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Tops Liquors


33 Reviews
Place Score:
Tops LiquorsTops Liquors

Type: Bar, Store

403 W University Dr
Ste 104
Tempe, Arizona, 85281-5472
United States

(480) 967-5643 | map

No notes at this time.

Added by hyuga

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User Reviews
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Reviews: 33 | Ratings: 47
Reviews by SunDevilBeer:
Photo of SunDevilBeer
4.3/5  rDev +1.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

***Review for bar only***

Was on a crawl of crap beer places with a group on a Friday night on Mill....split off and hit this place solo to have some good beers at the end of the night.

Small, comfortable place with couches towards the front. Busy when I went but didn't take long for me to get noticed for a beer. Most of the people here knew their craft beer.

Nice combination of geek beers and others you've heard of that you just want to drink. Totally dig it. Beers were reasonably priced and poured.

Good alt-indie music played at a reasonable decible level...enough so that you could listen to it and have a conversation.

I will visit again next time I'm in Tempe.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of erk0607
4.88/5  rDev +15.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Photo of Beerzoid
5/5  rDev +18.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

THIS REVIEW IS FOR THE BAR ONLY. This is the best beer bar in the world! You can drink it, buy it, and ship it here! I have been going here 18 months now. If Norm lived in Tempe he would go here. I have been a bartender since 1993 in London, England. I have lived all over the world and the US. I have bartended in so many places I cannot keep track of all of them. Never has one bar met all my needs. The bartenders, Jess and Matt are both so knowledgeable that many times I let them select my flights for me. I have NEVER done this anywhere. I am super picky.

The selection is amazing because the selectors are the liquor store owners/employees not a manager or some corporate bafoon. When you go into a liquor store and ask for a bottle of wine, beer, or liquor in a top notch store the sales associate almost always nails it. The Tops staff does that without a hitch and they extend that selection to Taste of Tops. SIMPLY AWESOME. The prices are most affordable!!! This needs repeating...prices are most affordable!!! I paid $3.00 for a Stella Artois and $8.00 a flight. Food is not sold, but you can bring take out. This is a high density delivery area with a Thai Basil, Oregano's, Vegan, and Chillis within a stone's throw. Stouts, chocolate stouts, porters, vanilla porters, wild ales, india pale ales, pale ales, american pales ales, brown ales, bitters, lagers, pilsners, fruit beers, wheat beers, Belgians, barley wines, meads, etc. They serve wine too. If they serve liquor I have never noticed.

I work in a very fancy bar next to a lot of hotels and I recommend Taste of Tops daily to my guests who frown at my vanilla beer selection. They drink at my bar because their room is a 2 minute walk away so I have never lost a customer, but they take clients to Taste of Tops to impress them. Many have tipped a ridiculous amount of money because their clients were so impressed by Taste of Tops! I must have sent at least 100 people there now including friends and school mates.

I love all the local artists on the walls and the quiet environment. One time a glass blower had desert terrariums in glass floats hanging from the ceiling over the bar. This is my speakeasy to unwind and relax. One night I heard they had a DJ and my friend went elsewhere. So loud you could not hear yourself think she said. DJ's do not mix (pun intended).

The music is eclectic because every bartender has their own music selection be it an internet radio station sometimes. I am always intrigued. The TVs play all the old cult classics and memorable movies. Saw Aliens and Heavy Metal.

The decor is wood. All wood. There are seats and tables of all kinds. Something for everyone. Board games are in the front.

Lastly, when you are done drinking and adding your distinct beers on Untapped you can walk through the internal doorway to Tops Liquors. There you can buy the same beer you drank if available in bottles or cans. Wine and liquor too. Then you can ship it to your friends!

I LOVE THIS PLACE! It is one of three bars I can say I have been a regular.

 3,058 characters

Photo of jschott75
4.15/5  rDev -1.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4.25

Photo of Robert_Ray
2.44/5  rDev -42.2%
vibe: 2 | quality: 2.5 | service: 1 | selection: 4

Just left the store with my selections still on the counter. Staff or owner very rude. I was trying to get a little guidance since nothing seems to grouped or arranged in any particular order. When asking if a bottle of beer was very good, he shouted out loud "Fucking terrible, that's why I'm telling you about it". He was not in the best mood since I was taking him away from his stocking duties. He also said later in the conversion that he doubts that I will find anything in the store that I like. Wow! What a douche bag. This after having spent hundreds of dollars in this store over the last few years. I left about $20 worth on the counter and walked out. I always try to give the mom and pops my business instead of the chains, but Total Wine never treated my like this and Total Wine is a hell of a lot cheaper. They lost a customer for good.

 852 characters

Photo of PassMeAZima
3.89/5  rDev -7.8%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4.25

Photo of tjumfrid
4.94/5  rDev +17.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Photo of Lobina
4.75/5  rDev +12.6%

Photo of Coconuts
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%

Photo of t2grogan
4/5  rDev -5.2%

Photo of chefbigjon
4.75/5  rDev +12.6%

Photo of BarrelAgedG
4.75/5  rDev +12.6%

Photo of nleaders
3.25/5  rDev -23%

Photo of timlyon
5/5  rDev +18.5%

Photo of EyePeeAyBryan
4.1/5  rDev -2.8%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4 | service: 2.25 | selection: 4.5

Tend to only visit Tops when I'm desperate or heading by and feel like killing a few minutes. Prices will and are always higher than every single shop in AZ and the service is just awful. Every time I buy something I get the evil-eye from the dude who's ringing me up. For some reason they always look pissed and like they would rather do anything in the world other than helping my give them my money. Great selection of Imported stuff as well as the usual suspects we see in AZ. Points for an excellent selection but have to take some away for the piss-poor customer service.

 577 characters

Photo of Camjmorton
4.6/5  rDev +9%

Photo of Auraan
4.39/5  rDev +4%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

Review is for both the liquor store and Taste of Tops, the attached bar.
Atmosphere for the liquor store is simple Arizona strip mall feel, crappy old floors, same shelves you see at every Goodwill here, packed with bottles. It's not the most upscale feel, but it has a charm to it that I love. The bar is amazing. It looks like nothing from the outside but then you go in and it's a charming place with local art on the walls, nice wood floors, great looking tables and an excellent bar set up. Nice set up of coolers as well. It's a hidden gem. Quality for the liquor store is great, they have lots of great stuff in there. The bar is even better. They get all sorts of amazing stuff on tap on a regular basis. Service is all round excellent, I've never had a truly bad experience here. This holds for both the bar and the liquor store. The bar staff in particular is great, always knowledgeable and able to tell you what's good. Selection for the liquor store is amazing. You can find all sorts of great stuff in there, often at excellent prices. I see stuff here that I never see anywhere else, and pretty dang fresh at that. The bar is the same, excellent selection of both taps and bottles, with all sorts of great rare and special stuff in both bottles and taps. No food, so I can't rate that. The value varies. The liquor store can either be more than the local big store, or way, way less. I've seen six packs for a buck or two more than elsewhere, but at the same time I've gotten bottles of Drie Fontien's for a couple bucks less and Witch's Wit in 750mls for five dollars less than the next cheapest place. Not to mention the $4 Thirez Blonde 750mls. So while it might not be the least expensive for everything, you can get some great deals in there. The bar is always a great value, with all sorts of taps for great prices. The bottles are bar priced, but fair, especially the cellar series selection. Overall the bar is my favorite spot in the Valley to have a drink, and the liquor store can be a great place to find some great stuff.

 2,049 characters

Photo of kerry4porters
4.75/5  rDev +12.6%

Photo of orangesol
4.22/5  rDev 0%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4.75

Stopped in here after four peaks since it was so close by. Upon entering I was a bit overwhelmed as there is a TON of beer, liquor and wine in that medium sized store. Beer is located on the right, the middle and the middle left as well as the right and back walls. Atmosphere was pretty laid back. People coming and going buying their wares for the weekend ahead. Service was ok. My interaction with them were fine but one of them tried to run me over from behind with a hand cart without even asking me to move. Selection was insane. 4-5 isles packed to the gills with beers from all over the country as well as the world. I was able to find two bottles I was looking for the last few days as well as a few others that I hadn't seen in years. Prices were more than reasonable and on par with the other shops I visited in town. Overall one of the better bottle shops I have stopped at on the trip, glad I made the side trek to check it out.

 941 characters

Photo of skholbrook1982
4.75/5  rDev +12.6%

Photo of Tjvan2
4.49/5  rDev +6.4%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

Stopped in from out of state just to see what they had that I can't get in Iowa. As it turns out, there are a bunch of things here I can't get in Iowa! The best thing about this place, as far as I am concerned, is that you can just grab an empty six pack and grab singles of anything that they have in the store....I mean anything! I like to try as much variety as possible, so this is fantastic. The organization is pretty much chaotic at best, but there is a lot there.

 471 characters

Photo of Jonesy12
4.26/5  rDev +0.9%
vibe: 2.75 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

Just reviewing for the Shop, haven't tried the bar yet. The shop is fully stacked... I mean FULLY sacked. It is a lot of college kids running in and out so many of the imports and wines are dusty. Yes this is the desert and things get dusty quickly believe it or not.

There is a absolutely amazing selection however of most anything you could want. Basically If tops and total wine don't carry it, its not in the state. Although the staff can be a little abrasive at first, they are great and know what they are talking about. Also if there is something specific that you want, they will go out of their way to get on their distributors for it.

They have a large refrigerated section with many different micro-brews that is great for a quick stop in.

 753 characters

Photo of rhartogsq
4.61/5  rDev +9.2%
vibe: 3 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

Just visited this place and was duly impressed with the selection. Being from out of town, visiting a local beer shop or brewery is akin to going to a museum or something.
I was way impressed with the selection. My goal, which was achieved, was to find what I can't get at home. There is a lot of Arizona beers as well as Southern California, and stuff from back east. The selection of Jolly Pumpkin and Lost Abby was insane.
It is crowded there because they have so much inventory. The owner asked if I needed help, but I politely declined.
A must stop for beer drinkers.
The tequila selection looked primo top!

 613 characters

Photo of jale
3.5/5  rDev -17.1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4

Reviewing the store and bar. I live in Michigan, so this place has a great selection of beer unavailable to me in my state. Seems dusty and not well organized but this does'nt matter to me. I'm only here to find bottles. The staff appear to be wishing they were somewhere else, so come knowing what you want. Connected to the store is a casual bar with a nice tap selection. I tried the Stoic and several local beers. If your looking for sours, I did'nt see anything worth buying. I think sours have not caught on in AZ like other parts of the country.

 552 characters

Photo of matttttYCE
3.56/5  rDev -15.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4

This is for the store, not the bar (Taste of Tops).

I like the atmosphere here because there's almost always some music playing in the store which gives it a cool vibe. The music has a broad range of styles but fits well with a more hip college place. The layout of the store is a bit crowded, and that's when there aren't many people in the store. On a Friday or Saturday night the place can get pretty hard to navigate. But overall the atmosphere is pretty laid back and cool - fitting for being essentially right at the heart of Arizona State University territory.

The quality (which I'm having a little trouble differentiating between selection) I would say is pretty good. If anything I would say it's a little lacking because it's hard to tell how long things have been on the shelves unless they are bottle dated.

The service is usually good. The employees are usually helpful when you ask for something but I have had times where they have been either a bit short with me (like they didn't really want to help me because they thought my question was stupid) or seen them do the same with other customers, especially ones you can tell aren't as informed on most things beer as some BA members might be. I've also noticed that they tend to be short with you on the phone when you call about releases. And if you ask about more than one thing, you can just tell the guy on the other end is rolling his eyes as he responds. The other thing that really gets me and causes me to knock the service is that I have had employees talk either directly to me or to other employees or customers about buying some more expensive beers and then selling them online to turn a profit. From what I have overheard, at least a few of them seem to practice this. I try to just overlook this, but it's happened so much that I just can't anymore.

The selection is very broad, great range of year round and seasonal beers, fantastic range of imports, and for the most part you can get most limited releases here, but there have been times where I have tried and struck out here when some other stores around the valley have had what I'm looking for. More often than not you can find it at Tops, though. Again the only downfall, which I deducted from the quality rating, is that you often can't tell how long things have been on the shelves unless they are bottle dated. Some things get pretty dusty and leave you wondering if you really want to spend the money.

And lastly, the value rating is where this review really sticks out for me. I understand that this is a smaller store and located in a college area but the prices are usually the what lead me to shop elsewhere unless I can't find something anywhere else first. It just seems like the prices could be a little lower considering the likely volume of money they take in for where they are located. When I compare prices here to other stores like Total Wine, BevMo, and Whole Foods, Tops is almost always more expensive by a few (or many) dollars. It's not so much that it keeps me from shopping here all the time, but if I can get it for $5 less somewhere else, you better believe I'm going somewhere else. Money don't grow on trees, ya know.

Overall, a good stop for the breadth of the selection the store has, but when comparing to some of the bigger stores, I'll sacrifice some selection for much better prices.

 3,363 characters

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Tops Liquors in Tempe, AZ
93 out of 100 based on 33 ratings.