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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 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).

slander, Sep 03, 2006
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.

John_M, Oct 10, 2008
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.

GJ40, Apr 13, 2008
Photo of sholland119
4.2/5  rDev -3%

I don't think I have ever seen as many bottles of craft beer on the floor of a beer store as I saw at John's Marketplace. After loading up on beer at Belmont Station, we stopped in at John's to make sure we had not missed out on anything.

While Belmont had a world class selection, the selection here was even bigger. The craft beer section is in various coolers, wire racks and supermarket shelves in the back left corner of the store, and in stacks of cases on the way to it. Tons of cases of Deschutes Hop Trip, Avery Ale to the Chief, Bear Republic Hop Rod Rye, Alesmith summer Yulesmith (and last year's winter Yulesmith. Not sure how fresh that will taste these days). Racks filled with locals like Ninkasi, Lazy Boy, Rogue, more Deschutes, Hair of the Dog. Two or three long shelves across the aisle were filled with Belgian and other European selections. Simply amazing!

My only minor complaint is that the wire racks of American craft beer are so close together that it is difficult to see what is on the bottom shelf. Also, staff members passed us constantly during our visit and never asked if we needed help, had questions, were looking for something, etc. We didn't, didn't and weren't. But I have almost always had good conversations with a local beer enthusiast wherever we go. And heck, I usually buy something I was not planning to buy as a result.

But I'd still highly recommend this place.

HV

sholland119, Oct 27, 2008
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 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 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 msubulldog25
3.88/5  rDev -10.4%

This is a cumulative review of the 15-20 times I've visited John's in the past 2.5 years, since my eyes were opened to the world of better beer (summer 2005).

Little needs to be added to the many fine reviews here. John's is a modest, some might say rundown-looking, little grocery in SW Portland's 'Multnomah Village' area. Their large sign above the drive-under often adverises keg sales or some fairly 'average' case discount and much of the front signage & neon is macro- or local-oriented.That said, it never ceases to amaze me, even on a most recent visit, how awesome/overwhelming the wealth of beer is here....just go to the back of the store.

Incredible loads of craft brew from all over. The West, not just PacNW; the largest selection of Belgians I've seen (outside of Belgium); loads of Germans , UK, Eastern European, and Asian, each group within a section of the display area. Displays are generally arranged by country/region but sometimes the lines are a little blurred, especially when it comes to the open coolers. How many varieties I won't guess, but suffice to say it's well above the 1000+ bottles it's nearest local rival, Belmont Station, carries.

Though I haven't personally had a bad beer yet, I do tend to avoid some of the older-looking, dusty internationals; even some of the domestic stuff can get lost on the shelves and may be past it's prime. That's my only complaint with the quality is the seeming lack of rotation of some beers and also the fairly chaotic nature of the claustrophobia-inducing layout.

Service can at times be very good and friendly, though usually it's the chatty person at the register rather than anyone helping in the beer department. But I have visits where service was bored disinterest, too. This is a grocery store after all, with all the jars and cans, fruits and meats you'd expect... although I never seem to shop that 2/3rds of the store...

Prices are OK for singles, sixers and cases, though occasionally something will seem out of line on the high end. On the flip side, I've found a few absolute bargains here, too - whether they were mis-marked, overstock, clearance or whatever...also, there is a discount of 10% off when buying a certain number of bottles (I believe it's 12 or more)...

A must visit beer store in Portland...don't miss it!

msubulldog25, Jan 08, 2008
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.

blitheringidiot, Nov 15, 2005
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
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.

Georgiabeer, Oct 27, 2007
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.

Metalmonk, Oct 01, 2007
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 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.

PopeJonPaul, Aug 02, 2006
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 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 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.

freed, Jul 02, 2003
Photo of cherche
4.75/5  rDev +9.7%

cherche, Jul 18, 2014
Photo of dmorgan310
4.5/5  rDev +3.9%

dmorgan310, May 13, 2014
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.

GClarkage, Sep 30, 2005
Photo of jtosch
4.5/5  rDev +3.9%

jtosch, Mar 29, 2014
Photo of botanu
4.32/5  rDev -0.2%

botanu, Sep 22, 2014
Photo of Adamnimmo
4/5  rDev -7.6%

Adamnimmo, Nov 30, 2013
Photo of dipso123
4.5/5  rDev +3.9%

dipso123, May 23, 2014
Photo of gatheredwaters
3.5/5  rDev -19.2%

gatheredwaters, Jun 12, 2014
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John's Market in Portland, OR
96 out of 100 based on 73 ratings.