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DownTown Wine & Spirits

Not Rated.
DownTown Wine & SpiritsDownTown Wine & Spirits

69 Reviews
Reviews: 69
Visits: 79
Avg: 4.08
pDev: n/a
[ Store ]

225 Elm St
Somerville, Massachusetts, 02144-2918
United States
phone: (617) 625-7777

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap @dtws

Place added by: JohnnyP

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Reviews: 69 | Visits: 79
Photo of Acaval
4.63/5  rDev +13.5%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

My college roommate and I are both beer fans. Whenever she comes to visit, I bring her here. Fabulous selection, and usually reasonable prices (I got some Bourbon County stout for a dollar less than what she pays in Florida).

This last visit said roomie had been raving about a few beers she had recently tried, one of which being the Mikkeller Beer Geek Brunch Weasel. As we were walking down the aisle and she was talking about how wonderful it was, four bottles jumped out at us on the shelves. Her praises were not unfounded. :)

The staff is friendly and knowledgeable, and they don't necessarily breathe down your neck, which I like. They have always made good recommendations, and though I don't shop there frequently, I am never disappointed.

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Photo of papat444
4.36/5  rDev +6.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

Post EBF bottle shopping :)

Beer is in the back and they have a massive selection that seems to go on and on. Huge selection of Belgians, lots of imports and pretty much all the U.S. craft beer available to MA. Was greeted when i entered asking if i needed help with my selection. Very nice place, will certainly come back again.

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4.01/5  rDev -1.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 3 | selection: 4.75

Offering this feedback from recent visit during a Wednesday afternoon visit (2/2013). New management/owners? The beer shelves were being restocked , staff very put out looking but in their defense the aisles were full with recent deliveries that they were trying to stock and everyone looked overwhelmed . Check out service was uncertain of what to do and everything about the atmosphere seemed in flux.

Always found hard to find brands ( Belgian , Australia/NZ, UK, Germany) that many stores do not offer. Relatively decent pricing in the past,. Prices seemed high during recent visit and far fewer selections , again new management or cleaning out past prime stock? US craft brands well represented . One of the best selections in Boston/Cambridge Area. Hope whatever is going on gets resolved quickly.

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Photo of CAPorter
4.64/5  rDev +13.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

I have been going to this store for years. Although some of the staff has changed, I always try to get to know the current beer buyers and they are always happy to meet someone passionate about beer. They are among the few stores around that offer cellared/aged beer, and they make sure to try it before offering it to the public so they don't sell something that went bad. Their beer selection is as good as any you'll find in the area outside of Julio's which is quite a hike from Boston. Some folks have mentioned the service being a little aloof, but every time I walk in, they greet me with a smile and tell me about the cool new stuff they got in. If they haven't, it's because they are talking to another customer, which is exactly what they should be doing! Their prices aren't cheap but fair, and if you were to compare them to Ball Sq., they are cheaper across the board. The guys at Downtown have definitely been an asset for this fan of quality craft beer. While, I may differ in my personal taste than some of the staff, I find it to be a strength since I get to become more aware of things that might not be on my radar. They are also good at allocating the rare stuff so that some tool doesn't walk out with the all of it before anyone else gets a chance.
One person mentioned something about the beer being past its prime, I usually get stuff that has just come in, so no problems for me!

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Photo of BostonHops
4/5  rDev -2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5

what bothers me about this review is that the service counts equal to the selection, thus the overall grade here will be dragged down by a component i feel shouldn't have as much weight as it does... to me selection should carry more clout than service; no question the latter is nice, but c'mon. i'd rather have options - that's what'll keep me coming back.

and i'll definitely be back to downtown wine and spirits. recommended by other MA BAs in the wake of PHP closing, i was hoping not to have wasted my time (davis square being a bit of a hike from brookline). i wasn't. awesome selection with a breadth of options from the major national breweries to locals and one of the better belgian selections i've seen in the boston area. picked up ithaca flower power; both samael's and old ruffian from avery; weyerbacher's 14, quad, and double simcoe; he'brew jewbelation fourteen; founders double trouble; voodoo-vator; pannepot old fisherman's (reserva); and some stuff from southern tier. much more to be had - could have kept going but was limited by what i could carry on the T (and an impatient wife).

as for the service, it wasn't that it was bad, just not particularly memorable either way. was neither approached for nor sought help. guys at the register were friendly enough, commented on a couple of my picks. as mentioned, to me this is forgivable. i'd prefer having a decent selection - i can choose for myself. with marty's and now PH provisions closing, my beer treks are getting farther...

(originally reviewed on: 01-05-2011)

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Photo of johnnnniee
3.86/5  rDev -5.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4

We stopped in here on Saturday night on the way home from ACBF for souvenirs. Nice selection of brews available for sale tucked into the back end of the liquor store. Lots of great micro labels to the left with world offerings to the right. I was able to find some nice items to take home with me. Service seemed no existent, but I really wasn't in need of any. Seems a bit pricy even by Boston standards. I would go back if I was in the area, but I probably wouldn't go out of my way to shop here.

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Photo of mlazzaro
3.78/5  rDev -7.4%
vibe: 2 | quality: 4.5 | service: 2.5 | selection: 5

I go here all the time, awesome selection including stuff you really won't find elsewhere else. But one risk of awesome selection is you develop very old beer. I have purchased beers I know I enjoy that have obviously expired. But knowing that, you can find rare high ABV and kick ass sour beers here.

I have rarely felt like I got any kind of deal (w/ the exception of the occasional mis-marked price. Everything is about 10-30% more expencive than I find it anywhere else. But like I said I go here all the time.... and the selection rivals any other store in the area.

I have been overcharged more than once which totally sucks. And it's kind of degrading asking for money back. Also I have never found the staff helpful. Especially if I need help.

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Photo of beerman999999
4.16/5  rDev +2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5

I lived in Somerville for four years, so this is my regular place. It has a deceptively large collection of beers. Last time I asked them, I think they said they had 1100 different bottles. They have a great foreign selection of beers, but you never really know how long they've been sitting there (if there's no bottling date), because there are so many different harder to find imports. I like the back of the store with a decent selection of solid beers like Founders, Alesmith, Lost Abbey, The Bruery, etc.

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Photo of celticfutblclub
3.86/5  rDev -5.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5

downtown wine and spirits.. as many have said the wine selection seems very impressive (i like wine but i dont know a lot about good wineries etc to personally say how the selection is but many friends who can have said its quite good).. the beer selection is very good here particularly when it comes to six packs. the bomber selection is good too but not nearly as extensive as the six packs and they seem to focus on having a lot of a particular brewery instead of a few things from a bunch of breweries. i have noticed also that for some of these items they have collected quite a bit of dust so purchase with caution. ive generally gotten good service here but did once get the 'i couldnt be bothered to assist you' attitude but that was a one-off so i wont say that you will get the same. pricing is a bit expensive compared to other places but it is smack in davis and does have a great selection so a buck more for a beer seems understandable. not a place i go to often but im never disappointed when i do drop by.

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Photo of Duhast500
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%

I was passing by after having dinner in the area and I was in need of some good beer to ring in the new year. I walked in the front door and from that view all I could see was a good wine selection and a few rows of spirits with a small area for beer. I almost thought this was going to end up being a mistake. I was wrong. Once I actually managed to get to the beer section I saw that is went on into another section filled with many good beers. I wondered for some time looking for just the right beer for the new year and with so much to choose from it was taking more time then I expected. The service wasn't bad. I did get some help finding one beer I was looking for in particular that was a local and sometimes hard to find. The prices were good and I will be seeking this place out whenever I find myself in the area again.

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Photo of zackcg
3.95/5  rDev -3.2%

Downtown has an amazing craft selection. But when I visit I tend to make my selections from the coolers only. A lot of the shelf-kept options sit and sit and sit, now the 22oz rack never has dust on it, but too many of the 12oz stuff for the mix six options are just completely faded and not worth chancing in my opinion. Stick with the fridges and or bottled on dates and youre in the clear.

One thing I will say that may seem contrary is that Ive had only positive customer service at downtown. One time a girl rang up a single 120z as 6-pack and I didnt realize until a couple days later, I called and they made it right without conflict. They have also acknowledged some of my inquiries so attentively that they have offered to contact distributors directly to make certain brews available (i never took them up on it though).

If you're in davis sq looking to pick up, downtown is worth the a pit stop, otherwise stick with the great bars in the area.

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Photo of Jordan1985rec
2.8/5  rDev -31.4%

The problem I have with this place is the staff. While there have been a couple of people who were quite friendly here, mostly the staff is a sullen and often downright rude. I always enter smiling and leave frowning. The selection is fine, but so is Porter Sq Liquors and that staff is far friendlier. I live right near this place, but I tend to avoid it.

Unlike what many other posters have said, I have not had a problem with the actual beer, but that may be reflective of my selections. Typically I go out to pubs/beer bars for the good craft beer in this area, so when I'm having people over I'll tend to go with safe choices like Sam Adams, Harpoon, Stone Cat, etc. These beers probably move well, so there aren't left to be ruined on the shelves. I have picked up some bottles from the warm shelves, like Meantime IPA (awesome), and some Fullers' stuff I like. Those have been fine.

As I mentioned, my problem is not with the selection, but with the staff who could stand to be friendlier.

I do understand that people working in liquor stores have to deal with some pretty crappy situations. That being said, not all of us as grim winos buying plastic bottles of cheap vodka, some of us just want to stop in grab a six-pack of good beer on a Friday.

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Photo of donkeyrunner
2.55/5  rDev -37.5%

Downtown is a tease. They have a huge craft beer selection but the turnover on much if it is so low that a lot of it has expired.

Seriously, about half of what I buy is usually old. My latest haul included a Delerium Noel that when I opened it the cork said 2008--it didn't age well in a warm store for a year and tasted like vinegar. Drainpour. Even locals stay on the shelves unattended as I have had a Stone Cat IPA in which all the hops had faded out of. What good is a huge selection of beer if it's oxidized and old?

Prices are higher than everywhere else (I think it suburban terms, not city prices mind you). Service is fair: some one has always asked me if I needed help when I'm in there.

For the aforementioned reasons I have stopped going Downtown despite it being a 5 minute drive from my house.

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Photo of tigg924
3.8/5  rDev -6.9%

Downtown Wine and Spirits has excellent variety in the heart of Davis Square. They had a few bombers that I have not found on the South Shore like Rogue Mogul Madness and Unibroue Rauchbier. There is an excellent variety of both foreign and domestic brews in the cooler and outside of it. A nice thing is that you can break up six packs and get singles. I did unfortunately find more beers past expiration than I would have liked. The service here was also just average. I was left alone when shopping which is fine. When I did ask for help they were friendly, but were not overly familiar with their stock. As for prices, they were below what I am used to seeing. Go here knowing what you might want and check the expiration dates and you will be fine. The price and variety are worth the trip.

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Photo of Jayli
3.85/5  rDev -5.6%

Swung by this place for the first time after hitting up RedBones.
As you walk in the door, wine and liquor aisles are in front of you. Walk down to the back left hand side for their beer selection. There is a very nice selection of cold craft beer - Bombers of BBC, 6ers of Speakeasy breweing, SN, Founders, Harpoon, and numerous others. I didn't take quite good notes as I was looking more at their warm stuff. Great stuff going on with the warm stuff, Stone Cat, Anderson Valley, Cisco, Hoppin' Frog, Stone, Rogue, Legacy, and many more. Import section is quite nice, Nogne, Ridgeway, Morke, Mikellar, and many others.
We weren't approached by any one - which for the most part is alright with me, however we did have a question, so trying to find someone was interesting. When I did, I asked the question, and he was rather confused.
Pricing here is ridiculous! I saw bombers of things that were about 3 or 4 dollars cheaper than some other places. Well priced and I will so be revisiting soon!

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Photo of woodychandler
4.65/5  rDev +14%

Entering, the checkout was to the right with snacks and Non-Alcoholic beverages to the left. Liiquor was down left wall with wine in center and also down right wall. Beer dominated the back wall with shelves right and coolers left. Great selection, helpful, friendly staff. Conversation with cashier regarding movies. One staff member was really downcast when they did not have Southern Tier Chokolat available. Another person was very helpful as it concerned BBC bombers. Pricing was just right. Marty's in Allston used to be my main stop because of their accessibility to my lodging, but I generally CouchSurf now and Marty's is gone.

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Photo of pgrow
4.7/5  rDev +15.2%

Downtown Wine and Spirits may have the best selection of beer in the Boston area. There, I've said it. I think if your'e looking for a selection of domestic and especially international beers you won't be able to find a better spot. The prices are a bit higher than other nearby liquor stores, generally about $.50 higher on a 22oz bottle but you will find things you can't get other places. So for things that are available everywhere I would pass on Downtown, however if you have a specialty beer you're looking for check it out.

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Photo of Darkhorse09
3.65/5  rDev -10.5%

A good beer store in downtown somerville. Easy to get to and a very wide selection.

They have many American microbrews, from the favorites to a pretty deep selection of hard to find stuff. Decent imports as well. The entire back half of the store is dedicated to racks of beer. Will also let you split 6 packs, which is nice.

I was left alone while shopping. The staff seemed approachable enough, but nobody asked if I needed help. Can't really comment on their beer knowledge. They were all quite young and hipsterish (not a criticism, just an observation).

A little overpriced. Sam Smith Nut Brown 550ml in a Trader Joe's around the corner priced at 2.99. 4.59 here. So a bit of a mark up. However a huge selection guarentees you'll find something that you're interested in.

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Photo of naiserie
4.8/5  rDev +17.6%

Hands down the best shop for beer easily accessible by public transit...which for some us car challenged means a lot. And even for the cagers, you're hard pressed to find a better selection outside of Julio's, which is a good 40 minutes outside of Boston.

They have a very deep selection of New England beers, lot's of special one off's before anyone else, and all the breweries you can find in MA (Stone, Rogue, Left Hand etc etc, seriously etc, the selection goes wide and deep). Also a very good selection of imports, which I won't comment on since I'm not as knowledgeable, except to say that that wall is nearly as expansive as the domestic micros. Seriously, they have a very large selection or many different beers.

The service is kind of hit or miss. There are at least 3 current employees who really do know their beer stock very well and are more than willing to help you find exactly what you're looking for or recommend something. At the same time, all the employees are a bit hipsterish and won't be all up in your grill offering help. If you ask for help, and someone who knows better is working, you won't be disappointed, and you may even get something out of the cellar. I've only been in a couple of times when someone who didn't know beer wasn't working, but even then it's easy enough to make choices.

As they have the widest, deepest selection in the area, prices are maybe a dollar more on average for six packs and bombers, but overall it's completely worth it. If you're in Boston, this is a must stop IMHO.

Forgot to mention, they encourage you to break up sixers into singles....of anything they carry. Not sure exactly how they mark it up, but it's completely reasonable, and given their selection, a great deal.

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Photo of cavman
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%

I enjoy that the staff leaves me alone to browse until something catches my eye, but the average knowledge of the staff regarding beer is questionable. They have a great selection, thoough it seems that the imported sour stuff is being cut back lately. Last time there nothing from either Cantillon or Rodenbach which was disappointing. On the other hand they have expanded their American brew selection a bit from years past. Price is higher than most places but they also get some good stuff others don't.

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Photo of drseamus
4.65/5  rDev +14%

This one is a gem in the rough for sure. Unfortunately when I went, the "person" you need to find to get access to some of the cellared beers. However, with some cajoling, I was able to list some beers and find out what vintage offerings they had. I ended up walking out the door with a 2005 WWS in addition to my regular choices.

Their regular selection is pretty good though. Their belgian selection in particular is very good, especially with the funky stuff. Good domestic selection as well. Overall, a great beer store and a must go if you're in boston. I hope the "person" is there for you.

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Photo of callmescraps
4.8/5  rDev +17.6%

Ok, so I'm a little biased. I used to work at Downtown and have tremendous love for it, and all the employees. The people who work there are really awesome. Anyways, I've read some of the less positive reviews, and while I certainly won't argue with your experience, I'd like to provide a few tips.

1: The employees will generally leave you alone to browse and enjoy your hunting. We had people that spent hours in there. So, if you want service, have a question, or are looking for something, just ask. The majority of people there know a ton about beer, really love it, and will be helpful as hell as long as they're not overwhelmed with other crap.

2: Yes, some of the bottles are dusty. Here's the deal: it's kind of a gross store. Most of the product is turned around in a very reasonable time (altho some of the more obscure foreign stuff may sit a bit more than preferred). That said, it's just a kind of dusty place. We had dust on bottles of wine that we'd racked like two days earlier. Anyways, the fact that the store is a little gross doesn't mess up the product.

3: They will order anything they can get their hands on. If you're looking for something special, just ask. That being said, it's kind of a flaky place, so always good to follow up.

4: Beer cellar. There are some absolute gems down there. It's always unclear what's for sale and what is being saved for later, but some really incredible stuff is available. So make nice, and you can get your hands on some of it.

Anyways, the selection is absolutely fantastic. The people who work there kick ass. Especially the ones with tattoos and blue hair and all that crap. Honestly some of the nicest people you'll ever meet. And they really do aim to please. Anyways, I know I'm biased, but I love that place, and am sad I had to leave. So hopefully people can read this and get the most out of a great establishment.

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Photo of ckeegan04
4.1/5  rDev +0.5%

Dropped by on my last day in Boston to pick up some stuff to take back to TN. Big store in a nice little part of Somerville. Beers are along the back wall and work there way into the back corner. Could pull singles from the six packs that were sitting back there which is always a plus. Had a wide selection of beers from all over the US and a hige selection of imports as well. I picked up stuff from Port, Berkshire, Peoples Pint, Mikkeller, Ballast Point, and Southern Tier. They also had stuff from Victory, Oskar Blues, and quite a few others. People were very friendly and gave a few opinions and tips. My only complaint was that a decent amount of the stuff looked to have some age on it. Lots of dusty bottles and such. This seems to be a common complaing about Downtown. Just be careful with freshenss dates and you will enjoy this store greatly.

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Photo of IBUnit63
3.85/5  rDev -5.6%

Have heard a great deal about this place but never find myself in the neighborhood. Courtesy of a knee injury playing soccer and a trip for X-rays, here I am...

Decent selection up and down the style map. Several previous vintages of Stone Anniversary, Vertical Epic and Old Guardian located in a "vault" give the place some charm. Good cold selection in the coolers as well as numerous craft products on the shelf way in back. Other than that, most items are available in other of the better outlets around the city. Edit: Y'know - a lot of the stuff looks like it's been around a while - I expect it to some extent but certain things that may be hard to come by after only a few days in other stores tend to sit here for a fair amount longer, I've noticed.

Edit: Service can be friendly at checkout; don't usually see them while perusing the stock but that's OK. One thing that's weird is the eclectic music that you can find here - it's usually blasting pretty loudly and can get a little disconcerting to an old fart like myself that's clinging to the last vestiges of his 30s...

For what I can see, prices are a little on the heavy side - may a buck or two up for bombers and sixers. Not a huge deal, but it would preclude someone from making a special trip. Solid outlet when you're in the area. (Edit: This is one of those places that gets a lot of the new releases but really there's not a whole hell of a lot that I can't get somewhere else, and maybe for a little bit cheaper. So I check out the selection for stuff that may be gone in other places earlier but lately it doesn't go much farther than that.)

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Photo of BeerSox
4.65/5  rDev +14%

Near Davis square on the corner. I've passed this place a few times but had no idea of the quality of the selection until I read about it then asked my sister (a resident of Somerville).

All the beer is toward the back. There are two rows of coolers that carry most of the beer selection: cases, 750s, bombers, six packs, and some individual 12oz bottles. There is also an area in the very back that has bombers and 750s of the rare/special varieties, and probably repeats of what's available in the cooler. There was also a special shelf dedicated to very rare beers that you would find for $15 or more. I'm sure just about any beer available in MA is in this store. More recently I found another row that occupies both sides at the back wall of the store as you head in, to the right of the aforementioned back section. There I found a lot more beer, all singles (mostly of 22oz or 750ml size).

The staffer in the back was happy to answer any questions. She was a little busy at the moment though stocking the shelves. She seemed very knowledgable as well. I've heard this place is pricey but I walked out with a full case of bombers for around $60, which seemed decent to me. The back of the store is a little dim but I don't mind that considering it's beer back there.

If you make a trip to this place make sure you have a dolly and a truck so you can handle all the beer they have here. If you live in Somerville or Cambridge, I can't imagine why this wouldn't be a regular stop. As it's within walking distance of my sister's place, it's perfect for me.

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DownTown Wine & Spirits in Somerville, MA
91 out of 100 based on 69 ratings.