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$$ - reasonable
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3535 SW Multnomah Blvd
phone: (503) 244-2617
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vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.75 | $$
I drove down to Portland from Seattle yesterday, and while a trip to John's wasn't my only objective, it was right at the top of the list. Never having been there before, I really wanted to check it out.
I was not disappointed. It is basically a giant convenience store with a little deli and a huge selection of wine and beer. The atmosphere is basically shelves and shelves of beer; how can you argue with that? There must have been a thousand to fifteen hundred brews available -- just a monster selection.
The quality and variety were great as well, although for me this was particularly the case because of all the brews that are distributed in Oregon and not in Washington (both local Oregonian stuff as well as other brands from around the country). I limited myself to twelve bottles and am now kicking myself -- guess I'll just have to get back down there again soon.
Service was pretty limited, but the store is laid out well and I didn't have any trouble finding anything. The guy up front (John himself, perhaps?) was dealing both with us in line as well as phone customers, so his chances to be out on the floor were limited.
I am going to make John's a must-stop every time I'm in Portland from now on.
04-14-2013 16:54:31 |
More by flagmantho
vibe: 1.5 | quality: 5 | service: 2 | selection: 5 | $$
This is the best bottle shop I've found so far in Portland, they have an insanely large selection of both micro brews in the states as well as a good amount of imports. I would say the atmosphere sucks but you are there for the beer so this shouldn't really matter now should it. If you're looking for someone to help you out don't bother, the staff aren't the friendliest...but again who cares they have a shit tone of great beer so just walk around the store 3 or 4 times until you find what you're looking for. I've never left without spending copious amounts of money, not because they are expensive but because I always find more to buy than what I went in for.
11-21-2012 07:27:00 |
More by AxesandAnchors
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 5 | food: 3 | $$$
I really like John's and I would even apart from the fact that it is a half-mile walk from my house. They've got a fantastic selection of beer (and a pretty decent one of wine as well).
I recently relocated from the East Coast so John's has been my source for tasting West Coast beers. I've found most of the bottles that were on the list I made of recommendations from people on BA, and they have most of my favorite nationally distributed and international brews. But like many other reviewers, I've found the service disappointing, in part because it contrasts so markedly from their selection. Being new, I was really hoping to engage someone in a conversation, discuss some of the regional East Coast beers I liked, and get some recommendations. The guys I ran into in the bowels of the store were pretty curt and totally uninterested in engaging, if not downright unhelpful. I would not be totally surprised to learn that this is in part because I'm a woman and, even worse, one with gray hair...it just had that kind of vibe, which if it were worse would prevent me from going back. Once there was a checkout guy who was friendly and responded to my remark about being a new customer, but I only ran into him at the end of the visit and he was too busy to talk. I'll continue to be a regular customer because of the selection and location, so maybe I'll be able to make a connection in the future.
It definitely looks a little like a rundown, old gas station. Yes, it's pretty no-frills inside as well, but I actually like that. The lighting is a little dark, the aisles can be a little narrow, but nothing I found unusual or offputting. I wish they labeled their shelves with the breweries; when it's dark and you're looking on a bottom shelf, it's often a pain to find the brewery name on the label. When I've been, it's never actually been dirty inside; I have never picked up a keg, though. As at least one other reviewer mentioned, I have seen dust on bottles but actually nothing that would cause me concern. I don't give a higher quality rating in part because I've twice bought multiple, undated single bottles of two different California IPAs and at least one of each group was definitely stale. If a date-sensitive product comes in undated, I would hope that the reseller make an effort to track it and control the inventory accordingly. I especially expect it of a place like this that has both a stellar selection and is a bit on the pricey side. It's certainly possible it was out of their control, but when it's happened more than once, I get a little concerned. I didn't talk with them about it so I can't speak to whether they would be willing to do something about it, but I will try (and update my review) if it happens again.
I don't see anyone here reviewing the food. John's is actually a market...well, more of a convenience store, with a limited selection of packaged foods and a small deli. I take a class at an arts center a couple of blocks away and it's a great place to go to grab a quick lunch and snag a few bottles when I'm taking a break from the studio. It's a much more comfortable place to wind down when I'm on my own than the upscale cafés nearby. You can grab a bag of junk food, or I've found their prepared food to be, while nothing special, perfectly ok. I haven't been scared off the food by the dingy atmosphere or the lackluster service and none of the packaged food I've selected has been expired, although I haven't tried to buy fresh dairy. They do carry my favorite flavor of Ben & Jerry's :-D, which endears them to me all the more.
10-11-2012 01:20:20 |
More by ByrdBrain
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 2 | selection: 4.5 | $$
Let me start this out by saying, they have a great selection. I give them props for the amount of beers and wines to choose from. Something nice is that some of the beers are older. Pre-aged at normal retail pricing, such as having all the demons of ale series by Avery Brewing from 2007. That's the perfect amount of aging. Not so great for other beers, such as any IPA at all. Found a few of those from 2007 also. Some beers being pre-aged is nice, but likelyhood is that they just don't pay attention to the beer dates or they wouldn't have a 90 minute IPA by dogfish head from 2007 sitting on the shelf next to a 2011 one (or they're trying to get someone who doesn't pay attention to the label peeling off to buy it). Overall a good selection though. If I need a certain beer I can count on them having it.
The service can be good or terrible. Depends on who is working. Had a few times with a nice clerk with no knowledge of beers. A few times with a clerk who was not very nice and wouldn't answere a question professionally. I don't want to hear explatives when I ask when they get new stock on something they are out of. One time happening, but left a bad impression. The staff smells of cigarettes. Personal dislike, but it effected the score.
Lastly, it's dirty in there. My wife would hate me if I took her in there. I don't mind it so much, but it is no where I would take any of my out of town guests too.
I do appreciate the selection and fair pricing. That's what is really nice. I have had 2 of the staff be rude, and 3 were alright but didn't know much about beer, so the staff I have dealt with aren't top notch, but if you know exactly what you want, it's a place you can find it.
03-23-2012 22:48:07 |
More by StogiesandBrews
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 2 | service: 3 | selection: 5 | $$
Finally decide to check this place out. My usual spot is Belmont Station. Dirty looking grocery store but inside, was in awe of the beer selection. Finally a beer shop like grocery shopping. But shit hit the fan quick...
Tiny aisles. Skunk beer. Creepy ass cashier with outdated technology. The selection & layout is awesome, but damn i am glad i read other reviews b/c this place was flooded with out dated non-fresh beer. Prices are decent but the quality is not there at all...would not shop for beer here again bc i want quality fresh beer & i dont have time to check dates. Ridiculous.
03-18-2012 21:59:10 |
More by ajramirez1
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | $$
It looks like your average, gritty beer / liquor warehouse from the outside, but inside...I was like a kid in a candy shop. Okay, so I hear a lot of stuff sits on the shelves in this place, but all in all, I'd have to say this was one of the best selections of take-out beer I've ever seen in one place, and possibly THE best. Aisles and aisles of crafts and micros as far as the eye could see; it's really hard to rate it anything less than a perfect "5" in that regard. And of course, I gravitated directly to 4 bottles of '08 Goose Island BCBS as soon as I walked in. So I suppose they keep certain gems "in the back" and put them on shelves when it suits them, because I can't imagine such items would have gone unnoticed and unbought for more than a day or two. Staff was understandably busy, but helpful when the need for assistance arose. Prices seemed comparable to most other places I visited, perhaps even a bit better. $4 Pliny is enough to make most East Coasters cream themselves, and I grabbed a few bottles just on that principle, even though I myself am not really interested in the brew, as it's pretty common on tap in the area, and I've had it enough to know that Dogfish Head 90 Minute is just as good or better. Hee. But anyway, good place. Must visit if in area. The End.
01-04-2012 06:00:06 |
More by Rifugium
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | $$
I have to say that this place is probably better from a selection standpoint than Belmont Station but the location and atmosphere just brings the overall score down a bit when examining what I want in a bottle shop.
A little off the beaten path, located in a sort of shady bodega store where you can get milk, eggs, wine, and some other staples.
Parking is good, they have a dedicated parking lot, they also do a lot of kegs and it makes it easy to get it in and out.
As you walk in the first thing you see is the wine section, to the right it is more wine and the staple items, chips, bread, etc. If you move toward the back this is what your here for, 3 aisles of beer.
Here lies the problem, the store is cramped and it is tough to get up and down the beer aisles and a lot of the time there is stuff all over the place making it even more difficult to navigate.
So now that I complained if your looking for beer which most of us are, this place is bar none, there is some phenominal selections from OR, CA, MT, ID, and even some great offerings from Ommegang and Allagash making this one of the best places for variety for local and internaional beer offerings.
I still highly recommend this place, but if your looking for a fancy beer store this is not for you but if you want to get a great selection at a nice price point then stop here!
11-18-2011 21:38:43 |
More by Franchise
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | $
What can I say about the greatest selection of retail beer in Portland? The prices are pretty reasonable and they seem to score some pretty rare brews. The place is rather cramped since they pack a lot of beer in, and they have wine and a small selection of other 'market' staples (like produce....?)
But the beer is the highlight. The staff is knowledgeable and helpful. Rarely have I gotten a poor recommendation. They are often arranging small tastings (usually for wine).
There is a limited glass selection here, nothing like Belmont Station. Looks like mostly the glasses that come with those 'glass pack' beer promos that are broken down so they can sell the glassware separately instead of with the beer.
But best overall selection by far (though some other places have the better rare beer selections...)
08-28-2011 22:08:55 |
More by cbarrett4
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | $$
After my second trip here, I feel confident enough to review it. It's a grocery store on a street that has had construction on it both times I've been there. They open early, added bonus.
Beer is in the back. I'd guess over 500 different bottles. Organization isn't flawless, but at least sensical. Cool + for having employees recommendations, like a local independent owned record store (dating myself). Tons of PacNW locals. Some higher end 750s and bombers. Plenty of HUB stuff, which is awesome. Plenty of 6 packs, something that seems to be an endangered specie lately at bottle shops. Best can beer selection I've ever seen. Singles available of everything.
Staff leaves you alone, which is nice. Hooks you up with extra cardboard if you need it.
I can't imagine a reason why I wouldn't stop in and check this place out any time I'm in or going through Portland.
07-06-2011 00:07:59 |
More by Beerandraiderfan
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | $$
John's is a Portland institution. It was one of the first large wine and beer retailers in the region. They still have an amazing selection of beers, many imports that you just cannot find anywhere else.
I dislike the organization (or lack thereof) of the store. I often have to hunt around for ten minutes to find a beer I am looking for. They could really use some interior renovation.
It would also be sweet if they could add a few taps so that the food area could be used. As it is, they have a $1.95 hamburger special that is just nasty.
Great selection, decent service, crappy atmosphere.
05-11-2011 21:14:27 |
More by cavemanlawyer
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John's Market in Portland, OR