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John's Market

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

76 Ratings
Ratings: 76
Reviews: 60
rAvg: 4.33
pDev: 11.55%
[ 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: 76 | Reviews: 60 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of cswhitehorse
4.85/5  rDev +12%

I had been to John's a few years back but that was before I had started my quest to understand. It is the best place I can find in town to buy beer. From the economies of scale it is hard to find a better deal. I pay on average 50 to 75 cents more for each 12oz bottle. The overall selection is phenomenal and it allows me to try more non mainstream brews from the usual suspects I find in our normal stores like Hagen, Whole Foods and smaller beer and wine stores in Washington county. The didn't have any questions so service wasn't any issue for me. I am afraid this might be a weekly trip to add more ammo to my un-necessary garage fridge.

Photo of Georgiabeer
4.35/5  rDev +0.5%

This store quite simply has the best beer selection I've ever seen. A huge selection of West Coast micros, and in every case there are deep selections, not just one or two from each brewery. I was stunned to find such an extensive selection of Alesmith this far north- Yulesmith summer and winter, 2006 Decadence, IPA, Old Numbskull, Speedway Stout, Anvil, Grand Cru, etc. No store in the San Francisco Bay area has anywhere close to this selection. Add to this great selections of Stone, Alaskan, Midnight Sun, Pelican, Bear Republic, Moylan's, every Oregon brewery, and deep collections of Washington stuff, plus many, many more. There is a huge amount of both shelf and cooler space devoted to regional micros, and all 12 oz are sold as singles. Ditto for the Belgian, British Isle, German, East Europe, and Asian selections. All are very deep and many chilled singles are available. I've been to some great beer stores, but this place is a playland. As much as I love Bottleworks in Seattle, and Ledgers in Berkeley, and the City Beer store in San Francisco, this place has them beat- by a substantial margin. Service is unobtrusive, and prices are reasonable. If you are doing a Portland/Seattle trip or live anywhere close, do yourself the favor of stopping here- nothinh else comes close in the Northwest.

Photo of Metalmonk
4.5/5  rDev +3.9%

You drive up to this place, looking like an old-school grocery, expecting to find Wonder Bread, Snapple and all the usual canned foods. Y'know, smalltown corner-store stuff. But past the front half you find what I can only guess is a great wine selection, and then the whole back third of the place is taken up by one of the best bottle selections I've ever seen. English, German, Belgian, US, Norwegian, Japanese, Dutch...holy crap, it's all there. Most impressive for an east-coaster like myself was the heavy leaning toward pacific northwest brands, and plenty of California stuff too. Finally got my Alesmith on, boyee! Even the elusive Jolly Pumpkin (elusive to me anyway) was there. The prices were fair, and while some bottles were found dusty and looking absolutely antique, for the most part this was an insanely overwhelming and satisfying shopping experience. The radio station blaring a 3-pack of classic Rush songs enhanced the enjoyment. Prices are totally fair, including Oregon's 0% sales tax and John's own discount, which you get when you buy 12 bottles. The staff were pretty much never seen, and I was told by our host that hardly anyone seems to know much about beer there, but as long as they keep their buyer, this will remain a holy-grail bottle store for anyone living in or visiting Portland.

I walked out $133 poorer, but richer in an amazing selection of US and overseas bottles that I have a tough time finding at even the best stores back home. The incredibly unassuming exterior makes the experience that much sweeter.

Photo of IceEyes
4.45/5  rDev +2.8%

Hands down the best selection of bottled beer in Portland. And that's saying a lot. I like to browse through the northwest beers but end up taking home almost anything. The only problem I have is that it's hard not to drop $60 while shopping here. And sometimes you do get a bottle that's just not fresh. I suppose that could happen anywhere and it just depends on how quickly the merchandise turns over. For this reason I usually buy beers that are either in the refrigerated areas or I look for high alcohol beers that are less likely to go bad. I wouldn't want to buy a bottle of Samuel Smiths or some other beer in a clear glass bottle. Not here.

The staff is usually pretty hands off when you're browsing but they'll galdly help you out with a box and they give you a discount if you buy 12 beers or more. That's usually not a problem for me as I can't walk out of John's Market without buying a dozen beers at least. Also, they have a very decent selection of wine.

Photo of BDTyre
4.85/5  rDev +12%

This beats Bottleworks hands down in terms of selection..too bad its not closer to home, and too bad it doesn't have mead (at least not that I saw).

As many others have pointed out, it is unassuming from the outside. It looked to me like an inner city grocer. I love how at least 1/4 of the floor space is beer, and at least another 1/4 is wine.

Selection, as mentioned before is unrivalled. I probably walked up and down the beer section for at least ten minutes before grabbing a single bottle. My wife practically fainted when we walked in...she is a sucker for Belgians and fruit beers, especialy Belgian fruit beers.... I found stuff here I thought I would never get.

Oddly enough, I didn't buy that much. Partly it was fear of bringing beer back through Customs, and partly it was not wanting to buy stuff here and then find even more I wanted in Seattle. But I will return...and I will buy more.

Again, as others have stated, the clerks don't come up to you, but they are very friendly. What are the chances that I run into someone in Portland who used to come up to Vancouver every week?

Photo of spickler
5/5  rDev +15.5%

In Portland at the end of May for four days of beer and wine tasting, we stopped at John's Marketplace on the way back to the airport. I visited many BA recommended establishments during our trip but must specifically praise this one.

Their opening time of 6AM (according to the website) sent me there instead of Belmont Station as my flight was at noon. Nonetheless, we were running late as we always are. I guess frantically stuffing sixers of IPA into a box drew the attention of one of the employees because he asked if he could help. I explained my dilemma and he promptly mentioned the new "liquid in carry-on baggage" rules, which I had somehow failed to consider. (We hadn't taken a wine/beer trip since those were instituted and were used to hauling as much beer and wine on board as we could carry.)

He quickly assessed my selection and retrieved a shipping box from the stock room and suggested that we replace my six packs with 22oz bottles of the same or similar brews. His suggestions have been excellent so far. After leaving a few spots for the bottles of Pinot we had already purchased, he helped me get the box to the front and even grabbed some packing tape and a free bottle opener for me all the while giving me simple directions back to I-5.

I didn't even get a chance to fully appreciate the massive selection. I had to go with recommendations and offer the VERY occasional, "I can get that in Tennessee." But the selection was beyond anything I'd ever seen, especially in the huge 22oz bottle section.

I don't run into people too often who fully understand my affection for beer. Clearly, BA is full of them, and I'm happy to say John's Marketplace seems to be as well. What great service and selection! We made our flight (barely), and all of the bottles made it to my beer fridge without so much as a scratch.

Photo of josiahschlender
4.35/5  rDev +0.5%

I'm not sure how many times I passed by this place without noticing it. Like everyone else has mentioned, it's not too much to look at. And the inside doesn't get much better. This is a beer store that has a few groceries on the shelves. It's amused me several time to walk by the produce aisle and laugh at the few browning heads of lettuce or look for expired food items on the shelves.

The beer selection is extensive. I like the huge amount of foreign beers that are roughly sectioned off according to country. They even have small sections for obscure places like Italy. Not that I recommend Italian beer though, they should have stuck to wine. Belgium, England and Germany are all well represented.

They've got a great selection of Northwest beer, especially in large bottles.. Honestly, there is so much beer that it's a little overwhelming for me as I'm just beginning here at BA. My advice is to go in with a style, region or list of wants and work from there. It might make your trip little more manageable. If you don't know much about beer, it seems that it would be like walking into Blockbuster knowing very little about movies.

The folks that work there have been friendly, but don't exactly wander around asking you if they can help.

John's Marketplace is a must-try for Portland if your visiting, and the place to go when trying to find a new favorite beer. A little offbeat, but it has the best beer selection I've ever seen next to the great little Multnomah Village area.

Photo of guitarmage
4.5/5  rDev +3.9%

In my opinion this place is exceptional in all areas, I am just allowing for the fact I have not been all over the US. Great selection, nailed many of the beers from the Best of BA I wanted to try, friendly folks at the check out, nice atomosphere, just a convenient store on the outside with a sprawling inside with wine and beer. Even some nice glass wear, although the weizen glass I wanted had Blue Moon on it so it discouraged me.

If you're in Portland or live in Portland, check this place out, it brightened my day.

Photo of phishgator
4.55/5  rDev +5.1%

I was there in the fall and I was blown away. I was out visiting a buddy of mine who is not as obsessed with good beer as me, but none the less he loves the good stuff when I'm around. The store has a great selection of all the West Coast varities: Stone, Russian River, Rogue, Big Bear Republic, Anderson Valley, etc...then they have the Colorado staples as well as DFH, Allagash, and other East Coast offerings. Their Belgian selection is out of this world I believe they had close to every offering from Cantillion. Everything is sectioned by brewery and then by region. The prices were in line with every other place I purchased beer from out there, but no sales tax! If you want to stock up this is the place to be.

Photo of Matthew
4.65/5  rDev +7.4%

In my opinion this is the best place to buy beer in Portland besides grabbing some beers to go while at concordia ale house. Johns market place has a very large selection of American micros, and tends to have nearly everything that they could get their hands on from every brewery they carry. I've found some interesting suprises in their coolers as far as vintages and random beers I didnt know had been released. The import section is equally as good with a very nice selection of belgian, german, and english beers in addition to many other imports. The service is pretty good, knowledgeable staff, helpful etc....Prices are pretty reasonable and far better IMO than some of the other well known beer stores. Highly recommended. One of the best places I have been to shop for great beer.

Photo of slander
4.5/5  rDev +3.9%

"114 days in the sun" and then the union caved. Finally. The Teamsters signed the damn contract and the strike was over; an unconditional return to work. What a mess; the messiest of messes, and I'm going to have to do a lot of clean up, upwards of 4 months worth. But not today. And not tomorrow either, or the day after that or the day after that. I'm takin' a little time off and even then, nothing's easy as evidenced by what I had to go through to make the flight out the next day...

But today's a new day. Pope picked us up at the airport hotel, we did a great breakfast, and now we're going to the amazing beer store he's been raving about. I don't know what to make of this place. It's a spacious open room, with a little kitchen/deli area off to the left where it appears they make sandwiches or something, and some seating there as well. Most of the front of the store is wine, with produce off to the right side on the far wall, and then the aisles to the rear hold your standard non-perishable market items, toiletries, dry goods and the like. But over in the... it would be right to say "corner" because it takes up a whole hell of a lot more space than just the back corner, it's kind of spread out nicely, so I guess I'll say, "Over there", that's where the beer is.

Absolutely maddening. This being my first visit to a west coast beer store, it would seem difficult to gauge if this sort of a selection is standard everywhere out here or if this is just Crazytown. I suspect the latter. The first thing you really hit are the Belgians. Just, everything you'd want, except Westie 12's, and oddly enough, no Rodenbach, but everything else (A dozen varieties of Cantillon hiding on the end cap, Fantome, Oud Beersel, Fonteinen, Des Rocs, Verhage, De Ranke, Dupont, De Proef (3 Flemish Prims and 4 Andelot Cuvees), Caracole, Orval, Rochefort, Westmalle, Achel, Chimay, Scaldis, Hanssens, Piraat, Bornem, De Dolle, Boon, Petrus, Maredous, St B, Urthel, Val Dieu, Pater Lieven, Corsendonk, Leffe, Bink, Chouffe, Goliath, De Koninck, Liefman's, and all the non Belgian Belgian types (Panil, Hemel Neiuw Ligt, 't IJ).

Shelving units everywhere, beers of the world sorted (English, German, Asia, South of the border and beyonds, Eastern Euros, Ciders, Scottish/Irish, N/A's), and then the whole back corner and a good deal of the cooler space dedicated to US micros.

An extensive selection of West coast bombers & 750's on the maze of racks, and singles in the coolers (Alaskan, Midnight Sun, Elysian, Fish, Dick's, Hale's Ales, Skagit River, Deschutes, Full Sail, Siletz, Hair of the Dog, 2 dozen varieties of Rogue, Terminal Gravity, Bridgeport, Bear Republic, Marin, Santa Cruz Mountain, Eel River, Alesmith, Bison, Moylans, Butte Creek, Mad River, Stone, Lagunitas, Lost Coast, Speakeasy, Anderson Valley, Mendocino, North Coast), and then considerably lesser so the more East you go (Big Sky, New Belgium, Great Divide, Avery, Goose Island, Jolly Pumpkin, DogFishHead, Victory, Penn, Wolavers).
We got a discount up front, probably as a result of volume. Said the guy, "You guys have good taste in beer. Not enough people come here and buy this". You think? Outstanding beer store.

Everything and a bag of chips (and jerky, too).

Photo of PopeJonPaul
4.55/5  rDev +5.1%

Wow, I can't believe I hadn't reviewed this place before. Just got back from Portland with a suitcase full of beer from John's.

The overall selection is impressive, the copious amount of local and West-Coast micros is awesome, and the Belgian selection is outstanding (for cryin' out loud, they had Belgians that are hard to find, if not absent, on the East Coast.) The real charm of this place though is that it's still a grocery, with produce and a deli; it's almost like the beer section is slowly growing in the back like a happy tumor. The place still looks like a reject from the 1950s (I think it used to be a gas-and-grocery way back.) I love it.

One complaint might be that they hardly have anything 'old', but you can't fault them for the fact they can't hold on to stuff (I did pick up an '02 Leviathan there once though, lucky me.) They move quite a bit of beer for such a low-key, quiet looking 'corner store.' It's totally self-serve (which is fine by me, really) although one of the guys did come back and try and help us find some Arctic Devil (didn't have it, but Felonious Phil did score some later at Concordia, which is another story...)

If you're in Portland and you don't visit this place, you may want to seek counseling.

Photo of Rezzin
4.2/5  rDev -3%

I made it a point to stop by Johns Marketplace on my recent trip to Portland. It's near a Fred Myers but that's about the most I remember as far as directions go as I didn't drive.

The outside looks like your typical run down liquor store but once you walk in and past the wine section you'll be like a kid in a candy store. This place has a huge selection of beers. Although a lot of the beers I can find back home (so cal), just the fact that they carry DFH was good enough for me. Oh yeah I forgot to mention - they even let you split up 6 packs. Love it.

Fortunately I have a friend who lives nearby that visits several times a year so - he's now become my official Johns Marketplace errand boy.

Photo of Toddv29424
4.2/5  rDev -3%

I drove up to this place after reading all about it on this site. Its true, there is not much to look at inside or out. Its the back corner which will blow you away, where they have about 15 fully stocked rows of beers from all over the world. I am not sure if there is any method to the organization (I did see an English section and an American section) but the rest seem to be pretty scattered around. If you are looking for one thing in particular it might be hard to find, but if you keep an open mind about new styles and regions this is the exact place for you. I was most impressed by their trappist collection, which included beers which I not only havent seen other places, but new sizes as well (I didn't know St Bernardus came in 1.5 liter bottles!). If you've been exploring this site for a while and have a good knowledge of beers and breweries, then its a must.

There was very little service though, and the people there didnt know anything about the beer I was looking for or purchasing, but as a beer enthusiast this hardly detracted from the aura.

Photo of blitheringidiot
4.35/5  rDev +0.5%

Don't let John's Fool ya! It looks shabby but it is a must stop! Go to the back and a plethora of great beers awaits. You name it, John's has it!!! I regret no being able to bring home all of the beers that were starring on these shelves. Boo-hoo! Alesmith, Rogue, Hair of the Dog, Avery (even 9th and 10th) Wow!

The people who work here are glued to a cash registar but they speak highly of their manager. Cheers!

This place will make you weak in the knees for beer!





I was here in August. Almost forgot to review it.

Photo of waldowin
4.4/5  rDev +1.6%

As this was my first real "beer-store" visit, I wasn't sure what to expect. Walked in, saw racks of convenience-store items at the very front, and nearly left. Until I saw around them, and realized the *entire store* from that point back was all wines and beers. Shortly after that, I realized any beer I'd really been wanting to try was offered here (with a few smaller exceptions).

The only knock on this place, is that it's pretty brightly lit, and the only beer they keep cold is macrobrews (bud, coors, etc), which was hard to believe.

I quickly forgave them as I realized they had entire shelves of some beers that were retired a year ago or more. However, the strong majority of these brews are present-day, I got the impression that the only reason they had 2004 examples of Storm King, say, was because they just had that much inventory and hadn't sold it yet (several cases were stacked on the floor).

Bought waaaay too much beer there in spite of this (to the tune of $130, ouch!). Cracked one of the Storm Kings that had been sitting out for a year, and it was excellent, so I'm not too worried about the rest.

As far as the service goes, the only service I received was the man ringing up my order, who was friendly, but not terribly knowledgable.

Absolutely worth a trip if you're in the area. I know I'll get back there some time in a month or so, when I've finally consumed all these amazing beers.

Photo of GClarkage
4.55/5  rDev +5.1%

My lower jaw dropped all the way to the floor when I saw the beer selection this place had. I thought Bottleworks was the be all end all of beer stores in the world. Well, this place pretty much doubled the selection of Bottleworks. Located in what looks as though was once an old grocery store (I guess it still is...technically), you walk to the back of the store and are amazed by huge coolers and wall to wall and aisle after aisle of beer. Most are organized by country. They also have an entire cooler about 12 doors long with just USA micro's! Again, another store that was Dogfish, Weyerbacher and Victory on the west coast! Huge Belgian selection and a whole 5 shelf 8 foot long shelf unit of X-mas brews! The service was pretty shitty though. No one at the front knew jack about beer and after looking and gwaking at all the beer for at least 30 minutes, no one even asked me if I needed any kind of help. The only other knock about this store is that most of the beers were on shelves rather than in coolers. So, I guess time will tell as I drink all the bottle I brought from there are in good shape or not. If they are, this place is incredible. Another must stop at....several times in your life...beer store.

Photo of Crotor
4/5  rDev -7.6%

Damned impressive, this place. It boasts a top-notch selection with the best of the West Coast from SoCal (think Alesmith and Stone) to the North Bay (think Bear Republic) to Washington. John's Marketplace also had a first class selection of Belgians - only the addition of Westvleteren could've improved it. Also offered some hard to find east coast gems from Victory and DFH. German and international selections were also impressive. Most beers stored at a surprisingly cold room temperature, though there was some refridgeration.

My only complaint would be that some of the aisles were rather narrow, and many of the beer geek sort - myself included - tend to be rather wide. I was constantly afraid I was going to knock precious beer bottles off the shelves.

Note: my only interaction with "service" being when I checked out, I can't really evaluate that factor. If I could check "n/a" I would...

Photo of TheNothing
4.85/5  rDev +12%

John's Marketplace really is the end-all-be-all of beer merchants in Portland. It puts Susie O's and Liquid Solutions to shame. Never in one place have I see such a selection of craft beers, imports, wines and even meads (over 12 to choose from) in a single location. While many complain about the dent in the pocketbook, it really isn't because of pricing (compared to Thriftway 2 miles away). 12oz bottles are priced individually and you can get 5% off 12oz bottles with a mixed 6pack of your choosing. I go to John's Marketplace more than once a week as not to tap my wallet too hard at one sitting.

Photo of SamuraiJack
4.65/5  rDev +7.4%

I won't talk about the shock when making the transition from the outside (scruffy neighborhood corner store) to the inside (beer lover's heaven) as that has been covered in depth by previous reviewers.

Instead, I'll talk about the amazing selection and excellent service.

John's is one of the two or three best beer stores that I've experienced in the United States on selection alone. An incredible variety of American Craft beers (especially strong in regional PNW breweries) is complimented by one of the better Belgian selections and a very broad international selection (with especially good representation from Britain and Germany). The only weakness I was able to identify was in the Lambic styles where the selection was better than average but in no way up to the standard they are setting overall.

While the service may seem, on the surface, to be perfunctual, it is well worth your while to pester. The beer knowledge available to you on request is amazing. If you want an accurate and complete recommendation or description of a beer - you will get it, no matter how obscure your question may be.

Be warned... this place will put a dent in your pocketbook.

Photo of NVbeer
4.45/5  rDev +2.8%

My wife and I made this our last stop on our way out of Portland. From the outside one would never think that a truely amazing selection of beers awaited. Once inside I was awstruck by the selection. There were beers I have only read about on BA such as Thomas Hardy's, Three Philosophers, and many, many more. My only problem with John's is that the majority of beers sit out at room temp. and many were covered with a fine layer of dust. While they may still have been good, I was quite leary of purchasing any that appeared to have been sitting out for a while.
There was a large selection that remained in coolers, and so for those who prefer beer kept at cooler temps, it is still a place to go.
The prices were resonable for what I had seen during my time in Portland, so I would add this to my short list of must go places when in town.
Jason
NVBeer

Photo of beerguy101
4.8/5  rDev +10.9%

This place is one of the most unlikely beer Mecca’s I have ever been to. From the front it looks like a seedy grocery store, in fact the day I was there were several college age kids drinking Steel Reserve 211 out front. Once you are inside and find the beer section (which is nearly the entire back half of the store), there is literally beer everywhere you look. On shelves, stacked in boxes, in several different coolers. Then there is the selection. There are massive quantities of Pacific Northwest micros, craft beers from California and Colorado, an extensive selection from England and a whole shit-load of beer from Belgium.

I spent nearly an hour wandering around in a beer hunter induced stupor before making my purchases. I kept finding something I had not seen before, and must of made 10-15 round trips through the place.

The ONLY problem I had with the place is the way the beer is displayed. A lot of it is out in the open and the place was kind of warm. Still none of he beers I bought there have suffered any ill effects,

This place is a MUST is you go to Portland.

Photo of Elemental
4.5/5  rDev +3.9%

Damn I love this place. On top of having deli style and other types of food, the wine and beer selection is impecable. It can be a little pricy for some of the beers you can find regularly at the grocery store, but as for the quality brews its great. Great selections and its all catagorized by country.

Photo of HiroProtagonist
4.85/5  rDev +12%

The best beer selection I have ever seen! New items appear on a regular basis too... and they always have those limited special edition beers you might be looking for. Like the previous reviewer said, be careful...you may stay for longer than you anticipate, browsing and dreaming. I enjoy the friday beer (free) and wine ($2) tastings on a weekly basis. Its nice to try out stuff from breweries you haven't gotten to yet. Nice people too.

2004 review edit..service is much more attentative these days, there almost always someone asking if I need help finding something, and Dave, the owner and beer master, is great to talk to. --add half point to 4.5.

Photo of freed
4.65/5  rDev +7.4%

Great wine selection, exceptional beer selection, and a great family helping out. However, be forwarned of the wandering, dumbfounded mood that will set upon you unless you stay focused. I often linger for much longer when stopping by to pick up a bottle or two.

The selection is prime, giving homage to most beer producing regions in the world, as well as an effort to perpetually add new beers. Recent tasting events with Dogfish Head and Mendicino added a whole new lure, though the large crowd from wine tastings often fills the aisles.

I've always had very good, curteous service, and love their sense of humor. Plus, the jerky discs near the checkout are good.

John's Market in Portland, OR
96 out of 100 based on 76 ratings.