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Riley's Wines of the World
$$ - reasonable
[ Store ]
402 W Gorham St
phone: (608) 257-0400
(Place added by: cokes)
Ratings & Reviews
| Reviews: 54 | Show All Ratings:
quality: 3 | service: 2 | selection: 4
It's funny. With all of this selection, you'd think this place would be a haven for microbrews. Well, the fact is most of the people who get their beer here are college students. And college students are broke. And broke people drink Keystone Light.
As a result, most of the microbrews (a lot which are unrefrigerated) are outdated and dusty. To make things worse, the service is pretty lousy. It's a steady stream of meatheads who think it would be cool to work at a beer store.
You can get a decent selection of microbrews, but pay attention to how old they are. Try to grab a sixpack of a hot seller, that way you know the stock has been rotated.
11-16-2004 13:54:24 |
More by Sixpoint
quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | $$$
Stopped up here after Dark Lord Day with warriorsoul, goodbyeohio and kmpitz2. Riley's is located right in the downtown of Madison and is even within walking distance from the Great Dane if it's a nice day and you're down for some exercise. We drove over as we figured we'd have plenty of stuff to haul back. Located right on a corner, Riley's has a huge sign ya can't miss and a little parking lot in front. We got a spot easily and I dunno why some many people hate on the size of the lot...here in Chicago we're happy to see ANY parking lot at all!
Upon entering we made our way to the right side of the store where there's a huge cooler with a myriad of singles from Viking, New Glarus, Capital, Lake Louie, Central Waters, Smuttynose, Tyranena, Bell's, Three Floyds and more. Singles seemed bit a pricey but you did get 10% of any mixed sixer. There were also lots of the new 750ml Sprecher stuff, DFH Golden Shower, White Winter. Go further back to the back wall of the store and you'll find a good selection of sixers from all the local brewers. I snagged a sixer of Old Chub here as well. Overall, a nice mix of brews and you're pretty sure to find something you'll want to leave with.
Service was friendly, I believe fellow BA Skidz was the one helping us. He took the time to look in the back and found some NG Tailwagger Barleywine for warriorsoul to take back home with him, which was really cool. Overall, this is a nice little bottle shop in Madison, however it does seem to be a bit more expensive than some of the other locals. If you're visting the Great Dane there's really no reason you shouldn't run in here as well!
06-04-2006 17:11:14 |
More by orbitalr0x
quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | $$
This place was huge, ofcourse it had more than beer, but the beer selection was huge. Too many Wisconsin micros for me to choose from. Seriously, I was looking forever trying to figure out what to buy with the little amount of money I had coming in. There was also a good amount of west coast micros I hadn't seen before and a few Cantillons and such we don't normally get in Michigan. The only selection letdown I got was the fact that they were out of Lake Louie, all the Lake Louie beers. Apparently that stuff goes fast around Madison.
Service was not too good. There were like 4 guys by the register and no one offered any help. The 10% off a six pack purchase was nice though.
Quality seemed good as there was no dust, almost all was well refrigerated, and there were lots of good singles. Pricing was very good as well.
Great store all around, I just wish the workers could have been more helpful or offered something that I didn't see. Besides that, this is definitely worth a stop in Madison.
09-28-2005 13:10:56 |
More by granger10
quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | $$$
Saw it on the way to my sisters and decided to drop in. It is much larger than it looks from the outside but unfortunately about 95% of the place is wine and spirits. All the beer is in one 10 foot aisle and 3 cooler doors. That said, they don't waste the space with crap. Pretty much every beer they had was damn good and even though I went in "to look around" i couldn't help but leave with a 6 pack. The prices were a bit high for singles but not high enough to make me leave. Staff weren't overly helpful but answered questions when asked. Not too shabby but not as good as Steve's.
02-25-2008 21:07:23 |
More by drseamus
quality: 3 | service: 1 | selection: 4 | $$$
I walked in and I saw the most liquor I have ever seen in one place. Then I saw the three coolers reserved for beer. The selection had a few I was looking for, but mostly not a lot for the local people. A bomber was 7.99+tax and that's pretty pricey for Wisconson it turns out, if I had known that I would'nt have bought very much from here and got the better price in Milwaukee. Service was pretty ok, they were ready to help me out and I saw and met skids (a fellow BA). The selection could've been better and bigger, but it was ok. I wouldn't go again for a few years to see how it's going.
After my second trip I have to re-review this one. Initially I thought the beer coolers in the back were for BMC (Bud Miller Coors) only, however as it turns out the back coolers are full of local and other microbrews that look really great. Cheers to Riley's
After pricing Riley's with other stores around the Madison area I have noticed that these guys are marking up their beer a lot because they keep lot of it in the back and slowly put it out. And because it is rare when they put it out (2 months after it's release) thy can mark up their prices. No one I have met yet there even knows about good beer. The lady who owns the place is just taking advantage of the local beer drinkers by hiking up prices for more money while at the same time she gets lots of money from the local college kids who go there because it's within walkin distance from the college.
We found a couple of 2004 Sammichlaus's there a month ago and I were asked if I wanted to buy the rest that were in the back (at $5/bottle), I said ok and bought half a case of '04 Sammichlaus. Today a month later I went back and saw two more '04 Sammichlaus's for almost $6/bottle. These people are rude and don't care about their costumers, no baskets, no carts, I guess you just keep having to carry your beer up to the counter.
07-03-2006 00:25:13 |
More by Erdinger2003
quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | $$
This is a lot better than it looks from the outside. The selection is not huge, but it has a decent size, although you have to look around as it is spread around the store. The coolers and shelves mentioned on other reviews belong in the area of singles, but further back in the store there are additional six-packs and other stuff.
You can find just about evrything that is worthwhile from the region, and some good imports. The best feature is a very nice selection of singles, better than most places I have seen. If you need to try a lrge number of midwest beers and do not want to come out with a lot of six-packs, this is your place.
04-28-2008 17:30:49 |
More by brdc
quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
Riley's is a great place to buy good beer and is the obvious choice in the downtown Madison area. It's also the place that my 'Madison connection' purchased the Bitter Woman that has kept me happy as a clam over the past several years. Sadly, he's moved to another city, so if anyone else is interested in traveling between Des Moines and Madison every few weeks... no, I didn't think so.
Believe what everyone says about access and parking. I had no trouble getting a parking spot on a Saturday morning (most of the campus was probably sleeping off their Friday night of Memorial Day weekend revelry), but getting in and getting out was awkward. It'd be a stretch to say that I came close to getting into fender benders on both occasions, but there was a lot of stopping and starting and waving going on. No raised digits though.
Don't avoid the back wall even though the coolers look like they contain nothing but macros. There are a handful of good sixers and a few imports back there that are worth a look. The mother lode is along the right hand wall in coolers and shelves. Riley's is the place to come if you want the really good Wisconsin beer in singles. New Glarus, Tyranena, Great Waters and Lake Louis are all well-represented. I saw quite quite a few bombers from Three Floyds, Avery, etc. as well.
This was my second biggest haul after Woodman's, but was probably of better quality overall. Woodman's had the advantage of coming sooner on my itinerary. I picked up Fantome Automne, N'Ice Chouffe and few other Belgian 750s, as well as Bitter Woman From Hell (which I'd also seen at my previous stops), 3F Rabbid Rabbit... too many to list. It's a tough call, but Riley's just might be my favorite Madison beer store.
I'm sure that the people who work there know their stuff, though I really had no need to find out. The guy who checked me out communicated in grunts and nods (and probably wished that he'd had the opporutunity to sleep off his Friday night), but helped me carry the beer out to my car. I'll give service the benefit of the doubt since I trust the opinions of the BAs who go there on a regular basis.
Riley's Wines is yet another 'must stop' in Madison. If you're looking for great Wisconsin beer in sixers and singles, this is the place to come. If I had had a store like this when I was in college (and if I had been into craft beer), I doubt that I would have graduated on time since a significant portion of my student loan would have been poured down my throat. Worth a trip from Iowa.
05-28-2006 20:33:17 |
More by BuckeyeNation
quality: 3.5 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4
Skidz and crew have turned this around of late. It gained a beer entity unto itself, as many fantastic brews are available here and nowhere else in town. I still have some gripes (see below, but mute it somewhat), but its definitely heading in the right direction. I stop here with a good degree of frequency, which I never have in the past, even when I lived much closer nearby. The singles selection is very solid. I currently recommend a stop for all Madison beerhunters.
Next to Woodman's West, and the two Steve' stores, Riley's has the best selection of beer in town. And it is located right on campus, which would logically make this a favorite of mine. However, I will only shop here occasionally to pick up beers I can't get someplace else.
The reason? The service and management absolutely suck. Most of the clerks are too stoned to answer any questions (and I'll give them leeway here), But the owner must be a descendent of Pol Pot. Students and campus area customers are victims of some of the highest prices in Madison (although some brews are reasonable). The MO here is $$$, thus care for the brews they offer, or the customers is nonexistant. Old stock is rampant, and no one seems to give a shit.
Quote from the owner when I addressed her with some outdated beer: "Put it back then, if you care. Someone else will buy it. Those dates don't mean anything".
Worth a stop only to get what can't be obtained elsewhere, otherwise steer clear.
01-02-2003 22:04:45 |
More by cokes
quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | $$
Stopped in here on a recommendation from the guy over at Fromagination (a local cheese place and a must if you are a cheese person visiting Madison). The place looked tiny on the outside, utterly TINY, but upon going in you realize it isn't just the storefront you see on the outside, but the multi-story building it is attached too. The beer selection is nice, not amazing but nice and well taken care of. It is in the back of the store away from light, about half refrigerated and includes all the locals you want including New Glarus and Lake Louie.
I didn't talk much to the beer guy (aka the guy loading cases of BMC) but he did have the exact answer to the question I had, so that's good. I spoke at length to someone about Liquor though, and the selection was impressive. Upstairs is a select area of wine and liquor, which is amazing. Lots of small batch and interesting things.
07-07-2010 14:32:22 |
More by mdwalsh
quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | $$$
Stopped in while in Madison last week. The place seems pretty nice and much larger than that store front would indicate. A fairly large selection of beers, located in coolers along the back wall and along the right hand wall. Some warm bottle selections as well. Lots of Wisconsin micros with many of them in singles. Didn't talk to the help at all, so hard to comment on service, but the folks seemed nice enough.
Prices seemed off on some beers. The 1L swing top bottles from Sprecher were $17...come on! Founders breakfast was listed for $4 for a 12 oz, no thanks. Most of the other less sought after, but still superb local brews were well priced, even the singles.
11-29-2007 06:00:39 |
More by blitz134
Riley's Wines of the World in Madison, WI
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