Charles Street Liquors


50 Reviews
Charles Street LiquorsCharles Street Liquors

Type: Store

143 Charles St
Boston, Massachusetts, 02114-3252
United States

(617) 523-5051 | map

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Reviews: 50 | Ratings: 63
Photo of slander
4/5  rDev -1%

We hit it after the AOBF wandering around in the rain. They keep the beer in the back in an elevated section, warm on a small wall of shelving and cold in the coolers. A good selection of regional micros and good imports. I meant to pull me a couple of Brooklyn Monster '02's (I haven't seen the '02's in a while) but I ended up spacing them (it was after all, post AOBF!!!) but I scored me some Rogue I2PA's and a bottle of the Sam Adams Triple Bock, which is not so easy to find these days in the NYC area, especially at the $5 it cost me for this one (I should've bought a few of them) and they had some of the Magic Hat big bottled beers very nicely priced. What's this?!? Both of the Dogfish Head rums? (I scapped me a bottle of the honey rum). Good beer selection, a case up front with a small but quality glassware collection ( I really do need Caracole "Saxo snifters"), and a pretty decent tequilla selection too. I'm sure we'll stumble on back come September.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.15/5  rDev +2.7%

Charles Street Liquors was my first stop to find local beers in Boston. As it's on Charles Street not too far from the north station it's easy to get to if you're traveling. Of course, I was driving, and there's absolutely no parking near there! I made due.

I was impressed with the number of 6-packs they had, but I normally buy single bottles. They would not break up a six pack for me (...I found it on tap later that day!). The single bottle collection was pretty good too, but there wasn't a whole lot that I couldn't find in other parts of the east coast. Lots of good Belgians though. Decent Germans. I was looking for local though.

The store is well maintained, and very comfortable and easy to browse. The staff (I think I dealt with an owner, perhaps just a manager) know their products and what's going on in the market, and they're more than willing to assist customers who need help (unlike me)! ... ... (An aside... I found it interesting that the man I spoke with gave a 2-sided compliment/put-down to a local brewer as #1 - he had no idea who I was, and #2 - that should be some of their bread and butter, but that's not really the market they're interested in).

Had I known, however, what limited range of local beers I would encounter on my next 5 stops, I probably would have bought more - but even then, I did have that clock ticking on my illegally parked car!

Certainly worth a visit for beer, and don't forget that they do have a very good, expansive wine selection if you're headed out to a BYOB restaurant (Boston has many!). I certainly wouldn't pass it by.

Oh, and as to the dusty bottles mentioned earlier, yes, I saw them too and it kept me away from the Belgians. ... ... ... Why not just dust them off?

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Photo of DoubleJ
4.15/5  rDev +2.7%

I had some time to kill on Christmas Eve before my plane departed, so I strolled along Charles Street in search of Charles Street Liquor. I felt I needed to take home another sample of beer home as a last-minute gift, and that I did (a bottle of Founders Red Rye). The selection is more focused on imports than domestic craft beers, but you can still come away with a 3 liter bottle of Double Bastard. The imported selection is diverse and evenly represented; I noticed a large number of German and English beers I've never heard of before. I was asked if I needed help a few times when I was debating what I wanted to take home with me. Multiple checkout registers help move the queue line fast, ending my BeerFly tour of Boston a little faster than I was expecting. Great place to stop at for beer if you're around the west part of the peninsula.

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Photo of Gavage
3.7/5  rDev -8.4%

Stopped in as we passed it heading to the Red Line Charles stop. Nice selection of some beers I can not get in NJ like McNeill's, Newport Storm, and Middle Ages. Easy to view the selection of warm bottles on the left side of the store. Not a large selection by any means, but one that left me staring at a number of beers I haven't tried yet.

I picked up a few bombers and they were a bit pricey in my opinion. But then again this is city and I'm sure the store rent ain't cheap in this area.

The service was friendly, but not overly inquisitive of my staring at the selection of warm bottles for a few minutes.

Convenient if riding the Red Line. Worth a stop if you are not a Bostonian.

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Photo of papat444
3.8/5  rDev -5.9%

Well, i was a bit leary of going here as i got mixed reviews from people who had gone. First off, their specialties are Belgians & other imports. If you love Belgians, they have pretty much any you could want. Also, some uncommon ones, like Baltika or La Choulette. Service was friendly & excellent. Now, a couple of things.
1) some bottles are dusty (not all), & i saw at least one or two kinds of beer that were past the due date. So, inspect your beer before buying as i did.
2) While there's a good selection of US micros in cases, not much unfortunately in ways of singles as they don't allow broken cases.

All in all though, i would come again, but would not do my main beer shopping here though.

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Photo of rousee
2.7/5  rDev -33.2%

I knew about this place for years but never went out of my way to go--until I learned they have an exceptionally good selection of beers.

I would still go here and would recommend it due to the huge selection--but each time I have been there, some member of the staff has slightly annoyed me. Most recently, it was a guy interrupting a conversation I was having with another shopper and beer enthusiast only to force their own opinions upon us as if they were undisputable facts.
Before that, it was just some harmless wise-ass sarcastic remark but when I am the customer and I don't know you--you don't do that.

Their prices are pretty Beacon Hill too--read overpriced. Again, I have to recommend it because of the huge selection and fairly easy location. Could be a lot better though.

Update from visit on 6/4/05---
The # of beers has decreased substantially. Noticeable dust on many of the bottles. This was always present here but its gotten worse.Who wants to buy a Christmas beer in early June? How bout one from England where it is bound to deteriorate versus improve due to a low abv or clear bottle. Staff has never been great here. Downgrades are in order across the board. Pricing is spotty -you can get a good deal on some things but other items are a tad higher than reasonable.

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Photo of mltobin
3.8/5  rDev -5.9%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4

This place is conveniently located on Charles Street in downtown Boston, not too far from the hospital area where I was staying with a friend. It is a relatively small store in general for wine/liquor/beer and the craft beer section also is small. But, they do make a very good use of their space. You can pick up some Belgian classics like Chimay and other trappist beers. Mass beers like Haverhill and Mayflower. Other US craft beer such as Port, McNeill`s, White Birch. The staff I came across were friendly enough, but did not all seem well versed in their offerings. Prices were better than I expected for the great location, where other things can tend to cost a pretty penny.

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Photo of Hibernator
4.14/5  rDev +2.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Went to Charles Street Liquors after reading very positive reviews on BA. This is a great establishment for beer fans. Offerings from all over. Nice selection from Dogfish Head, Smuttynose, Rogue, Stone, Berkshire Brewing Company, and many, many other breweries.

I picked up a Rogue Old Crustacean Barleywine, Dogfish Head Mida's Touch and Dogfish Head Aprihop.

The service was friendly and helpful. Easy location from the T....Charles St off the redline or Park St and a scenic walk cutting up the common and crossing to Charles Street.

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Photo of tigg924
3.85/5  rDev -4.7%

I went to Charles Street Liquors yesterday for the first time in about a year and have to say I was a bit disappointed. This used to be the place where you could find lots of really hard to find beers that you could not find anywhere else. While the selection still has some gems, there are a lot more common beers. There are about four shelf cases with bombers and foreign beers. Their Belgian selection is a bright spot. The appearance as others have said leaves a bit to be desired. The aisle in back of the beer aisle was covered in old cardboard boxes. The service was courteous and knowledgeable, so no complaints there. What I got was a bit pricey for what I expected to pay for it. If I was in Boston--especially Boston proper, I would still come to this store every now and then. The selection still beats most in the area, and it clearly caters to craft. However, it just is not worth the hour trip as it once was or as some other stores still are.

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Photo of Imstillthegman
4.15/5  rDev +2.7%

I made this one of my many stops while in Boston for the EBF. Good selection including many Belgians/imports, Stone, Founders, Oskar Blues, AleSmith, and the locals. I am still kicking myself for forgetting to grab a six-pack of Gordon....grrr. There is a parking garage pretty much right across the street from the store. There was some dust on some of the bottles I purchased but I am assuming it was just blowing in from nearby construction. Atleast, I don't think AleSmith would sit around long enough to get dusty. Mass. gets a lot of great beers and I wish I could of found a store that was large enough to have more of the offerings from all of those brewers. This was a good store with a good selection a little bigger than some of the other downtown Boston stores.

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Photo of MuddyFeet
3.55/5  rDev -12.1%

Stopped by a couple of times while in the neighborhood but most recently I swung by today while waiting killing some time in the neighborhood. The quality of the beers were solid. Everything I checked out was either in-date or reasonably so. However, there were a bunch of dusty bottles on the bottom shelf outside the cooler. Also, there were a few seasonls that were a bit out of season, but not too many.

Very nice selection. Not the most expansive in the Boston area, but definitely a good selection. Had a little bit of everything. Nothing too rare but all very sell-able beers with a few more eccentric Belgians and even American beers.

Service has always been the same everytime I have been in the store. I'll describe the most recent. I was in there for 15 minutes just poking around. There was a solid 5 minutes I was in the store by myself with only the sales clerk. However, he never approached me to see if I needed anything, I simply got a "Hey, what's up?" when I went to check out. That is barely average service and i give them the benefit of the doubt but this is not the first time I recieved such service.

I will definitely go back for the selection but not if I am looking for any assistance.

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Photo of IBUnit63
4.35/5  rDev +7.7%

I enjoy going to this place because it's reachable via T during the week, is on the way home from work, and they get new arrivals in relatively quickly. Nice selection of bombers and imports - very good Belgian and German breadth. Service is good - maybe not quite up to the level when Scot the wine guy was there but still solid. Ample offerings cold also. There are some things that go for reasonable prices (Southern Tier comes to mind here) but quite a few may be a bit higher (buck or so) than in the 'burbs. Solid place to go when in town during the week.

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Photo of taez555
4.15/5  rDev +2.7%

Located on Charles Street in Beacon Hill, Charles Street Liquors is deffinatly one of the best liquor stores in the Boston Area.

A rather small store compared to some of the large mega stores in the Boston Area. Charles Street Liquors is mostly a Wine Store. Dedicated to quality wines mostly. Not the place to go if you're looking boxed wine. The liquor selection is also small but of some quality.

The beer selection here is small but excellent. Several shelves dedicated to singles of more obscure craft brews and imports. The only place in the Boston Area I found Westvletern abt 8. I also found a few bottles of Magic Hat's Braggot and Thumsucker here. The 6 pack selection is just as interesting. Your standards but with a few more obscure selections.

Overall a great store. If you're looking for great bottled beer in Boston, this is right up there at the top.

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Photo of WanderingFool
4.45/5  rDev +10.1%

I had a friend who lived around the corner from Charles St. Liquors and have been here several times on beer runs. He has since moved and I haven't been back for a few years, until today. I've forgotten what an awesome selection they have. There are several beers here that I can not find anywhere else, such as Magic Hat Chaotic Chemistry & Thumsucker and Dogfish Head Pangea. There's a large selection of imports from Belgium, Germany, and Britian, but I also found beers from Japan. They also have a great selection of local and national microbrews.

The service is excellent and quite knowledgeable. While shopping around with several beers in my hand one of the clerks offered to bring them up to the front for me and gave me some tasting notes on some of my selections.

This has to be the premire spot in Boston to get beer. I can't think of another location in the city that has nearly the selection as Charles St. By the way, if you're hungry the King and I next door has some great Thai food!

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Photo of Boilermaker88
3.85/5  rDev -4.7%

Took a decent 2.5mi. walk from where I was staying for the ABF to get to Charles St Liquors. Almost walked past it as it blended in very well with the other stores and eateries in the neighborhood.
Once inside, I found the beers located in about half of the smaller back section of the store, sharing space with some varieties of champagnes. Charles St Liquors is primarily a wine and spirits store but still maintains an excellent selection of local beers and a great selection of foreign brews. Most imported beers were on shelves and not refrigerated. Some had built up quite a layer of dust on them. Did I mention it was kinda warm back where the beer was? It gave me pause for concern but after looking around for half an hour and marveling at the selection I threw caution to the wind and started loading my cart.
The selection of Euro beers was stellar, with some hard to find (for me) beers like Sinebrychoff porter and Aecht Schlenkerla's Rauchbier Weizen coming off the shelf and into my basket. I also went after some local brews - Berkshire's Lost Sailor IPA, DFH's ApriHop and 90 Min IPA - and would have gotten more if I had been able to break up a few 6-packs. They have a "make your own 6-er" area but when I picked up a bottle of Victory's Golden Monkey and saw the date was August 7, 2004 I decided against it. The staff might want to rotate out the beers that are ten months past prime.
The service was pretty much non-existent. Two people at the counter, I'm the only customer, in there for half an hour, and no one even asks if I need help finding anything. Given the obvious attention to the variety of beer they choose to carry, I'd think they'd also make sure the service could at least make an effort to be helpful.
In the end, I bought eight bottles and, fortunately, found a T station only about 100 yds away so I didn't have to hike back with all that brew. Charles St Liquors has an outstanding selection and I thought the prices were pretty fair. If they can improve the service, the store would be fantastic. Nevertheless, if you visit Boston, Charles St. Liquors is worth a stop.

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Photo of CharlesRiver
4.35/5  rDev +7.7%

A small store located at the end of Charles St. more towards the river than the common. Seems to have a bit of a Nepolean complex as it is small but packs a big punch. As you walk in, walk towards the back and take a left. You will be surrounded by beers as you walk up the one or two steps. I was suprised to see a few beers that I haven't seem else where in the Boston area. They do have the rare Magic Hat beers if you are looking for them. A great variety of micros from NE and the entire US as well as a great European selection. The price is a bit high, but considering the location it is just fine.

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Photo of OldFrothingSlosh
3.85/5  rDev -4.7%

A post Belgian Beer Festival jaunt to CSL was in order as we had time to kill and some good beer for AKSmokedPorter to purchase. Conveniently located within mere yards of the Red Line, CSL boasts an impressive, if not voluminous, selection of beers. Catering more to the wine crowd, there is still a respectful number of beers available. Many beers with various vintages available. There's a good representation of locals available here as well and that's always a good thing to see. One aisle of beers with coolers in the back for the cold "to-go" crowd. I didn't purchase anything this trip, but prices seemed only slightly higher than what I've seen in Richmond. I'll certainly be stopping here on my next visit to Boston.

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Photo of waughbrew
4.5/5  rDev +11.4%

Very nice. Good selection all-around, especially the Belgians. Helpful, friendly staff. I have not been disappointed with the beers from there, although some might not move so quickly. Overall their prices may be a little high,(probably just to cover their high rent), but I think I saw the Westys there for cheaper than anywhere else around. My favorite Boston store for the "finer" beers.

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Photo of bignick
4/5  rDev -1%

This is definitely one of the better liquor stores in the Boston area. There is a very nice selection, especially of imports, and I like how the beer is divided by country. I do not like the lack American six packs. The options of cold sixpacks aren't as well-picked, IMOH, as at Bauer or Wine Gallery. The quality seems pretty high, on the whole, although there is the occasional old bottle to be found. I have never been offerred help while shopping, but when I have had a question the sale-people are helpful enough. This is a very good neighborhood store, and worth a visit if nearby.

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Photo of bewareOFpenguin
4.65/5  rDev +15.1%

update 6-24-04:
what can I say? I pick up a sixer of "Endurence", yell to the counter,
"Is it any good?"
He comes over and says:
"I haven't tried it, but the Weekly Dig (The Bros) gave it 3 out of 5 stars".

I'm impressed.
Even more so when he pointed out the Victory 10 & 12.

On advice from Todd, I returned to this establishment. I double parked out front, thinking I would only be inside a few minutes. I was lucky I didn't get towed having stayed a good 45 minutes. They have a great selection of beer, including too many Belgians to mention. What impressed me the most though was the free glass with my $20 purchase. Just call me cheap

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Photo of albern
4/5  rDev -1%

If you're in the neighborhood, this is about the best around the common/public garden area. Not the best in the metro area, but a very good selection on the shelf. The Belgians are there for the taking and there are plenty of others on the shelves. The refrigerated section isn't huge. Elm Street in Somerville is much better. Marty's in Allston is also better, but that one isn't laid out that well for my liking. You could do a heck of a lot worse that is for sure. The parking, yikes, I wouldn't even try. I only approach this one on foot.

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Photo of IrishRedRock
4.05/5  rDev +0.2%

Had some time to kill in Boston, so upon hearing the selection at this place, I thought I would check it out for myself. Indeed, while mostly catering to the wine lovers, the beer selection packed into the small area in the back corner of the store is quite impressive. All the beers are very well organized by country of origin, and the selection of local/regional brews is nice. A lot of Berkshire and Smuttynose, in addition to other US Areas with the likes of DFH, Victory and Rogue.

They boast an interesting array of European beers, and I went straight after their English and Belgian selections. All 4 cask editions of JW Lees as well - this is the first place I have seen to have these. I picked up a bottle of the Lagavulin. So yes, the selection is extensive and varied, and they have a discount for mix-a-six...all good things.

Some reviews here list prices as being high...I can't compare them well to other prices in the Boston area, but I didn't think they were too bad. I got a sixer, 3 of which were bombers, for $18. Not bad.

Service was pretty much non existent. The guy at the counter was friendly enough but didn't go out of his way to see if I needed anything or to talk beer, etc. This doesn't bother me at all, but as far as rating service, I think it needs to be said.

All in all, a good place I would return to given the selection, and for the location. Step off the Charles Street red line stop and you see the door.

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Photo of twelvsies
4/5  rDev -1%

Heard mixed reviews about this place, and while lost (I'm relatively new to the area) I found myself on Charles St and out of the corner of my eye I spotted the sign. So I parked (which wasn't really hard as lots of reviews say) and went in. They do have a pretty amazing selection. Lots of variety: Belgians, Germans, English, American, all the biggies are covered. They do a little beyond your above average beer store selection though. There are a lot of off the wall Belgians like stuff from De Proef that I don't see everywhere and am starting to like more and more. Also, a lot of Fantome and Cantillon, including seasonals and rarer stuff. Great selection of six packs as well from all over the country. I wanted to wait til after I'd drank some of the beers I bought here to review the place. I've heard a few complaints about old beers on the shelves, etc, but everything I got there was fresh.Service really isn't any help, but that to me isn't so important. Yeah, it's really nice when people go out of their way to come chat about beer, like at Bauer in Boston, and only a couple other places I've been (Premier in Buffalo), but I don't really need much help in a beer store anyway. The staff were all taking pictures of themselves drinking wine for Improper Bostonian or something, which was kind of funny. This place is a bit pricey. For example, $12+ for Fantome strikes me as a bit expensive. I usually find them for 8.99 or 9.99 most places. But, I guess you get what you pay for in that you can find almost anything you want at this place and now I feel confident that it's going to be fresh and healthy beer. Still, it's expensive. I like how the beer is in the back, away from the sunlight. All beer stores should do this. Definately a spot to check out if you're visiting the area, or if you live here. If you're still scared by the challenge of finding a parking spot, which is silly, it's super close to the Charles/MGH stop on the red line. Check it out.

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Photo of Sycodrummer
3.35/5  rDev -17.1%

Certainly as many reviewers have said before, Charles St. boasts a huge selection of craft beer from all over the world. About six coolers worth house six packs from both American and International brewers. Brooklyn, Smutty, DFH, Geary's, Sam Adams, Ipswich, Harpoon, and a whole host of other American brewers plus imports along the line of Julius Echter, Bass, Guinness, Sam Smith, and many many others.

Also a vast selection of bombers from around the world. None of which are kept cold, and some of which have a healthy coat of dust on them. Delirium, many Trappists, Unibroue, Rogue, Stone, Berkshire, Ommegang, Old Rasputin, Smutty Big Beer, Old Speckeled Hen, and lots of others.

All in all, when it comes down to the beer, this place has a TON of it. Freshness is a bit shakey on some beers and service is all but non-existant.

Prices are reasonable, but can get a little high.

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Photo of puboflyons
4/5  rDev -1%

Wine tends to be the liquor of choice here but do not fret; if you walk to the back of the store you will find a small but high quality beer section. There are a couple of coolers for the national macros and better-known micros but I think you will be spending time perusing the dry shelves where they stock their imports, Belgians, and scarcer regionals. Some of the UK imports I have not seen before (ie. Fullers Honey). You cannot pull from 4 or 6 packs but there is a singles cooler. The singles are mainly nationally known brews though. Be prepared to spend a little more than you are used to. If you are in Boston it is worth a visit. Don't make plans to turn it into a tourist destination. It is fairly easy to get to from the Red Line, which has a station about a block or two away.

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Charles Street Liquors in Boston, MA
4.04 out of 5 based on 63 ratings.
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