Central Market - North Lamar
Ratings: 22 | Reviews: 21 | Show All Ratings:
4.35/5 rDev +5.1%
quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | $$
Central Market is an upscale grocery store with a very nice beer selection. It is my regular beer (and food) stop as I live in close proximity to the N. Lamar location. The Grapevine is widely regarded as the best beer store in Austin, but I just don't see it. The beer selection and prices are essentially the same at both places. I would recommend going to whichever store is closer to you.
selection - Caveat: I've only lived in Texas for about 5 months now. That said, I believe that if it's available in Texas it's available at CM. Good sized beer selection, and they get all the seasonals. One interesting note about CM is that they don't sell any of the crappy American Macro Lagers. There's no Budweiser, Coors, Miller, Natural, Busch or anything like that. First store I've ever seen do this. Pretty nice import selection as well, with a good number of Belgians, Germans, and English beers. They also sell Unibroue from the Great White North.
service - I only occasionally see employees in the beer selection, but then I never need any help picking out beer, either. There are enough employees around that if you somehow needed help you would probably get it quickly.
Edit: I am updating my review to point out an all-too-frequent problem with Central Market. Parking can be *insane*, especially on weekends. It's not horribly crowded inside on these days, but the general lack of available parking spots is very annoying. Come here at your own risk during the afternoon.
12-11-2007 03:34:53 | More by OldTex29
3.4/5 rDev -17.9%
quality: 4 | service: 2.5 | selection: 3.5 | $$$
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.
10-31-2007 01:30:40 | More by BeerBelcher
4.15/5 rDev +0.2%
quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | $$$
Central Market is one of my regular beer spots (N. Lamar) for the size of the selection and price. While I rate it as a bit pricey, its not because the beer is over-priced, its because there's so much there (beer and otherwise) that you will likely spend more money than you had planned on by the time you get out of the store. As far as selection, they basically have everything available in Texas, lacking only a few special release type items... and judging by how slow theyre selling the DFH 120 and R'Extra, they will probably continue to pass on the expensive special releases.
I don't really need service in a beer store, just the shelves to be stocked, and CM hardly ever disappoints. There was one instance when I asked one of the employees about the availability of a certain beer that was only available in a mix-pack and he went right ahead and broke the mix 12-pk just so I could have 3 of the beers- superawesome. Much better environment than the other gourmet supermarket down the street and satisfies all but my most exotic desires.
07-14-2007 16:54:25 | More by BeerZack
4.15/5 rDev +0.2%
quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 5 | $$
The usual disclaimer: a perfect 5.0 on selection not because its the best youre going to find anywhere, but if its available in Texas theres 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 its 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 its new, much larger, World HQ building in March the selection they had was maybe one-fourth of CMs at best. Even at the new World HQ the selection is not quite as large as CMs, 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 Id do all my grocery shopping there as well.
05-24-2006 21:05:18 | More by BAbaracus
3.85/5 rDev -7%
quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5
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.
07-29-2004 19:51:19 | More by Gagnonsux
4.05/5 rDev -2.2%
quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5
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.
04-11-2004 07:18:08 | More by grasshopper
4.2/5 rDev +1.4%
quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$$
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).
09-08-2003 20:42:52 | More by kbub6f
4/5 rDev -3.4%
quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5
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!
04-29-2003 09:23:01 | More by BeerAngel
5/5 rDev +20.8%
quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5
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.
05-30-2002 08:54:23 | More by usualpulp
5/5 rDev +20.8%
quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5
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.
04-12-2002 15:48:45 | More by mapman97
Central Market - North Lamar in Austin, TX
92 out of 100 based on 22 ratings.