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Pioneer Supermarket

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very good

17 Ratings
Ratings: 17
Reviews: 17
rAvg: 3.81
pDev: 11.29%
$$ - reasonable
[ Store ]

289 Columbus Avenue
New York, New York, 10023
United States
phone: 212-874-9506

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(Place added by: BeerAdvocate)
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Ratings: 17 | Reviews: 17 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by brentk56:
Photo of brentk56

North Carolina

3.9/5  rDev +2.4%
quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | $$

Stopped in here at the recommendation of the bartender at the Westside Brewing Company. It's tough to find good beer selections in NYC and I sure appreciated the recommendation.

This is a run of the mill, somewhat run down grocery story with the notable exception that they really care about beer. Where in other stores the end of aisle displays might be for toilet paper or laundry detergent, here you have an end of aisle display of Belgian bombers. Wow!

A whole aisle is devoted to craft brews and imports in standard bottle sizes. Great selection of most of the top northeastern craft breweries that distribute into this area - Smuttynose, Victory, Stoudt, etc., along with a bit of Eastern European beers to boot. I've seen better selections of British, Belgian and German beers but that is a quibble.

You can mix and match to your heart's content, which is a huge plus in my book.

07-15-2005 22:31:39 | More by brentk56
More User Reviews:
Photo of tobelerone


3.43/5  rDev -10%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 4 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5 | $$

I'm still fond of this place because in the early 1990's it was one of the only (and best places) uptown to get craft ("microbrew") and Euro beers at the time. It's basically a dingy supermarket. They are however known for being a beer destination and advertise the fact. Prices are about as good as you're gonna get anywhere close. Selection is varied, with a good selection of American and foreign beers in singles, 6ers, bombers, cold, etc.

This place is not going to blow anybody away in today's beer climate but it's a more than solid place to stop in a neighborhood still not teeming with choices. Again, I give it points for hanging in there so many years and being one of the early ones in the door.

10-05-2011 04:46:31 | More by tobelerone
Photo of DoubleSimcoe

New York

3.24/5  rDev -15%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 2 | selection: 4.5 | $$$

Among the fancy designer stores and restaurants that have turned Columbus Avenue into a Bleecker Street for stroller-pushing moneyed parents young and old, Pioneer Supermarket stands as an oddity, a relic from times past and long gone.

It looks tattered and old, as if it had not been cleaned/renovated in thirty years. Inside and out, this place feels like stepping into a 1970's supermarket in some grimy part of America.

But the beer! Yeah, for some reason, they care for and carry good craft beer. They announce it outside, in big paper ads plastered all over the windows, and inside, with beeradvocate quotes and stuff.

There is a bit of everything here, mostly placed into a single, well-stocked aisle with refrigerated singles/six-packs and room-temp bombers.

Prices are a bit jacked-up. They price everything individually and say it is good for the customer, but to me it means you'll end paying big bucks for a six-pack of some not-so-rare beer.

Quality is so-so, lots of dust and old bottles around the bomber section. The singles are fresh and cold, though.

Service is non-existent. The underpaid, overworked, indifferent cashiers won't help you, and I have not seen any other employee around. Definitely not a beer expert here! You're on your own.

Among the brands I found... bombers of Elysian, Southern Tier, Rogue, Troegs, Green Flash, Smuttynose, Sierra, Stone...

And singles: Cigar City, Lagunitas, Blue Point, plus all the bomber brands.

Tons of imports too, from the crappy (Italian Moretti) to the fairly-rare (Spanish Alhambra, Portuguese Sagres), plus quality Belgians, the classic British Samuel Smith and a variety of Euro crap (Stella, Newcastle).

All in all, Pioneer is nice for a local supermarket and an emergency beer-run. Other than that, you can do better at any Whole Foods locations north and south of this place, and then some.

02-26-2011 01:06:29 | More by DoubleSimcoe
Photo of hmk22

New York

4.5/5  rDev +18.1%
quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | $$

Pioneer is great -- reasonable prices and great selection in the middle of a high-priced neighborhood where the only alternatives are overpriced supermarkets and even more overpriced delis/bodegas/Korean grocery stores. The manager isn't a snob, either -- he sells high-end Belgian offerings and other rare stuff alongside 12-packs of PBR and Schlitz. They recently had 16.9 oz. bottles of Yarpivo Amber from Russia and the other Baltika offerings for 0.99 (although the sell-by dates on some are a little close for comfort). He also publicizes BA on hand-lettered signs. Great place if you're on the Upper West Side.

05-02-2010 22:57:46 | More by hmk22
Photo of david18

New York

4.35/5  rDev +14.2%
quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | $$$

This place is two blocks from me so my review is biased by convenience. It's always been a good place, particulary for british and belgian ales. The original compliant was that everything was unrefrigerated and then they started to refrigerate some of their stuff. Then, it was not enough mircobrews, now they have a good selection of those.

Included are the full Stone compliment, Hebrew, southern tier, boulder, Great Divide, green flash and many others. Prices have gotten worse over time but still worth a visit.

07-20-2009 21:27:10 | More by david18
Photo of popery


3.35/5  rDev -12.1%
quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5 | $$

It's a supermarket with a decent selection of beer. I was visiting New York and went to Pioneer to look for some fancier East coast beers. It is not the best store for that purpose. The prices aren't terrible and I certainly would shop there if I lived nearby, but if you're visiting NYC, hit up New Beer Distributors downtown or go to Brooklyn. Employees were friendly and helpful enough, but I didn't find any that knew much about beer. Also, they were fairly busy with other parts of the store. For comparison's sake, this store had about twice the selection of a normal, upscale grocery store in NYC (that I bought some food at later that day) that has not been deemed worthy of BeerFly. The selection was a mix of Belgians, Germans, other imports and general East coast distributed American beers. Actually, I thought that the import section was stronger than the domestic craft section. They had a decent selection of European beers, if not the fanciest stuff in the world.

05-27-2009 16:08:27 | More by popery
Photo of rhoadsrage


3.35/5  rDev -12.1%
quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5 | $$

I stopped in becuase my hotel was close by hoping to score some gems to take home. When I walked in it is a very tiny supermarket packed full of essentials. That was why I was surprised to see a full isle (both sides) dedicated to beer. One side had the warm beer and the other side had an open cooler with a good number of singles.

I was hoping to score some East Coast Gems that everyone else had passed up but that was not the case. I still walked out with a good number of beers. They had lots of good session beers from all over the world with many as 12 oz bottles aswellas bombers. They didn't have any beers from local brewers that I couldn't find in other groceries. I found some beers from Slyfox in PA that I hadn't seen other places and a few seasonals but not many.

The checkout space up front is very small and they don't do much to protect the beers as they pile them all in a single plastic bag but they get you out of there in a hurry so it is not bad.

I still go back to Pioneer when I am in the area and I still walk out with a sack of beer.

12-03-2008 02:39:51 | More by rhoadsrage
Photo of baggio


3.35/5  rDev -12.1%
quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5 | $

Visited on the 22 of november 2008.

This store has a good selection of american micros and imports but nothing you can't find everywhere else. There was actually a person re-stocking the beershelves when i was there and he was happy to recommend a few beers for me (i actually just asked him because i wanted to find out if he had any clue about beer).

Prices were way lower than wholefood but unless price is very important to you i wouldn't go out of my way to visit this place.

Give it a go if you're in the vicinity.

11-23-2008 02:27:30 | More by baggio
Photo of gfreed


4/5  rDev +5%
quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 5 | $$

If you're in the UWS, you owe yourself a visit to the Pioneer. It's grubby outside and in, and the staff could give a crap if you buy something or not, so don't expect any help making your choices. But the beer cooler (currently located in the center of the store) is well stocked with a huge variety of singles from everywhere. Take note of the many wheat beers, not to mention the Belgians and the Pils. Be sure to wander around the store because they also stock warm beer on the endcaps. Closed on Sunday, so stock up on Saturday.

08-20-2008 22:33:39 | More by gfreed
Photo of Brianmerrilyn

New York

4.5/5  rDev +18.1%
quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | $$

The place has been upgraded folks. Well, the rest of the store may be the same, but now all of the beer is in open drawer refrigerators. All sorted by style and region, you can get all of the Magic Hats, Southern Tiers, Brooklyn's as well as too many Belgian and German bombers to type. Wit's, Belgian Dark Ales, IPA's, RIP, Heffe's, Marzens, and at INSANE PRICES. That means under 12 bucks for a case of Becks or Heineken and 6 bucks for all of the Ommegangs, Chimay's and Rouges. Blows away Whole foods.

07-09-2008 18:47:57 | More by Brianmerrilyn
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Pioneer Supermarket in New York, NY
88 out of 100 based on 17 ratings.