Sahara Mart - East
Ratings: 18 | Reviews: 17 | Show All Ratings:
5/5 rDev +9.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5 | $$
The beer and wine selection at both locations is amazing. I can always count on them to have the hard stuff that I look for. I've never seen half the selection they have at big red. This is why I'm forever loyal to the local, Sahara Mart. The service is great and the staff is knowledgeable. If one person doesn't know they will find out for you.
11-04-2013 14:43:08 | More by Ahill163
4.44/5 rDev -2.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.75 | service: 3.75 | selection: 5 | food: 4.25 | $$
Atmosphere: Incredible beer selection organized geographically. US craft beers separated by region, plus with a large "new arrivals section". Nice part of the store with good lighting next to their excellent wine cellar.
Quality: Incredible beers to be found here. Watch out though, some of the beers are dusty and old! Relatively shaded from blinding light, but not cooled due to IN state laws.
Service: The staff is pretty helpful, but don't ask them about the finer points of beer. They'll point you to the right section, but do precious little else.
Selection: Incredible selection. The best beer selection in Bloomington. Fantastic selection from US craft beers and international offerings. HUGE Belgian and German selections, available for purchase in single bottles. Sizable amount of beers from UK too. Cheapest options are PBR, Heineken, and Guinness Draught. Great selection of rare or hard to get beers, too numerous to list.
Food: Amazing selection of international food here! Great if you've visited Europe and miss something you had there, especially candy.
Value: Generally good prices. Prices about +/- $2 from other Bloomington establishments on the very specific craft stuff. No discounts to speak of, so buy more widely distributed craft (Sierra Nevada, Sam Adams, etc.) at other Bloomington area stores. If you want something very specific or obscure though, look here first!
Overall: If you are in Bloomington and want craft beer, visit this place.
11-03-2013 19:13:58 | More by Beric
5/5 rDev +9.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5 | $$
I love Sahara mart! From international cuisine, to unique natural foods, to vitamins galore they have great variety. Their beer selection is awesome! Probably one of, if not THE best in Bloomington Indiana. I found rare brews from all over the country that are regulars for them along with some awesome limited and seasonal selections to choose from. Highly recommend Sahara Mart to anyone looking for good beer in the area. The location is great as well. Near some of the best restaurants and shopping in the area including the College Mall almost virtually across the street and right down the road from IU campus.
02-16-2012 01:11:21 | More by mgeraci
3.8/5 rDev -16.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5 | $$
The wife was nice enough to accomodate a detour to both Sahara Marts during an anniversary trip to Bloomington, IN.
Upon walking into the Mart, we noticed that it smelled similar to Whole Foods. It appeared to be a local chain organic and international supermarket with a fantastic beer section.
The beer dept. consists of two long aisles of craft and import selections. In addition, there's a long island of 6pks and 12pks, as well as some bomber racks, spanning the area in front of the two aisles.
I quickly walked up and down the aisles, assessing the selections. (All of which only appeared to be available in warm beer-- no coolers.) In general, your normal grocery store beer aisle (or even Whole Foods for that matter), doesn't come close to hanging with the variety offered by Sahara Mart.
The craft aisle contained most every sixer and bomber (+750ml) that one could hope to find at an Indiana bottle shop. Some stand-outs were Hoppin Frog BA Naked Evil (for $20 vs. the $25 I paid in Indy), some Jolly Pumpkin brews, and a couple of Upland Lambic selections. There were notably some holes, where some of the highest demand craft brews might have been. (Possibly picked over by visitors during the week's CBS craze?)
The imports aisle included most of the usual Indiana suspects. The best standouts I noticed were a variety of JW Lees barleywines.
While (aside from the low-priced BA Naked Evil) I didn't find anything that knocked me off my feet, the great selection was indisputable. I'd definitely visit the store again any time I'm in Bloomington, and would recommend you do so as well. We decided to hit up the other Sahara Mart location next in order to compare.
10-13-2011 01:12:13 | More by mdvatab
3.33/5 rDev -26.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 2 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5 | $$$
Used to be my go to store. Sadly not anymore. If it's distributed here, they probably carry it. The only problem is they carry it FOREVER. I've found fresh hopped ales from the year before on their shelves and refuse to buy any IPA's that don't have bottle dates from here. Sadly this means no Hoppin' Frog among others since they are the only store in town with these often times.
They've got two long grocery sized aisles of beer, one from US and one Around the World. The mix a 6 pack is a little bland, but they offer many single bottles and variety packs as well.
Brooke, the beer gal there is very knowledgable and is usually very helpful and often times I can learn what IPA's are fresh from her, but the owner does not care. He is all about profit and will not remove old beer from shelves. Recently they have started price gouging like crazy. BCBS for $9.99 a bottle this year. I'll pass. I'll never go here for a limited release again because chances are the price is too much.
It's a health/organic food store too that usually has pretty good products and an excellent array of coffee bean choices.
If you are looking for the biggest selection in town, go here, but if you want a fresh product, you'll have to go to Big Red or trek to Indy.
06-28-2011 16:33:23 | More by jmarsh123
4.28/5 rDev -5.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4 | $$
Sahara Mart is the place I go when I need to find a good beer quickly. I know that if I go to Sahara Mart, they'll have something that is good, reasonably priced, and something that I haven't tried before. They also, of course, carry the easy to find ones (for our area) such as FFFs, Bells, etc. They always seem to have the right seasonals on time as well. Great beers at the right prices. Huge selection. This store has a much bigger variety than the 2nd street store, but even the 2nd street store has quite a good variety as well. Definitely a must-visit!!
05-11-2011 06:04:12 | More by hoosier3334
4.88/5 rDev +7.3%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 5 | $
Sahara Mart is my go-to beer store. Their selection is one of the best I've seen anywhere. In Bloomington, they have the best selection and best prices. The knowledge of the staff may be limited, but if you know anything about beer you'll be fine. They typically have some limited stuff, a lot of regional stuff, and a very solid import selection. If you are anywhere near Bloomington, this is a must stop for any BA... you won't regret it. Sahara Mart also has high quality food selection, similar to a Whole Foods or something... just not quite as big. Their wine selection is huge as well.
05-06-2011 15:48:30 | More by khumbard
4.53/5 rDev -0.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 2.5 | $
Sahara Mart definitely has the best beer and wine selection ever. I used to go to BevMo in LA, but this small town store has more than they ever dreamed of. The owner said he had 1300 or 1800 beers (can't remember which), but wow! They have several Dogfish Head special editions that I've never seen anywhere else. You can make your own six-pack from a great selection for $9.99, which is much cheaper than Big Reds single beers that are all about $2 each (sorry Big Red, still love ya!). The owner and his wife are very nice also. One thing I love is all the regional beers they have. There are several bigger regionals around that everyone carries, but Sahara Mart has some REALLY small time breweries. Very awesome place!!! Thank you Sahara Mart.
03-14-2011 16:17:31 | More by flyingspatula
5/5 rDev +9.9%
quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | $$
I love going to Sahara Mart, they have the best selection that I have yet to see out of any beer store. I love that they split their beer into U.S and over the pond catagories. The staff is always super friendly and willing to help and the girl who stocks an orders the beer is my new love, great choices and great prices. I have had a few beers that were a little old and spoiled but you'll get that with any store that has this large of a selection. Still my favorite and always will be, I'll be sad to see the day when I leave Bloomington and Sahara Mart behind.
08-01-2010 15:40:57 | More by Hopittome15
4.35/5 rDev -4.4%
quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | $$
Easily the best selection in town, only rivaled by their other store location. We came here to get some picnic supplies on our way to the Hoosier Nat'l. Forest.
Beer was on the extreme right end of the store, past the registers. Didn't see if they had any beer coolers, but perused the shelves, which were chock full of complete lines from most if not all available midwest craft breweries. Imports selection was equally exhaustive, with nice gems from Shelton (German, Belgian, Italian). Still a bunch of Hopslam sixers for $16, the cheapest i've seen. Lots of Founders including limited 4-packs, and singles of a certain three-letter variety. Thomas Hardys for cheap also, plenty of quality goods, too many to list really.
In addition to the great beer selection, they have a good deli selection of bulk olives/pickles/cheese, etc. Some focus on import Mediterranean/Mid-East goods.
Checkout was quick and friendly. Will return in the future.
04-05-2010 16:59:21 | More by emerge077
Sahara Mart - East in Bloomington, IN
97 out of 100 based on 18 ratings.