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Whole Foods Market - Old Town

Not Rated.
Whole Foods Market - Old TownWhole Foods Market - Old Town
very good

24 Ratings
Ratings: 24
Reviews: 16
rAvg: 3.97
pDev: n/a
[ Store ]

1700 Duke St
Alexandria, Virginia, 22314-6103
United States
phone: (703) 706-0891

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap @alexandriawfm

Place added by: ManekiNeko on 01-18-2006

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Ratings: 24 | Reviews: 16
Reviews by mobud:
Photo of mobud
3.7/5  rDev -6.8%

I was staying across the street at the Embassy Suites and needed some other things when I realized that they had beer. Happy B-day to me! Not an huge section, but solid none-the-less. Good cross-section of the East coast (DFH,Weyerbacher,Victory) and also West side (Stone,Bear Republic). I secured Bell's 2hearted Ale and Founders Breakfast Stout. Kind of bummed about local selection, not all that great. Folk around me asked to help, but there were other needing wine help and I was good. The prices seemed to be about a buck higher that Rick's that I had been to the day before, but it is Old Town area and Whole Foods is not really a cheap place (high quality it is). I would say if you are just looking for some quality beer or you don't feel like driving to Rick's, this is the place for ya. Their prepared food section and bakery rock!

More User Reviews:
Photo of Seneca
4.14/5  rDev +4.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Photo of Lovebeerlovelife
5/5  rDev +25.9%

Photo of Uf0T0fU
3.75/5  rDev -5.5%

Photo of macesq
3.5/5  rDev -11.8%

Photo of Saudereth
4/5  rDev +0.8%

Photo of DavidHume
4/5  rDev +0.8%

Photo of Wattie
4.25/5  rDev +7.1%

Photo of MattNelson
4/5  rDev +0.8%

Photo of jayhawk73
3.8/5  rDev -4.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4.5

Whole Foods in Old Town is a giant store full of great food, as well as beer and wine. The quality of everything they have food-wise is fairly amazing. The service has been so-so when I've been there. Now, I haven't talked to the beer guy, but just service in general. Selection of beer is average when I've been there. Nothing special, and definitely nothing to write home about. However, I understand they get seasonals in from time to time, so maybe the selection is better then. Food, as stated above, is phenomenal. Prices reflect this however, and you end up paying a little more for everything, including beer. Whole Foods is a good place to stop if you're looking for beer and food, but if you're just looking for beer there are better options in Northern Virginia.

Photo of Chaney
3.88/5  rDev -2.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

CELEBRITY WATCH!: I saw, and talked to Bill Madden, the founder, CEO, and head brewer of Mad Fox Brewing Company yesterday. He was shopping here at the time we went. Thanks to my wife, who knows NOTHING of beer, but is great with people, she walked right up to him in my presence and introduced us. Kinda cool... yet somewhat humiliating...

Atmosphere: Amazing store overall. I mean... wow. Lots of food, quite a customer base, and a great seafood section to boot.

Service: To be honest, I don't know the beer guy here the way I know the Springfield and Vienna ones, however, that doesn't mean I don't dig the guy! He was there on the day of my review, and after talking to him for a while, I realized that he really knows a shitload about beer and the local beer culture.

Selection: Pretty good, but nothing special. I remember a few months ago when he put Black Ops out on the shelf. Ballsy move and worthy of my respect. On this particular occasion though, there was nothing notable on the shelf.

Food: Seafood and salad bar selection alone deserves an A+!

Value: Like most Whole Foods, this one one caters to the elite elements of the Old Town Alexandria underworld. However, the beer is right on par with the other Whole Foods in the Northern Virginia area.

Photo of PhillyStyle
3.71/5  rDev -6.5%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Stopped in one night on my way back to my hotel room for some other stuff and decided to see what they had and if I might need some for the room. The selection was not huge, but solid and they had both 6-packs and larger one-off bottles. The selection seemed to be consistent with other Whole Foods stores that I have been to, save some of the local brews. Prices seemed to be typical Whole Foods prices. What I didn't realize until I got up to the counter to pay is that they also fill growlers in the back. I think that they had 4 or 5 beers on tap to fill growlers. The cashiers were pleasant, as per usual. Overall, for a grocery store, like all of the other Whole Foods that I have been to, it has a solid selection and one that I would probably go back to on a periodic basis if I lived in the area.

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.16/5  rDev +4.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4

A great place to go for some good beer. On a side note, the food selection is incredible. Whenever I have chatted with their beer rep, he was very friendly and willing to help. I think it's important to note that it's a grocery store, so there's not necessarily a beer representative always hanging out. There is always a great variety of styles from which to choose, including saisons, gueuzes & lambics, imperial stouts, DIPA, Belgian ales, rauchbier, and many more. They carry virtually the whole lineup of Bell's and Dogfish Head. In the shelf (not cold) section, you can find World Wide Stout, various trappist ales, special editions, rarities, etc. This is a great store to get your seasonal releases (Nugget Nectar, Hopslam, etc.), as they often get many cases and impose no limits. Highly recommended.

Photo of midaszero
3.85/5  rDev -3%

Swung by one day to get some tea I wanted and checked out what was available. Not a huge selection but lots of good location selection and picked up a few bottles of monk's cafe and scotch silly which I had over looked at Chevy Chase. Only place in town where I could pick up Ola Dubh both 12 year and 30 year.

Had a really nice conversation with the guy stocking beer who helped me pick out some good local stuff and suggested Rustico as place to eat, drink, and take home beer. He was pretty knowledgeable and had actually been to Austin and was a pleasure to talk with.

Photo of snarl
4.35/5  rDev +9.6%

The beer selection here is solid and you can always find something good and something interesting. It's not a massive selection but then, it is a grocery store first. That's fine with me, because what it loses in size, it makes up for in quality. I'll take a more focused quality selection over an exhaustive list packed with duds and macro brew options any day. They have a nice selection of cold options and some interesting rarities outside the cooler on the side. I've also seen a number of beers here that I've not seen anywhere else (e.g., Wittekerke off the top of my head).

The beer guys here also switch it up quite a bit. And they've been happy to order things for me in the past. They also seem to focus on keeping a fresh inventory in stock, which is key. You won't find many dusty bottles on the shelves (like a few other local places that others mentioned below).

Photo of BeerBelcher
3.15/5  rDev -20.7%

This store was considerably smaller than the Fair Lakes Whole Foods, and is more comparable to the Milwaukee Whole Foods, which is also in an urban setting...so perhaps there is a smaller store format for built-up areas and a larger one for suburban areas. Anyhow, the smaller store size didn't do anything to enhance the store's beer selection, and also this store lacked the hot/cold lunch options of the Fair Lakes store.

I was not really impressed. This store did not seem to offer a tremendous number of brands that were not also readily available elsewhere.

Photo of Goldorak
3.55/5  rDev -10.6%

I was in Alexandria for a conference and my hotel was two blocks away, so I skipped lunch and decided to check it out. I'm a big fan of this type of grocery store and deplore their scarcity in my neck of the woods.
I still remember my first visit to WFM in Vienna a couple of years ago and how I was flabbergasted by the selection. This store didn't come close to that experience, in fact, nothing really popped out and made me go 'wow', but there were plenty of old favorites I was more than happy to get to know again, like Stone, Bear Republic and Ommegang. I was disappointed that there was no Cantillon to be found, but not as much as my work colleague that joined me, who recently had his first taste of lambic and was dying for more. Some interesting imports were a tad pricey. Six dollar Orval is double what I pay back home. But the US micros were in the usual price range. For what it's worth, there were a few interesting wines in that isle too, but I decided to stick to Beer.
While this location doesn't merit to make a 20-mile detour to visit, its' central location is great if you're ever in this picturesque town.

Photo of rowew
3.55/5  rDev -10.6%

Located on Duke street, not far from the main Old Town area. Plenty of parking in an underground garage. There are a few beer endcaps throughout the store, and one long aisle. Lots of variety from the regional micros, with a few of the bigger ones as well (Sierra, Sam Adams, etc). Quite a few imports, with a decent Belgian selection. I would say the selection here is on par with Rick's, but they had a few different offerings (and were minus a few that Rick's had). Luckily they are within a few minutes of each other, so I would suggest stopping by both.

Photo of Braudog
3.55/5  rDev -10.6%

This Whole Foods was pleasantly located right behind my hotel near the King Street Metro station, a great location for beer partying anyways. I stumbled upon it on a hangover wander the morning after. Whole Foods always has a better than average lineup of frosty bottles, but I didn't expect to find a couple new singles to take back to the room ... but I did. Can always find some nice quality singles here .. Rogue, Dogfish Head rarities, most notably. And they of course had good imports, too. I'll be back!!

Photo of MikefromDormont
4.3/5  rDev +8.3%

I first learned about Whole Foods Market a few years ago when I was visiting Washington DC. Since then, my hometown of Pittsburgh has finally gotten a Whole Foods Market, which has become my favorite grocery store. Since I live in PA, my local Whole Foods Market only sells a few non alcoholic beers since PA does not permit grocery stores to sell beer. Fortunately, the state of Virginia does not have this law and thus I was able to find a nice selection of beers for sale in the Alexandria, VA Whole Foods Market.

Since I had taken the Metro to get to the Whole Foods Market, I was only able to purchase two six packs of beer. The Alexandria Whole Foods Market is a short walk from the King Street Metro station. I had a tough time trying to decide what I'd buy. The employee working the beer section this Sunday evening (Paul) was very helpful in recommending some good hoppy beers to try. I could tell from talking to Paul that he knew his craft beers and enjoyed talking about beer. I ended up buying a six pack of 2006 Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale and a six pack of locally brewed Tuppers Hop Pocket Ale. I was pleased to see that Whole Foods Market had some Penn Brewing beers for sale. Paul told me that they sold out of the Penn Brewery Oktoberfest, which is a fine Oktoberfest. The Whole Foods Market beer selection is not going to rival that of Chevy Chase Wine and Liquors or my hometown beer store D's, but the prices were good and the service was excellent.

As a followup to my initial review, I visited the Alexandria Whole Foods Market the next evening and encountered the same employee (Paul) in the beer section. Paul gave me his Whole Foods business card and his title is "Beer Guy". Paul is a fellow BeerAdvocate and it was a pleasure to speak with a person who really loves and knows craft beer. Paul did admit that Jim Dorsch has pared back some of the more exotic beers including some of the Belgian beers because the mainstream Whole Foods Market customers (non BA types) were not buying them. I highly recommend visiting this Whole Foods Market and speaking with Paul.

Photo of BlackJeremiah
4.5/5  rDev +13.4%

Visited October 2, 2006 (review from notes made in parking garage after visit):

I'm sure many others have commented on the gustatory aspects of Whole Foods Market--large selection of organics, no artificial preservatives allowed in anything they sell, a commitment to avoid GMOs as best as they can, etc. A great side effect of all this is that, with the exception of a few packs of Heineken and Corona, the beer selection is all American micro or quality import.

This location is right on Duke Street, on the right as you enter Old Town. The building has its own parking garage, which allows you to shop for two full hours, free. No validation required. All those who attempt to take advantage and use WFM as their parking base for a night in Old Town get charged $10/hour after the first two, so don't try it.

The beer selection is dominated by 16-20 feet of cold case (4-5 sections) and one four-footer of shelf. It's a more compact selection than Vienna, but it certainly has a great amount of variety. I met the beer buyer, Jim, who was great to chat with, and advised me on the imminent arrival of the DFH 120. I had only intended to look around, since I hadn't been into the store since the opening. Because of the great selection, I ended up spending my food money for the week on beer, instead.

Great selection of Avery (Hog Heaven, Kaiser, Maharaja, 2005 Beast kept in the shade). 3L growlers of 2005 Oaked Arrogant Bastard Ale and Samiclaus (!), as well, although kept up near the lights. Some real gems--found my bottle of DFH Chateau Jiahu here. Lots of good Belgians here, more than I could really take in. I was a little surprised at the emphasis on cold-case, but since they have an extensive cafe-style seating area, I wonder if they intended to sell lots of individual bottles for consumption on premesis, perhaps accompanied by something from the hot, pizza, or salad bars.

Definitely worth a visit--I'll wager if there's something current that you can't find at Vienna, it's here, and vice versa.

Photo of SwillBilly
4.15/5  rDev +4.5%

I'm lucky enough to work 2 blocks from the Old Town Whole Foods, so I can make quick stops during lunch or on my way home. Anyway, Whole Foods is known for their Organic foods. Great looking fruit and vegetables as soon as you walk in the store. The store has great looking seafood and meat counters in the back of the store. Also, if you are looking for ready to eat meals, then this is the place. Take your pick from Prime Rib to Pizza with assorted food bars that range from internation cuisine to salads.
Now to the beer section which is located near the far right side of the store. Very nice selection, ranging from various Belgians (Duvel, La Chouffe, Chimay, etc..) to domestic craft beers (Victory, Old Dominion, Stone, Bear Republic, Legend, DFH, and many more). BA JimD and his crew provide great service and are willing to chat it up about beer. Nice to talk to knowledge folks. Prices are what is to be expected. Whole Foods is a great addition to the West End of Old Town. Along with Rick's Wine and Gourmet you can't go wrong between the 2. Working in Old Town has its benefits and one is working near both Rick's and Whole Foods

Photo of supernaut
4.15/5  rDev +4.5%

It just so happened that this WFM had their grand opening about a week after I moved into the area. Not knowing the area all that well, it was easy for this store to become my first local source of quality beer.

I was literally shopping the beer section as they were stocking it the very first time, and was delighted to see many of the beers mentioned by Hopsaplenty being placed on the shelf. I have seen larger WF beer departments, but size aside, they manage to retain a quality selection.

Their DFH selection is especially solid and above all the service is great. I've received quality recommendations from employees on almost every visit.

As I begin checking out some area alternatives, I'll continue to return to this location knowing that I'll never leave disappointed.

Photo of hopsaplenty
4.35/5  rDev +9.6%

This Whole Foods location just opened within the last two weeks. The store is fairly large overall, and sparkling as would be expected. The beer section is at the far end and runs almost the full side of one aisle.

About 3/4 of that aisle is a beer cooler, stocked with an ample supply of loose bottles from the likes of Rogue, FFF, Stone, Avery, Great Divide, Lagunitas, Schneider, and others. There was also an ample supply of four/six packs from Lagunitas, Tröegs, FFF, Avery, Stone, Rogue, Stoudt's, and a variety of others. Not a bad selection at all.

They also have a small selection of warm bottles with a smattering of Belgians (Rochefort 8, 10; Westmalle), Germans (Schneider), plus DFH Fort, WWS, DeuS, and Fullers Vintage. They had a few things that I have not seen at other stores in the area, and seem to have a steady supply of the DFH products that run out at other stores.

Not as large a selection as I would have expected, and not as large as I recall their old Annandale store having. Perhaps they are still in the process of getting things set-up to their liking. The prices are a touch higher than other local options, but nothing too out of line. The service was fantastic and on the day we visited, there were two people working the section, offering lots of suggestions and information.

Their location on Duke Street is only a few blocks from the King St. Metro station and close to Old Town. Parking is in a garage under the building, and we walked to the store, so I am not sure if there is a charge or not.

If you find yourself in Old Town needing some beer and organic foods, Whole Foods is a good destination. Perhaps not a "destination" beer store, but still a solid choice with a solid selection nonetheless.

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Whole Foods Market - Old Town in Alexandria, VA
89 out of 100 based on 24 ratings.