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Central Market - North Lamar

Not Rated.
Central Market - North LamarCentral Market - North Lamar
BA SCORE
92
outstanding

34 Ratings
Ratings: 34
Reviews: 21
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 9.88%
[ 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: 34 | Reviews: 21 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jdoncbus
4.15/5  rDev 0%

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).

jdoncbus, Oct 03, 2008
Photo of kensuthe
3.65/5  rDev -12%

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.

kensuthe, Apr 02, 2008
Photo of Onslow
3.35/5  rDev -19.3%

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!

Onslow, Feb 15, 2008
Photo of OldTex29
4.35/5  rDev +4.8%

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.

OldTex29, Dec 11, 2007
Photo of BeerBelcher
3.4/5  rDev -18.1%

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.

BeerBelcher, Oct 31, 2007
Photo of BeerZack
4.15/5  rDev 0%

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.

BeerZack, Jul 14, 2007
Photo of BAbaracus
4.15/5  rDev 0%

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.

BAbaracus, May 24, 2006
Photo of Gagnonsux
3.85/5  rDev -7.2%

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.

Gagnonsux, Jul 29, 2004
Photo of grasshopper
4.05/5  rDev -2.4%

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.

grasshopper, Apr 11, 2004
Photo of kbub6f
4.2/5  rDev +1.2%

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).

kbub6f, Sep 08, 2003
Photo of BeerAngel
4/5  rDev -3.6%

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!

BeerAngel, Apr 29, 2003
Photo of usualpulp
5/5  rDev +20.5%

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.

usualpulp, May 30, 2002
Photo of mapman97
5/5  rDev +20.5%

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.

mapman97, Apr 12, 2002
Photo of htomsirveaux
4.7/5  rDev +13.3%

The best grocery store in Texas. Has a good selection of beer and wine also. They usually have about 200 different beers to choose from, and their turnover is great, I've never seen old/stale beer there (and I've tried nearly all 200 they have to offer). Service is also good, there are 2 - 3 clerks dedicated to the wine and beer section so there's always someone to answer your questions or run to the back to check on stock. They will often run weekly specials where they sell larger micros and some imports (eg Sam Adams, Shiner, Red Stripe) for $3.99-$5.99 a sixer.

htomsirveaux, Apr 12, 2002
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Central Market - North Lamar in Austin, TX
92 out of 100 based on 34 ratings.