Hi-Time Wine Cellars
Ratings: 110 | Reviews: 95 | Display Reviews Only:
4.86/5 rDev +6.8%
I was in CA for business last week (between LA and OC) and found this place via a BA search. The "world class" rating it currently has is certainly deserved. I will only focus on beer, but the range of spirits and wine look to be much more impressive than even the beer section.
After gawking a bit in the spirits section I made my way over to the beer section (annex). Upon entering I clearly saw the walk in cooler, but opted to chat up the guy at the register who was doing some tasks. I told him I was in from MA and would love to have him tour me around the cooler while recommending what I should get / can't get elsewhere. He was awesome and recommended some great stuff. After picking a few things from the main cooler he escorted me to the smaller/reserve cooler. Here I had my choice of 4 50/50 Eclipses, Pure Hoppiness and various other gems. For RR they only had Damnation and Redemption, but I can't fault them too much for that.
In the reserve cooler we bumped into another gentleman who worked there and he joined the conversation--talking about his favs from the Eclipses, Rayon Vert and the Bear Republic Berliner Weiss. He continued with me to check out, get ice and acquire a cooler as well as some shippers to help me prepare my beers for travel back to MA via Delta (checked baggage).
I wish I could remember the names of these guys as they were super helpful. No worry, I'll ask next time I'm there--which will be the next time I'm in SoCal. I hope soon!
01-11-2012 03:53:58 | More by jraras
4.56/5 rDev +0.2%
I have been to this store many times it is close to home and has a good selection. The store is clean and the the walk in beer fridge is a cool feature, but bring a jacket if you want to look at beer for more than a minute or two. The selection is pretty good but you have to ask for anything that you really want it is all kept in the back and if you don't know someone there or ask for it you want get it. I know Alex and he knows his beer and makes great recommendations. If you are close it is defininatly worth stopping in just make sure to ask if you don't see something you want.
11-19-2011 05:28:46 | More by jefftheduke
4.38/5 rDev -3.7%
What the previous reviewers have said is certainly true, this is indeed a candy shop for liquor lovers. And if all of this giant space was dedicated to beer, it'd be the Disneyland of craft brews as well.
Alas, we have to make do with a large cooler where the beer is properly stored (except it is a little bright in there). Prices are reasonable. The staff are generally pretty cool - another nice thing about this place is you can call in for a high-demand beer and they'll hold it for you for up to a day.
For those of us who like to slum in the fine spirits section get the full benefit of Hi-Times large space and huge inventory. I'm always amazed at the variety of rare and imported tequilas, rums and whiskies. Just wish it was a little closer to my home.
08-11-2011 10:02:45 | More by Vanlingleipa
4.83/5 rDev +6.2%
The term 'kid in a candy store' comes to mind when I think of Hi-Time because that's how I feel while I'm there. I usually stop by on Fridays after work to stock up on beer and wine. Their selection is ridiculous for beer, wine, cheese, cigars... I also get most of my kegs from them, they'll order it if they don't have it. I haven't done ant tastings here but they have a cool tasting room on the lower floor. Even if you go here for beer only you should walk through the wine cellar because it's amazing. Almost like a public library filled with wine. The walk in beer fridge is awesome. If you are in the Newport / Costa Mesa area go on in and get lost for a bit.
08-11-2011 03:45:45 | More by OCBeerBaron
4.8/5 rDev +5.5%
I think I just died...and went to beer heaven. Hi-Time Wine Cellars is a must visit for beer lovers. When you first walk in the stores you're greeted by a cigar humidor on the left and a huge selection of wines and spirits. You can hear the buzz coming from their bar downstairs. In many ways Hi-Time is like a warehouse of alcohol with everything from mixers to wine to beer to bar supplies.
We then made out way to the beer section and into the beer cooler...wow. It was nice to see all the beers stored correctly and such a wide selection. Their prices are more than reasonable (I was at BevMo yesterday and saw the same beers at Hi-Time for a couple of dollars less).
The guys there were all really friendly and helpful. I asked one of them about Pliny the Elder as I've been on a hunt to get my hand on it and the happily started up a conversation give me advice on when they usually get in their shipments. All in all this place is a must visit if you are anywhere near orange county. I left like a kid that just got a new toy...really excited and thoroughly pleased with my box of goodies.
07-22-2011 04:50:32 | More by blincoln
4.72/5 rDev +3.7%
Hi-Time is the best bottle shop I know of. Even though beer is only a small part of what they do (they're beer section only takes up about 20% of their store), they do beer better than any other place I've ever been. They sometimes hold beer-tasting events; while I've never been to one of these official events, I have been in the store a couple times where their beer staff have been sampling brews and have allowed me to participate and add my input. They are always among the first to get good, highly-anticipated seasonal or special releases. They do a good job of rationing limited-availability brews, too, so as to prevent hoarding. Their selection is extremely extensive, yet they do not seem to overcharge to compensate. I'm very lucky to have Hi-Time as my local bottle shop--even though I have to drive past BevMo to get there, I prefer to buy my beer at Hi-Time as much as possible.
07-19-2011 16:07:52 | More by PhiloPsych
5/5 rDev +9.9%
Hi-Time has been around FOREVER and is arguably one of the best retailers in the entire state of California ... and not just for craft beer, but for wine, cigars and spirits. It's like being in an adult candy store ... just EPIC!!
The beer selection is amazing and selections are properly stored ... cold ... so make sure when you browse the beer choices, bring a jacket or something as it gets cold.
Prices are reasonable ... probably lower in other establishments, but nothing over retail suggested value.
If you are in the area, Hi-Time is a must stop ... the store is simply amazing!
07-18-2011 19:13:09 | More by AlexM
5/5 rDev +9.9%
Other than being a great store for non beer related drinks and possibly the best wine store in Southern California it has an impressive beer selection. The prices while a little more then Total Wine the selection of special release and import beers are impressive. The shear amount of breweries featured is great. Also the cooler is walk in. The only reason a beer case is stuck outside of the cooler is lack of space. I've found everything from Hitachino special release to Stone to Russian River. The store allows you to buy 12oz Singles out of the six packs allowing for the ability to try many different beers rather then being stuck to 6 packs and bombers. They have a top shelf for rare beers which I have seen Infinitum, vintage Stone releases, and other barrel aged beers.
If you are in the OC this store is a must stop.
06-23-2011 04:47:38 | More by Hershdawg
4.64/5 rDev +2%
Been out to Hi-Time Wine Cellars on a number of occasions, though a bit less now that my sister in law doesnt live in the OC anymore. Being from Northridge, it's not exactly around the corner from me. However, anyone that lives withing 50 miles of this places owes it to themselves to go here at least once.
The store is an adults disneyland. They have a walkin humidor, with a fine selecation of cigars. They have freshly made choclates for sale. They have one of the largest selecations of spirits I have ever seen, from cheap, preimium, ultra premium, and some stuff I have not see anywhere else but there. They have several coolers of beer, stacks of beers around the store, and a rather large, Walk in refriegrator filled with beer.
Of course, they also have an underground cellar, with an enormous vintage wine selection. I still get their newsletter, even being as far away as I am. This place is truly unique, and a real gem for So cal.
Their prices are fairly competive, but I marked it as a bit pricey, only because if you walk in here, intending to buy just 1 thing, I pretty much guarantee you will buy more, the selection is just that good overall. While they don't get every limited release, they do get quite a bit of Belgian beers, large format bottles, and various around the world beers that are fairly uncommon. The staff is friendly, helpful, and actually seem to love that they work their from my experience too.
04-28-2011 21:11:29 | More by Retsinis
4.78/5 rDev +5.1%
Finally made it here after reading all the good news about it. Thanks twitter for the update about the Deschutes tasting so I raced down for that.
Outside of the big chain liquor stores this place is massive. Looks like a normal bottle shop that just kept on expanding. Heaps of wine and spirits as well as topical magazines, Easter themed stuff and probably more. I headed for the downstairs bar area in the back.
This area is a bit cramped but about 10 spots at the bar. Six or so tables as well for your seated drinking pleasure.
The server for the tasting was extremely helpful and informative. And the pours were quite generous so not sure if that was their generosity or Deschutes. Also the service at the checkout was very accommodating.
Selection was wide ranging filling lots of different styles and origins. Plenty of local regional and imported stuff. The only limitation is how long you can stand browsing in the walk in cooler which is another positive. Plenty of stuff kept chilled.
Overall this could quite possibly be my favorite bottle shop. As with other specialty shops, you might find every day drinkers cheaper at other places, but the selection here easily makes it worth stopping in every few weeks.
04-15-2011 23:16:17 | More by joecast
Hi-Time Wine Cellars in Costa Mesa, CA
100 out of 100 based on 110 ratings.