Smiley's Discount Beverage

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BA SCORE
89
very good

18 Ratings
Ratings: 18
Reviews: 18
rAvg: 3.9
pDev: n/a
[ Store ]

7 Main St
Dover, New Hampshire, 03820-3811
United States
phone: (603) 742-8620
// CLOSED //



Notes:
None, yet.

(Place added by: BeerAdvocate)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 18 | Reviews: 18 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by drocpsu:
Photo of drocpsu
3.85/5  rDev -1.3%

I live around the corner from Smiley's and have stopped in a few times. While it looks like a hole in the wall beverage store/pizza shop from the outside, they actually have a surprisingly good beer selection inside. They carry all of the swill beers in 6 packs and cases, but that's really not what this review is about.

In addition to the macro stuff, they also carry a good selection of regional craft beers in 6-packs and imports in corked and capped bottles, and some in small, 12oz 4-packs. Most are not refrigerated (which is probably not the best, since this store gets pretty hot during the summer. I've never had a problem with a beer purchased there though), they do sell some cooled as well, if you want to drink it soon after. The do keep a limited quantity of each unrefrigerated beer on the floor though, as to limit the amount affected by the heat if it sits out for a long time. All the other beers are stored in their dark cellar which remains cool and dark year round.

They almost always carry a good selection from Unibroue, Chimay, Rogue, and Ommegang, as well as a number of others that are constantly changing. Prices are comparable to most anywhere else.

I was in there the other day to pick up a few bottles, and the woman who owns it was working. She had managed to get her hands on about 10-12 bottles of a few no-longer brewed Rogue beers (red fox ale and some other that I can't remember), and opened a couple of them to allow us (and herself) to taste them. Any beer shop that has impromptu beer tasting sessions is ok in my book!

If you're ever in Dover, NH, you should definitely stop in and pick up a few bottles.

Updated review 12/29/08: I love smiley's more all the time. Lynn, the owner, is constantly updating their selection to include new, quality beers. Prices for most things are VERY reasonable (and even downright cheap at times). I was able to pick up a 6 pack of Brooklyn Black Choc Stout for $6.99, which is less than a 6er of Sam Adams or any other local beer.

They frequently hold scheduled tastings, which provides people the opportunity to try new beers. At the most recent Christmas tasting, Lynn was opening up random bottles that people wanted to try. She is truly dedicated to serving her customers.

More User Reviews:
Photo of Jono
3/5  rDev -23.1%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 3 | selection: 3 | food: 3

News item: Smileys closed without warning about 4 weeks ago.

Never having been inside the place I went to check out Smiley's tonight and found the place recently hollowed out. No note on door. Wound up patronizing a place about 5 blocks away (Discount Beverages) that opened only 4 months ago. Prompted by the name similarity I inquired whether there was a relationship and was told no, none. Which I would have guessed by the Indian ownership of this new place not matching tales of Smileys.

So there you have it. Another one by the wayside.

NOTE: To post this news I was forced to enter the numeric ranking of Smileys so went middling on everything to minimize skewing. Of course it's all mere historical data now.
:-(

Photo of 11millsown113
3.86/5  rDev -1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5

i live pretty close to smileys and go here about once a month. the selection is alright, you can make your own six pack and they have more beers in the back. the bomber and 750ml bottle selection is on the small side but still respectable. the people working at the checkout desk are very nice people and from my experience have tried most of the beers and have a decent knowledge. if you are in the area and was a good quality beer i would recommend going here for it. its the best in the area for specialty beers.

Photo of bewley
3.48/5  rDev -10.8%
vibe: 2 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4

Fairly decent selection of beer for a NH convenience store/pizza-sub shop. Pretty grimy inside and out, this place caters to locals looking for cheap domestic swill, cigs & cheap food and specialty beer aficionados. If you're from MA or RI you may find the selection severely lacking and NH State law only allow certain beers to be sold.

I once heard the lady who owns this place tell a local fellow waiting in line to purchase a six-pack of Miller Lite that she doesn't drink any of that "fancy stuff" when he inquired, "Who pays for/drinks this stuff?" I get the impression they play both sides of the fence when it comes to catering to the local rednecks and those seeking microbrews and whatnot.

Place is a pigsty.
Beer bottles are not marked with prices.
Some of the beer is overpriced, some very reasonable.
Service may vary from rude to excellent.

Photo of FrankLloydMike
4/5  rDev +2.6%

Stopped in to pick up some Moonlight Mead for a gift, and poked around the beer selection for future reference. The first thing you notice, and it's charming in a way, is what a dump this place is. I'm not sure what the evolution of Smiley's is, but my guess is connivence store that added a pizza counter that started stocking a sizable quantity of good beer. Along the way, the ceiling tiles seem to have never been replaced.

I stopped by rather late between dinner at the Flatbread in Portsmouth and beers at the Barley Pub, so it was a little dead and no one was working the floor that I could tell. Still, the woman at the counter was very friendly and I assume would have answered any questions I may have had.

The selection is excellent for New Hampshire in general and for a convenience store anywhere. All the great locals were there, including several varieties of White Birch and a lingering selection of the recently lost Manchester Brewing. There were also a wide selection of beers that are hard to find in New Hampshire. It's a smaller selection than Bert's by far, but the store isn't dedicated solely to beer and with the exception of Carl's in Kittery, it's the best I've seen on the Seacoast.

One thing that really bugged me, though, was that very few bottles had prices on them. I'm sure I could have asked what something cost before buying it, but that's a pain when considering a lot of options. If I'd been able to see a price, I might have picked something up for myself in addition to the gift.

Photo of kingcrowing
3.85/5  rDev -1.3%

I was going to the NH seacoast with a few friends for the weekend and the one taking us lives in Dover and she said this was the place to stop to get some beer for the weekend. It doesn't look like too much but it's a pretty solid little store. Over to the right there's a huge room full of cases of beer - Smuttynose, Red Hook, Dogfish Head, Sam Adams, Shipyard, all the stuff you'd expect in the area. I saw a case of DFH 90min that looked pretty tempting but the room with all the cases felt really hot, maybe in the 80's so I passed on that.

I ended up getting a variety pack of Boulder Beer Co brews for $15 (we can't get their beer in VT) and a couple bombers of Green Flash (Le Freak $10, Imperial IPA $6). They had quite a decent selection of bombers and single bottles including Brewdog Tokyo, Green Flash, Bolder Beer Co, and White Birch.

They had three different White Birch Beers in bombers but where all $11.99 and up according to the guy at the counter. I've heard mixed reviews on their beers and haven't been too impressed by their stuff so I decided to skip on it but if you're looking for their stuff they were pretty well stocked both times I went in.

My friends got cases of Shipyard Pumpkinhead and Smuttynose Summer weizen and those were both quite cheap ($14 & $10 a 12-pack respectively). If you're in the area it's worth checking out.

Photo of puboflyons
3.8/5  rDev -2.6%

If you are not looking for it you might pass it by because the sign on the outside says it is a pizza place, which part of it is. But half of the building is devoted to beer sales. Refrigerated beer along the back wall and a side room full of many different 12-packs. Mix and match allowed. Watch the dates as I saw a few dusty bottles. They carry a large number of macro and micro labels but a majority of the beers they sold were also available elsewhere in New Hampshire. If I lived around there it is probably the place I would shop.

Photo of ElGallo
4/5  rDev +2.6%

Smiley's is like the twin brother of Gary's (in Portsmouth). Both have decent beer selections, discount prices, and lots of dust and grime. It must be a New Hampshire thing. When I first got in to craft beer, this was the place I bought most of my bottles. The selection is good and getting better as NH finally joins the 21st century and imports a greater variety of labels. Plenty of discount cases, plenty of chilled craft beer, and a decent assortment of bombers and 750s. Prices have gone up lately for high-end craft and imports, but such is life. Best place in Dover to buy beer, and their sandwiches are good too if you like da grease like I do.

Photo of blsdmf33
5/5  rDev +28.2%

Great store, terrific service and the owner is very personable. I go here for all my brew needs. The do tasting often and have local breweries in a lot.
Full service deli when a great staff of employees.
They also deliver anything locally from the store with a purchase from the deli....great for late night munchies and the games.

They know how to treat their beer. Low lighting, no temerature control and rotaing stock regularly. They sell mix 6 packs and will sometimes do mystery 6 packs....great idea.

I've been using Smileys for years now and have never had a problem. Many of my friends would say the same.

Photo of Mitch826
4.5/5  rDev +15.4%

Heard a lot of hype about Smiley's, and was pretty impressed upon finally visiting. Once getting to the beer section, one thing caught my eye. Stone's Oaked Arrogant Bastard Ale, a beer that I've heard nothing but great things about, so, of course, I had to purchase it. This ale is definitely as good as advertised.

Other than this, they carry a great selection of microbrews. This is definitely a beer store that I will frequently go to, as I go to UNH in the next town over, and it's the best selection in the area. Comparing prices to RI, where I'm originally from, it is much cheaper. I believe it was a $4 difference for a 6-pack of the Oaked Arrogant Bastard.

One thing I wish Smiley's had was a larger mix-a-six section. Other than that, this place is awesome, and recommended to all looking for some different beer choices.

Photo of elwood5555
4.85/5  rDev +24.4%

I have been incredibly impressed with Smiley's. The selection is among the best in New Hampshire. I have checked a lot of other beer stores in NH and haven't found any that come close. You can find a wide variety from Rogue, Allagash, Unibroue, Ommegang, Sam Adams, Longtrail, Magic Hat and Smuttynose. It is the only place that I know of that carries cases of Rogue Dead Guy Ale. They also carry beers from some small local breweries like Manchester Brewing.
Lynn, the owner, is very knowledgable and always has suggestions for beers to try. The prices are very reasonable.
Smiley's frequently has breweries come in to the store for tasting events during the week. Also, they hold their own beer tasting events every Saturday. This has allowed me to try a huge variety of different beers.

Photo of MaliciousBot
3.55/5  rDev -9%

On a recent trip to my parent's vacation house up near the lakes region I left from work on a Friday afternoon without bringing anything to drink. When I got up, my neighbor asked me to come over and have a coors light with him...Yum. I had nothing good and the local places had Blue Moon as the most exotic beer offered. Not good at all.

What was I going to do? My neighbors friend wandered over to the house with a Sierra Nevada Southern Hemisphere bomber, awesome...I remember that as one of the beers I loved most but only had on one other occasion. I asked him where he grabbed it. He told me that there was a great beer store (little hole in the wall) about an hour away called Smiley's which was a pizza and beverage store. Told me it was the best around and all his beer geeks friends went there to get they're hop and malt fixes.

I looked them up on the internet and they had a cool blog style page that was obviosly created by the owner(s). It was crude, but lots of info and the brands that they carried.(And some pretty funny personal things that happened at the store involving some sort of theft If I remember correctly) I remember reading that they carry almost all beer available in New Hampshire. I am used to a local store here in MA that does in fact carry almost all beer avalable. So I had an image in my head and I went on my way too seek out this beer haven with high hopes.

1 hour and a few confusing one way streets later I arrived at this store which is indeed cleverly disguised as a pizza and sub shop. I entered the store and right in front of the coolers filled with mostly BMC products but a very good amount of microbrews west coast and local beer, was a reletively good selection of local and other bombers. I saw some Rogue, some Stone, the regular Duval and Chimay belgians, local favs like Smutty, Long trail, and Allagash.

This place is not what I was expecting however. I was expecting a much larger selection of rarer and harder to find beers, But I learned later that New Hampshire has a strict bottle poicy and everything must be approved by government and political entities, I also learned that certain ABV amounts are probibited, and therefore cannot be sold here.

Smiley's was not what my buddies friend told me, (I had too high of expectations, and am spoiled by living in MA) but that does not mean that it is not The Best place in the area !

The reason for me going was to procure my Southern Hemisphere Wet Hop Ale (Which I can't find anywhere) and I GOT IT ! I also picked up some Stone Ruination or IPA, don't quite remember, it was over the summer.

All in all, if you are in the area it is definatly worth checking out, you will definatly find something you can relax with !

Photo of gestyr
4.65/5  rDev +19.2%

We are in Dover on a vacation and stopped in tonight. They have a very good selection from all over, both the US and Canada and a good representation of Euro brews. The specials were a very good bargain. It helps that NH has no sales tax. Their selection of regional craft brews is excellent. The service is excellent and the persons working there have great personalities and a good rapport with the customers. The two guys working in the kitchen area were very entertaining. The food was very good. We will be stopping back over the next few days while we are here.

Photo of SevaTse
3.4/5  rDev -12.8%

Great selection, lots of great specials once in a while, a lot of great new beers introduced regularly. My only major issue is that with the exception of specials and a few six-packs, none of the beers have prices on them! I shop here the most and I have recently visited a store that had everything priced and found that I have purchased way more bottles, because I was aware of what I am getting into, seeing how prices for some Belgian bottles/German six packs vary widely throughout the area. Not sure what the reason for them not sticking labels is.

Also, a lot of bottles are kept in the way of the direct sunlight, so some of the pricier items that may have been there for a while can once in a great while taste a bit off.

The food at the deli in the back of the store is very good, but allow ample time for it to get prepared(although, you can spend the time checking out the selection of beverages).
The Web site states that if you want them to carry any beer, they can order it.

Photo of cleeze
4/5  rDev +2.6%

Stopped by recently while i was rolling through town. Owner is real nice and friendly. Invited me and my girlfriend to one of their beer tastings lastyear. She also opened a bottle of pig's ear brown ale for my girlfriend to try since she liked brown ale.

On this trip I picked up a corked bottle of Ommegang's Rare Vos (4.50!!!) Taster Pack of Unibroue with a killer glass (10.99) and a bomber of Arrogant bastard for(4.50!) all those were a steal....

It's an easy place to miss. It looks like a rinky dink pizza place but trust me they got some gems at great prices

Photo of graveRacker
3.7/5  rDev -5.1%

Possibly one of the better places to pick up a six of most anything that is hard(er) to find.
Sipping a Anchor Steam (a hard find) right now. A seemingly ma-and-pop shop with general bodega riff raff, and a sub/pizza side store. But a beer and wine selection that has bottomless limits... Pick up some 20 (plus)oz corked of Rouges Imperial IPA...good choice.
The staff is friendly but fairly unknowlageable, but we'll forgive em' because of their beer vault.
The pizza's not bad for a side road store. Well worth the visit if not from the area.

Photo of jdhilt
3.25/5  rDev -16.7%

Smiley's is in the middle of Dover on a one-way street that from the outside you would not know they have maybe 200 different bottles of beer. One of the better selections here in cow Hampshire. I still prefer Capital Convenience in Concord since it is only 5 miles from the house and selection is about the same. Their selection includes Casco Bay, Gritty's, Unibroue, Flying Dog, Dogfish Head, Peak Organic & Shipyard, Magic Hat, Longtrail, St. Peter's, McEwan's and others plus the usual macro swill. I think they have improved the selection in the last few years. Service is friendly but not knowledgeable. A mixed 6-pack was $7.50.

Photo of Bierman9
3.5/5  rDev -10.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5

Based on their website, I had high hopes for this place. Swung by w/Artied while on a trek to The Barley Pub. Thought I'd have a chance to score me some good Maine biers (right, Johnny?)
Got there and found it to be a little hole-in-the-wall.... Had the typical macro swill, and some imports and major micros (Sammy) but not a whole heck of a lot more. Had only 1 Smutty Big Beer (IPA) and I can't recall seeing the Maine stuff (was it there?). Had some good Unibroue stuff, and scored an 11, but where's the beef? Oh well...

overall: 3.5
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | $$

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Smiley's Discount Beverage in Dover, NH
89 out of 100 based on 18 ratings.