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Capone's Liquor & Food

Not Rated.
Capone's Liquor & FoodCapone's Liquor & Food
BA SCORE
96
world-class

58 Ratings
Ratings: 58
Reviews: 24
rAvg: 4.36
pDev: n/a
[ Store ]

3678 N Elston Ave
Chicago, Illinois, 60618-4316
United States
phone: (773) 583-0240

view map and get directionsMap @caponeliq

Notes:
Place added by: marmora on 10-26-2011

Hours:
Sunday- Thursday: 9:00am - 12:00am
Friday - Saturday: 9:00am - 2:00am
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 58 | Reviews: 24
Reviews by emerge077:
Photo of emerge077
2.5/5  rDev -42.7%
vibe: 3 | quality: 2 | service: 1 | selection: 4.25

I only buy beer from stores I trust, and Capones is not trustworthy.
The shill reviews aren't fooling anyone guys. Stay classy...

All you have to do is look past the surface to notice the shady tactics employed here... bribing customers for online reviews, posting bait & switch prices on beermenus, selling old beer, etc. You're wasting your money paying way over MSRP here (triple in some extreme cases) for things available much cheaper elsewhere, not to mention being gullible. The owner isn't your friend, you're being used for free marketing. Read between the lines people.

Now that Beer Temple has opened on Elston, I don't have a reason to come here anymore. Fresh beer at fair prices is all I ask... Outdated beer with jacked up prices, no thanks.

***2012***
After shopping here for about a year now i've noticed a few things, that maybe you wouldn't notice at first glance. Many beers are $2-5 more than what you'd find elsewhere. Zombie Dust purchased here twice ($14.99, not $13 as listed on beermenus) has been faded both times... that should never happen. Caveat emptor.

They update beermenus at least twice a day so they're always at the top of the "recently updated" list, which is frankly annoying (never thought i'd say that about a place on beermenus). More egregiously though, items listed and updated the same day may or may not be in stock, or are a different price than listed online... shady. Stuff isn't always on the shelf and sometimes you have to ask, available only if they know you, or they just flat out don't have what they list on beermenus.

They have cleaned it up a bit inside, and added lots more beers in the front of the store. They do have a great selection, and keep up with new releases. Just be sure to ask prices and check dates on hoppy beers. High prices, misinformation, and lack of imports keep me from stopping in more frequently.

***10-27-2011***
Stopped in today to check out the current selection, thanks to Marmora for the tip! Had been in a couple times before, but neglected to add to beerfly.

They boast over 300 beers, and that may be true. From the outside it looks like any other forlorn, run-down neighborhood bodega, but the craft beer posters, and even a hand-painted sign for Half Acre and Argus outside hint at what's inside. This area is fairly underserved beer-wise, so Capone's definitely covers a niche for area residents. The closest store is Golden Leaf at Elston/Irving, and Avondale Armanetti on Milwaukee, south of Belmont. West Lakeview is 1.5 mi. east, and serves a different area.

Inside it's tile floors, florescent lighting, and many cooler doors full of beer. There was a rack of Bells seasonals up by the register, including Cherry Stout, Double Cream, Winter White, and TCOA ($19/sixer). Straight ahead was a full pallet of Schlitz tallboys sitting in the middle of the floor. To the right was about 8 or more beer cooler doors, with many 750s, bombers, and singles. Towards the back were craft sixers, and straight ahead was a bunch of macros and alcopops. Hiding in between the coolers was a cardboard cutout of Snoop Dogg pimping Colt 45 Blast. Towards the back was an overstock area with Half Acre cases on the shelf and a warm island shelf of Bells, FFF, and Founders.

In the coolers: Firestone Walker, Jolly Pumpkin x4, Founders x5-6 including Breakfast Stout and Double Trouble, FFF x6 (APW, BrooDoo, Gorch Fock), Great Lakes x4-5, Uinta, Lagunitas, Southern Tier, Great Divide, Metropolitan, Two Bros, SN Ovila, Moylans, Grand Teton, Goose bombers, Unibroue, Victory, Anchor Brekle's Brown, Hop Slayer cans, Ska cans, Half Acre cans (no seasonal bombers). Imports from Steigl, Hofbrau, Sam Smith, etc. Not especially extensive import-wise. Selection was broad though it seemed limited to full lines of specific breweries. Prices were $2-3 higher than elsewhere, the typical bodega "convenience upcharge".

Counter clerk was a nice guy, when I asked about Founders Harvest Ale, he mentioned they got one case and it had come and gone. Then he mentioned they had Backwoods Bastard singles (behind the counter) for $6 that had just come in. (that's $24 a 4-pack, instead of $15-18 elsewhere).

Overall a decent shop for the area, an oasis in the craft beer desert of Avondale.

More User Reviews:
Photo of evileye
3.06/5  rDev -29.8%
vibe: 3 | quality: 2.75 | service: 3.25 | selection: 3.25

If reviews seems like paid advertisements, it's because they are. Sort by "Top Reviewers" to get a better picture of Capone's.

Stopped going here a while back because of shady practices. Too many other good places to go to someone I can't trust. Good list of local stuff, lots of old beer.

Photo of Hawks55
5/5  rDev +14.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

This is the go to place for the best selection and best customer service. The owner really makes it a point to be a part of the beer community and develops relationships with all the local breweries. This allows him to brings in the best selection and offer some really great stuff for his customer:

Atmosphere- This place is wall to wall with Amazing Beers. You name it, If its available in the area Capones probably has it!
Quality - They make it a point to make sure they offer the freshest beers in town. They are often one of the first places to get it after it is bottled
Service - This is where they blow every place out of the water! You can spend all day here talking beer with the owner. He loves teaching and learning new things from his customers. Give him an example of what you like and he will show you something new and better! They also do tastings of new are rare stuff that they patrons have shared.
Selection - The Best
Value - The same price you will find anywhere else.

Photo of jermy
5/5  rDev +14.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Best liquor store in town for me. Owner is awesome and always takes good care of me and anyone I send that way. I'm in there once a week or so in winter and much more in the summer. Best selection of beer (specifically local breweries) than anyone else. Generally first to get Pipeworks new releases and keeps Facebook updated so we know what's arriving. Do yourself a favor and go here!

Photo of John_George_Peppers
5/5  rDev +14.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

On the outside, Capone's looks like any other neighborhood liquor store. On the inside, however you'll find a selection of the best craft beer available to the Chicago market. This also includes what could be the largest local micro craft beer selection in Chicagoland. Local brewers specifically target Capone's as one of their first accounts because the owner, Freddy, is so passionate about local beer. For exceptional new micro brews he really sticks his neck out, as Freddy has been known to offer money back guarantees! Those bottles are always a sure bet and all of his recommendations have been dead on. This gives young breweries an exceptional way to get their product to consumers and it makes Capone's one of the best liquor stores in Chicago. How many liquor stores do you know who offer money back guarantees on certain micro brews?

Speaking of money, a few reviews mention that Capone's prices can sometimes be slightly higher than the rock bottom prices found at chain stores. Well, if you want rock bottom prices, then you have to go to a warehouse or chain, liquor barn. You'll end up going out of your way to find one, and you won't find the same selection or service. At the end of the day you saved a buck, wasted time, and supported a large corporation that probably isn't even based in Chicago.

Shop Capone's. You're are supporting a local business that has a great craft beer selection and excellent customer service. A buck more on certain bottles is well worth the convenience, extra service, and satisfaction of knowing you are supporting a great small business.

Photo of ILLEGALSMILEs
3.24/5  rDev -25.7%
vibe: 2.75 | quality: 3 | service: 3.25 | selection: 3.75

Great selection,friendly staff.Beer is usually a couple dollars more than other places.Ive also seen way old beer on the shelves.Props for the great Pipeworks selections.Usually stay away due to the high prices and old beer.Would shop here more often if the prices were more inline with other craft beer stores in the city.

Photo of Yarni28
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4

You won't be disappointed when stopping at Capones. Freddy, the owner, is a genuinely nice guy who won't try and jam sales down your throat.

Although they don't have a huge selection i.e. Binny's, you'll definitely find some gems in his inventory. He's made lots of friends in the brewing industry and they always bring him the fresh stuff first (2-5 days before anyone else gets it). He has a lot of the standard local Chicago brews in the fridge (Rev's, Half Acre, Pipeworks, Spiteful, 18th St) with the more limited stuff on the shelves.

I go here for brand new, harder to find Pipeworks and Half Acre stuff. He always has the shelves stocked with all of the Pipeworks, Spiteful and 18th Street stuff which are some of the best breweries in Chicagoland.

Photo of EJLinneman
4.71/5  rDev +8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.75

Was visiting from NJ and heard about this place from a friend. I decided to check it out since I always like to bring home beer while on business trips. I got there late and took a cab over, but realized I didn't need to rush since they're open until midnight. Even though I came in late, I didn't feel awkward because I was greeted upon entering before I started my shopping.

I was suprrised at the selection. There was a large selection of fresh Pipeworks (some bottled the same day). Also found Bourbon County Barleywine on the shelf along with Prairie, Fantome Extra Sour, and Three Floyds. I asked about a couple other beers I was interested in which were hard to find and found out that they had some in the back. HUGE score on that.

The aisles were all clean and very easy to navigate through. I didn't have any problem finding what I wanted. It appears that it was sorted by brewery and I didn't see any dusty bottles either. Definitley a good thing considering I bought a couple IPAs while visiting.

The staff was EXTREMELY helpful and didn't have any problem giving recommendations or helping me find things. Since there wasn't anyone else in the store due to the time, I was able to have a pretty long conversation with one of the owners. He was knowledgeable and I could tell he enjoys what he does. Important to me because I like to shop at places where people know what they're talking about when it comes to beer.

I'll definitely be here again while visiting Chicago. It's great to have another beer store on my list of places to visit while visiting the windy city.

Photo of mrpape
5/5  rDev +14.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

If you are looking for the best selection of craft beer in Chicago, look no further than Capone's. The guys are friendly, knowledgeable, and definitely know how to throw a party..or help you throw a party! Capone's is a definitely a place where you can find the best/freshest selection of Chicago's very own breweries. Capone's is open late too and they have a nice selection of craft beer in the coolers, so it is ready to enjoy right away...at least when you get to where you are going (don't drink & drive). Capone's is a place you do not want to pass up!!! Cheers!

Photo of Rajasbrewing
4.89/5  rDev +12.2%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 5 | selection: 5

This is the go to bottle shop in the city of Chicago. I'm not just saying that because its down the street from me, its because the selection and amazing service.

Come in and talk to Freddy the shop owner and you will be blown away by his passion for craft beer and the industry and his dedication to his patrons to connect them to the beer and the brewers who make it. Right by the counter is the newest and freshest local Chicago beer often on sale the day it is bottled from the brewery. Capone's is usually the first stop where the new releases drop and are posted within minuets of arrivals on facebook/twitter.

Not only is the beer vast and customer service excellent, Capone's often hosts free events where local brewers come to pour beer and meet and greet.

All in all there are many good bottle shops in Chicago but Capone's is a cut above the rest and has and will be my one stop for craft beer.

Photo of HopsMatt
4.81/5  rDev +10.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.75

I stopped by here on my most recent trip to Chicago for Lollapalooza. I met a fellow BA for an IP trade and we hit up a few bottle shops. I had Capones on my list to visit as I was trying to find some of the Citra Ninja that was just released. The owner said he was all sold out buy expected more to come in on the day we were to leave. I called him that morning before heading out and sure enough, he got some in and made sure there was one there for me to pick up before I left town. He was one of the nicest shop owners I have had the pleasure of doing business with. Just like some of the other top bottle shops in town (Beer Temple, WLV & Castle VAV), he knows craft and is more than happy to help you out.

Selection is not as large as a Binnys, but it holds its own with the Beer Temple and id say has more inventory than WLV. All are a must stop, but I wanted to give an idea on size. It seems that there are bottles here that were long gone at some of the larger bottle shops around town. I guess its because it isnt a mega store or isnt central for a location, but for beer geeks, its a pleasant surprise to find something in stock here that youve had a hard time locating. There is a large refrigerated section that takes up a couple walls to the back and right. I noticed that it was full of IPAs kept at proper temps. I give them props for that.

This will be a store I come back to every time I visit Chicago, which seems to be about every two to three months. I look forward to returning!

Photo of will1256
4.61/5  rDev +5.7%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

Was in Chicago for work yesterday and happened upon this place while grabbing an Italian Beef at Munchies next door (one of the things I miss most about living in Chicago!). I checked out the reviews here on BA and realized I had stumbled upon a gem.

I went inside and within 2 minutes realized I was going to blow well past my beer budget for the month! It's a fairly small shop; it doesn't have quite the wall of beer you find at some of the big stores, but they had nearly everything a BA visiting Chicago could want - Pipeworks, Half Acre, Revolution, FW, Dogfish, etc. And for what you might miss from the slightly smaller selection than a big box liquor store, they make up for and then some in service. As other reviewers have mentioned, Freddy is a great guy and was really friendly and helpful. He even pulled a few goodies out for me since I was from out of town and was picking up quite a haul.

All in all, this a great shop, and more than met my expectations for a great Chicago beer stop! I'll definitely be back next time I'm in town!

Photo of Pidzik12
4.9/5  rDev +12.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

If you forget to look, you might miss the place, but then again, The 300 Beer signs all over the store front will catch any eye. Walking in, your eyes light up. This isnt your every day run of the mill craft beer store. Freddy has it all, and a lot of it.

The obvious selections or Half Acre, Pipeworks, Goose Island, Revolution, 18th Street, etc. is something that you would expect from a Chicago liquor store, but not the amount or variety Capone's has. They are the first to mu knowledge to get beer from all the local breweries, including bottled one-offs from Half Acre. He also gets the most wanted beers from the breweries first, sometimes even days before other stores.

On top of that, Capone's gets the beer that big craft beer nerds, as myself, are looking for. If there is even a slight chance that the Chicago market received even a few cases of a certain beer from across the US or even overseas, bet your money that you'll see it at Capone's.

The best part about all of it, besides drinking the beer you purchase of course, is Freddy himself. The guy knows his stuff on beer and is not afraid to talk to you about it. Even if you arent a huge craft beer guy or are just getting into beer, he will help you. Very approachable and just an overall nice and genuine guy. You can even come to one of their free tasting events during the year, when they open up some bottles that you cannot even find around the midwest.

Next time you're in the Chicagoland area, make it a point to visit Freddy over at Capone's. You wont regret it one bit. Cheers!

Photo of gregdafdxguy
4.82/5  rDev +10.6%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 5 | selection: 4.75

This is what you're looking for in a beer destination store. No ambience, just walls of beer. Encyclopedic American craft selection, the greatest hits in the imports alongside some rare gems (if I ever find some Vicaris or Thornbridge, it's a 5 for selection), reasonable prices -- but what puts it over the top is Freddy. He's a Chicago icon, in my book. If you ever wanted to "know a guy", and you're into beer, this is your store. Freddy knows the local players, he gets whatever he wants from his distributors, he gives local beer star billing, he responds to facebook messages and phone calls, he knows what you want before you ask for it, he's happy. He's a force of nature. Dealing with Freddy reminds me of Hot Doug down the street: Once he knows you, the prices are just a guide, and if you pay in cash...well, he appreciates it. He won me over. Anything is possible here.

Photo of Chiefilliniwek
4.75/5  rDev +8.9%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

Capones beer selection is top notch. One of the best selections in the city, if you are looking for Pipeworks, Spiteful, Begyle, Half Acre, Revolution, and any other fine craft beers this is the place to come. They have stuff that is rare to find and the owner will even post on Facebook when the new stuff comes in. Having a nice spacious parking lot also helps! They have had beer events on it in the past and when you go to Capones you know you can get free parking, which is a big plus in a city like Chicago. The customer service is what tops this place over other beer stores that have great selections as well, the store is run by Freddy who is always more than happy to recommend a few brews is your having trouble picking some out. The store is always a must hit up spot for me and my friends when we are looking for good beers to share and pass around at our next gathering.

Photo of awattysiu
4.9/5  rDev +12.4%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 5

Great neighborhood liquor store in a dessert part of Chicago. Capones prices are competitive with some of the smaller local area liquor stores and they have a parking lot (which is rare) to boot. They have the best selection of local microbrews/craft beer in the city and promote as much locally as possible (don't know how many of the actual brewers I have run into that shop here and drop off their beers by hand).

Freddy, the owner, loves talking about beer and local beer especially. This is a destination stop for people trying to find local Chicago beer and Midwest beer. The European selection isn't fantastic but that's not why you go here. It's for the local stuff. Always ask about some of the harder to find local options. They might have some one hand or be able to direct you to a place to find it.

Been coming here for years and I have never had a problem with the service or quality. Great rotation on the selection and have never been disappointed. The only place I have ever been to that the customers are always bringing in their own personal beers from elsewhere in the country (had a Heady Topper here!) just to share. The customers also bring in their homebrews. Great community place that will continue to support the locals and the local brewers.

Photo of GimmeGumballHead
4.69/5  rDev +7.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 3

this place is one of the best bottle shops in the area. They have pretty much everything, no joke. Freddy, the owner, is making lots of friends with his distributors and the local guys, so he has tons of rarer things and access to lots of the best local stuff.

Photo of Chrisbracken420
4.86/5  rDev +11.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

Stopped in here a few months ago after seeing there solid selection on beermenus.com. I was impressed by their selection and their up to date beer list. Prices are right on point and the customer service is great. I immediately fell into conversation with the owner Freddy (great guy) and it was apparent that his love for not only craft beer but giving the small upcoming breweries in Chicago just as much attention. Highly recommend this gem! Cheers

Photo of Jon
3.68/5  rDev -15.6%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5

Stopped in Capone's to grab some of the latest Pipeworks offerings as it's on my way home from work. If the store didn't have banners promoting the craft beer inside, you'd never know. Pretty shoddy exterior. Inside, though, it's fairly clean and all the beer is right there for you to explore when you walk in the front door. The quality seemed pretty good, and the beers I purchased were all very fresh. Service was nonexistent until I checked out, but the man behind the register was friendly. Selection was impressive for the area. The one issue I have with this place is the prices of the beer, which were very high. I liked what Capone's had in stock, but the lack of value makes it difficult to justify buying beer here on a regular basis.

Photo of jkaiser150
4.58/5  rDev +5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

they have a busted up parkinglot they share with the other stores in the mini mall.
the beer selection is pretty good. lots of pipeworks wich is excellent to see local featured so prominently.
the manager was friendly and talkative with me about my trip from orlando
they had all the seasonal fff i was looking for but got just one.
the beer aisle is straigt ahead when you walk in,
they even have a beer cooler. it was well lit too so i could see everything easy
i got apocalypse cow for $15 which i thought was high.

Photo of Tbone
2.06/5  rDev -52.8%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.5 | service: 1 | selection: 1

I am tanking this place on service and selection for the simple but important reason that they misrepresent their stock on beermenus.com.

They update almost every other day to make minor additions, probably just to boost their link to the top of the "recently updated". But when they update, they keep beers on the list that they know they no longer have. Coincidentally, these seem to be beers that people are seeking and would likely prompt them to drive across town and go to Capone's, as I did last week.

They updated that afternoon and listed that they had Goose Island Juliet and Sierra Nevada Hoptimum, both sought after beers that had already sold out almost everywhere else in Chicago. So, I rushed over (spending about 1/2 hour in traffic) only to find that they had neither and didn't even have a space on the shelf for them. I asked the guy about it, explaining that it was listed on their beermenus that they just updated. He sheepishly claimed they "must have just run out yesterday". Like you probably are now, I was skeptical.
Well, it has now been almost a week and they have updated their beermenus 2 more times since then. Guess what 2 beers are still listed?

Oh, and their prices on beermenus are inaccurately low.
For example they list Pipeworks Close Encounter at $8.00, but they charage $8.99 and several other beers were higher than the price listed on beermenus.

Photo of crossovert
3.74/5  rDev -14.2%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5

This is a small little convenience store but it boasts a nice selection of booze. It has a small parking lot but I managed a space.

A majority of the beer is in the cooler which is nice. Mostly bombers and 750s it seemed. There is a small warm 6 pack area. And also a warm seasonal rack near the register. They had some seasonals here that had sold out before in other places.

The service was pretty good, just the lone guy at the register but he was knowledgeable and helpful. The prices were a bit inflated, but overall not a bad place and close to other stores.

Photo of osusullins
5/5  rDev +14.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

I've been coming to Capone's for awhile now. It doesn't look like much from the outside, but they have the best selection in town, and all of the newest local breweries. If you take the time to talk to Freddy at the counter, or if he notices that you come in often and spend money he will let you know about when the rare stuff is coming. He has my number now and has called me to let me know when certain things arrive. He let me know about DFH 120 the morning it arrived and hooked me up with my CBS. If you like them on Facebook they always have the best deals and specials, and he always uploads his inventory as soon as his deliveries hit the shelves, so it is worth it to follow him so you don't miss out on the rare stuff.

I used to preach that West Lakeview was the best beer store in the city, and it is still a favorite of mine, but the more time that passes I think that Capones is the better store. W.L. has some rare and hard to get imports, but Capones is a store for down to earth people who appreciate quality craft beer that is run by a guy that appreciates quality craft beer. I love this place. Just a great store. If you haven't been, then you should definitly check him out.

Photo of marmora
4.45/5  rDev +2.1%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

At first glance, Capone's may seem like an average neighborhood liquor store. Take a second look and you'll see neon lights from multiple craft beer companies and a sign boasting over 300 craft beers.
I've never counted but they have just about every craft beer brand you can get in Chicago.
I found Half Acre Horizon Ale here in August 2011 and was able to send a friend looking for it here a month later. He was still able to pick up 4 bottles.
If you've been looking for 3 Floyd's Gumballhead, stock up here.

On my last visit, Freddy, the owner, talked about beer he likes, asked me about my favorites and was an all-around nice guy.

Prices are a little higher than I would prefer to pay, but I'm a cheapskate.

A must visit if you're in the area.

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Capone's Liquor & Food in Chicago, IL
96 out of 100 based on 58 ratings.