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Connecticut Avenue Wine & Liquor

Not Rated.
Connecticut Avenue Wine & LiquorConnecticut Avenue Wine & Liquor
BA SCORE
96
world-class

44 Ratings
Ratings: 44
Reviews: 34
rAvg: 4.33
pDev: 9.47%
[ Store ]

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

view map and get directionsMap 

Notes:
Closed on Sundays.

(Place added by: frimairist on 06-24-2009)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 44 | Reviews: 34 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by markb40:
Photo of markb40
4.54/5  rDev +4.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

***EDIT 5/4/2011***
Since I posted my review, they have taken out the deli/sandwich station and in its place have added lots of new shelving for beer. It is much better organized and easier to navigate. From what I've heard, they also plan to redo the wine/liquor area with better shelving to make it easier to browse. Also, it took me a few trips to realize this, but they have added single beers to one of the fridges on the left when you walk in. It is next to a juice/sode fridge and a wine fridge, so it is easy to miss.
***

***
Original Review - 1/7/2011

This is why I belong to BA. I've been looking for Cigar City beers in DC for months. They have distribution in Philly and NYC- there's got to be some savvy distributor who can grab a case or two off the truck en route, right? Well, the answer I've been getting at most shops in town when I ask about Cigar City is one of:
a) a blank stare
b) "never heard of them"
c) "we carry everything you can get in DC! if you don't see it on the shelf, it doesnt' exist!"

Well then.

So I log into beerfly and start looking at the bottle shops for DC. I read the reviews on CT Ave Wine and thought they were too good to be true, but being desperate and lured by claims of recent Jai Alai purchases I stopped by.

To be fair, it really is tough to prepare yourself for how small this place is. I think I read somewhere (and I'll second the opinion) that if you're wearing a backpack, it's probably safest to leave it at the door.

They seem to specialize in limited release, hard to find beers. It's not an overwhelming, awe-inspiring wall of options, but instead a small, carefully selected bunch of excellent beer, both Belgian and American.

What really separates this shop is the service. The beer guy is dialed in and incredibly helpful. I was greeted when I entered the shop and when I told him I was looking for Cigar City, he pointed me right to the remaining bottles of Madura Brown. He apologized for only having a few left, but he said he was hoping to get another few cases in the next month. I asked him a few other questions including- "When do you get HopSlam?" - A: sometime in the next week or two, a shipment of 4 cases. It was just very nice to go to a beer shop where the employees were not only friendly and helpful, but also incredibly knowledgeable.

It's not news, but yes this place is pricey (It's DC. Everything is marked up.) and yes, there are some very old bottles here (I noticed an '09 Smuttynose Wheat Wine in the fridge), but I still think it's a great shop and a great find in the DC beer scene. Thanks BA!

More User Reviews:
Photo of DCgolfpro
3.4/5  rDev -21.5%

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 GeorgiaBeerGuy
4/5  rDev -7.6%

Photo of amstokesdb9
3.5/5  rDev -19.2%

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 -13.4%

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 bigred89
4/5  rDev -7.6%

Photo of Shootpassbeerme
4.25/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of LukeMarson
3.5/5  rDev -19.2%
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 threedaggers
4/5  rDev -7.6%

Photo of jtladner
4.5/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of Tsar_Riga
4/5  rDev -7.6%

Photo of alexk307
3.45/5  rDev -20.3%
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 Packlifenc
5/5  rDev +15.5%

Photo of CuriousMonk
4.5/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of polopaul20
4.5/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of BillRoth
4/5  rDev -7.6%

Photo of Prince_Casual
4.72/5  rDev +9%
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 +7.2%
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 +5.1%
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 -2.8%
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 +9.5%
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 +2.5%
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 +0.2%
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 +15.5%
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 +6.2%
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.

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Connecticut Avenue Wine & Liquor in Washington, DC
96 out of 100 based on 44 ratings.