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 vince4953529
4.35/5  rDev -5.2%

While spending most of my time between Orange and Irvine, this is simply an exceptional liquor store not too far away from me. Their English and Belgian selections are especially the strong points here. They won't have everything (for example, they're out of the Kwak the last time I came), but I'm sure you'll find some surprises here. Most of the West Coast brews are also well-represented, but nothing out of the ordinary. The service is alright, sometimes they will ask you if you need help or not, but most of the time they just leave their customers alone, which is the way I like. This is simply the best liquor store in Orange County. If you've stopped by in this area, be sure to pay this place a visit. (712 characters)

Photo of beerceller99
4.35/5  rDev -5.2%

After carousing this place on the internet for a few years , I finally got a chance to visit this place in person. I was in near by Laguna Beach visiting relatives when wha lah, the subject of beverage stores came up , and Hi Time Wines was only 10 -15 minutes away in Costa Mesa, so, of course the next morning we were on our way.

The store is huge, divided into three sections, liquor, wine, and beer. The beer section actually looks the smallest, but it didn't lack for selection. Most of the beers are in a large walk in cooler, with maybe 10% of the displays at room temperature. Lots of mostly local California brewers for sale here including He'brew, Speakeasy, Alesmith, Bayhawk, and Hop Town among others, with a decent selection of imports. Not many Midwest or East Coast craft brews, though.
Back to their web site for a minute, they have way more beers available in store than the site has listed, just call and ask.
They also have kegs for sale, and prices are reasonable.

Overall this is a great place to shop for beer, and bonus points for most of them being stored in the cooler. (1,107 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
4.35/5  rDev -5.2%

Stopped in on a Sunday afternoon while en route to Dana Pointe.

Looks like they could satisfy many a vice. Cigars, liquor and wine options were plentiful to go along with the beer.

Quality was fine. I samped a bomber and part of a six pack I purchased there, and had no issues with either.

Service helpful as I was leaving (quick check out, decent packaging and an offer to help carry it out). Not much offered while I was looking, but I usually know what I am after, so I don't worry about it too much.

Selection was very impressive. Great microbrew options, with, of course, a CA focus. Lots of choices for Belgian and German beers. My picks included Alesmith, Port, Russian River, Drakes and some HOTD. I also grabbed a sixer from Mammoth Brew. Co. and a bomber from Angel City Brewing. I quickly filled up a case of bombers/750s and was left wishing I had more room.

Overall, no complaints whatsoever. Would certainly recommend a stop if you are anywhere nearby. (971 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 aoampm
4.36/5  rDev -5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

This spot is perfect to grab some good brew or some quality food/liquor or even cigars. Their beer selection is high quality and they have an entire walking in chilled room with a great selection of beer. All the times that I've been in the employees are extremely helpful, and one employee really helped me out with my home kegerator issues and answered all my dumb questions with eagerness and genuine concern for me getting the keg flowing correctly.

Definitely recommend if you are in the newport area/costa mesa area and need a quality spot to stock up on beer. (567 characters)

Photo of Vanlingleipa
4.38/5  rDev -4.6%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

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. (764 characters)

Photo of ohtheguilt
4.44/5  rDev -3.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

As part of my tour of Orange County during this week's work travel, I dropped into Hi-Time, based on the Ba reviews. Again, I was not let down.

The big cooler has an incredible assortment of California beers, national crafts and a ton of imports.I was also very pleased with the service...whoever helped me (I didn't get his name) went above and beyond discussing distribution differences in CA versus GA, and also checked "the back" for any hidden goodies (Blind Pig, Pliny, etc.) that may have been stashed away.

Overall, great selection, service and quality...if I was local to Costa Mesa, this would be my main stop for good beer. (637 characters)

Photo of Floydster
4.45/5  rDev -3.1%

Located in a Costa Mesa neighborhood

Beer is located in the pack in a large refrigerated room along with 8 different fridges outside of that

Super cheap and can buy singles out of six packs

Found some nice gems here, Avery Czar, Flying Dog Woodie Creek, Firestone Walker Reserve, Bornem Double, and Flying Dog Horn Dog barleywine

Only spent 28 dollars on 10 different beers, some were 22 ouncers too

Nice selection of glasses

Very helpful workers

Could have spent a lot more money here and I probably will if I make it back there soon (541 characters)

Photo of FosterJM
4.46/5  rDev -2.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Took a trip down today because the wife was on a business trip so I had some free time.

*next time (don't bring the kid)

Atm- Pretty standard beer store. Was a bit smaller than I thought from all that I heard. Had a nice sized staff on duty. Pretty good.

Qual- You know when you walk in a beer cooler and just go damnit, I need more $$. It's this place. They had stuff you know if good from all the chit chat on here but you've never even seen. Now you have.

Serv- As mentioned above, a nice sized staff on duty. Didn't really throw the I want to talk vibe out but thats fine. They did their job quickly and effeciently if I had a question. I was happy.

Selection- Was a nice selection, I think I came on an off weekend. Seemed to be out of a few things. I saw no RR besides damnation I believe. Although the front board did say no Pliny so at least they know to say when they are out.

Val- For the beers I got vs, what I paid. I was very happy. (952 characters)

Photo of OStrungT
4.5/5  rDev -2%

After hearing about this place for quite some time now, I finally got the chance to check it out. I must say that this place is much bigger than I expected. Lots of wine and liquor, along with much merchandise. Clothes, wine chillers, glassware, and more. There was also cheese, candy and other treats.

The beer section was great. It is one of the few places I have been that sells single 12 oz bottles. There was a lot of beer sitting in the isle, and some in the coolers. There was also a walk in cooler with a giant selection of German and Belgian beer. They had a lot of good beers that are hard to find. The import selection was bigger than their local selection, but the American stuff was not lacking either.

Prices were about average. I didnt think anything was overpriced. I managed to get out without spending over $50, so that was good.

I was impressed with this place, but with it being over an hour away, I doubt I will be going back again unless I happen to be in the area. (997 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)

Photo of charlzm
4.5/5  rDev -2%

Others have waxed far more eloquently than I ever could about this place. I'll just pay them the highest compliment I can think of by saying I wish they were up near where I live.

Yes, they have an awesome selection of officially available beers in their massive, climate controlled walk-in. Do they have grey market brews? I didn't see any evidence of that.

Yes, they have beer enthusiasts on staff who will talk to you about beer with almost no excuse.

In no way is there anything negative I can say about this place, except that they need to have a location close to my neck of the woods.

Because of the distance, I don't think I will be visiting them again any time soon. It's wonderful to know that they're open and doing great things, though. (753 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 dagubna
4.5/5  rDev -2%

Great place to get pretty much anything with alcohol in it. Killer beer selection, hard to find allocated beer. Nice group of guys though the one guy Trayce can be kind of a d-bag, I've had him answer the phone multiple times and when I asked what they got in that was new as far as beer was concerned he refused to give me a straight answer, made me come in which was kind of a hassle since I live in HB. When I came in there was nothing that special as he had alluded to. How hard is it to tell me what allocated beer you have in? Everyone else does. Still a decent place though. (581 characters)

Photo of PeatReek
4.5/5  rDev -2%

So, this was the first decent beer-store I walked into after my move from Boston, so I think I was a bit shellshocked (where's the Sam Adams, the Harpoon, the Dogfish Head?) and so maybe not as impressed as I shoud've been. But there was an absolutely bewildering selection of (presumably) local and regional micros to choose from, as well as some obscure selections like Dixie, which sadly will probably disappear for good soon. Basically any style you're looking for, they have a huge selection of it... lots and lots of imports in the walk-in, too, it's not just the locals.

I think my favorite thing, though, was their nonchalant attitude towards splitting 6 packs. Especially just after I move to the area, it's really nice to be able to build my own summer-ale-plus-IPA sampler pack, and Hi Time certainly has your back in that regard. Plus to "selection" for that.

Oh! And if this was Whisky Advocate, I'd give this place 6 or 7 points out of 5... their Scotch selection is absolutely mind-bending. For any given single malt, they have not only the standard bottle, but also a variety of private label, single-barrel, extended-age bottles. W-O-W. (1,159 characters)

Photo of rowew
4.5/5  rDev -2%

This was my first stop as soon as we moved to LA. Luckily it's a relatively short drive. Store has a very eclectic selection - very easy for my signifigant other to entertain herself with chocolate, wine, glasses, etc while I stared slack-jawed at the beer cooler. Nice selection of liquor, wine, and obviously beer. They also have a decent humidor and some cigar accessories. Nice to combine several vices all in one store! Several hard to find imported beers and a solid collection of craft brews. Helpful employees and several check out counters make for a nice shopping experience. (585 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 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 jefftheduke
4.56/5  rDev -0.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

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. (586 characters)

Photo of Retsinis
4.64/5  rDev +1.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

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. (1,439 characters)

Photo of blitheringidiot
4.65/5  rDev +1.3%

*** A MUST STOP WITHIN HOUR DRIVE ***
*** Ask about special beers not on the shelves! ***

Located only 5 miles from my Radisson Hotel, this place is a veritable goldmine. Not just a great beer store, and not just a great wine store but Hi-Time Wine Cellars also packs a punch with a stunning tobacco and cigar collection, corked bottle openers, knives, limited artisianal cheeses, and aisles of awl-kee-hawl hooch.

Beer is back to the right. There is a row of room temp beers of the "basic nature" and a row of opening door tall cold boxes offering up local suspects, but the treasures lie inside the giant walk in cooler area. All imports are lumped together with six foot tall and several feet wide shelves for each locale such as German, English and Belgian...but don't just think that it's all Chimay and Weinstephaner...it's much much more. So many that I can't even put a dent in the selection. ANY BEER FAN WILL BE HAPPY. I snagged some local CA beers that are not usually out my way like Alesmith ESB, Wee Heavy, Decadedance, Moylans 2IPA, Speakeasy Barelywine, Stone Old Guard 2006, and others. Excellent single selection that WILL NOT DISAPOINT!

Tempted to give 5/5 Selection due to every time I am here they have serious new brews.

Most 22 oz local bottles are $4 - $6 with a few rare boys clocking in at $10. Very reasonable and darn near cheap!

GO GO GO TO HI-TIME! (1,397 characters)

Photo of mrcraft
4.65/5  rDev +1.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75

I visited Hi-Time this weekend as I was visiting a friend in Huntington Beach. I'm glad I did. I'm not into wine, cigars, etc., but it seemed they had a very nice selection of those items.

Now to beers. Most beers are stored in coolers or in the walk-in portion of it. I thought the selection was 4.75 out of 5. Very strong selection of beers from the US and abroad. It's not a 5 because I still couldn't find the rarer stuff from the Midwest and East Coast that I've found at my go-to liquor store.

What I value a lot about Hi-Time is that they allow you to break 4/6 packs. This is a godsend, if you're not familiar with a beer and just want to try it out without committing to a bomber or 4/6 pack.

Nice place. Too bad it's not local to me. I will surely return when I'm in the area again which I believe will be Super Bowl Sunday. I'll stock up here before I go the party. (880 characters)

Photo of bradford
4.65/5  rDev +1.3%

I have read about the legendary Hi-Time Wine Cellar for some time here on BA, and now that I am working in Huntington Beach, I have had the pleasure of stopping in here a couple of times.
The quality is very good. Many hard to find craft beers from around the country and the world. I wish thay had some more Mid-West/East Coast beers, but they do have some. I have picked up many Stone, Hair of the Dog, and Pizza Port beers, as well as Victory and Avery.
The service here is great. When I stopped in last, I inquired about where a particular beer bar in Orange County was, the cashier didn't know exactly, so he googled it and offered to print me a mao of how to get there. Very freindly and knowledgeable service.
The selection is very good. Many hard to find and obscure beers available no where else in the US
The prices are reasonable as i suspect they have several distributors and a buying staff that goes out of their way to get the goodies. Highly recommended. (970 characters)

Photo of CraftBC
4.65/5  rDev +1.3%

I've only shopped on the internet here. But the website is very good and the beer selection is impressive. I was able to get several Belgian beers not available where I live including the Vapeur line, Hanssen's Kriek, Kasteel beers and Thiriez XXtra.

Even more impressive is that I received my order the very next day! I live in Northern California, so it's not that far to ship. But I had ordered regular ground delivery, so I was prepared to wait a week.

Great job Hi-Time! I look forward to visiting the next time I'm in SoCal. (537 characters)

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