Bell Beverage

Not Rated.
Bell BeverageBell Beverage
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

27 Ratings
Ratings: 27
Reviews: 23
rAvg: 4
pDev: n/a
[ Store ]

2809 S Front St
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19148-4837
United States
phone: (215) 468-6891

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

Notes:
None, yet.

(Place added by: jrancan)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | next › last »
Ratings: 27 | Reviews: 23 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of rabbitinmyhat
5/5  rDev +25%

Best doggone service, selection and pricing that I've found in Tri-State area.

Easy trip from NJ at the base of Walt Whitman Bridge. Usually part of my Saturday morning errand runs -- especially when limited releases come out and you can find only a bottle or two in NJ stores.

Photo of DoubleSimcoe
2.6/5  rDev -35%
vibe: 3.25 | quality: 1.25 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5

So the wife and I got an apartment in Philly... after getting the keys from our landlord, we were hungry for some real Philly food at Tony Luke's! Turns out this beer jawn is nearby...

Getting a case to celebrate the Philadelphia experience sounded like a good idea, so we stopped at Bell's. The place is not much to look at- just a beer-case joint with stuff piled up high aisle after aisle.

The selection is not particularly impressive either- no Lost Abbey or Russian River like you'd find at Bella Vista Beer Distributors. I did spot a bunch of Belgians, plus American craft staples like Lagunitas, Green Flash, Firestone, Terrapin, Evolution, Mad River, Great Divide...

There are no prices, best-by dates or beer nerds roaming the aisles but they do have monitors where you can look for your favorite beer.

The place is too hot and not optimal for beer storage. I got a case of Terrapin Hopsecutioner that turned out to have "expired" in April, three months ago. I wouldn't return. These folks don't care for good beer!

As my wife would say, "no dancing girls, dammit!"

Photo of soulcougher
4/5  rDev 0%

Photo of ejmvet
4.5/5  rDev +12.5%

Photo of InspectorBob
4.5/5  rDev +12.5%

Photo of IdrinkGas
4/5  rDev 0%

Photo of Rifugium
3.95/5  rDev -1.3%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 5

Bell's is an outlet store with a great selection, and in the rare case where they do not have what you're looking for, they'll usually direct you to where you can get it. The catch is...the almighty PA case law. Yes, you can only buy cases here, so you'd better dang well know what it is you're about to make a commitment to. If you want to buy less than a case, there are places where you can do such a thing (without crossing the bridge to Jersey, though that is a viable option), but if you need a lot of a good beer, Bell's is a good bet.

Photo of TheFightfan1
4.3/5  rDev +7.5%

I went here after dropping off my father at the airport. Very easy to get to off of I-95. Upon my journey I was asked to sample a few ocktoberfest beers. Nothing spectacular but always good to wet the whistle while choosing a good brew.

Service was good. No one out on the floor to help out but the cashier's seemed to be knowledgable of what they are selling which is always a good thing.

Selection was fantastic. When you can find a case of Westmalle tripel for sale it means the company has done some research on quality beers. The first 3 aisle's are all craft beer and some hard to find in my area.

I rated a bit pricey as it seemed that the belgian brews were about $5 to $10 dollars more than some other places that I have found them in.

All and all a great place you will certainly find what you are looking for here and then some.

Photo of DmanGTR
3.85/5  rDev -3.8%

Went here for a beer run the last time I was in Philly. Next to a Dunkin Donuts near South Columbus and the interstate.

Upon walking in, it looked like a typical warehouse of cases of beverages. About 3 aisles of craft beer and a few more of BMC and other drinks and sodas. The prices are reasonable. I hate how the prices of the beers are not stickered or on the shelves; you have to consult the price book hanging by a chain on each aisle. And some of the prices aren't even in the book, you have to ask the guy directly at the checkout.

Beers are organized via domestic or import, then by brewery name. A pretty good selection. They had cases of FBS, Rock Art, Bell's, Maredsous, Ommegang, Yard's, etc... too many to list. I bought a case of Bell's Double Cream Stout. Not a bad price either. There are mixed cases as well, for those who want a sampling of a brewery.

You're pretty much on your own here. You come in, get what you need, and check out. If you ask, they'll help you but it's probably not necessary.

Overall, it's not a beer museum like the Foodery. This is for someone who needs cases of beer. I dig. I recommend.

Photo of Ryan19147
4.5/5  rDev +12.5%

I find the prices here to be very good. As mentioned previously, the sale section right up front has a great variety at very good prices. I recently bought a few cases of Magic Hat Hi.P.A for $11 that had just expired. This was disclosed to me beforehand and the beer was very good. I discussed it with the owner(?) and he said he allows returns at any time for any reason. How could I go wrong. He recently lived up to this as he took back a case of Prima Pils that had gone bad. He seems to be very interested in good beer and very willing to discuss it. They are opening a tasting area up front that sounds very cool. The rest of the staff doesn't seem that knowledgeable or helpful but the selection and the prices have never let me down. As of yet, I have never walked in there and not found what I was looking for.

Photo of corby112
4.05/5  rDev +1.3%

Huge distributor in South Philly with an excellent selection of craft beer. They have a very large selection of American craft as well as a very impressive selection of imports, especially German and Belgian. This place has the best selection of any distributor in the city and they also sell 5L minikegs and frequently have sales on seasonal cases. Also, they have a price list which is very helpful. The service is average, what you would expect at a huge warehouse distributor. Prices are kind of pricey but when you have to buy a full case they tend to get kind of outrageous no matter where you go.

Photo of jwhancher
4.35/5  rDev +8.7%

I live in South Philly and this is THE best place to go to get your bulk beer shopping done. A great selection, decent case turnaround time, and THE best prices around. I quite enjoy the
"beer sale" prices of the week up in the first isle. I'm telling you....you can't beat Bell's!!!

In terms of selection, although I haven't tried all of the imports/out-of-state beer you can imagine, they have an awesome list. Hint: they do sell a lot of Bud/Millers-Coors products because the masses (especially those going down to the sports complex) don't know what they're doing and only buy the bland crap!

Photo of dstotz
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%

Bell's is my go to place if I want something interesting. The Quantities of any particular beer are not huge (sometimes only 1 or 2 cases), but the variety is pretty extensive, including some obscure stuff as well as old standbys.

The store logically and compactly organized, with all the beer you want to look at in just two isles - one for domestics and one for imports (All the Bud/Coors/etc. is in a separate isle!). Even so, browsing can be tedious with it all jammed in next to each other. If you are looking for something specific, check out one of the handy price lists hanging from the shelves (again, domestics listed in the domestics isle and imports in the imports isle) to see if the carry it, then ask at he front if they have it in stock. Better yet, ask one of the people on the floor who stock the shelves. At the front, they don't necessarily know where to send you to find it.

I talked to someone on a fork lift recently who seemed to be in charge of the place and really knew his stuff. He filled me in on their expansion plans which include rearranging the store, devoting a larger section to specialty beer, and installing a new refrigerated section. Make sure to hit them up on your next trip to Ikea.

Photo of jimbomill
4.2/5  rDev +5%

I just got back from a run over to Bell's. I had read about it here on BA for half a year or more. Having had a run to Victory in Downingtown fall through, I made the best of it.
And HOW!

Although the place can be "dusty" and the help centrally located away from the beer (update - next trip there, folks on the floor were available and helpful), they carry a lot of choices. Although some folks say the prices are standard, I found them excellent.

Mad Elf around me, if you can find it, is in the $58-$60, range. Bell's had it for $50 and a few cents.
Golden Monkey around me is going for $38-$40. Victory has it for $34.50 if you can make it up to the brewery store. Bell's had one case left at $32.94.
But wait, there's more!
The best I got a case of Wyerbacher Blithering Idiot in the past 3 years was for $46 at the Canal's in Berlin, NJ. I walked out of Bell's with a case for $43.99. Around me the local places have it for $52.

Lastly, I love Wyerbacher Decadence. Naturally, it is no longer made and no longer available - can't get it anymore without being "lottery lucky".
Bell's had two cases, selling them at $58 a case. Heck, I can't compare that price because I can't get a case of 12 oz (or any other) Decadence around here!

It was a very worthwhile trip - plenty of local microbrews, plenty of USA microbrews, as well as the delicious imports, like Delirium Tremens (about $84 for the case of 11.3 ouncers), Chimays, German brews, et cetera.
In summary, the folks at Bell's willingly look up prices, but the simply aren't posted with the products(UPDATE - Bell's has posted Price Lists throughout the store at last visit). I found the prices on all the beer I asked about to be very good and the place deems another visit, but I should be good for the Chrsitmas rush now.

Photo of NeroFiddled
3.7/5  rDev -7.5%

It doesn't look like much from the outside, but the retail side of Bell's is only part of their operation - they're one of the largest suppliers to bars and restaurants in the city! And c'mon, they're in south Philly next to the highway, waddaya expect?

They've got some very good sale prices (which they advertise in the papers), and the regular prices are standard - I've never seen them gouge like I have at some other places (which will go nameless). They've got a great selection of imports and micros, with some stuff that you can't find in other places - not that you couldn't get it by ordering it, but you'd have to wait. And for me to say that, well that means a lot. I still go back to grab stuff I haven't had.

They're well stocked, and since I'm in the habit of checking code dates nowadays, I always take a look around and I haven't found anything out of code yet.

There's no service, however, unless you go up to the front to ask about something, but I kind of like that.

"Pricing" could be better though. I prefer the stores that actually tag every item, but I know that costs them time and money. But not everything is marked, and when you're looking at imports and thinking of buying a few cases a few bucks here or there makes a lot of difference. Still, you can always check up front.

I've run into some employees who couldn't have really cared that I was there - in fact, they carried on their conversations as if I wasn't there - but I've never found anyone to be outright rude or seemingly annoyed (I chalk it up to boredom as I'm usually in at odd times like just before closing).

Overall, I give it a thumbs up. I wouldn't make it a destination stop by any means, but if you're in the Philly area and you've just never given them a shot you might want to think about it.

Photo of mvanaskie13
3.85/5  rDev -3.8%

As a South Philadelphian this is one of my closest beer distributors. I do not get there too often (once a month/every other month) because there are two closer but when I do I am impressed with their selection. Not as extensive as The Beer Yard, but better than 4 out of 5 distributors in PA. It is also one of the few distributors that advertises regularly, so if you are lucky you can get some decent beer for reasonable price (they had Yards cases for 19.99 last week). As noted in other reviews, the temperature of the warehouse is definitely an issue in the summer months, though I could not notice a difference in the taste of the beer I purchased. Service I have had was nothing to be noted, a place that won't ask if you need help but they seemed friendly enough to answer any questions. Location is ideal since it is right off of 95, perfect stop on the way down the shore.

Photo of WilliamPhilaPa
3.6/5  rDev -10%

My pop told many times that Bell's is a good place to buy cases... I don't frequent that part of town unless I'm going to a sporting event. I like the fact that nobody bothers you when you are just looking at all the choices. Great selection overall, however the only time I have been there is during the cold months and by the reviews I read it seems that they have a issue with keeping the warehouse cool during the summer months, hopefully that can be fixed and make this place better then it already is.

Photo of Schooly
3.45/5  rDev -13.8%

Bell’s is very easy to get to. At the end of the off-ramp of I-95 at the Front St. exit in South Philly. A billboard advertises their specials which are decent, but on the macro side of things. At the front of the store near the cashiers is the discount area where the out-of-season seasonals end up. Some good buys can be found there.
They seem to be a larger regional distributor, so a lot of stuff probably passes through there, and they could probably get their hands on just about anything. Lots of Micros and Imports are represented here, just check the dates; not as much turnover here. It seems like a bunch of their imports have been there for a few years; domestics too. I saw a case of Ommegang Abbey 25’s dated Oct ’93, not necessarily a bad thing for Omme, but not so good for the more obscure lighter fare, especially since climate control looks non-existent. Several boxes looked opened and rummaged through, so be careful with that. Price lists in the middle of the aisles look like they’ve been typed with an actual typewriter and not updated for several years.
Service is sparse; don’t expect anyone to come and ask if you need help (but hey when does a BA need that!) go to the cashier for current prices. Speaking of prices, theirs are reasonable to good, and you may be able to haggle over that ‘expired’ case of Omme.

Photo of paddyos
4.2/5  rDev +5%

Right off of 95 and also right next door to a Wine and Spirit shop which makes this easy as easy as it's going to get for one stop booze shopping in Philly.
Well more than half of the store is dedicated to micro's from across the US as well as imports. While most of the distributors in Philly are good with the locals, Bell's takes it up a notch having all araes of the US represented.
The only daownfall is that the pricebooks in the aisles are dated 8/5/05, but there are plenty of staff around to answer any questions and the stuff that is on sale that week is clearly marked. I actually got a case of Yards here for cheaper than what you pay at the brewery.
Even though this place is on the opposite end of the city of which I live on and there are at least 2 distributors much closer to me, this is my new go-to place.

Photo of jmc44
4.15/5  rDev +3.8%

Bell Beverage is very acessible, just off I-95 in South Philly.

They are the best beer distributor I have found in the city, with an impressive collection of microbrews and imports. Unlike most distributors, they did not donate half of their store to stocking macros.

Prices I have not found better anywhere. They are typically always below even the best deals elsewhere in the city, and I usually save $3-5 a case on something like Yuengling, and $5-8 on micros or imports (if you can find them elsewhere). Theres always a bunch of kegs in the back as well, although I do not know brands - they may or may not be macrobrews.

Service seems good; the employees seem to have a pretty good knowledge of beer, better than some bartenders I've met.

Definitely the place to shop in Philadelphia.

Photo of oxmasterscream
3.7/5  rDev -7.5%

For the southern New Jersey resident, a fairly good spot. Lots of stuff we don't get like Bell & Stone. Tons of micros, Belgians and Germans. Only problem is PA law forces you to buy by the case. That's the law and you can't fault them for adhering to it. If you're looking for something you can't get in NJ, call here first before trekking further into PA. It's just over the Walt Whitman Bridge. An easy drive. The guy there was happy to order me some St. Victorious and it was there within 48 hours.

Photo of Billolick
3.55/5  rDev -11.3%

Easy on/off location by highway 95. This place is also real close to the two temples of steak cheese sandwedges in south Philly, Gino's and Pats. Large warehouse type set up, large selection of macros and micros. featuring a nice amout of local mid atlantic breweries as well as a fair amount of classy imports. Biggest problem i had with this and other spots in Penn. is the fact that you MUST buy a case. no sixers, no singles, no big bottles. What a lame law! Only way around it would be to go with a friend and split up the goods or try one of the mixed cases that some of the breweries offer. Worthwhile stop just dont expect to pick up a few bottles or to try a sixpack. Staff was a wee bit cranky...

Photo of nomad
3.35/5  rDev -16.3%

Forgot this was the place I used to frequent for cases... A pretty shabby looking building just off Columbus and Oregon, easy to find and access, though its fairly lonely on the inside for service. No matter how long I walk around looking at the merchandise, no one has ever offered any help, despite workers constantly, though leisurely, walking around me. This isn't a problem, as the prices are in those mid-aisle books. These are often in need of an update, though, as I often cannot find the prices for in-stock items. Conversely, I often cannot find cases for things that are supposedly in-stock. Some service would clear up all of the above.

Great selection, not as good as the Beer Yard, but pretty darn good for a South Philly warehouse. Unfortunately, during the summer the store's temperature is the same as the outdoors, because they leave the loading dock and other doors wide open. Thus the beer gets baked all day long by Philly's spring and summers of 90 degree, 100% humidity. This is a key knock to their quality, especially if you're buying outside the cooler November to April time period.

The prices, as other's have mentioned, are great for the flagship brews of regional and national micros. Even more helpful is that they have large advertisements in the Philly Weekly, City Paper, and many other easy-to-find and free publications - very nice for the city residents. But, their prices on imports and choice micros could be a tad better.

A decent choice when the Beer Yard feels to far away

Photo of halfpgl
3.9/5  rDev -2.5%

Right off of Rt.95 this place couldn't be easier to get to if it tried. The building is right across the street from the end of the exit ramp. The beer side of the shop is great. Don't look for 6/12 packs because this place moves cases...and plenty of them from the looks of things. This is set up like a warehouse and they even pull the trucks into the back door to unload. I went on a mission to find Belgium beer and was not disappointed. While not cheap they have what appears to be a nice selection of a wide variety of biers. They may only have one or two cases of some types so I’m guessing you must come back often to find a real special brew…and bring your plastic since it won’t be cheap for that special hard to find case, but hey, at least you found it here.

Photo of leeenglewood
4.15/5  rDev +3.8%

Looks like a little old distributor from the outside but you walk into a huge warehouse. They have a massive selection of beers. As you walk in they have little kiosk that has discounted beers around it offering a few good seasonal that might be just past their prime. They have a huge selection of British, Belgium, German, and American micros. Price books are in the middle of each section. The service is a bunch of handcarts so you can carry your selections to the register area nothing wrong with that. Very easy to get to from 95 and is the best distributor in city limits hands down..

« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | next › last »
Bell Beverage in Philadelphia, PA
90 out of 100 based on 27 ratings.