of the staff is mostly college students, although friendlier and more helpful than I remember being when I was their age. The place must pay pretty well.
Selection is awesome, especially when you consider they are in Iowa (a beer wasteland in many ways). They always have tons of beer that I never see in Chicago. Tons of Belgians and Germans, a few hard to find others, and a good mix of midwestern micros. Truly awesome.
On top of the beer, they carry a huge selection of beer glasses for those that are interested. They had to open an extra room in the house next door to house the big selection and handle the online orders (www.johnsgrocery.com).
Overall, this place is at least on par with any beer store I have encountered in Chicago and I would highly recommend it to anyone visiting the area.
PS - They are also called "Dirty John's because they used to sell beer to ANYONE with a crappy ID back in the 90's but I have heard they cleaned that up...
Visited on 7/14/08.
07-15-2008 03:46:08 |
More by tmitch75
John's Grocery Inc. in Iowa City, IA
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