Connecticut Avenue Wine & Liquor

Not Rated.
Connecticut Avenue Wine & LiquorConnecticut Avenue Wine & Liquor
BA SCORE
95
world-class

49 Ratings
Ratings: 49
Reviews: 35
rAvg: 4.32
pDev: n/a
[ Store ]

1529 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, District of Columbia, 20036-1103
United States
phone: (202) 332-0240

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Notes:
Place added by: frimairist on 06-24-2009

Closed on Sundays.
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 49 | Reviews: 35
Photo of NickyHouHou
5/5  rDev +15.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

For any newcomer to the craft beer scene, one hopes to find a retail outlet that has very knowledgable staff, an eclectic selection of readily accessible and hard-to-find brews, and the patience to help aforementioned newcomers. That place is Connecticut Avenue Liquors, right in the heart of DC's famous Dupont Circle. It's no wonder DCBeer.com lists them as a prime location to purchase beer. On a search for a limited release brew, I phoned them for an inquiry. Not only did they have it, but they said they would put it aside for me. After I got there, I ended up finding some other fantastic limited release items. I also ended up talking with the manager, and... Well, let's just say that I ended up walking out with an EXTREMELY rare find! If you're ever in the DC area, it is worth the trip to Connecticut Ave. Liquors!

Photo of DCgolfpro
3.4/5  rDev -21.3%

Of the dozen times I've been here I've only had a good customer service experience once and that was 5 years ago. Their selection has dwindled significantly now that the don't bother with the gray market items anymore. You also often find that the good beer is reserved for "regulars", although they won't define what that actually means. My guess is that it means, "employees".

Photo of amstokesdb9
3.5/5  rDev -19%

I guess this place used to be better than it is now. I have been a few times and yes they do have some rare things but nothing to get really excited about, no out of distribution beers here anymore. I have never found the staff to be particularity friendly either, in stark contrast what past reviews said. The bottle shops in VA have better selecting, service, and pricing anyway. Overall, it's worth a stop if you are in Dupont but don't make a special trip.

Photo of doremite
3.75/5  rDev -13.2%

From Boston. Gave it a shot curious what I might find in the DC market. Wasn't blown away by the selection. Walked out with some decent bottles but don't expect any rarities. Selection didn't strike me as overly creative but that said plenty of good stuff to choose from. Just nothing that really excited me. Jolly Pumpkin, Allagash, Bruery, Mikkeller, Goose Island respectable larger production type inventory. Also found price points pretty high. Perhaps 10% higher than I am used to at pricey bottle shops in Boston.

Photo of LukeMarson
3.5/5  rDev -19%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3

Obviously not the beer stockist it was, the selection was reasonable but nothing great. Some nice rarities hidden between some 75cl bottles and Belgian beers. Not many rarities (I did get Maine Beer Zoe and Founders Devil Racer TIPA) and not wide selection. However, if wine and liquor are your thing then you've come to the right place!

Photo of alexk307
3.45/5  rDev -20.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 2

Dragged my girlfriend all the way across the city to this place with the promise that they would have a good selection of rare beers and stuff I cant find around the area.

I was extremely let down. They didn't have ANY Founder's or Bell's. Nothing that interesting there and no traces of any of the other rare beers that have been mentioned in other reviews.

Good for a quick six pack of beer if you're in the neighborhood, but overall, a waste of time.

Photo of Prince_Casual
4.72/5  rDev +9.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

I stopped by the store on a day off today to see what was available. They didn't have all of the brands mentioned in earlier reviews of the shop (no RR, cigar city, floyds) but I still call what they had 5/5. Long gone from other stores Evil Twin, bunch of Surly, awesome Oude/ Gueze selection. Of the stuff they had that I 'know the going rate for' for available Bruery, Firestone, etc I thought their prices were more than fair.

It was a weds morning so I didn't get (or request) much by way of service, as they was only a security type guy and the cashier but both friendly and helpful.

I'd say they wine selection appeared great if you're a >$50 a bottle type shopper. Not many places put $80 Burgundies on 50% off closeout but I guess space is tight. Also one of the more extensive vintage champagne selections I've seen.

I'll definitely make this place one of my stops in DC especially if I'm hitting the P St WFM, as a nice parking spot is appropriate for both. Fun old city neighborhood (at least during the day) with old book stores etc taboot.

Photo of Axnjxn
4.64/5  rDev +7.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 5

Extremely amazing selection of beer here that you should not be able to get in the area. I dont know how they had Surly, Alpine and RR when i went there but they had tons. I was shocked. Prices were very high but considering you cant get this selection anywhere else i didnt mind. if you dont mind paying top dollar for rare beers then this place is for you. They have mostly unrefrigerated bombers / 750mls bottles, as the emphasis is on rarity and not sixers/quantity. If youre in DC and a beer enthusiast you must stop here.

Photo of WillCarrera
4.55/5  rDev +5.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Atmosphere - Pretty straightforward liquor store atmosphere, pleasant place. It does have a great location, it's literally across the street from the DuPont Circle Metro station, so it's easily accessible from pretty much anywhere in the city.

Quality/Service - The service is great, the staff are really friendly and their beer guy is helpful with questions and knowing when/if certain things are coming in.

Selection - Ridiculous. Their beer section is small but very well-curated. I seriously don't know how they get some of this stuff, but I've seen Russian River, Alpine, Three Floyds, Pipeworks, Deschutes, The Bruery, Surly and Cigar City on their shelves. There's also a section for six packs in the fridge that has a solid selection as well.

Price - It varies, but generally slightly pricey, although there are more expensive places within walking distance of here. Local/broad distribution stuff is reasonably priced for the DC area, but the crazy stuff like Alpine and Three Floyds are extremely expensive and I usually only buy those if it's something I'm dying to try.

Overall this is one the best places for beer in DC, despite the price their selection is unbeatable and is probably one of the only places on the East Coast that gets some of the stuff in their selection, definitely worth a visit if you're in the DC area.

Photo of gglammi
4.21/5  rDev -2.5%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 4

I am very fortunate to have this place just around the corner from my office in Dupont Circle. It's a small place and their selection is not huge, but it's big-time quality over quantity. They get stuff that no one else in DC gets, such as Pliny the Elder and beers from Surly. They also have a great selection of Belgian beers. Supply and the rarity of some beers certainly dictate the prices, which can be high, but everything is relative. Al the beer guy is great, and sends out an email to let customers know when new stuff comes in. He'll even hold a bottle for you if you call and ask. The store is right across from the Dupont Circle Metro station North exit, so if you're in town, it's easy to get to.

Photo of Mscarpen
4.74/5  rDev +9.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

Was visiting the DC area and looked to the tried and true BA ratings for guidance. This place hit my top three "must visit" locations but was the last for me to visit due to the location of my hotel. Of the three I visited, Connecticut Ave Wine and Liquor easily had the smallest selection, but of what they DID HAVE, good lord!

Parabola, Sucuba, Juliet, Supplication, Fruet, and on and on. The beer department manager, Al, was both very knowledgeable and just a plain cool dude. He said they work to get the good stuff in and don't really have any limitations on the distributors they can bring in. He explained that if it was in their network he could get it. If it was outside, they still could but had to buy at retail, which explained the $29.99 price point for Supplication. But hey, I'd personally rather see them bring it in an make their margins than not bring them in at all.

Scored a Parabola and a Sucuba for $16.99 a pop and left VERY happy. Thanks again to Al for hooking me up.

In my book, the best bottle shop I found during my visit to DC!

Photo of ThisWangsChung
4.44/5  rDev +2.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

In my opinion, this is one if the better places to find beer rarities in the DC area.

First off, it's quite small, so on busier nights, expect to be a little cramped. There isn't a huge selection - but you can usually count on finding several great harder-to-find beers here. I found some RR Supplication - but it was $30, so I didn't bite the bullet. I did bite the bullet on bottles of Sucaba and GI Juliet, though (both $17). For lulz, they even offer a few BMC choices, and of course, they have a very solid wine and spirits selection, as well (I briefly considered getting a bottle of EC12 bourbon).

In general, their beer prices are on par for the DC area - but if you ever see something out of area like Three Floyds, AleSmith, or Russian River, expect to pay out the ass for it. Personally, I'd rather learn the basics of trading when I get the opportunity to do so, but it's damn good to know I can just ride the Metro up here and snag something special.

If you're looking to do beer shopping in bulk, look elsewhere - such as the Whole Foods Market nearby on P St. between Logan Circle and 16th St. If you're hoping to snag some of the latest hard to find beers, this is the place to go in DC. I'll definitely be back when I get the chance.

Photo of DWolf
4.34/5  rDev +0.5%
vibe: 3 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 3.5

In DC for business and researched beer stores near my hotel. Connecticut Avenue Wine & Liquor did not disappoint, nor the reviews which led me here. The selection isn't broad, but the offerings are pretty top notch. Al knows his beer and is very friendly and helpful. Upon speaking with him, and learning that I was looking for some things I couldn't get where I live, he was all kinds of helpful. The mark-ups were a little steep, but you get what you pay for, as the saying goes. Conveniently located in DuPont Circle, this tiny shop is definitely worth a visit if you are in our nation's capitol.

Photo of risenc
5/5  rDev +15.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

I used to live in Washington, D.C. and I came to rely on this place for getting hard-to-find beers; I live in New York City now, but I still stop by whenever I'm in town. Al is a great beer guy, and a great guy as well -- always has a few minutes to catch up. DC is fast becoming one of the East Coast's best beer cities (not a lot of brewers, but a lot of great bars and stores), and CAWLD is a critical part of that growth. They've usually got all the latest regional products, but they've got a great and constantly rotating selection of Midwest and West Coast brews as well.

Photo of Chaney
4.6/5  rDev +6.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

Even though I have moments when I'm genuinely conflicted about this place and its mission of pulling "out of market" brews, placing them on the shelf many miles from their intended targets, and then charging an arm and a leg for them, I find myself gravitating to this place quite often.

Atmosphere: This is located right off the DuPont Circle Metro stop and is a hop, skip, and a jump away from some of my favorite restaurants and hangs in DC.

They have restructured in the last year or so and that is a very good thing. With the small amount of space that is allotted here, I'm glad the deli is gone. In its place... more shelves... for beer... gotta love it!

Quality and Service: Al, the beer guru, is the absolute bomb! He always remembers your face, and is passionate about some of the cool beers that he can get... and WILL get! My advice is to speak with him and get on his email list, that way you will always be aware of the cool beers that he works hard to attain.

Selection: This is NOT the place to take an out of towner looking for local brews. There is very little (if any) DC Brau, Lost Rhino, and Heavy Seas here. This place is about pleasing us DC beer geeks, and to that end, Al is a force to be reckoned with...

A non-comprehensive list of the beers that I've seen at this place: Most of the biggie brews from Lost Abbey, FFF, Surly, Dark Horse, and Cigar City (just bought a Zukov the other day). More: Heady Topper, Alpine: Nelson, Speedway Stout, Older Viscosity, Victory at Sea, and many, many others. Catch my drift?

Value: This place is expensive according to what I'm use to, no doubt. $20 for a bottle of Dreadnaught? Jeez... But look at it this way: If you don't have access to the beer and have to trade for it, it will cost you about as much in the long run due to shipping, hassle, etc...

If you're local and a beer geek... look no further.

Photo of manOfminneapolis
4.44/5  rDev +2.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

As far as DC liquor stores go, this place has a wide range of high-end brews. Both the coolers are stocked with a nice selection of less pricey beer. Unfortunately, the prices go up for harder to find brews, but I found that reasonable. The usual suspect 6-packs were in line with what I see around town.

Al is the beer guy there and I spoke to him briefly. He is a very nice guy, knows his stuff, and is big on customer service. If you have a question or want to if they are or will be carrying a certain item, call in advance or seek him out in the store.

Photo of fountainofyouth
4.24/5  rDev -1.9%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

This place is conveniently located in Dupont Circle, right by the Metro and next to Kramerbooks. The place itself is small and a little cramped, with alcohol from floor to ceiling.

Staff is friendly enough, with someone checking to make sure you've found everything if you're searching for a while.

Superb selection of 22 oz. bottles, and pretty good in the way of six-packs. They go pretty heavy on the seasonals. There are several shelves stocked only with abbey ales and Imperial stouts.

Prices are very good considering their variety and the neighborhood competition. The store at 1 West Dupont charges $17 for a six-pack of Bell's Double Cream Stout, but it's only $14 here. Ayinger Celebrator was also several bucks cheaper for a four-pack.

Photo of Thorpe429
4.44/5  rDev +2.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

Nice little place not too far at all from the Dupont Circle station, so plenty accessible to travelers. By not too far, I mean about twenty steps from the northern exit to the station. Small place on the corner, beer is to the left and back once you walk in. Not a huge number of beers, but there isn't much of anything there that I wouldn't mind drinking.

Al is great and always extremely helpful. The e-mail updates aren't frequent, but normally contain a few gems. Connecticut Ave. is perhaps the best in DC at taking advantage of the liquor laws and bringing in plenty of out-of-market beers. While they're generally pricey, it's nice to have that option. Most of the time these beers are fresh -- e.g., in the past week I've seen Deschutes Inversion IPA and Surly Furious that were less than a month old -- though occasionally some things slip, so I wouldn't grab anything hoppy without a date code.

All in all, definitely a place worth stopping. DC has pretty good distribution, and this becomes excellent when you add in the extra stuff available here.

Photo of
5/5  rDev +15.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Having been to most of the better bottle shops in DC/NoVA, I have to say that overall, Conn. Ave W&L is my favorite. As many of these reviews note, the store consistently carries a small but excellent selection of otherwise impossible-to-get (in the DC area) beers from breweries such as RR, Alesmith, Port Brewing/Lost Abbey, Cigar City, Surly, Odell, Deschutes, etc. While these are not as cheap as they are in their regular distribution markets, the fact that they're available at all more than makes up for it.

I also have to give major props to Al, who is the resident beer expert and one of the nicest guys I've met at any shop in the area. He's very interesting to talk to and willing to answer any questions you may have, and clearly values his customers (he once comped me a bottle of PtE!). In sum, I can't recommend the store highly enough.

Photo of alf212
4.46/5  rDev +3.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Stopped by today as I was visiting my parents and some friends in DC.

Definitely a small selection, really small but I have to say if I had the money I would have no problem getting every kind of beer they stocked (at least what was on their shelf, they also carry some other more generic brands like stella, BMC, etc in their cooler).
I mean they had Russian River, Cigar City, Lost Abbey, Mikkeller, Fantôme and some other nice Belgians, and this is D.C were talking about. I don't live there anymore but as far as I remember DC seldom/never sported these kind of breweries.

Quality was great but there are some draw backs: 1) DAMN PRICEY. some stuff was decently priced but then you'd have a couple $30 750 ml bottles. 2) Not all that much to offer. They only had 3 shelves of beer in a tiny little corner. The store is small though so whatever it's not like you're expecting a beer warehouse anyways.

If you're in DC you have to go to this spot and if you don't mind walking home or wherever with your beer, its right next to the red line Dupont Circle metro stop.

Photo of Rhettroactive
4.3/5  rDev -0.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

Dropped in for the first time yesterday afternoon, May 16th 2011.

First of all, the shop and specifically the beer corner is extremely small. I've seen some tiny bottle shops before, but this one may take the cake. It is very clean, and well organized considering.

Luckily though, the selection was really top notch. I can't say they had everything you'd want, but what they specialize in is carrying the hard to find. Looking for Lost Abbey? How about CCB? Yeah, they've got 'em - and more. But as I said, they don't have everything you'd want, though they do make a concerted effort to carry the more popular items from each out of town brewery they stock.

I've heard some horror stories about the customer service here, but I certainly didn't see it. In fact I was very well taken care of. There was a really nice gentleman who seemed to be really knowledgeable about the beers they carried, and extremely proud of being able to stock some of the things you won't find in many other places around town. We talked for some time, and I'll be returning for not only the brews, but to chat with him again.

Because their selection is almost unattainable within city limits, you'll be paying for it. Literally. A 375mL LA Angel's Share for example retails for $27.99 plus tax. Their 750mL Serpent's Stout is about the same. But if you want it, and have the cash, it's certainly cheaper then most of the trades I've completed to secure said bottles.

Overall this is a hidden gem I plan on frequenting. When speaking of high quality DC bottle shops, Connecticut Ave. Wine & Liquor needs to be in the conversation. Quality, not quantity.

Photo of dlmccabe1
4.46/5  rDev +3.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

This place is a gem in an otherwise crowded and often unimpressive lineup of beer stores in the District. Like others have mentioned, Conn Ave gets some gems that you can't get other places. They have some sort of hookup that gets them the likes of Cigar City, Lost Abbey, Russian River, Ithaca, Alesmith, Dark Horse and more. They also have a nice lineup of some high quality standards like Mikkeller, Bells, Founders, etc.

It can be pricey for the rare stuff, but you're in a market that doesn't have access to these breweries. So if you want the goods you have to pay. The beers that they carry that are more widely available (bells, founders, Firestone, etc) are really reasonable.

They did have a deli in here but they took it out and there is significantly more space now. This place is a good find.

Photo of angrybabboon
4.3/5  rDev -0.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

I went to a conference at the Washington Hilton last week and some research on BA led me to this quaint little store. I'm certainly glad I found it.

Simply put, this place is all about quality over quantity. There really isn't a lot of beer here, but what they have is remarkable. There are a lot of brews here that should not be in DC. For example, they had RR Damnation, some Cigar City beers, and some Ballast Point beers I did not know existed. I was very happy to find a 6-pack of Two Hearted in one of the fridges. There is a lot of (somewhat) rare and good beer in the store and not a lot of padding. Everything in the little beer corner was worth inspecting.

The actual store was not as cramped and small as some reviews led me to expect. I went into the store wearing a backpack and I did not have any issues staring at the beer selection for about 20 minutes or so. There is somewhat of a side room for wine that seemed pretty cramped, but I did not bother checking it out.

Some of the beers were ridiculously overpriced, but most were pretty fair. The service was good. The woman at the register scraped off the price tags on my beer - very unexpected!

I hopefully won't be staying at the Washington Hilton anytime in the near future (unrelated rant), but if I am in the area I will check this place out again.

Photo of Daniellobo
3.7/5  rDev -14.4%

quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5 - $$$$
rDev: 0%

Something bizarre has happened beerwise with what used to be a despicable store full of horror stories to become this prized nugget of rarities in town.

In essence the store seems to have a clandestine hook up that enables it to receive some brews that are not available elsewhere in town, such as Cigar City, Lost Abbey etc. And it also stretches the gamut to quite a few iconic and sought after brews where it also may seem to have an early lead. This stuff is clearly overpriced, and unless one has a strong fancy for a particular choice it is tough to feel very much attracted by the overall set up. Some things are on sale, with reduced prices but make one wonder if they might be trying to get rid of some skeletons. Quite a bunch of reduced single hop Mikkellers for instance... This selection while good is not particularly extensive, and is completed by a generically speaking macro fridge that may help to cover the other range of customers.

On these morning return visits the staff behind the counter was correct but not particularly helpful, or seemingly knowledgeable.

I dunno, as for me if I were nearby and needed a fancy pick I might use it. Other than that...
And sure enough I´m still mesmerized by the consensus of glowing reviews. What I had here preceding this rewrite was the last and only critical note of them all. I wonder about the missing reviews, plenty I seem to remember. Were they flagged or considered outdated? Weird...

Photo of DoubleSimcoe
4.35/5  rDev +0.7%

After stopping (again) at Church Key DC, I made my way to Dupont Circle trying to find Pizzeria Paradiso. The crowd waiting for a table was INSANE. So my European friend said, "forgetaboutit" and we went to Kramerbooks & Afterwords nearby (review can be read separately). After that, and on our way to the subway, I stumbled upon Connecticut Avenue Wine Deli.

I vaguely remembered reading about this place here on BA, but wow! I sure was not expecting the jewels I found here.

The place is tiny, cramped and hard to navigate. One person only per aisle, please. And- the beer section is only, like, two shelves.

But what a selection! Tons of Heavy Seas bombers (at discounted prices), Sierra, Dogfish packs (Burton, Olde School), AND Russian River Damnation (what!!??), Ballast Sculpin' and so on. Lost Abbey. Three Floyds Gumballhead and Alpha King.

Wow. WOW!

Mostly liquor and wine, but when you find the aforementioned treasures, who cares? They also probably have some foreign brews, as I ran into some Spaniards looking for their bullshit Bud-like Euro lagers and apparently found them.

Sure, a lot of beers are damn pricey, but- wouldn't you pay a premium to get 3Floyds or Russian River in DC? Yeah.

Service was nice. Despite all the customers and tiny store, a guy said hi and offered help. Good enough! I rarely get as much as a "hello" at booze stores like this one.

If you live in DC, you MUST come here. If you're visiting... well, you MUST come here too! :-)

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Connecticut Avenue Wine & Liquor in Washington, DC
95 out of 100 based on 49 ratings.