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Central Market - North Lamar

Not Rated.
Central Market - North LamarCentral Market - North Lamar
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

36 Ratings
Ratings: 36
Reviews: 21
rAvg: 4.17
pDev: 10.07%
[ Store ]

4001 N Lamar Blvd
Austin, Texas, 78756-3733
United States
phone: (512) 206-1000

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap @centralmarket

Notes:
None, yet.

(Place added by: BeerAdvocate)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 36 | Reviews: 21 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Bstrickler
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%

Photo of charleslueg
3.75/5  rDev -10.1%

Photo of greenspointexas
4/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of Getalegup
4/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of blue_eyed_fury
5/5  rDev +19.9%

Photo of elNopalero
4.51/5  rDev +8.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Between Central Market and Whole Foods Austin grocery shoppers have everything they need in one place! This place has a fairly decent selection which I would say is fantastic by Texas standards—certainly leaps and bounds above the regular HEBs I’ve visited, with half the selection devoted to micros and the other half to imports. There’s also a cooler at the end of the section with Texas-only brews, predominately from the Austin-area. I picked up some Jester King goodies here off the shelf, even. Best part about my whole visit, tho, was the ‘beer guy’ working the day I was there—super friendly, helpful, and as eager to suggest beers as I was to talk about them.

Photo of tjkinate
4.08/5  rDev -2.2%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Another good place in Austin to get craft beers.

As for atmosphere, it's in a grocery store, I prefer a quite place where I can chose my beer patiently, but what can I expect. Was surprised to see the amount of beer available especially 22oz bombers. Most grocery stores seem to stock up heavily on 4 and 6-packs with only a few big bottles. Prices I thought were also very fair, especially on a recent release, Life & Limb. They were only charging $8.99 when I have seen it going as high as $12.99 elsewhere.

Overall experience I felt was better than Whole Foods downtown, and will be going here again in the near future.

Photo of jamescain
3.94/5  rDev -5.5%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Not too far from the Draught House is this central market. They have a very good beer selection, there are other places in Austin that have better selections, but for a grocery store it is very good. This specific location has a better selection then the south store. The problem with Central Markets in general is that they some what over charge for their products. I've noticed HEB brand products at Central Market before and they were more expensive then they were at HEB (HEB owns Central Market). Their beer has the same issue. A lot of times they have beers that other places sell and they are slightly more expensive. The nice thing about Central Markets is that every now and then they have a sell on beer. I believe it's 25% off of $25 or more in beer, 15% off of $25-15 and 10% of $15-10. I don't normally shop there for beer, unless I'm leaving the Draught House and I know they have something I want and I know it's the same price elsewhere.

Photo of Fenris244
3.7/5  rDev -11.3%

Well I stopped in because of a tip from a few fellow BA's and I have to say I wasn't at all disappointed. They had a great selection although some of the areas seemed really disorganized but I could still easily find everything I wanted.

The staff seemed to do their best to avoid me which was kinda annoying but when someone finally talked to me he seemed like he knew his stuff.

Central markets prices were also pretty competitive and I found some stuff that was long gone from the other stores and aside from most of the staff trying to dodge me it was a pretty good experience, if I'm downtown and wanting to pick up some beer this will be my first stop.

Note: I like that the beer is right next to the cheese section, makes it super easy to grab a beer and pair it with some cheese.

Photo of vdread
4/5  rDev -4.1%

one of the best beer spots to hit in Austin. much better selection and sometimes price than any Specs or other grocery store in the area.

during my last short trip there, the 'beer guy' was walking around and helped two other people make their selections. i didn't need any help, but he was there anyway, and he kept a good distance once i told him i didn't need help. this is a big plus, as i have been literally followed or watched by (i can only assume bored) beer managers before. from what i overheard, however, he was very helpful to the other customers and knew what he was talking about.

selection is one of the best in town. they have a ton of seasonals (even some that Whip In didn't have). i saw no bud, miller, or coors, which was somewhat surprising. there were a few beers there that i haven't seen anywhere else in town like DFH Fort and a full line up of Stone. they even have a Texas beers section at the front, which i like, because i like to support local breweries. this is where they keep the Saint Arnold, Shiner, Real Ale, Independence, and a few others.

prices are average, and they have a mix six option for a flat $1.99 a beer, which is an overcharge for some beers in my opinion (my girl loves drifter pale ale and wanderlust cream ale), is quite a deal for other beers like Stone and DFH. i guess it all evens out at the register, though.

Photo of northaustin
3.7/5  rDev -11.3%

the central market beer section is divided into two coolers. one for six packs and one for individual bottles. there is also a small section of 12 oz bottles at the front.

good quality of beers. nothing you couldnt find at most stores but still impressive for a super market.

ive only encountered a beer guy once out of the many times ive been but the store is so huge i didnt really expect anything else.

pretty big selection. only problem is all the new, limited beers fly away because they put all of them on the shelves. nice rotation of seasonals and new beers.

the section in the front is usually where i lurk theres usually a few good bottles for 1.99 a piece. its definately worth checking out.

Photo of Bonhoeffer
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%

The review below this one states: "The place reminded me of a less flashy Whole Foods with a slightly smaller selection." And that surprises me, because I went to both a Whole Foods (the one across from North By Northwest Brewpub) and this Central Market, and Central Market had a markedly superior selection. Lots of good options from DFH, Stone, New Belgium, Bear Republic, Unibroue, Great Divide, etc. etc. Where the Whole Foods only had one or two options from most of those breweries, Central Market had four, five, six or more. There is another WF south on Lamar which I didn't make it to. No idea if it's much better than the one off Capitol of Texas Highway.

In addition to a huge cooler with both singles and six packs there were quite a few beers interspersed on the wine shelves, and case displays piled up over quite a bit of real estate. And it was a nice touch to have a separate cooler section just for local brews.

There was no employee monitoring the beer area offering assistance, so I didn't have any experience with service, good or bad.

I didn't hit a lot of places in town, but the prices here seemed to be about on par for the area.

Note that this place is huge, with lots of stuff to interest a spouse who doesn't care much about beer, which is a nice plus for me.

Photo of jdoncbus
4.15/5  rDev -0.5%

In town for ACL, my Austinite sister-in-law & husband needed to go grocery shopping and I read about this place here.

The place reminded me of a less flashy Whole Foods with a slightly smaller selection.

The place was clean and the service was prompt. I mentioned to the clerk that I was from out of town and he suggested some beers; most I have tried but he did point out the Pine Belt 16 oz. cans. Pine Belt turned out to be an outstanding beer.

The place was affordable and average priced. If I lived in Austin I am sure I would hit this place up every couple weeks or so (as I do with Whole Foods in Columbus).

Photo of kensuthe
3.65/5  rDev -12.5%

Central Market is a grocery store that also has a nice selection of beer and wine. This review is for the S. Lamar location, not the N. Lamar location that is listed in BeerFly. The wine and beer sections are located towards the back right corner of the store in relation to the entrance.

Quality - All of the beer storage and display here was in refrigerated shelving units that formed an "L" around a portion of the wine selection. The temperature was not set too low, but it was cooler than the surrounding store in the beer area and should be adequate to keep the warm Texas weather from affecting the beer. Some of the beer that we purchased from this store had gone bad by the time we opened it, unfortunately. I do not know if that was the result of transporting it back home, storage conditions at home, old supply, or some other storage conditions previous to purchase. Luckily it was only a portion of the total purchases that were bad, but it was definitely a disappointment.

Service - While we were shopping, we happened to run into the managers of the beer section who were running inventory and getting ready to order the next season's seasonals. Both guys were very knowledgeable and helpful, and didn't mind answering any of the questions we had about their suppliers.

Selection - There was a good variety of beverages available, with an entire row of shelving reserved for local Texas brews like Shiner and Independence. There was a decent selection of Belgians from Affligem, Leffe, Rochefort, Chimay, Koningshoeven, and others, as well as a nice variety of Youngs, Wells, and other English breweries. Most beers were in three, four, or six packs and couldn't be broken down individually, but there were multiple larger single bottles available too. The prices were a little high for some things, but very reasonable for other items.

The trip to Central Market capped off our weekend in Austin quite nicely. The next time I'm there visiting with friends, I will definitely have to stop by the N. Lamar location and see if it is as good an experience as the S. Lamar location was.

Photo of Onslow
3.35/5  rDev -19.7%

A nice store, with lots of over price hippy stuff. BUT, when it comes to the Beer selection, is very good. Lots of belgians and a nice selection of texan brews (nice to see that!) ... The prices can be high but seeing some of the beers they bring in and it being Austin, not that unreasonable... Have also have a great wine selection and some expensive good food ... went with Hans + Ans....

Overall feeling on my visit: Like others have said, Is like most other Central Market stores and being based in Austin this store gets a good selection of brews that should not disappoint any true beer lover!

Photo of OldTex29
4.35/5  rDev +4.3%

Central Market is an upscale grocery store with a very nice beer selection. It is my regular beer (and food) stop as I live in close proximity to the N. Lamar location. The Grapevine is widely regarded as the best beer store in Austin, but I just don't see it. The beer selection and prices are essentially the same at both places. I would recommend going to whichever store is closer to you.

selection - Caveat: I've only lived in Texas for about 5 months now. That said, I believe that if it's available in Texas it's available at CM. Good sized beer selection, and they get all the seasonals. One interesting note about CM is that they don't sell any of the crappy American Macro Lagers. There's no Budweiser, Coors, Miller, Natural, Busch or anything like that. First store I've ever seen do this. Pretty nice import selection as well, with a good number of Belgians, Germans, and English beers. They also sell Unibroue from the Great White North.

service - I only occasionally see employees in the beer selection, but then I never need any help picking out beer, either. There are enough employees around that if you somehow needed help you would probably get it quickly.

Edit: I am updating my review to point out an all-too-frequent problem with Central Market. Parking can be *insane*, especially on weekends. It's not horribly crowded inside on these days, but the general lack of available parking spots is very annoying. Come here at your own risk during the afternoon.

Photo of BeerBelcher
3.4/5  rDev -18.5%

This is a very nice grocery store (like a Sendik's here in WI or a Wegman's in DC) with quite a nice beer selection. There was a good representation of TX craft beers, some other gems (like Stone, which we don't have here in WI), and quite a few imports. The selection was pretty big, but I wasn't all that interested in most of the selection...there just wasn't much that was unusual or out of the ordinary here.

I didn't try to pull singles out of six-packs at this store. I didn't see any other shoppers doing this, there weren't any empty six-pack carriers hanging around, and all the six-packs present were whole (they all had six beers in them). There weren't a lot of singles here; a few 22oz bottles and half-liters which were mostly imports and this left me a bit disappointed.

The store is immaculate, had a lot of hot food ready to go in a cafe setting (I visited during lunchtime and this was very popular). Quite a nice store, but wouldn't necessarily be my first stop for craft beer shopping.

Photo of BeerZack
4.15/5  rDev -0.5%

Central Market is one of my regular beer spots (N. Lamar) for the size of the selection and price. While I rate it as a bit pricey, its not because the beer is over-priced, its because there's so much there (beer and otherwise) that you will likely spend more money than you had planned on by the time you get out of the store. As far as selection, they basically have everything available in Texas, lacking only a few special release type items... and judging by how slow theyre selling the DFH 120 and R'Extra, they will probably continue to pass on the expensive special releases.

I don't really need service in a beer store, just the shelves to be stocked, and CM hardly ever disappoints. There was one instance when I asked one of the employees about the availability of a certain beer that was only available in a mix-pack and he went right ahead and broke the mix 12-pk just so I could have 3 of the beers- superawesome. Much better environment than the other gourmet supermarket down the street and satisfies all but my most exotic desires.

Photo of BAbaracus
4.15/5  rDev -0.5%

The usual disclaimer: a perfect 5.0 on selection not because it’s the best you’re going to find anywhere, but if it’s available in Texas there’s a 97-98% chance you can get it at Central Market. Both Austin locations have a similar selection, so there is little reason other than proximity to choose one over the other. Both have cafes with outdoor seating and bands on the weekend. Central Market itself is owned by HEB and centrally located in Austin, although in the last few years it’s branched out to the San Antonio, Houston, and Dallas areas. Those who have Whole Foods in their neighborhood (none too coincidentally also headquartered in Austin) will pretty much know what to expect. The main difference is probably in the beer selection. Prior to the Austin Whole Foods relocating to it’s new, much larger, World HQ building in March the selection they had was maybe one-fourth of CM’s at best. Even at the new World HQ the selection is not quite as large as CM’s, although there are a few meads stocked by WF that are not available at CM. Central Market is constantly battling it out with the Whip In and Grapevine Market for beer supremacy in Austin, so it never hurts to hit all three. If I could afford the gourmet food prices I’d do all my grocery shopping there as well.

Photo of Gagnonsux
3.85/5  rDev -7.7%

I love the Central Market store in Houston and was happy to check this one out while on vacation. Of the beer stores I went in Austin this is the best of the bunch, their selection is outstanding and consists almost solely of imports and craft brew. Service wasn't amazing, but then again I didn't ask for help. The employees at least had their personal beer picks which were listed near the price tags. Central Market may be a tab bit on the expenisive, but I guess it is understandable because of the huge selection and other rare food items in the store. The only other problem I had with the store is that it is almost a labyrinth and takes some getting used to when finding your way towards something in the least amount of time.

Photo of grasshopper
4.05/5  rDev -2.9%

I have shoppped central market for years and for the most part they have provided one of the best selection of beer i have observed in Austin or Houston Texas. I realize they are operating in other states at this time so I at least wanted to make note of the two stores I know of. For the lmited stores in these two towns they truely provide some of the best alternatives to some of the best beer you can find. Having researched and found some disappointing results I can truley say both of these locations provide some of the best variety I can find in these areas.

Photo of kbub6f
4.2/5  rDev +0.7%

Central Market North has an excellent beer selection (micros and imports). Most of it is available as singles, though sometimes you have to hunt through the mixed up "miscellaneous 12oz singles" section at the far end of the refrigerated aisle. I've heard that some locations of CM don't let you break sixes. I've broken sixes and paid for them at this location without hassle, but I don't know their official stand on it, so you might want to be discreet.

CM North is my second-most visited beer store in Austin (I probably go there once every two months). On any given day, I'd say the selection is almost as good as Grapevine. In fact, once or twice, I think I've found a seasonal at CM after Grapevine had sold out.

I have not had many encounters with the staff. The few times I've asked questions, they seem to be a little out of their element. (Anecdote: they recently had the Avery Ten, but not the White Rascal. When I asked about it, the guy said he didn't know anything about WR. When I said Central Market San Antonio had it, he said: "oh yeah, that's right, I think we're getting some in... check next week". I bought it at Grapevine the next day).

For me, Central Market gets the vote for "Best place to buy beer when you need fresh produce too". An excellent store.

(Footnote: the parking lot tends to get crazy, especially on weekends when the seniors from small-town Texas show up in their tour buses).

Photo of BeerAngel
4/5  rDev -4.1%

Although this Central Market is smaller than the ones in Dallas, it seems to tout a better selection of beer. When I saw the physical size before entering, I was worried, but later quite pleasantly surprised! The service there is barely above average, but the beer selection and a very nice cheese selection that is at your convenience make the demand for service pretty low. I would definitely make another trip to this store and if you haven't been, I would highly recommend it. Cheers!

Photo of usualpulp
5/5  rDev +19.9%

The absolute best place to buy beer in the area.They recently opened one in plano,tx and it has the best selection in the metroplex. The staff is very knowledgable and the prices cant be beat. I've yet to find a store that sells paulaner for $5.99 and Sam Adams for under $6.00. If there is a central market in your area I highly suggest you visit it.

Photo of mapman97
5/5  rDev +19.9%

Yes this is the best grocery store in Texas. It definately has the best beer selection I have been able to find in Austin, and Austin has always afforded me the best beer selection in the state. There is probably another place that has a better selection, but I haven't found it. If you know where it is, please let me know. There is an HEB grocery store (same parent company) north off of IH35 near Round Rock that is almost as impressive. At Central Market I have often called ahead and received the count of what was available on their beer shelves and had them hold it for me if the stock was low. They are also willing to place special orders for me. There always seemed someone in the beer section to help me out. And if your into wine, the selection is impressive.

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Central Market - North Lamar in Austin, TX
93 out of 100 based on 36 ratings.