1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

West Lakeview Liquors

Not Rated.
West Lakeview LiquorsWest Lakeview Liquors
BA SCORE
100
world-class

133 Ratings
Ratings: 133
Reviews: 99
rAvg: 4.61
pDev: 6.51%
[ Store ]

2156 W Addison St
Chicago, Illinois, 60618-6136
United States
phone: (773) 525-1916

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap @wlvliquors

Notes:
Hours:
Mon. - Thurs. 10am - 10pm
Fri. & Sat. 10am - 11pm
Sun. 11am - 10pm

Parking: Y (in the rear of the store)
Mail Order: Y

(Place added by: mkopera24)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 133 | Reviews: 99 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of emerge077
4.8/5  rDev +4.1%

I've been putting off this review for awhile now, seeing as how I visit on a weekly basis. Living in the neighborhood, obviously i'm spoiled for choice. What can I say, this place is fantastic. Guess the secret is out.

They have hosted some unique tasting events in the last year that were very exclusive, including Bell's, Mikkeller and Eisenbahn. Beer tastings happen every Friday, this week it's Brooklyn Brewery. Service is great and helpful. The owner is is very knowledgeable and friendly, and she will take new beer requests/special orders.

Best import selection i've ever seen. They have been expanding their shelves lately, and they are grouped by country of origin. Certain items can be pricey, but there is enough selection to have something for every price range. Some items can be found cheaper elsewhere, however quite a few things are rare here, and deserve their premium. They pack alot of quality into the limited area of the store, hopefully the expansion next door will allow for even more volume in the future. I've had the seldom outdated import, but that's fairly rare. They really go above and beyond to have the most eclectic/creative selection around.

Hopefully this long overdue review pushes WLV into the #1 spot for IL beer stores here on BA. They deserve the distinction for their serious devotion to craft beer and to it's enthusiasts.

emerge077, Oct 18, 2007
Photo of DaPeculierDane
5/5  rDev +8.5%

West Lakeview Liquors is probably going to become my favorite liquor stores very quickly. I’m at the point where I typically walk into a liquor store, even a rather good one like Riley’s or Steve’s here in Madison and only find one or two new beers to try. Not so at West Lakeview! Nearly every beer at West Lakeview is rare or exceptional. Most are the type that you’ve never seen and want to try, or the kind that you have tried, but only once because they are so rare, and desperately want to try again. The standouts from my visit are really too many to list but I’ll try to give some idea of the caliber of beers, both in terms of rarity and quality, that one will find at West Lakeview: Nogne Dark Horizon (and everything else), St. Bon Chien, Jadwiga, Pannepot (both versions), De Streuss Wheat, Alpha Kong, 07 Barique, Jenlain Printempts, Fantome, Beer Geek Breakfast, and about 30-40 Belgian and French beers that I haven’t tried and in many cases, never heard of. West Lakeview also carries a boat load of meads from Wild Blossom and I look forward to trying them all over time. The staff is really excellent. The owner’s knowledge and attitude were unparalleled in the business. The other employee I spoke with was great too. Highly recommended shop that will become a must stop for me whenever I’m in Chicago.

DaPeculierDane, Oct 04, 2007
Photo of tsmo
4.7/5  rDev +2%

Uhh... how is it I've lived in Chicago for three years and didn't find this place until today? West Lakeview Liquors easily has the best selection of rare imports, particularly Belgian, of anywhere I've seen in the US.

When I was there thirty minutes ago I noticed: Taras Boulba, Pannepot, and the Hercule Stout. And that's to say nothing of the entire lines from Cantillion, Drie Fonteinen, Girardin, De Dolle and Brasserie Ellezelloise.

Prices were reasonable. My clerk, apparently the owner, was friendly and knowledgeable. Supposedly there are free tastings on Fridays from six to nine.

And yes, there is a down side: This is a tiny store, with relatively little room for six packs and a comparatively (next to their insane Belgian selection) limited selection of American micros.

If you want a case of Sierra Nevada, go to Sam's. If you want something that can't be bought anywhere else in the city (the country?), go to West Lakeview Liquors.

tsmo, Jul 11, 2007
Photo of Rasputin
4.35/5  rDev -5.6%

I just moved into town, and lo and behold this place is a 5-min walk from where I live! Jackpot!

To sum up West Lakeview's theme, I'd say it's "quality over quantity." This is a small place, with limited shelf space. That having been said, they have made the absolute most of the space they have. Great selection of European beers, especially English and Belgian. The American selection is up there too. Nothing is lacking.

For a smaller place, they have a good bit of cooler space, and use that well too. It looks like their better sellers across all styles and locales are well represented in the cooler. The best aspect of the coolers is that the very last cooler, in the back corner of the store, is where they keep the American macros. You have to go a little out of your way to find them, which is how most of us here at Beer Advocate would probably prefer stocking was done at all beer stores.

I found some beers here that I haven't seen elsewhere, including Sam's. Not many, but for a place this small to have something Sam's doesn't is impressive. The fact that they took the time to stock liquors by Rogue, Dogfish Head, and Chouffe is commendable. (Those liquors are not cheap though: $30-40/fifth)

As for service, I have found that everyone who works there is friendly and helpful. However, not all of them really know the beer that well. They try, and are pleasant to talk to regardless.

All in all, I'm not sure this place worth going way out of your way for (if you aren't already in town). However, if you live, and/or are visiting anywhere nearby, and appreciate good beer, you owe it to yourself to check this place out.

I haven't been to one of the weekend beer/wine tastings yet, but I'm looking forward to doing so soon.

Rasputin, May 23, 2007
Photo of 4thoseabout2bock
4.85/5  rDev +5.2%

We finally made it to this place last night (the official excuse was the Belgian tasting and a chance to try the Christoffel Bok) but really, had been meaning to make it hear for a while. T

his is a small but exceptionally high quality shop. There is as much shelf space for beer as for wine. The selection is excellent especially for its size. The staff was exceptionally friendly and helpful.
I was surprised to see several brands/beers not available at Sam's.

Prices seemed to be a bit higher than Sam's on some items, but I will happily support the little guy. Especially one that is willing to take a chance on a nice high end beer selection with virtually no mass market beers!

Some nice prizes were some scandanavian brands including Nøgne Ø Imperial Stout and Ølfabrikken Porter

and a brazilian smoked lager Eisenbahn Defumada (actually a whole line of brazilian craft beer I had not seen before from Eisenbahn).

(we tried this last night and it was very nice, moderate smoke (not hit you over the head rauch). Reminded me of one of my favorite smoked marzens from Drei Kronen located just outside Bamberg)

4thoseabout2bock, May 19, 2007
Photo of rhoadsrage
4.3/5  rDev -6.7%

When I moved to Chicago this was the beer store around the block, so I had a distorted view of beer stores in Chicago. This place has lots of great beers packed into a very small store. They have a wall of about 10 cooler doors where most of the beer is store with some nice book shelves with the rest of the warm beers.

They had some nice beers that were not that common with some nice Dogfish Head Vodka and Rhums. There was some Anchor X-mas Ale from 2005 that was interesting to see and many of there brands had 5-6 styles which was nice to see. The also had a nice Belgian section with a smaller German section but the main focus is on American craft beers. They have some hang tags to describe a few beers and they looked like they were made by the owners.

I had forgotten how charming this place was and I will have to stop in more when I am in the old neighborhood.

rhoadsrage, Dec 13, 2006
Photo of kmpitz2
4.85/5  rDev +5.2%

I've hit this shop a few times in the recent months. A month or so ago, they hosted a Bell's tasting, where they went and purchased the beer, brought in a rep from Bell's, and gave all that attended a bottle of their choice, free of charge, to take home with them. I was very impressed with this. One of their guys on staff has connections with a reputable importer, and they often find a way to get a decent supply of some of the more difficult to find brands from this importer. I have never been pressured by the staff there, but I have always been offered help or asked if I needed anything once while there. Though this is a smaller store, their selection is very nice. I would venture a guess that they have at minimum 150 or so unique brews, not counting the ubiquitous brands that you can find at a corner grocery. Their prices are on par with the mega store in town, if not significantly lower on certain brands. The store is not too far away from the Wrigleyville area, so if you hit Sheffields, Uberstein or Goose Wrigley, you can easily make it over here with a short bus ride. If you don't, that leaves more good beer for me.

kmpitz2, Dec 12, 2006
Photo of tyee
4.7/5  rDev +2%

Great little liquor store on a corner in the pleasant Lakeview area of town. Parking was easy on the side streets and a distinctive awning covered the entrance. Once in the store, it appeared clean and had a well organized beer section toward the back. The beer was arranged on shelves and in a cooler. There was a section for Micros, Belgians, Germans and English beers. As this review was made in December, there was a section for Christmas beers. The big Macro stuff was almost hidden in the back of the beer section.

Whoever does the beer ordering at West Lakeview knows their stuff and there were many hard to find micros and Belgians. A true find was the Stille Nacht Reserva 2005. The prices are a little higher than Sams, but not much.

The staff was very helpful and peasant. The person who waited on me had just started working there but seem intelligent and motivated to learn as much as possible about their products.

West Lakeview will become a regular stop for me because it has a great selection of beers that seem less "picked over" than Sam's.

tyee, Dec 08, 2006
Photo of malcontent
4.85/5  rDev +5.2%

A place this small which also puts equal effort into providing excellent wines & spirits will not be able to satisfy every imaginable taste. That said, West Lakeview Liquors comes astonishingly close! The selection changes often with an exhaustingly thorough staff that keeps only the most worthy beers on the shelves. It should say enough that the macro-brews are kept at the point in the cooler furthest from the entrance, almost hidden from view, thus requiring the misguided customer to pass various Belgian, British & American micros of the utmost quality as if to say "see what you should be drinking? It's not too late!"

As the store is in Chicago, there's an obvious emphasis on Midwestern micros (although almost nothing from Bell's) with special attention paid to Three Floyds, Great Lakes & Two Brothers. Additionally, you can find over a dozen Rogue selections & most of the Dogfish Head, New Holland, Ska & Allagash catalogue.

West Lakeview is a remarkable hidden gem that warrants an out-of-the-way trip for any quality-starved beer lover in Chicago.

malcontent, Aug 07, 2006
Photo of murphysbleachers
4.5/5  rDev -2.4%

Finally went into this great little store on Addison after driving by it a probably a thousand times. The staff was knowledgable and the selection was fantastic for the size of the place. Lots of cool, harder to find and limited run American beers plus a good selection of English, Belgian and other goodies. The layout is very nice, and as noted in other reviews reminds me of little places I have seen in Europe and is definately a world apart from the big warehouse stores that dominate most people's retail experience in this country. If you are in the area it is definately worth stopping in.

murphysbleachers, May 20, 2006
Photo of ultralarry2006
5/5  rDev +8.5%

Firstly , let me say that this place is simply beautiful and charming from both outside and in. It's on a charming little corner of Addison in a neighborhood full of charming two flats and single family houses and cozy apartment buildings all on shady tree-lined tranquil streets. The store is in an unassuming little storefront in an apartment building with little in the way of gaudy signage that would tell one that a retail establishment is nearby. The burgundy awning with the store's name and a few neon signs (Rogue, and some others ) are all that indicates where you are. Step through the door and you find yourself in a smallish but most charming space in which to buy good beer and some good liqour and wine, as well as quality cigars and Nat Sherman cigarettes, and even some quality chocalates. The shelves are all orante wooden with dark varnish and this looks like the way stores might have looked in the 1920's (except for the modern refridgeration), or maybe in Europe, but certainly not modern America. Anyway, the selections were vary large for such a small and quaint space. Very good Belgain and Belgian styles offerings, many of them refridgerated (much more than I've ever seen before) which encourages one to get something to enjoy that same day instead of purchasing a warm one to be chilled for some later time. Also a great deal of German selections, many more than I've seen elsewhere. Some Brtitish, and excellent cross section of American crafts (Victory, Great Lakes, DFH, SN, Anchor, Two Brothers, GI, Avery, and others) and Unibroue from Quebec. The employees were friendly enthusiastic, and both very helpful and very knowledgeable, ready to offer answers and/or insights on the stock, or upcoming stock items, or even things they did not even have but knew something about it that would be helpful to the customer. Their prices are very good. This place is excellent, and it's totally worth seeking out even you don't live on the northside, or in the city, for that matter.

ultralarry2006, May 07, 2006
Photo of jvonkluck
4.5/5  rDev -2.4%

Similarly to the previous reviewer, I stumbled on this establishment completely by accident. After being pleasantly surprised by the wide selection of beers that I'd never even seen before, particularly the Belgians, I've come back time and time again. It's a great place to go, especially if you're looking to find some of the less widely available brews.

The staff is always friendly and quite knowledgeable - even about the wines they sell in the store as well. It's refreshing to see the same three or four people in there every time, and to have them recognize what you like to buy and suggest new things.

All in all, I'd HIGHLY recommend this place to anyone in the Roscoe Village or Wrigleyview / Lakeview neighborhoods. For that matter, I'd recommend it to anyone in the city.

jvonkluck, May 18, 2005
Photo of mkopera24
4.3/5  rDev -6.7%

I accidentally stumbled upon this great store just recently. I was surprised to see it had never been reviewed on here. So I knew it immediately needed to be added. For any BA's in Chicago, or any visiting you need to stop by. First off, when you walk in, just by the look of this place, you know that this is a beer lovers store. The owners obviously know and love beer. On Fridays & Saturdays from 4-7pm, West Lakeview has instore tastings. Great place to go taste and talk some really good beer. Great Belgian selections....which was my favorite. They are great with keeping up with all of their brands' seasonals. Not to mention the service. I was approached by, and talked beer with every employee that was on the clock that evening. Great people...very knowledgeable when it comes to all of their products. And when you stop in, say hi to Automatic & Action....the two dogs that freely walk around the store. Again, just a great place for a beer advocate to go, enjoy, talk, and learn about really great beer.

mkopera24, Dec 21, 2004
West Lakeview Liquors in Chicago, IL
100 out of 100 based on 133 ratings.