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John's Market

Not Rated.
John's MarketJohn's Market
BA SCORE
96
world-class

73 Ratings
Ratings: 73
Reviews: 60
rAvg: 4.33
pDev: 11.09%
[ Store ]

3535 SW Multnomah Blvd
Portland, Oregon, 97219-3761
United States
phone: (503) 244-2617

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

Notes:
None, yet.

(Place added by: HiroProtagonist)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 73 | Reviews: 60 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of TaborTime
3.75/5  rDev -13.4%

TaborTime, Feb 15, 2014
Photo of halvbeerson
5/5  rDev +15.5%

halvbeerson, Jan 09, 2014
Photo of Adamnimmo
4/5  rDev -7.6%

Adamnimmo, Nov 30, 2013
Photo of loren01
3.04/5  rDev -29.8%

Several years ago this was the premier bottle shop in the PDX area, however in the more recent years there have been many new bottle shops popping up that are just better. Starting off wit the good about Johns marketplace: probably the biggest beer selection in Portland if not the entire Pacific Northwest area. That's about the only good thing. By the time you get your beer home to drink more often than not it's way old and oxidized. Most all of the beer they have is just sitting at room temp on shelves and they just have too much of it to keep everything fresh. The place is discusting and the people who work there seem to be some of the trashiest people you could come across. In a town full of beer snobs who know good beer vs old past it's prime beer I'd be kinda surprised if these guys make it thru the next coming years withe better bottleshops like Tin bucket, beermongers and belmont station around.

loren01, Nov 19, 2013
Photo of flagmantho
4.37/5  rDev +0.9%

I drove down to Portland from Seattle yesterday, and while a trip to John's wasn't my only objective, it was right at the top of the list. Never having been there before, I really wanted to check it out.

I was not disappointed. It is basically a giant convenience store with a little deli and a huge selection of wine and beer. The atmosphere is basically shelves and shelves of beer; how can you argue with that? There must have been a thousand to fifteen hundred brews available -- just a monster selection.

The quality and variety were great as well, although for me this was particularly the case because of all the brews that are distributed in Oregon and not in Washington (both local Oregonian stuff as well as other brands from around the country). I limited myself to twelve bottles and am now kicking myself -- guess I'll just have to get back down there again soon.

Service was pretty limited, but the store is laid out well and I didn't have any trouble finding anything. The guy up front (John himself, perhaps?) was dealing both with us in line as well as phone customers, so his chances to be out on the floor were limited.

I am going to make John's a must-stop every time I'm in Portland from now on.

flagmantho, Apr 14, 2013
Photo of AxesandAnchors
3.74/5  rDev -13.6%

This is the best bottle shop I've found so far in Portland, they have an insanely large selection of both micro brews in the states as well as a good amount of imports. I would say the atmosphere sucks but you are there for the beer so this shouldn't really matter now should it. If you're looking for someone to help you out don't bother, the staff aren't the friendliest...but again who cares they have a shit tone of great beer so just walk around the store 3 or 4 times until you find what you're looking for. I've never left without spending copious amounts of money, not because they are expensive but because I always find more to buy than what I went in for.

Highly recommend.

AxesandAnchors, Nov 21, 2012
Photo of ByrdBrain
3.9/5  rDev -9.9%

I really like John's and I would even apart from the fact that it is a half-mile walk from my house. They've got a fantastic selection of beer (and a pretty decent one of wine as well).

I recently relocated from the East Coast so John's has been my source for tasting West Coast beers. I've found most of the bottles that were on the list I made of recommendations from people on BA, and they have most of my favorite nationally distributed and international brews. But like many other reviewers, I've found the service disappointing, in part because it contrasts so markedly from their selection. Being new, I was really hoping to engage someone in a conversation, discuss some of the regional East Coast beers I liked, and get some recommendations. The guys I ran into in the bowels of the store were pretty curt and totally uninterested in engaging, if not downright unhelpful. I would not be totally surprised to learn that this is in part because I'm a woman and, even worse, one with gray hair...it just had that kind of vibe, which if it were worse would prevent me from going back. Once there was a checkout guy who was friendly and responded to my remark about being a new customer, but I only ran into him at the end of the visit and he was too busy to talk. I'll continue to be a regular customer because of the selection and location, so maybe I'll be able to make a connection in the future.

It definitely looks a little like a rundown, old gas station. Yes, it's pretty no-frills inside as well, but I actually like that. The lighting is a little dark, the aisles can be a little narrow, but nothing I found unusual or offputting. I wish they labeled their shelves with the breweries; when it's dark and you're looking on a bottom shelf, it's often a pain to find the brewery name on the label. When I've been, it's never actually been dirty inside; I have never picked up a keg, though. As at least one other reviewer mentioned, I have seen dust on bottles but actually nothing that would cause me concern. I don't give a higher quality rating in part because I've twice bought multiple, undated single bottles of two different California IPAs and at least one of each group was definitely stale. If a date-sensitive product comes in undated, I would hope that the reseller make an effort to track it and control the inventory accordingly. I especially expect it of a place like this that has both a stellar selection and is a bit on the pricey side. It's certainly possible it was out of their control, but when it's happened more than once, I get a little concerned. I didn't talk with them about it so I can't speak to whether they would be willing to do something about it, but I will try (and update my review) if it happens again.

I don't see anyone here reviewing the food. John's is actually a market...well, more of a convenience store, with a limited selection of packaged foods and a small deli. I take a class at an arts center a couple of blocks away and it's a great place to go to grab a quick lunch and snag a few bottles when I'm taking a break from the studio. It's a much more comfortable place to wind down when I'm on my own than the upscale cafés nearby. You can grab a bag of junk food, or I've found their prepared food to be, while nothing special, perfectly ok. I haven't been scared off the food by the dingy atmosphere or the lackluster service and none of the packaged food I've selected has been expired, although I haven't tried to buy fresh dairy. They do carry my favorite flavor of Ben & Jerry's :-D, which endears them to me all the more.

ByrdBrain, Oct 11, 2012
Photo of StogiesandBrews
3.24/5  rDev -25.2%

Let me start this out by saying, they have a great selection. I give them props for the amount of beers and wines to choose from. Something nice is that some of the beers are older. Pre-aged at normal retail pricing, such as having all the demons of ale series by Avery Brewing from 2007. That's the perfect amount of aging. Not so great for other beers, such as any IPA at all. Found a few of those from 2007 also. Some beers being pre-aged is nice, but likelyhood is that they just don't pay attention to the beer dates or they wouldn't have a 90 minute IPA by dogfish head from 2007 sitting on the shelf next to a 2011 one (or they're trying to get someone who doesn't pay attention to the label peeling off to buy it). Overall a good selection though. If I need a certain beer I can count on them having it.

The service can be good or terrible. Depends on who is working. Had a few times with a nice clerk with no knowledge of beers. A few times with a clerk who was not very nice and wouldn't answere a question professionally. I don't want to hear explatives when I ask when they get new stock on something they are out of. One time happening, but left a bad impression. The staff smells of cigarettes. Personal dislike, but it effected the score.

Lastly, it's dirty in there. My wife would hate me if I took her in there. I don't mind it so much, but it is no where I would take any of my out of town guests too.

I do appreciate the selection and fair pricing. That's what is really nice. I have had 2 of the staff be rude, and 3 were alright but didn't know much about beer, so the staff I have dealt with aren't top notch, but if you know exactly what you want, it's a place you can find it.

StogiesandBrews, Mar 23, 2012
Photo of ajramirez1
3.29/5  rDev -24%

Finally decide to check this place out. My usual spot is Belmont Station. Dirty looking grocery store but inside, was in awe of the beer selection. Finally a beer shop like grocery shopping. But shit hit the fan quick...

Tiny aisles. Skunk beer. Creepy ass cashier with outdated technology. The selection & layout is awesome, but damn i am glad i read other reviews b/c this place was flooded with out dated non-fresh beer. Prices are decent but the quality is not there at all...would not shop for beer here again bc i want quality fresh beer & i dont have time to check dates. Ridiculous.

A-

ajramirez1, Mar 18, 2012
Photo of Rifugium
4.46/5  rDev +3%

It looks like your average, gritty beer / liquor warehouse from the outside, but inside...I was like a kid in a candy shop. Okay, so I hear a lot of stuff sits on the shelves in this place, but all in all, I'd have to say this was one of the best selections of take-out beer I've ever seen in one place, and possibly THE best. Aisles and aisles of crafts and micros as far as the eye could see; it's really hard to rate it anything less than a perfect "5" in that regard. And of course, I gravitated directly to 4 bottles of '08 Goose Island BCBS as soon as I walked in. So I suppose they keep certain gems "in the back" and put them on shelves when it suits them, because I can't imagine such items would have gone unnoticed and unbought for more than a day or two. Staff was understandably busy, but helpful when the need for assistance arose. Prices seemed comparable to most other places I visited, perhaps even a bit better. $4 Pliny is enough to make most non-CA/Philly/Denver residents cream themselves, and I grabbed a few bottles just on that principle, even though I myself am not really interested in the brew, as it's pretty common on tap in my hometown, and I've had it enough of it in my day. But anyway, good place. Must visit if in area. The End.

Rifugium, Jan 04, 2012
Photo of Franchise
4.21/5  rDev -2.8%

I have to say that this place is probably better from a selection standpoint than Belmont Station but the location and atmosphere just brings the overall score down a bit when examining what I want in a bottle shop.

A little off the beaten path, located in a sort of shady bodega store where you can get milk, eggs, wine, and some other staples.

Parking is good, they have a dedicated parking lot, they also do a lot of kegs and it makes it easy to get it in and out.

As you walk in the first thing you see is the wine section, to the right it is more wine and the staple items, chips, bread, etc. If you move toward the back this is what your here for, 3 aisles of beer.

Here lies the problem, the store is cramped and it is tough to get up and down the beer aisles and a lot of the time there is stuff all over the place making it even more difficult to navigate.

So now that I complained if your looking for beer which most of us are, this place is bar none, there is some phenominal selections from OR, CA, MT, ID, and even some great offerings from Ommegang and Allagash making this one of the best places for variety for local and internaional beer offerings.

I still highly recommend this place, but if your looking for a fancy beer store this is not for you but if you want to get a great selection at a nice price point then stop here!

Cheers,
Frank

Franchise, Nov 18, 2011
Photo of cbarrett4
4.28/5  rDev -1.2%

What can I say about the greatest selection of retail beer in Portland? The prices are pretty reasonable and they seem to score some pretty rare brews. The place is rather cramped since they pack a lot of beer in, and they have wine and a small selection of other 'market' staples (like produce....?)

But the beer is the highlight. The staff is knowledgeable and helpful. Rarely have I gotten a poor recommendation. They are often arranging small tastings (usually for wine).

There is a limited glass selection here, nothing like Belmont Station. Looks like mostly the glasses that come with those 'glass pack' beer promos that are broken down so they can sell the glassware separately instead of with the beer.

But best overall selection by far (though some other places have the better rare beer selections...)

cbarrett4, Aug 28, 2011
Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.44/5  rDev +2.5%

After my second trip here, I feel confident enough to review it. It's a grocery store on a street that has had construction on it both times I've been there. They open early, added bonus.

Beer is in the back. I'd guess over 500 different bottles. Organization isn't flawless, but at least sensical. Cool + for having employees recommendations, like a local independent owned record store (dating myself). Tons of PacNW locals. Some higher end 750s and bombers. Plenty of HUB stuff, which is awesome. Plenty of 6 packs, something that seems to be an endangered specie lately at bottle shops. Best can beer selection I've ever seen. Singles available of everything.

Staff leaves you alone, which is nice. Hooks you up with extra cardboard if you need it.

I can't imagine a reason why I wouldn't stop in and check this place out any time I'm in or going through Portland.

Beerandraiderfan, Jul 06, 2011
Photo of cavemanlawyer
3.68/5  rDev -15%

John's is a Portland institution. It was one of the first large wine and beer retailers in the region. They still have an amazing selection of beers, many imports that you just cannot find anywhere else.

I dislike the organization (or lack thereof) of the store. I often have to hunt around for ten minutes to find a beer I am looking for. They could really use some interior renovation.

It would also be sweet if they could add a few taps so that the food area could be used. As it is, they have a $1.95 hamburger special that is just nasty.

Great selection, decent service, crappy atmosphere.

cavemanlawyer, May 11, 2011
Photo of guajolote
4.03/5  rDev -6.9%

There are a lot of great bottle shops in Portland, and this is certainly one of them. I frequent John's most often due to it's location, since it's on my way from Salem to Portland, and is a quick stop off of I-5.

The selection here is top-notch. Obviously, being one of the major players in the Portland bottle shop scene, they get pretty much everything distributed in the area. However, because of their status, that also means they run out of the harder-to-get stuff pretty quickly.

As has been mentioned, their customer service is pretty much non-existent. However, if you know what you're looking for, that's not really a problem.

There definitely is some concern with some beers being past their "best by" dates, so you have to be vigilant. I usually stick to the main display area located in front of the main beer aisles. That's usually the seasonal/new arrival area, so what you're getting is generally pretty fresh. The selection of imports is pretty mind-blowing too.

Overall, John's is a great store that I'll continue to patronize as long as I'm in the area.

guajolote, Feb 26, 2011
Photo of gregbechtel21
3.75/5  rDev -13.4%

This was my last stop on a beer journey from Seattle to Portland but from now on it will be my first. In terms of selection it was the best bottle shop I've ever seen, easily blowing away any bottle shop in Washington state. The only thing I could really think of to say against it would be the freshness of some of the imports, but as long as you don't mind sifting a bit through bottles to find a fresh one you'll be fine. Very happy with the both the volume and variety of their selection. My one stop shop for Portland visits.

gregbechtel21, Feb 22, 2011
Photo of beervana1858
2.9/5  rDev -33%

I have been going to John's Market with sone frequency for a little over a year and at first it is very impressive. I have yet to find a place that has this great of a selection. However, the service is miserably poor and some employees are notably quite rude. The prices for some of the items are fair be sure you check the price of what you are buying as I have found rather wide price discrepancies for the exact same product. My number one complaint, however, is that much of their beer is WAY past its expiration date and if you don't check it (as I often have made the mistake of not doing) you could be in for a rude awakening. I have bought entirely too much skunked and rotten beer for this place that probably should have been clearanced years ago in some cases. I only go to this if I am in the mood for something I won't find anywhere else but for now I will stick with Haggen and New Seasons and my "go to" places.

beervana1858, Oct 01, 2010
Photo of IpeeA
3.5/5  rDev -19.2%

So I'm creating my first ever BA review for this place but, sadly, it's because I've had enough!

I've lived near John's for about two months now and have been many, many times. The place seems to have the best selection of any of the many amazing stores in Portland, which is why I return. It's simply outstanding what they have in stock. All the desired/available American micros. All the local micros are featured in their own section. New arrivals are featured in the center of the first aisle that leads to the beer section. A selection of beers are kept in coolers (maybe 30% of the inventory--most/all of which can also be found room temp). There's even a small amount of BMC stuff available. Probably the most comprehensive collection of imports from all around the globe I've ever seen in one store. Impressive.

However, what makes it hard to return is everything else. The place is not well kept and it's no wonder why when interacting with the staff. Bottles can consistently be found on the wrong shelves. Shelves (especially in the coolers) are frequently messy and look like no one has straightened them in weeks (or cleaned them for months--don't look at the floors!). There's a perpetual water leak/hazard from one of the coolers into the aisle and a shop vac permanently kept in the aisle to soak up the water (but that doesn't seem to happen often, either).

When making requests for specific beers the staff consistenly seems not well informed at best and completely disinterested at worst (not to mention not very professional in their appearance). I've been asked to leave my name and number a couple times when making requests and have never received a call back. Prices are on par with other local stores; however, I did ask if they would offer a discount for beers past their "best by" date and was scoffed at. I've witnessed kegs being delivered and picked up which seems to go smoothly but I've never participated myself.

In summary, go for the stellar selection but don't expect anything beyond that.

IpeeA, Sep 18, 2010
Photo of Offa
4.55/5  rDev +5.1%

Although service seems iffy and a bit slack, this place is incredible. It has, simply put, the best beer selection overall of any place I have ever been to.

It is particularly strong on Pacific NW beers, with many I have never been able to get in California, but that rather goes without saying as at stores at home I'm going to find California beers one can't get here.

Where it really, really shines is in the UK beer selection, with the biggest, best, and most varied selection of UK beers I've seen, with many I've never actually encountered in person. It has pretty much all UK beers I can get in the Santa Rosa and San Francisco areas, plus a lot more. For me, a lover of UK beers, this is especially great.

The German beer selection was also wonderful and agian the best single colelcton of German beers I've seen anywhere, although it was less outstanding than on British beers, in part because my favourite beer stores in the SF Bay Area collectively do have pretty much all the German beers this place had (unlike the UK beers).

Belgian beer selection is also great, but I pretty much ignored this aside from scanning its range because I can get pretty much any of these Belgian beers at Bottle Barn in Santa Rosa and the rest in SF. Belgian beers have become so much en vogue these days that they are a dime a dozen in any good beer store where I live - again that is simply not true with UK beers.

Another storng point here is the relatively good collection of Midwest and East Coast beers, still a rather tiny sampling of those available but better than any I've seen in California.

Finally, for those looking for California beers, it has a pretty good selection of California beers, but agian I didn't pay too much attention to these since I'm from California.

Overall, I will stop here every time I'm in Portland.

Offa, Aug 11, 2010
Photo of Wilma83
4.8/5  rDev +10.9%

Visited Johns on a recent trip to Portland (06/06/10). Holy CRAP! This place is a GOLDMINE! Everything from schwag beer to an amazing selection of Belgians, imports, Northwestern selections, just everything you can imagine!

Asked the guy running the place if he had any fresh Pliny, and at first he said no, but then I told him I was in from out of town and he found me one from the back. It was his distributors hidden beer. SCORE!

Nice selection of different size bottles and a strong assortment of cans.

Really helpful and pricing wasn't out of control. A must go to spot for amazing beer.

Wilma83, Jun 11, 2010
Photo of spointon
4.5/5  rDev +3.9%

I visited John's on my last day in Portland (3/27/2010).

To this midwesterner, John's was/is beer nirvana. The beer was mostly located in the back of the store, but there was a HELL of a lot of it. Two long, double sided aisles of warm beer sorted roughly by region, plus a few more short aisles of warm beer...all surrounded by cooler doors of cold craft beer. It was refreshing to see the craft beer taking up way more cooler doors than the BMC beers.

Selection was incredible (too much to list here), and hit nearly all of the major craft breweries west of the Rockies. I was surprised to see a few of my hometown favorites in there too (Goose Island BCS for example).

Prices were very fair (one might even say bordering on low) and combined with the no sales tax thing this is a must for anyone visiting the area. Locals must love this place...I would if I lived there!

spointon, Mar 29, 2010
Photo of nomomentwasted
4.85/5  rDev +12%

Wow.

Just wow.

Been on the BA scene for almost a year now, and having grown up in Portland, I knew that good beer was everywhere, and finding it relatively easy.

I went into John's because I had heard great things.

I left feeling empty, knowing that even my favorites in San Diego don't have a chance against John's. They just don't. Great Belgian selections (including Cantillon . . . I could've bought the whole allotment of everything), Northwest crafts, world-wide famous beers, and everything in between. 12oz, 22oz, 375ml, 750ml, 6l, you name it, John's has it.

Beverages 4 Less in Santee is my highest rated store prior to this, but I have to say I'd probably go here 9 times out of 10 if they were equidistant from me. Just outstanding selection, and the prices! Excellent. No tax either! Awesome.

All in all, worth the hype, check it out if you haven't. If you're passing through, make the trip. I may have to go back right now and I just left. It's THAT good.

nomomentwasted, Nov 27, 2009
Photo of DrinknFish
4.8/5  rDev +10.9%

I went to John's Marketplace to load up on some west coast beers while I was in Portland for vacation. I was in a hurry so I only went to the section with local beers and was thoroughly impressed. There were the brands I knew and many others I had never heard of. They also had a huge selection of imports, other domestics and wine but I never made it to those aisles.
The service was also great, I ran into the wine clerk first and he helped me with what he could and pointed me in the direction of the beer guy. I forget his name but the beer guy knew his stuff and led me to some real nice finds including some Oregon Trail bourbon barrel porter. He even hooked me up with a 12 pack shipping box, the type with the foam insert, so I could get my beers home safely. I can't say much about the prices for specific beers as I do not have anything to reference then against, but they were reasonable for beer as a whole.
Next time I head out there, this place will be high on my lists to visit again.

DrinknFish, Jul 06, 2009
Photo of velosuds
4.7/5  rDev +8.5%

If Ben Franklin's inspiring adage, "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy," is true, then God must really love John's Marketplace. And I am the happier for it. In fact, I am envious. We have no similar store in Salem, OR.

My first visit resulted in only a modest purchase. I was nearly overwhelmed with the selection. The very best I have seen. What I especially liked was that every bottle I looked at was individually priced. So, I made my own six pack of 12 oz. bottles, each something I have not yet tried. This is really great since I prefer to try new beers in 12 oz. singles, thus avoiding the higher costs of a full six pack of one variety or having to buy a bomber to try a beer. They had a huge selection of beers available in both 12 oz. and bombers, even some varieties available in both sizes.

I also bought a Blind Pig IPA in a 500ml bottle, my first Russian River beer and only the second time I have seen this available. Saw it only once in Salem.

I didn't really get to evaluate their service. I was left to myself and enjoyed taking my time. The store had more distributors than customers late this morning. I had the impression that I could have gotten whatever assistance I may have desired.

Prices were reasonable, especially since they give a 5% discount when you buy at least six bottles.

It would not be difficult to spend a small fortune here due to the selections available.

I will be back, with glee.

velosuds, Jul 01, 2009
Photo of jdense
5/5  rDev +15.5%

And on the 7th day, when the Beer Gods decided to build a beer store, they settled in the quaint section of Beervana known as Multnomah Village. And they were pleased, as pilgrims from far and near made their way to this Mecca of Bottle Shops...

Holy Sh#t!!! Sorry about waxing poetic above, but this may be the center of the beer universe. I saw things I'd never seen before (a phenomenal Belgian selection including the full array of Devil beers, a whole aisle of Germans, full range of NW micros including newly released items like FS Imperial Porter, Deschutes HH Experimental) that I was transfixed-and that ain't easy to do.

The help was phenomenal, starting with the staff who helped overcome the crappy mapquest directions. This place is not the easiest to find, but don't give up, it's more than worth the trouble.

My understanding is they do a robust keg business too, the chap in front of me was picking up Ninkasi Total Domination. All in all, an absolutely essential stop to the traveling beer geek seeking some special brews for consumption or cellar. A good value with the 5% discount on purchases of 6 or more bottles, including intact six-packs. Whoopee!

A truly world class bottle shop.

jdense, Feb 08, 2009
John's Market in Portland, OR
96 out of 100 based on 73 ratings.