Spec's #60 - Highland Park

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BA SCORE
85
very good

16 Ratings
Ratings: 16
Reviews: 11
rAvg: 3.59
pDev: n/a
[ Store ]

5775 Airport Blvd
Ste 100
Austin, Texas, 78752-4214
United States
phone: (512) 366-8300

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap @specs1962

Notes:
None, yet.

(Place added by: harpus on 01-05-2008)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 16 | Reviews: 11 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by kbub6f:
Photo of kbub6f
4/5  rDev +11.4%

Spec's from Houston now has a store in Austin. It's a big warehouse-like affair on Airport Blvd, just south of Highland Mall. Easy access from I-35, but take the 2222 West exit, not Hwy 290 (the Spec's website says the store is at Airport and 290, but from I-35, 290 goes east only and if you take a 290 exit, it's not easy turning back).

The inside of the store is even more warehousey than the outside. I actually like the open grid layout, but the concrete and fluorescents give it a pretty cold, parking-garage vibe. Beer coolers take up the whole left wall, with macros in the first half, craft past the door to the inner cooler where the cases are. The coolers end before the back of the store, but there's more beer on shelves hidden in the back left corner. You might miss this part if you're not paying attention. And on my visit there were beers on the shelves that weren't in the coolers.

The selection seems pretty complete: no glaring omissions. They lose a half-point, though, for not offering the 12-oz beers in singles. This will probably keep me from shopping here, even if it is on my way home from work.

So: good location, good quantity and variety, no 12-oz singles.

More User Reviews:
Photo of CheChe
3.25/5  rDev -9.5%

Photo of TX-Badger
3.75/5  rDev +4.5%

Photo of mgr78704
3.75/5  rDev +4.5%

Photo of charleslueg
3.25/5  rDev -9.5%

Photo of greenspointexas
3.75/5  rDev +4.5%

Photo of GJ40
4.02/5  rDev +12%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Like the other Spec's I've visited this week, this one is huge with lots of wine and liquor. But this one has more craft beer than the others. They had a good selection from the US, Belgium, England and Germany. And most of what they did carry, was good, if not outstanding. There was plenty to pick from.

Photo of LadyOfMuchBeer
3.68/5  rDev +2.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

I was expecting more from this as it is the local warehouse location. This store is huge...an old Academy store. Food selection was okay as was the craft beer selection. I had no "service" but I didn't require any either. Cashier was neither rude nor polite, just checked me out quietly and I went on my way. Wasn't a bad experience, but I wasn't impressed either. Still, specs overall has a above average selection of craft beers, but this one wasn't above average. I will continue to check this out in passing though as you never know what you will find at the different SPECS locations.

Photo of tjkinate
3.56/5  rDev -0.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3

Better than most local liquor stores, but not the best location for my needs.

If you are expecting this location to be the equivalent to their Brodie Lane store, than you will be disappointed. This store is still quite large for a liquor store, but doesn't carry much in the craft beer department. I walked around for five minutes, didn't see much I wanted, and proceeded to leave.

Staff was very nice and did great me as I came in and said goodbye on my way out. Nice to see that, especially in chain stores like this one.

If you are cool with the regular releases than I'm sure this Specs will be everything you need.

Photo of shoky01
3.14/5  rDev -12.5%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 2 | selection: 4.5

I liked this Spec's, been there twice and got several things that we dont have avaible here in Houston. They rearranged since i went earlier this year, they moved beer section closer to the coolers leaving the shelves filled with random boxes of beer, some of which were stuff that wasnt on the shelves elsewhere! Very easy to find, good location right off the freeway and thats important for out of towners. No real attention from the workers there, ive been followed around before in other stores by employees who really wanted to help me find something. Dont even remember anyone coming up to us at any point in the 30 minutes we were there. But oh well. Ill still go back any time im in Austin.

Photo of vdread
3/5  rDev -16.4%

i wasn't exactly blown away by this particular Spec's. I've been to other Spec's before and expected much better. the store was kind of small and dark, and many of the beers were in an obscure corner away from the coolers and hidden.

after browsing the beer section for about 30 minutes, i saw a sign that said to ask an employee about what was in the cooler. when i asked somebody at the front counter, i was told that they keep their special beers in the back but that they couldn't allow me to look in the cooler unless there was something specific i was looking for, then she would gladly retrieve it for me.

i asked about imperial stouts and was told that there wasn't any in the cooler, but the girl promptly directed me towards the Lagunitas Hop Stoopid (really?)

the selection wasn't horrible. it was pretty standard, actually. prices were decent, but they don't do mixed sixes here like at some Spec's. i would prefer to stay away from this store in the future, if only because of the average selection and below average service.

Photo of LittleDon
2.8/5  rDev -22%

I am a regular shopper at the Brodie Lane Spec's, but stopped in this store while doing errands north of the river. What a substantial difference between stores. First the positive. Spec's is still small enough (or has the corporate sense) to allow its individual store to be individual unlike most mega-retailers. Knowing that I can go to a different store and get a different experience encourages me to check out some of the other locations (and drop more dough). Unfortunately (and here's the negative), individuality cuts both ways. The Airport Rd store is dark, has a smaller selection, and, worst of all, has a staff that has no interest in interacting with their customers. In the 20 or 30 minutes I was in the store, not one employee asked me if I needed help. When I did ask for help, I didn't get the enthusiasm that I get at the south store (or any store where the employees enjoy selling what they sell). Maybe this is being a bit critical, but it certainly influences my willingness to go back. If this were the only Spec's in town, even if it was in my neighborhood, I'd be willing to drive a ways to find another place to shop.

If you know what you want and don't need to see what's new or interesting. This might be a place to get what you need (assuming they have it) and get out. The prices will be good, but that's about it.

Note: quality and selection are based on beer available. The spirit quality and selection is much better for this store.

Photo of LiquidSnake
4.3/5  rDev +19.8%

I am from New England aka Taxachusetts, also know as Massachusetts. I went to Spec's on the recommendation of this crazy lady friend of mine. She kept saying the selection was grand and the service was exemplary. I didn't believe her because she was a drunk and prone to showing her tits at a drop of a hat. However, when I walked in to the store for the first time, I was astonished, aka. I shit my pants. Selection, Selection, and plenty of selection. I could not believe the sheer amount of beers they had to spare. I resisted the temptation to crack open a beer and drink in the aisles. The only thing that pissed me off was that I was unable to get a Bully Porter from Boulevard Brewing without purchasing a sample pack for $16 bucks. I love that beer. Otherwise the selection was exemplary. I bought enough beers to get a small army drunk. I even saved a couple of dollars by paying in cash. I wholeheartedly recommend this place, and if you manage to get down there ask them if you can sample a beer, they might just crack one open for you..

Photo of kensuthe
3/5  rDev -16.4%

Spec's is a wine and liquor store chain based out of Houston that has multiple locations in Austin, and this review is for the Airport Blvd location. The focus of the store seemed to be liquor, with wine having the second most space, and beer a respectable but distant third. The beer was on the left side of the store, with a few cooler units closer to the front of the store that were stocked with beer and a few areas of shelving towards the back of the store.

Quality - Most of the beer here is stored on regular shelving instead of in cooler units. Some of the beers we bought from this location had turned, so it made me wonder if the temperature in the store in general is kept within a relatively safe range. The place is essentially just a big warehouse with air conditioning, and the hot Texas weather could play havoc with the beer over time. Some of the bottles looked like they had been on the shelves for a while or had been handled in less than optimal conditions, with some visible dust and dirt and torn labels on several bottles.

Service - The service here was of big box store quality. Most of the visible employees were working cash registers, and no one seemed interested in talking with the customers but rather with yelling across the store at one another over the heads of the customers. Spec's has a policy of charging people extra for paying with a credit card instead of cash, so keep that in mind if you intend on shopping here.

Selection - There were a variety of European beers available, with more selections from the British Isles than from the rest of Europe, including a decent variety from Young's, Wells, and Belhaven. There were the usual Belgian selections, and Unibroue from Canada. Local Texas brews from Shiner were here, and a lesser selection from St. Arnold's and Independence as well. There were more products from the macros here than I had hoped to find, from the usual name brands to the seasonals-of-questionable-value.

Spec's was worth the trip since our friends needed a few varieties of liquor for their apartment, but it was somewhat disappointing as a beer store. The prices weren't too high, but it would have been nice to know about the whole cash thing before getting to the store. I would go to Central Market or The Grapevine before going here again, but it also wasn't a complete waste of time.

Photo of JonathanL7890
4.15/5  rDev +15.6%

It's been six months since I've reviewed this and need to make some updates. I've been pleasantly surprised by Specs lately.

The staff has been much more helpful than when I initially reviewed this. Also, the beermanager is on the BA forum and lets us know when they get new beers in.

- The "good" beers are not in the fridge , they are on shelves next to the refrigerated beers.

- The deli counter is excellent. I've had several tasty sandwiches there.
- I also like the cheese selection. They have several cheeses that have just a Specs label, like they get them from small cheesemakers and wrap them up. I picked up some Chimay cheese there that was excellent with our BA beer tasting night. Tonight I found a french cheese, St. (I can't remember the name) that had a great aroma, nutty, complex, reminded me of St. Nectaire. The only thing was that the "Sell By" date was a week ago. I asked the deli guy if I could get a discount or something since I was willing to risk my health for good cheese and he said no. I hope they just don't change the "sell by" date like some stores do. I may check up on that later....
- They have this weird cash policy that they charge you extra if you use a credit card. I usually pay cash, but I don't often carry around enough cash when I do a beer run so I have to pay a 5% penalty to pay with visa.

I'll keep going to Specs because the prices are good and they are conveniently located so I can stop after work and avoid some traffic.

Photo of MiguelMandingo
4/5  rDev +11.4%

Spec's, as I am told, is a chain of liquor stores that hails from Houston. I don't know what the type of store was that was there before Spec's moved in, but it has a warehouse feel to it.

They have an all-around good selection. They have a lot of liquor, wine, and an okay selection of beer. Grapevine Market has the market down pretty tight on selection - there is no one in town that has a larger selection than Grapvine. Spec's comes in a close second. The part where Spec's definitely lacks is the fact that they don't sell single 12oz. brew.

Their service is very good. They have a policy of not taking a beer out of a customer's hands, even if it sucks (and I wish they would tell me if they thought a beer sucked - it would make their service seem more genuine), but they always make a suggestion for another brew that is similar in style. I never would have tried Avery's Maharaja if it wasn't for a Spec's salesman suggesting it after seeing my basket full of Hercules DIPA. Levi "the Beer Guy" has always been extremely helpful every time I have gone in.

Their prices are alright. Some stuff is more expense there than other places, and sometimes not. Kind of hit or miss.

Overall a decent place to buy beer.

Spec's #60 - Highland Park in Austin, TX
85 out of 100 based on 16 ratings.