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John's Grocery Inc.

John's Grocery Inc.John's Grocery Inc.

66 Ratings
Ratings: 66
Reviews: 62
rAvg: 4.57
pDev: 6.78%
$$ - reasonable

[ Store ]

401 E Market St
Iowa City, Iowa, 52245-2628
United States
phone: (319) 337-2183

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

Specializes in imported beer and glassware; also known as “Dirty John’s” for selling Playboy magazines in the 1950s.

Monday - Thursday: 7:30am –- Midnight
Friday & Saturday: 7:30am -– 2:00am)
Sunday: 9:00am –- Midnight

(Place added by: BeerAdvocate)
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Ratings: 66 | Reviews: 62 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Sunn


4.54/5  rDev -0.7%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75 | $$$

I love this place. Very neat old-school grocery store with a HUGE selection of beers. The beer room itself is pretty cramped. If it's busy the majority of your time is spent saying and hearing the words "Excuse me.". The prices are goofy in this place. Some beer's are dirt cheap and others are way overpriced. The service and selection is awesome, though, so the prices don't really bother me.

I'm new to the craft beer world, and thanks to John's I've discovered so many great beers that you can't find anywhere else in Iowa. Whenever I'm in Iowa City, John's is a guaranteed stop.

06-09-2013 23:27:29 | More by Sunn
Photo of EdwardFortyHands


4.6/5  rDev +0.7%
vibe: 1 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5 | $$$

Dirty Johns was the first to sell playboy magazine in Iowa City IA.

Now it is the craft beer destination in eastern Iowa.

The staff is extremely helpful.

The selection is outta this state good.

The roast beef is made fresh daily

The the is the shiznotabamsnipsnapsally.

06-06-2013 05:25:05 | More by EdwardFortyHands
Photo of shivtim


4.06/5  rDev -11.2%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.25 | selection: 4.5 | $$

John's is one of the better beer stores I've ever been to, probably just behind Hop City in Atlanta and Bruisin' Ales in Asheville.

It's a small grocery store, cramped and packed full of stuff, with the beer in the back. There's a large shelving section with an excellent selection of mostly foreign beers, and lots of singles from various US breweries. Then there's a walk-in cooler with a ton of local stuff, both six packs and singles, as well as the macro beers.

Fantastic selection here for out-of-towners. I was able to pick up a lot of singles from Iowa and other Midwest / Great Plains breweries. Dropped about $80 in two visits over the course of a weekend.

Highly recommended if you're visiting Iowa City.

06-04-2013 22:39:48 | More by shivtim
Photo of Tjvan2


4.38/5  rDev -4.2%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.25 | $$$

Lots of imports and Belgians. Very good selection, although just a bit light in microbrews for my taste. Staff is very knowledgeable and can tell you just about anything about anything that they have. It's in a small corner grocery store, but the beer room is separated from the rest of the store and is worth the trip.

03-13-2013 03:40:51 | More by Tjvan2
Photo of morimech


4.14/5  rDev -9.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | $$

Stopped in on my trip past I-80. Easy to get to but the lack of parking was a disappointment. There is a small lot behind the store but it looked like chaos going on. Ended up parking a block or two away on campus. Risking a ticket I hurried myself to the store. One of the most interesting stores for beer I have set foot in. A small market/deli/wine/ and beer store. I think beer takes up most of the space but I did not search every nook and cranny in the building as I was in a hurry. Nice selection and I picked up a few bottles of interest or on sale. I think if it is for sale in Iowa, it is at John's. Interesting mix of college kids and longtime neighborhood residents. Service was very good and friendly even though I did not ask for assistance.

Not sure of the business model, but I would do away with the market and expand the deli and alcohol departments. God knows they need the room and there did not seem to be much focus on the deli which I think could be huge.

11-11-2012 00:34:54 | More by morimech
Photo of msubulldog25


4.38/5  rDev -4.2%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$

Visited mid-afternoon August 30

I knew of John's reputation for great beer selection prior to visiting Iowa City on business, so a stop there (even a brief one) was a must before leaving town. The day was a scorcher (mid/upper 90s) and my traveling coworker had no interest, so I left her curbside (our rental car's A/C running) for a 15 minute shopping spree! We'd actually eaten breakfast a block away (Hamburg Inn) earlier in the day, so John's was very easy to find, despite a modest brick facade and an average-looking corner location.

Inside, I immediately veered right past the counter and into a vast wine department. Oops, I'm here for beer! A quick correction past the half-filled deli case and I entered Beervana - a sizable room stacked floor-to-ceiling with hundreds and hundreds of imported and domestic bottles. Oh, to have adequate time to browse!!! I next entered an equally spacious walk-in cooler, again stacked 8 feet high with shelf upon shelf of beer. I noticed right away that all the cases and sixers of macro stuff was placed at the back of the cooler, forcing one to walk past all the 'craft' stuff in order to get to it. Clever.

In the few minutes I had to shop, I was approached by 3 different employees (easy to spot in John's T-shirts of varying colors) all eager to help: one guided me to the empty six-bottle carriers for mixed packs, another pointed out the Iowan locals in the cooler plus a few favorites and a third was friendly at the register. My bill for 12 bottles and cans was about $28 with tax (borderline pricy, but I'll call it 'reasonable' for 12 singles). Among them: three different bottles from Peace Tree, a couple from Millstream, a couple more (cans) from Great River, and odd & ends from Summit & Tallgrass...plus a pair of Two-Hearteds, among my all-time favorite IPAs. I didn't go out of my way to find the 'fanciest' or 'rarest' bottles, opting instead for an array of styles from mostly local breweries we'll never see back home in Oregon.

Although I skipped buying glassware (have plenty at home), I've heard their inventory is vast.

Excellent store with friendly staff, tons of selection. Couldn't ask for more ~ very highly recommended.

09-11-2012 19:03:09 | More by msubulldog25
Photo of jzlyo


4.53/5  rDev -0.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$

This among the best places to find any and all beers available in Iowa.

The customer service service, quality and selection are all very good, many of the staffers are very knowledgeable about beer. The atmosphere was good but kind of cramped in space, although considering the location in downtown Iowa City its understandable that expansion isn't possible. Value was reasonable, most micro/non specialty beers/ales had a good prices. Some prices for ales/beers were high priced, but due to the rarity of them,, the prices were about right.

Excellent place to find beer, among the best in the Midwest.

03-05-2012 00:00:24 | More by jzlyo
Photo of cradke


4.78/5  rDev +4.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | $$

This is one of the best shop if not the best shop in Iowa. A fantastic place to get some hard to find and specialty brews especially given the state liquor and distribution laws.

As far as the service and selection goes: this is as solid as it gets. The staff that man the bottle shop and house of glass are very knowledgeable. The shop have a fantastic selection of belgians, seriously one of the best I have ever seen. The organization is very intuitive and has much more than just the standard trappists. They regularly get new stock and change up their lineup. In addition to the belgian, they have a great selection of Germans and English beers. Additionally, they have quite a few hard to find gems such as norweigen and finnish beers.

In addition to the foreign lagers, they do have a decent selection of all of the available microbrews, particularly goose island, Sam Adams, Bells, Rogue, Ommegang and some smaller ones. Most of the microbrews are kept cold but unfortunately, a lot of the european brews are kept in the cellar which is cool, but not cellar cold unfortunately.

The final note that sets Johns Apart from many other shops is the House of Glass. It's a separate building next door that has an incredible selection of beer memorabilia. They have a world class selection of glassware that makes a great pairing when trying a new beer.

12-21-2011 08:33:35 | More by cradke
Photo of DoubleSimcoe

New York

3.86/5  rDev -15.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | $$

I had read about this place and was very excited when, walking back to our car, our local Iowa City friend said we were one block from the famous John's Grocery.

So there we went, a funky store with groceries, cold drinks and lots of beer shelved among a maze of narrow aisles.

To be honest, I didn't find anything super amazing or must-have, but the selection is good. More so considering this is Iowa City!

Some names that caught my attention were several Harvest Ale; a lot of Belgians like Ommegang, Chimay and Delirium;l Mikkeller, Nogne and some obscure Scandinavians, plus British brews a plenty.

Bombers are inside a walk-in cooler, which is great, and include Boulevard, Rogue, Goose, Cricket Hill from New Jersey (bought a bourbon-barreled porter).

Ton of 6-packs with the usual names, all cold and mostly Midwest. To be honest, nothing here blew me away, but I'll concede that -for Iowa City- this is a good enough selection.

Service was friendly and helpful- we were perusing the aisles and a beer guy came over asking if we needed help.

09-24-2011 01:25:46 | More by DoubleSimcoe
Photo of beerwolf77


4.58/5  rDev +0.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | $$

Stopped here on my way home from my recent Iowa trip. I'm glad I did.

So we snake our way past the grocery store to the back where the beer is kept. Wow! What a magnificent display of beer. A whole room of imports. The room was stocked from floor to ceiling with every import you can think of. Including a solid amount of stuff I've never seen at Discount in Milwaukee. The walk in cooler was filled with top to bottom American craft. The usual Midwest selection along with all the Iowa beers I've never seen before. A very nice singles selection for making an Iowa mix pack. Which I gladly did.

The service was top notch. I spoke with several employees and all were extremely helpful. They even offered to open the glass shop next door. I declined since I was blowing my load of cash on Belgian sours.

This is a beer oasis in a what seems to be a desert otherwise. You must stop here if you are coming anywhere near Iowa city. I will be going back for sure.

07-06-2011 22:42:08 | More by beerwolf77
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John's Grocery Inc. in Iowa City, IA
100 out of 100 based on 66 ratings.