Hi-Time Wine Cellars

Not Rated.
Hi-Time Wine CellarsHi-Time Wine Cellars
BA SCORE
100
world-class

96 Reviews
Reviews: 96
Visits: 119
rAvg: 4.59
pDev: n/a
[ Store ]

250 Ogle St
Costa Mesa, California, 92627-3808
United States
phone: (800) 331-3005

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap @mrhitime

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Place added by: BeerAdvocate

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Reviews: 96 | Visits: 119
Photo of grilledsquid
4.85/5  rDev +5.7%

* This review is for their beer section only.

Hi-Time Wine Cellars is located in Costa Mesa, near Newport Beach. They have an extensive selection of wine, spirits, and, of course, beer. Most of the beer is kept in a cooled walk-in room, with 6-packs placed and available in walled coolers near the registers. Some bulk cases are also stacked alongside a wall near the coolers.

The selection here is great. You'll be sure to find anything local (ie, Ballast Point, Alesmith, Stone, Lost Abbey/Port) as well some out-of-state regionals such as Elysian, Avery, Goose Island. You'll also find an extensive selection of imports like Dieu Du Ciel!, Mikkeller, Rocheforte, and Weihenstephaner.

The prices are reasonable and the staff is very helpful and knowledgeable. I wish I lived closer as I would come here on a regular basis. (828 characters)

Photo of msmezher
5/5  rDev +8.9%

Hi-Time Wine Cellars is one of the best places to purchase beer, wine, spirits, and tobacco as well as drink related products and high quality cheeses. Hi-Time's beer selection is great, a wall of solid six packs, and a chilled cellar room of singles from breweries and styles around the world. Prices are very reasonable for what is available, and the employees seem knowledgeable and helpful.
Hi-Time is also the best place I've ever been to to purchase tobacco, they have an incredible selection of pipe tobacco and cigars (as well as pipes and accessories for both) at the best prices around. Lan and the other workers in the tobacco section will also let you take samples of some tobacco and make recommendations. I can't make a trip to Hi-Time without a few friends scrambling to come along. (797 characters)

Photo of david131
4.55/5  rDev -0.9%

I was in Anaheim for a conference and drove out to this store to stock up after reading numerous positive reviews on Beeradvocate. The store is rather large with a seemingly good selection of wine, liquor, and cigars. The beer set-up was the best I have seen. All of the beer was in a walk-in cooler that you could take your cart into. The light was low and the green bottles were kept in darker locations. All the prices were clearly marked and the beer was well organized. The staff was not particularly helpful until I was checking out where Alex made some recommendations and really seemed to know his stuff. For the selection, the prices seemed very reasonable. They had stuff from Stone, New Belgium, Mad River, Russian River, Fantome, Mikkeller, The Bruery, Alesmith, Dogfish Head, Jolly Pumpkin, Port Brewing Co, Green Flash, Bear Republic, Full Sail, etc. I would most definitely go back if I were in the area. (919 characters)

Photo of OhHerrooo
4.3/5  rDev -6.3%

This is my local bottle shop, about 100 yards down the street. Hi Time has a great selection, and gets a pretty strong distribution of non-California beers. They are usually among the first to get limited release beers, and the staff is very knowledgeable on all the beers they stock. Alex and Holly are always quick to help and point out the newest beers that they know I enjoy.

I choose Hi Time over all of the other close by bottle shops again and again. Their awesome selection and great staff will keep me coming back weekly. (532 characters)

Photo of Krevee
4.35/5  rDev -5.2%

Stopped here after a long day at the DMV. The first time I came here it was a bit difficult to find, and also had a little bit a trouble initially finding the beer which is in the far side of the store from the main entrance.

Q- All the beer seemed to be kept in good condition as is was in the beer area which is a large walk in fridge to keep all the beer cold and away from direct sunlight.

S - Service seemed to be pretty good. The people don't always go out of their way to help, but if you do have a question you can just find someone and ask, they all seem to be pretty knowledgeable.

S - Great selection of beer. Lots of German/Belgians as well as plenty of domestic beers. Definitely one the best beer selections in Orange County. Seemed to have a few beers that a I couldn't find else where, but also couldn't find a few beers I had seen in other places. But generally overall a better selection of beer then other places.

V - Value is good, prices for most everything seem pretty standard.

Great Beer Store, one of the best in Orange County for sure. (1,071 characters)

Photo of crossovert
3.1/5  rDev -32.5%

SO I shopped online, first of all, like 5 of the bottles I ordered they didn't have. So take them off the website. The shipping is expensive. Then one of the beers they sent was the wrong one, and did not reply to emails after that. It happened to be Orange Blossom Ale and it was terrible when I drank it after I figured there was no return.

So their service is really low, they at least emailed saying they didn't have a few products though.

The quality is fine, they shipped it in a a nice shipper, the beer seemed fresh. They also have a good selection of domestics and also imports unavailable to me.

But they have some issues. So be careful when ordering online. (671 characters)

Photo of mjl21
4.35/5  rDev -5.2%

Stopped by here on my recent Southern California trip. After reading reviews for various good beer stores in and around LA, I decided I would hit up Hi-times.

This is a really large liquor store that seems to specialize in everything from cigars, to wine to beer. The beer area is located along the right hand part of the store. Most of the beers are located in a large walk-in cooler. There are also boxes of beer located right outside of the cooler.

The selection was very good. They had a lot of stuff from Kern River; Abyss 2009; Mammoth; HOTD Blue Dot; Vicotry; RR Damnation, BP, and Consecration; Alpine Willy; Port/LA; and lots from Alesmith. Prices were very good.

I can't speak too much to the service. I did talk to a guy to verify that they did not have any more Alpine selections and he seemed knowledgeable about their inventory.

This is a great beer store. They had lots of stuff we don't get in SF and carried a lot of stuff that most beer lovers will enjoy. Worth stopping by if you are in Orange County. (1,026 characters)

Photo of MisterClean
4.35/5  rDev -5.2%

Had trouble finding it, but got there eventually. Tucked in the back of a strip mall in Costa Mesa bordering Santa Ana (or vice versa).

Q - Lots of good stuff, many Italian and German imports that I've never seen. All tucked away in a walk in fridge at about 45 degrees or so. They had some other notable hard to finds like DFH, GI, and some Lost Abbeys too.

Ser - Friendly cashiers and the stockers didn't mock me when I asked, "Hey, where's the beer."

Sel - Lots of good selection on the quality. Might be improved upon though considering the square footage of their store though.

Value - Prices were solid, some stuff was cheap such as Consecration for $20 and some stuff was expensive Speedway at $11.50. Most of it was competitive though. (747 characters)

Photo of womencantsail
4.7/5  rDev +2.4%

I have been to a lot of good bottle shops, but this one ranks very much up at the top.

I was initially concerned as I turned onto Ogle (from Orange) to see what appeared to be a residential area. I almost missed the place at first, but was able to slow down and make it into the parking lot.

I walked in through the main entrance to see quite the expanse of cigars, wines, and spirits. I was (again) a bit confused until I looked to my right to see a hallway were I could see some cooler doors and a walk-in cooler through a hallway.

The initial confusion was quickly replaced with a feeling of elation. There are about 6-8 cooler doors and a substantial pile of cases to the left of the doorway. Next to/behind the cooler doors is a large walk-in cooler where there is even more good stuff.

Lots of, well, just about everything. Plenty of German beers, a pretty good selection of Belgians, as well as other imports such as Mikkeller and Nogne-O. All the usual suspects from CA and the west coast, and quite a few you don't usually see (most notably Kern River, Mammoth, and Caldera). Plenty of stuff from DFH, Flying Dog, New Belgium, HotD, Russian River, The Bruery, Stone, Deschutes, North Coast, and more (too many to name).

I wish I had more money to spend here because I could have easily bought a few cases full of beer (I went conservative and only bought one case worth).

If you're anywhere near here, make the trip and check out Hi-Time. (1,453 characters)

Photo of glid02
4.5/5  rDev -2%

Definitely the best retail place I visited while in CA.

Quality is good. All beers are away from any kind of direct sunlight and there are a ton in a huge walk-in cooler.

Service is good. I didn't have any specific questions but everyone was friendly enough and no surliness was observed.

Selection was great. Tons of offerings from CA breweries, including Cuvee de Tomme, Sculpin, Consecration, etc. There really wasn't anything that I didn't see here that I did see elsewhere.

Value is good - prices seemed about par for the course.

Overall this was a huge stop and I only wish I'd seen this place first before going to a local BevMo. Definitely make a stop here if you can. (681 characters)

Photo of magictrokini
4.05/5  rDev -11.8%

A righteous call if in Newport Beach. HUGE liquor store with my personal favorite, the walk-in cooler of beer. Really taken aback at the great selection. I found a Mammoth Charley Wine that I couldn't even find in liquor stores in Mammoth. Hair of the Dog, tons o' Belgians, and local stuff that I haven't seen before. Staff looked attentive, but busy with others. No biggie, I know what I want. Prices are cheap compared to some other stores. I saw Cantillons for under $15 as well as other. Most bombers were $10 or less. Is it Beverages 4 Less? No. But its worth a trip. (573 characters)

Photo of GRG1313
5/5  rDev +8.9%

I have been purchasing wine here for years and one of the wine buyers is actually a member of my Italian wine tasting group that meets several times a year.

I finally started looking here for beer the past several months and when I'm in Orange County. This place is worth a special trip! Just seeing all that booze and wine is probably worth the trip; but, the beer selection is noteworthy. The selection is great, diverse and ever changing and the prices are fair.

The service cannot be beat. I apologize that I forgot the name of the beer manager. However, he saw me with a full cart and engaged me in a discussion. At the time I was a relatively new devotee and he spent a great deal of time with me! He would have spoken with me as long as I wanted.

Then, after asking more and more foolish questions to which he gave serious and thoughtful answers, he said "wait a minute, I want you to try something." He went into the cooler and brought out a bottle which was one of two he'd been saving for himself. He told me to try it to get a very good example of something that we'd been discussing...then, he didn't charge me for it.

This is a must visit if you're anywhere near the area and like beer. A must. (1,212 characters)

Photo of DrinkinSurfer
5/5  rDev +8.9%

Hi - Time Wine Cellars has to be without a doubt one of the best establishments to purchase liquor, beer, and wines. I have found the staff to always be very approachable. I found a very nice bottle of 15 year old Pusser's rum, Nelsons Blood, that was very reasonably priced for the rarity and quality of the bottle. They have an outstanding selection of vintage and modern ports. As far as beer is concerned I'll just say, make sure to bring your credit card because there is plenty to choose from. (499 characters)

Photo of Bitterbill
4.65/5  rDev +1.3%

I just received my latest shipment from Hi-Times Wine Cellars and, as usual, the service and packaging were excellent. It took less than a week from my sending in my order and taking the first sip from one of the bottles I bought. In this case, a little known Brewery from Kern River Brewing in Kernville CA. What a find!

The 12 bottles I bought were perfectly packaged using styrofoam and were received in perfect condition. I *did* order one of their brews, the Sequoia Red, which was out of stock and they promptly called me on my cell phone to let me know so I chose to get 2 more bottles of their IPA. It turned out to be an excellent example of the style though I will try to order the Red in the future.

Bottom line, I've made online orders from them quite a few times in the past and I will continue to do so in the future as the shipping charges are always very reasonable as are the prices they charge for the beers. This is a damn good store to order from if they can ship to your state. Highly recommended! (1,020 characters)

Photo of Swimsum
4.7/5  rDev +2.4%

This was my first time to Hi-Times and I was very impressed/over whelmed and I will definitely be back. This place is located weirdly since its not really on a main street but it wasn't super hard to find. When you walk in you're in a room with liquor, cigars, wine, and other items (I noticed a lot of chocolate). The beer is in its own room to the right and toward the back.

I've heard of how many styles and what you can find but you really don't realize how much is there until you're physically standing there. You walk up and are looking at about 6 coolers or so of 4 and 6 packs. These are all different varieties of beer. You can pick up singles from the packs or take whole packs, its up to you. Also outside of the refrigerated room are different bombers that I'm guessing they didn't have enough room for in the room. Glassware is off to your right in a cabinet.

Now for the HUGE refrigerated room. You walk in and its just amazing how many different beers they have. They are sorted by county and are all either single 12 oz, bombers, or 750s. It was a bit cramped so getting a cart around some sort of difficult. I probably spent a good 20 minutes just looking everything over before I actually starting pulling things off the shelves (just wanted to make sure I knew what was there).

I didn't really talk to anyone or ask for help but their was a guy restocking some beer and let me know he could help if i needed it. The checkout people were friendly. Prices overall seemed fairly reasonable. I would recommend this place to anyone and as I stated in the beginning, I will definitely be back. (1,610 characters)

Photo of PeprSprYoFace
4.85/5  rDev +5.7%

I come here alot with my Father when ever we go have lunch with my Grandfather. The first time I came I was overwhelmed at how cool it was that almost all the beer was kept in a walk in cooler. Its like your entire favorite bottle shop is inside a cooler that you get to walk into to select your beer. They have tons of variety and all the latest seasonals from tons of breweries. Pretty much if it is distributed in So Cal somewhere, it will probably be there.

The staff there are pretty knowledgeable of beer and can point you in the right direction. They have lots of cool glassware and tap handles and tons of Kegs to buy if you have a kegerator. Also if you love spirits, wine, or cigars, this is the place to shop too. If it exists, they probably have it. Their cigar selection was awesome. Lots of cigars I have been wanting to try but not found. The case of fancy and ecpensive spirits is impressive. Didnt spend too much time looking at the wine selection but I can tell they have a ton and if it is anything like the rest of the stores selection, you wont be let down.

I will keep coming here as a go to place for hard to find brews as long as I am living anywhere remotely close. (1,192 characters)

Photo of JBogan
4.05/5  rDev -11.8%

Took quite a detour on my way from Las Vegas to the Santa Barbara area specifically to visit this store. I went there with high expectations.

Starting with quality: As far as beers which can be found in southern California, they have them all. Well, at least all the breweries. There are a number of beers from each brewery they don't carry, but for the most part each brewery is well represented. They really didn't carry any of the hard to find east coast brews. As far as imports, they have a nice selection but honestly I was hoping for more. There were a number of Belgians we don't get in Vegas, but then again we have a number of Belgians that this place didn't have.

Service was fair. Nobody asked if I needed help, and when I did have a couple of questions it took a while to find someone available to answer them. Eventually my questions were answered, but I never felt as if I was a valued customer or as if the people I spoke with were enthusiastic about beer.

Selection: Again, I visited this sore with high expectations, mostly due to the glowing reviews here. For the most part, my expectations were not met. Before I walked into the beer cooler I grabbed one of those hand held baskets, thinking I'd fill the sucker. After about 15 minutes of looking, I only had 2 beers in the basket which I wanted. Eventually I grabbed a total of 6, mainly because I figured that if I came this far out of my way to visit this place, I might as well leave with more than just two or three beers. Perhaps I'm spoiled from my trips to Belgium and Amsterdam where I'd walk into a beer store and be overwhelmed with hundreds of beers I'd never seen before. I struggled with what grade to give this store in the Selection department. If grading against your average run of the mill liquor store then this one is great. If grading against the stores I visited in Belgium/Amsterdam then this store is below average. If grading against the stores where I shop in Vegas then it's about a tie. I finally graded it a 4.5, and felt that was generous.

Value: Pricing was fair. I saw no great deals, nor did I see any ripoffs.

All in all I'm glad I came here, if only that it satisfied my curiosity and I found a couple beers I'd wanted. However unless I'm specifically headed into this area again for some reason, I most likely won't visit again. If you live in the area, or within a half hour or so, then you have a nice store to do your beer shopping. Otherwise it's probably not worth traveling any great distance out of your way. You can find most of this stuff elsewhere in SoCal. (2,580 characters)

Photo of Zorro
4.85/5  rDev +5.7%

Pretty much the Mecca of beer stores for the west coast of North America.

A bit out of the way be sure to print a map before starting on the road to find this place.

Primarily a Wine and Luxuries shop, but beer has its own section and it's own door. The small bar down below is primarily wine and brandy.

Very first thing you should do is go to the walk in cooler, and the moment you do it is like stepping through the looking glass like Alice in Wonderland. Probably 1000 different beers at anyone time and a great many are "I have never even heard of that before" type of beers. Beers from the whole planet and more than a few from California like... Pliny The Elder and Lost Abbey stuff I never see anywhere else. In addition to obscure stuff there is always some beers made from pure unobtainium here; this time they had some bottled Japanese micro-brews that I never expected to ever see much less buy.

Service can be too helpful at times but if you know exactly what you are looking for just ask they will know where to look.

Selection? If they don't have it you can't get it in LA.

Can be a little pricey but then again a lot of this stuff is simply near unobtainable, but some how they get it and put it on the shelf. Then again they have a club card and quite a few specials on the less exotic stuff.

I always feel a little guilty after I visit this store because I always feel a bit ashamed of how much beer I walk out the door with. But I can't help it, this place is about as close to beer heaven as exists on earth. If you are wise you will use a hand basket and limit yourself to what you can carry. I was able to limit myself to just $200 of beer this time. (1,679 characters)

Photo of sweetbrew82
3.85/5  rDev -16.1%

Visited on 12-10-08

Just finding this place is a bit of a mission in and of itself. It is a bit tucked away in a residential neighborhood a little off the beaten path. But, it is worth the trip for sure.

Very good selection of craft beers, obviously, but no really hard-to-find brews that you couldn't obtain elsewhere on this particular date. But, they did have some awesome gift packs that really caught my eye. One of them in particular was a St. Bernardus pack of four beers and some kick-ass logo'd glasses for $19.99 I believe. Damn, I had already blown most of the money that I had won from a recent rash of successful bets!

The only thing that put me off was the service. I guess it's understandable due to the volume of customers at the time, but you will probably get totally ignored if you don't have a personal repoire with them. Other than that, this is should be your go-to spot if you live anywhere close. (924 characters)

Photo of beerhappy
4.15/5  rDev -9.6%

I stopped by here on a recent visit to Newport Beach to pick up a couple of bottles of Pliny (one of the few places that are currently in the RR distribution network). Nice place! My regular beer store is the Bevmo in Redlands but I have not been... uh, excited about their selection (even though it is fairly comprehensive) in awhile. I didn't really have time to check out the entire store so straight to the beer cooler it was...
Mmmm... within seconds I had grabbed was an Alesmith Horny Devil an Allagash Black a Madrugada Obscura and a Ballast Point Sea Monster (all of which I have not seen at Bevmo and haven't tried before). Then I asked about the location of the Pliny and picked up a couple of the reasons that I had come as well as 2 Blind Pigs (couldn't resist). Before I had left I also had to grab a 4 pack of St Bernardus 12 which put my total at around $80 for the visit and less than 3 minutes in their cooler!... self indulgent... stupid... bastard! Moderation and self control will be on the agenda the next time I visit this store... and there will definitely be a next time! (1,096 characters)

Photo of waltonc
4.3/5  rDev -6.3%

Made my usual stop here while visiting in laws with my wife. The overall breadth of selection here is fantastic. I can usually count on Hi-Time to have the usual Alesmith suspects in stock (which are hard to come by in San Francisco where I live). However, this time they had no Grand Cru, Wee Heavy, or Old Numbskull. So a bit disappointing in that respect. Lost Abbey selection was standard, but they did have two bottles remaining of Ne Goien, which I promptly placed in my basket. Other offerings were good, but nothing that was exceptionally hard to find in Orange County on this particular date. (601 characters)

Photo of dbONE
4.7/5  rDev +2.4%

THIS IS MY STORE! The only place I go to get beer, bourbon and wine. I still can't believe their are people in the OC that don't know about this mecca.
You have two ways in, through the front that takes you past the Smoke Shack. Stop by and talk to Lan (my boy) about the newest cigars they have. And they have just about everything to go with them or you could go in the "back" by the beer desk. This is my prefered enterance. This is where you will find the keg room (to the right), but keep going straight you will see Elden Ales homebrew kits to the left, keep going toward the stacks of beer at the back. Now take your time and browse behind the glass door at the expansive collection of 6 pack micros. You can even mix and match a 6er of your choice. Now venture into the cooler. This is where the 22's and the import beers hide out. You will find beers from countries you didn't know exsisted. If you have trouble Mike (the man) and Allen know just about everything so ask. Bring a credit card with a high balance you'll need it. If you need something for the non beer drinker go check out the booze. Everything from Absinthe to Vodka and of course the single largest wine collection in the world, well maybe not, but when you see it you'll know what I mean. Everyone there is really nice and they all know quite alot about what they sell. Oh, they also have funky cheeses and candy and other snacks.
Enjoy! (1,415 characters)

Photo of athensbeermaster
4.1/5  rDev -10.7%

This place hands down has the best selection of beer that is taken very good care of in a very cool climate in the OC. There selection DWARFS any store in this neck of the woods. The down fall of such a great store is there service is so RUDE and not freindly. I don't care I still shop there when I go that way. There wine cellar is at 56 degrees and every bottle is laying domn and taken care well. There cigar room is two rooms with a large selection of quality and value. Plenty of parking, There tequila section is so over the top. They also carry nice glass ware. As long as you don't expect service or a smile you know your still getting the best selection. And there goods are kept at proper temperatures. (713 characters)

Photo of vacax
4.55/5  rDev -0.9%

Finally took the plunge and went to Hi Time Wine Cellars. They aren't kidding: they actually have a wine cellar. Great place to stop for glassware, spirits, soda pop, and of course...beer! I have to give a full score on quality. On site parking and most all the beer inside their impressive walk-in refrigeration unit.

Though two of the beers I purchased were not in the refrigeration section--Hair of the Dog Adam and Fred. Considering these are some of the most expensive domestics, I didn't understand why they were left outside. How about pulling some Corona out of the fridge and making room for these?

Selection is huge, as the reputation suggests. Fantastic amount of imports. Domestic include everything from enormous to tiny. Some stuff that is just hard to get to like Dean's Bros. and the first time I have seen the full range of Bruery beers. This being the West Coast, their selection of Allagash and Ommegang was the best I have seen. First time I found Rogue Chipotle Ale as well, despite Rogue being somewhat common here. And as mentioned previously, my first California sighting of Hair of the Dog.

The down side to their selection is that this place is actually too good. It has a great reputation, so chances of finding anything rare here seem ni,l as thirsty beer geeks snatch them up instantaneously. I suppose I can't fault them for this.

Service was very run of the mill. Despite my venturing into the beer area several times I didn't get so much as a glance from the staff or a "Can I help you?" When I actually made my purchase I asked about Blind Pig. First batch sold out already, of course, but next shipment should be in August. Seemingly knowedgeable staff, but didn't seem particularly friendly or eager to help.

Prices seemed very reasonable. Rogue Ales were cheaper than BevMo and from what I noticed most craft beers were noticeably cheaper than smaller boutique stores. Seeing how most of the stuff I bought I have never seen before, it is hard to place a price tag on that.

Nice place with a great selection. Though again, the reputation may precede it. I was expecting to be blown away, but I just walked away satisfied. (2,165 characters)

Photo of jasonjlewis
4.5/5  rDev -2%

This place has a very huge selection of wines, liquors, and beers.

I like that I don't have to buy an entire sixer of a beer just to try it.

People were very helpful although I did not require much help. People knew about their inventory and were eager to help.

The selection was huge and I to calm myself down and not buy everything. There are a whole bunch of cali brews, stone, alesmith, etc. and west coast offerings as well.

Everything seems to be pretty fresh and the prices are decent. Seems to be 50 cents more per item than bevmo, but then again, you can't buy singles out of sixers from bevmo. (609 characters)

Hi-Time Wine Cellars in Costa Mesa, CA
100 out of 100 based on 96 ratings.