1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Royal Liquor

Not Rated.
   No picture uploaded.
   Have one? Upload it now.
BA SCORE
92
outstanding

14 Ratings
Ratings: 14
Reviews: 10
rAvg: 4.11
pDev: 16.06%
[ Store ]

1496 N Coast Hwy 101
Encinitas, California, 92024
United States
phone: (760) 753-4534

view map and get directionsMap 

Notes:
None, yet.

(Place added by: MoeTheElder on 01-12-2009)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 14 | Reviews: 10 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by mactrail:
Photo of mactrail
3.91/5  rDev -4.9%

This place is definitely a surprise. Worth stopping if you're traveling on I-5 or visiting the beach cities. Everything is extremely tidy, it's just not a huge place. I didn't think the prices were bad on the brands I am familiar with, but there is plenty of pricey stuff.

A wall of cold bombers and big Belgian bottles. Many feel of shelves of less cool bombers and some six and four packs. Still more sixes in the cooler, though not as outrageous a selection as the 22 oz and 750 ml bottles.

More from Lost Abbey than I've seen anywhere. The full range of many San Diego County breweries such as Iron Fist, Manzanita, Mission, Karl Strauss, Green Flash, Ballast Point, and Coronado plus the usual Stones. Also more than I have seen in one place from Rogue, Eel River, Russian River. Really a comprehensive selection of all sorts of beers. Alpine is the only local commonly available in bottles that I didn't see.

They seem to cover California and the west coast without too many strays from the east or midwest. Lots of Belgians and other Europeans, though not astounding.

mactrail, Apr 05, 2012
More User Reviews:
Photo of Soto
4/5  rDev -2.7%

Soto, Sep 23, 2014
Photo of dwagner003
4.5/5  rDev +9.5%

dwagner003, Aug 20, 2014
Photo of the_encinitan
3.5/5  rDev -14.8%

the_encinitan, Jul 04, 2014
Photo of greenspointexas
4.75/5  rDev +15.6%

greenspointexas, Apr 30, 2014
Photo of drbenzo
3.88/5  rDev -5.6%

The prices at Royal Liquor have always been high for most specialty and limited release beers. I could put up with it as long as it doesn't affect their year round beer prices. But their Russian River Pliny the Elder prices have gotten out of control! They have almost doubled in price! Not to mention the other local beer prices that they double! If you want to buy good craft beer at reasonable prices, then DO NOT GO TO ROYAL LIQUOR! Another example, BB Santas Little Helper for $30! Really! It was $12 at the brewery 10 miles down the road!

UPDATE! I went in today and complained in person about the Pliny price hike. He explained that they increased their prices once their supply was reduced by stone in order to slow sales. Mem... BUT, they have reduced their price to $4.99 a bottle. Which is nice. He also offered me a bottle to make up for the extra cost that I occurred when I bought my Pliny. That was a nice gesture. I will be keeping an eye on these guys and updating my review in a couple of months.

drbenzo, May 31, 2013
Photo of DoubleJ
4.3/5  rDev +4.6%

It was going to be a long day, so how does one start off a long day properly? If you're like me, you get yourself going with a visit to a beer store with plenty of options. Don't be fooled by the exterior, there are gems inside.

The interior is clean and neatly organized. There are a couple of aisles of beer, some are refrigerated, some sit at store temperature. Nothing looked dusty, and the few freshness dates I spotted looked more than reasonable. All the beers are tagged with pricetags, which leaves out the guesswork for the consumer.

Examples of brands sold include Great Divide, Brewdog, Lagunitas, Jolly Pumpkin, The Bruery, and of course, many San Diego brands (AleSmith, Ballast Point, Manzanita among them). There were even a few vintages of Double Bastard Ale, and Cuir was on sale too (but at $40 a bottle, no thanks). Some of the prices are fair, some of the others are a bit more, and the Cuir example (and its stablemate Bruery/Dogfish Head collaboration) were ridiculously priced.

Well worth the stop, a great way to get the day started, and one of the many great San Diego area beer stores I visited that day.

DoubleJ, Jan 28, 2012
Photo of ThreeWiseMen
3.11/5  rDev -24.3%

While it looks like a typical rundown mini-mart from the outside, this little shop (inexplicably) has one of the best beer selections in the north county. Russian River sours and IPAs can both be found here on the regular, along with special releases from Firestone (Parabola, Abacus, anniversary ales), Stone (collaborations, multiple Double Bastard vintages), Victory, Avery, and many others. Not quite on the same level as Holiday Wine Cellar, Best Damn Beer Shop, or the other insane beer marts in SD county, but impressive nonetheless.

About half of the beer sold at Royal Liquor is unrefrigerated, which wouldn't normally bother me... if it weren't for Pliny and other top-notch IPAs sitting on the warm rack. Inexcusable in my opinion, especially given that San Diego is the IPA capital of the world. While other shops struggle to acquire a few cases of PtE, Royal Liquor lets it sit out... hopefully it moves quickly.

The cashiers I've spoken with are terse and don't seem particularly beer-savvy. After asking one how they got such an impressive Russian River supply, he told me "we're one of their top sellers", and stopped there. Oh well.

You'll end up paying a bit more for your beer here, but if you're in the Carlsbad-Encinitas-Del Mar area, this is probably your best bet for craft beer (Pizza Port Bottle Shop being up there as well).

ThreeWiseMen, Jan 26, 2012
Photo of rhartogsq
4.6/5  rDev +11.9%

While on a trip to the beach communities of North County San Diego, my brother and I were on a search for Pliny the Elder to bring home to the East Coast. We stopped here as a last resort after reading reviews on this web site.
This was our favorite bottle shop we visited. The guy behind the counter was helpful. The selection of bottles and six-packs were impeccable. The first thing we saw there was Pliny. There is also an excellent selection of San Diego beers and West Coast offerings.
We found stuff here we couldn't at the Pizza Port Bottle Shop (and it has much better operating hours).

The liquor store is unassuming both outside and inside..

rhartogsq, Aug 25, 2011
Photo of Brewzer1010
2.61/5  rDev -36.5%

When I first found this place about a year ago, I was impressed with the selection, as they have some fairly hard to find beers, and lots of them. After numerous visits, I came to realize they don't seem to move a lot of product, and could do better at keeping certain beers cold. They recently advertised Pliny as on sale for $4.99/bottle (which is regular price at many establishments) - probably on sale because it is not always kept in the cold, and the bottles (on that particular day) were 4 months old. Their prices are more and more ridiculous each day ($15.99 for Victory at Sea, $19.99 for Biere De L'Amitie, to name a couple). Service is pretty much lacking in any related knowledge. If in a pinch, I would make a visit, but given the time, there are just too many places that have more going for them in this town.

Brewzer1010, Aug 17, 2011
Photo of dhartogs
5/5  rDev +21.7%

After visiting North County and searching high and low for Pliny I went to Beer Advocate found this place and the reviews adn decided to check it out. Pliny was sitting in front and the guy behind the counter asked how many I needed then pulled them out for me. The place looks like a dump from the outside, but the selection of beers from San Diego is jaw dropping. Service was friendly and the guy behind the counter was very humble when I mentioned how impressed I was with the selection. I get to SD about once a year and have never visited this place, however it is not on my must visit every time.

dhartogs, Aug 09, 2011
Photo of Loadedgunz
4.65/5  rDev +13.1%

I can always count on these guys on having the seasonals available. They have limited edition and seasonal local brews available year round. You can find all of Stone and Port Brewing varieties at any time of the year in this place. The owners are nice and are always happy to bring in special requests. They have an excellent selection of beers priced reasonably - probably the best selection of local beers in san diego county. It is a bit bright inside with flourecent lighting, but I've had three-old-bottle of Avery from there that tasted fresh. Overall, I give this place an A.

Loadedgunz, Jan 10, 2010
Photo of mattman688
4/5  rDev -2.7%

Always up to check out new stores in san diego... Outside looks a little rough, but once you walk inside you are lined with beers... unimpressed with the lighting as it was way too bright and the beer was right by the door.. But they had some gems that I haven't seen in san diego... Great selection of local breweries, but those prices were a buck or two higher than my local liquor store...
If you are driving by, stop in...if you want a better selection of beers and are in Escondido...stop by Holiday Wine Cellar....

mattman688, Jan 26, 2009
Photo of MoeTheElder
4.7/5  rDev +14.4%

I was driving down the 101 and I see a yellow building (royal liquor) with a sign that reads "Micro Brews & Hand Crafted Beers" but what really caught my eyes was the free 10 lb. bag of ice with purchase sign :) This place is awesome!!! They have over 150 micro brews in 22oz bottle. Not to mention their 6-pack selection is one of the biggest I've ever seen. They also have Pliny The Elder and Blind Pig for only 4.99 a bottle as apposed to other places that sell them for 7 or 8 dollars. The outside is not the most attractive place but you will be very surprised when you walk inside. GO CHARGERS!!!!

MoeTheElder, Jan 12, 2009
Royal Liquor in Encinitas, CA
92 out of 100 based on 14 ratings.