Marty's Fine Wines
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Ratings: 74 | Reviews: 69 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by tendermorsel:
4.65/5 rDev +10.2%
quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
Right now is my favorite local place. I have been going here for many years. Truth be told it had fallen out of favor with me for while. Too many older beers and little changes in what they had. However, in the last few months this place has taken a major turn for me do to a drastic change in the level in service.
Dan the relatively new beer manager is awesome. He is always available to answer questions, give suggestions and tell you what is coming in. He is spot on in his suggestions especially with many Belgians that I loved but would have never tried had he not recommended them. I have become a once a week customer and he hasn't forgotten that taking care of ensuring that I get a bottle or two of the rare stuff when it comes in. He really cares about beer and ensuring that those who are into it get what they need. Recently after a 10 minute discussion about barley wines he went down to the basement and grabbed me two 2005 Old Ruffian's without skipping a beat.
I have also had a good keg ordering experiences recently. I got home and my rapscallion keg had a European tap instead of the ball tap that they had given me. I called Marty's tols them about the mishap and they had a driver at my house in 30 minutes with the correct tap.
Some stores may have slightly better selection and pricing but for the service and knowledgeable staff Marty's can't be beat.
08-06-2007 03:30:08 | More by tendermorsel
More User Reviews:
3.69/5 rDev -12.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.75 | food: 4.25 | $$$
I have now been a customer at Marty's, first in Brighton, then in Newton for over 25 years. We used to get kegs from the Harvard Ave. store in college, but that store -- like those days -- is long gone. Marty (the owner) decided to reorganize and refocus on a single store about a decade back. Earlier, he added a cigar unit to the Newton store and it's still doing business, although I have never seen anyone at the cigar counter (have heard people ordering specific brands at the register, though). Marty himself has all the looks of a jovial beer drinker. And he will be happy to chat with customers about wine, beer, food, cigars or last night's weather. Still, the store has been primarily a wine seller for years. With renovations and expansion completed last month, this has become even more of an emphasis. Renovations replaced the ancient bottle return facility and a tiny deli/cheese counter with a fully functional food alcove. The store has always had a good selection of gourmet ingredients and the convenience of wine shopping has made it the near-suburban foodie mecca of the aughts. But, until now, the store had the 90s look, complete with stainless steel modular shelving. No more! Renovations put new bookcase-style black shelving throughout the store. Ironically, the store now looks smaller, even though the floor space has expanded by almost 30%. Saturday is a the wine- and beer-tasting day, although the hours are short (Marty is all about legal compliance). With the shelving rearrangement, it seems that beer corner was the big loser. Stacks of beer cases are gone -- you have to ask the staff for a case -- but that's just as well. A refocus from imports to craft has likely benefited most consumers and the selection is extensive and diverse, but still completely disorganized. But the craft beer section -- even though it dominates the beer corner -- is uncomfortably small. No one can match Julio's for stack space, but Marty's barely can compete with a no-name liquor store in perpetually gentrified Cambridge Central Square. An even bigger disappointment is that prices are higher than that same Central Square store. This month is Marty's "Big Sale" on beer, which means that they have eight highlighted breweries (including Uintas, Anderson Valley, Avery and Dogfish) discounted to $10.99 on 6-packs (and only on 6-packs!). A bonus point is that they had both cans and bottles of some brews, but the selection was still pitiful. Avery had 4 varieties (although 3 of them came in cans and bottles, so, technically, it's 7). Dogfish had 5. Others were lucky to show 3. Marty's penchant is for bundling, so you get a big break on buying 2 packs for "only" $20. Non-sale retail for the same 6-packs at Central Square ranges from $9.49 to $11.49, although I did not see Avery in that store. Wines and liquor are priced much better and the sale deals on liquor are outstanding. Marty is always willing to put out discontinued cases on specials that are priced under 50% of original retail, and the discontinued stuff is invariably good (quite often it's discontinued because the price/quality ratio is high for an uncommon brand). But beer? I'd look elsewhere unless, by chance, this store happens to have that unusual bottle that no one else stocks. I'm still a loyal customer at Marty's but the beer experience is disappointing. Bonus: On the last three trips the beer staff was nowhere to find, so asking questions was pointless. Meanwhile, at the other end of the store, other staff were waxing poetic about wines, rums and cheeses. Like I said, beer does not seem to be a high priority.
PS: I must question the timeliness of the reviews and scores from more than two years ago, when the shift began from imports to craft. And the store really did not start emphasizing craft beer until late last year. With apologies to Marty, he'd do well to spin off the beer business into a separate outfit.
PPS: Update 7/26/13 (original 6/9/13) The selection appears to have improved, as they rearranged some things so more space is devoted to beer. But the beer section is a mess, no logical organization. And it looks like they have more than they actually do just because of the way the section is arranged. A lot of high-end pricey selections, but actually not a lot of rare stuff. I've seen more from mall stores in the last week.
06-09-2013 18:34:48 | More by VictorWisc
4.08/5 rDev -3.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | $$$
for my money Marty's in Newton is in the conversation of best beer selection in the Boston area. it's not quite Julio's caliber but it's in that ballpark. all the usual suspects, brewery-wise, are well-represented, along with some off-the-radar stuff you wouldn't see in your run-of-the-mill places. great range of local breweries and a very respectable collection of Belgians. have chatted with employees on several occasions; they have always been helpful and happy to chat about beer - what they have, what's coming down the pike (no pun intended), and so on. the mix-a-six option is always welcome, as many liquor stores prohibit it.
the store also has what looks to be a pretty extensive selection of wine, as well as an impressive assortment of bourbon, scotch, and other spirits. and oh by the way there's a pretty decent deli on one side of the store adjacent to the liquor. while I almost always go for the beer, it's nice to have options.
biggest knock, and it's been pretty well-documented, are the price points. noticeably higher than other beers stores in the Boston area, including other high-rent districts. now this is offset in part by the deal they offer (forget the specifics but something along the lines of 10% or 15% off when you buy 6 or more bottles). but still. craft beer is expensive enough, we don't need those prices inflated even more.
so all in all, while not for bargain shoppers it's definitely worth a stop. just don't do it on a week where you're penny pinching.
05-09-2013 22:48:33 | More by BostonHops
3.44/5 rDev -18.5%
vibe: 1 | quality: 3 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | $$$$
Decided to try them out when I was in the area for work.
Good sized section on the right side of the store for the beer. There are country-specific sections but it's pretty random after that it seems, you have to wander around the whole place to make sure you didn't miss something. It's very messy too. Lots of empty spaces on the shelves, bottles kinda strewn about. Open boxes of random bottles literally just lying on the floor in various areas (watch your step!). Just gives a general impression of disorganization and lack of care.
Service was friendly, I was approached somewhat quickly. I overheard the gentlemen helping some other people with good advice.
Selection was pretty solid, on par with the better stores in the Boston area (Bermans, Redstones, Julios, etc).
Prices, however, were ridiculous. It was a minimum of 10% more than your typical prices at any other place. WWS/120min were $12 or 13 instead of the typical $9 or 10. IST for $20 or 21. FW15 for $22 or 23. The cheaper bottles were actually more of a ripoff, easily $2-3 more for a bottle that only costs $5-6 in the first place. Needless to say I didn't buy anything.
So, unless you're looking for something really specific or you live down the street, I'd avoid it. You can find the same selection at a dozen other stores but they charge a LOT less.
05-23-2012 19:44:44 | More by Dope
4.44/5 rDev +5.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | $$$
What a great store with an awesome selection of beer. I literally wandered around for thirty minutes unable to decided what I wanted. I felt like I was six years again in Toy's R Us right after my birthday.
Their selection is crazy from Mikkeller to a variety of Geuzes/Lambics, to Stouts to IPAs. Last time I bought a bottle of BooGop a bottle I have not been able to find anywhere else in MA including Julios. (Side note their great selection is do to the fact that the owner of Marty's is also the owner of Atlantic Distribution) If Marty's doesn't have it you can't get it in Massachusetts. Along with their great beer selection they have an amazing beer glass selection. This is something I have not seen anywhere else and I love it.
My only complaint about Marty's is that they are a bit pricey when compared to Julios or RedStone Liquors.
03-27-2012 16:43:46 | More by SalMineo
Marty's Fine Wines in Newton, MA
94 out of 100 based on 74 ratings.