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: n/a
[ 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 Lobina
5/5  rDev +15.5%

Photo of golden1
5/5  rDev +15.5%

"Never judge a book by it's cover" has never been a more apt statement to make regarding this location. From the outside, you would never guess at the wealth inside. Hell, from 10 feet inside the door, you still wouldn't guess. But once you wander to the back third of this shabby corner store, it's advised to hold your hands below your chin because your jaw will be dropping into them in short order.

Quick - think of a beer you love. A beer that, if given the chance, could be in your hands right this very second. Got it? Good - they have that here. The selection is epic, vast, and other words that basically translate to "Wow." The 22oz. racks alone will lock your brain as you try to imagine how they could cram that much selection into so few rows. The other reviews are not lying and neither am I: best location to get hard-to-find brew in Portland, bar none. I'm just ashamed that I've been in the area for a year and finally walked in the door two months ago.

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.

Photo of kamikazeokami
5/5  rDev +15.5%

Photo of olmatty
5/5  rDev +15.5%

I'm a recent arrival to Oregon. Just had my first visit to John's Marketplace today. Thanks again to my fellow BA's for pointing this place out.

Outside does not portend the wonderful gems hidden inside. A grocery store that has been almost entirely taken over by their wine and beer selection.

Get a basket or two up front and head toward the back of the store. Each beer is singly priced to encourage the buying of singles; an important feature in a place that has so much variety to offer.

Every country and style is represented here. Row upon row of shelves and several different freezer areas plus many displays. Also, a seemingly nice wine selection.

They were able to "go and find" some special requests I had from hidden stocks somewhere not accessible to retail. Very nice and very accommodating staff.

A bit pricey on some iems, but not out of control. You're paying for excellent selection likely unmatched for hundreds of miles. I'll be going back often.

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 areucrazy
5/5  rDev +15.5%

Photo of halvbeerson
5/5  rDev +15.5%

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 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 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 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.

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 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.

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.

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 cherche
4.75/5  rDev +9.7%

Photo of GJ40
4.7/5  rDev +8.5%

I've seen some pretty good beer stores since using Beer Advocate and I went to John's thinking it couldn't get much better. I was wrong. John's is phenomenal. The sheer number of beers is mind boggling. And the quality is top of the line. There are some mass produced crap (as you would expect) but the percentage is low.

The only flaw is that most of the beers aren't refrigerated. But I can overlook that, especially for the local beers that are fresh anyway.

John's is as good as it gets. If you're in the area, it's well worth a visit. You won't be sorry.

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.

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 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 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.

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 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 John_M
4.55/5  rDev +5.1%

Truly, this place is amazing.

Stopped off the other night for a German wine tasting. Had not been to John's in a while, though suffice it say, little has changed since last I was here (except the selection was possibly even better).

The thing that is fascinating about John's, is that when you first walk in, the place looks like a fairly typical neighborhood market/grocery store. After a moment or two you notice off to the right a fairly nice looking wine selection, though it appears to be nothing really out of the ordinairy (at least for Portland; most grocery stores in Portland have pretty impressive wine selections). It's actually pretty impressive as well, but you wouldn't know that until you actually wander around.

The same is true of the beer selection. If you look around you notice what appears to be a beer section in the back, but unless you walk on back, you probably wouldn't give it a second look. However, when you do walk back, you are confronted by a beer selection that is jaw dropping amazing.

I confess I have seen a few stores on the East Coast that have a somewhat better selection of imports, but when it comes to craft brew, John's is the king and there's no one close in second. It's almost like being in a warehouse, with aisle after aisle of great beer stacked 4 or 5 rows high. I believe there were also 3 or 4 beer coolers, as well as displays for staff favorites, specials, beer of the month, etc.

Prices looked pretty good, certainly on a par (or a bit cheaper) then what you will find at most places in Portland. The only criticism I would make has to do with service. I was there on a Thursday evening (around 6:30), and there wasn't really anyone there who could answer any questions I might have. The wine guy indicated he could help with some things if I needed assistance, but that otherwise I would need to wait until Dave (?) the beer guy was around. No problem, but a store with this kind of selection, I guess I would expect a bit more knowledgable staff (though I guess not everyplace can be State Line in Elkton).

In any event, this is an outstanding store, one I would recommend to anyone interested in filling his car or suitcase with great craft brew (many of the selections are pretty uncommon to any area other then the NW). Highly recommended.

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