West Lakeview Liquors

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BA SCORE
100
world-class

105 Reviews
West Lakeview LiquorsWest Lakeview Liquors
PLACE INFO

Type: Store

2156 W Addison St
Chicago, Illinois, 60618-6136
United States

(773) 525-1916 | map
www.wlvliquors.com

Notes:
Hours:
Mon. - Thurs. 10am - 10pm
Fri. & Sat. 10am - 11pm
Sun. 11am - 10pm

Parking: Y (in the rear of the store)
Mail Order: Y

Added by mkopera24

PLACE STATS
Score:
100
Reviews:
105
Ratings:
185
Avg:
4.58
pDev:
4.8%
View: Place Reviews | Events
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Reviews: 105 | Ratings: 185
Photo of Beginner2
4.57/5  rDev -0.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75

Established in 1988, West Lakeview was a pioneer; opening a high-quality wine and beer store beer in a neighborhood that was less than 1/3 gentrified. (Today it is 100% and the store owner looks like a genius.)

But being a pioneer doesn't last forever. Several more craft beer bars have opened in, say, that half mile radius as have at least two other similar specialty stores in a somewhat larger area. So the question is, how does West Lakeview fair now ?

With more competition, it needs to change things up a bit more. It can still keep its niche of unusual good beer imports and very knowledgeable staff (although the last time of 6 times of purchased there, the guy at the counter was the spirits specialist.) Lakeview can also keep its spirits+wine vs beer 50-50 split of space. And it should strengthen that.

Two suggestions.

First... They do not offer a build-you-own-6-pack and absolutely should. This was immediately popular 5 years ago, so West Lakeview is giving business to its competition. Worse, many of Lakeview's customers buy in the one-and-down habit. So give the customers what they want. If they particularly want to expand their American craft trade (which is a good idea since Chicago is very fast becoming the largest metro producer), they need to offer build-your-own-6-pack.

Second (and this is work), but I'd do pairings with local restaurants. Get more crafts and imports paired with restaurant items and use it for advertising "Pairing done by West Lakeview" and get it on the menus.

As someone who knows he is over-paying by buying at Lakeview instead of Binny's, I just gave them some really, really useful advice. Compete with smarts.

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Photo of Barnoloid
4.74/5  rDev +3.5%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.75

Outstanding selection of beers here at West Lakeview....have been past here many times but took my first trip in there today. Great service, friendly and knowledgable. I should have hung out and asked for more recommendations but I was on a time crunch. Fantastic foreign import options as well as local/national coverage. Chilled out vibe.

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Photo of DoubleSimcoe
4.36/5  rDev -4.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 5

A small, neighborhood store with limited variety but packed with many rare beers, Lakeview is the place to go to find weird sh#t! Stuff from Chicagoland like Lake Effect, Pipeworks, Solemn, Spiteful, FFF; bombers galore from Dogfish, Hoppin Frog, FiftyFifty Eclipse, Bruery; beers from Switzerland and Spain; rare Mikkeller and Amager… even Brazilian craft! And fifteen different De Molen, the most I’ve seen in the US. Prices ain’t cheap but why should they for this kind of stuff, and the folks are nice and helpful.

A must in the Chi, along with the nearby Beer Temple.

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Photo of eb1610
4.82/5  rDev +5.2%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 5 | selection: 4.75

Stopped in today since I was told it was a must stop by some Chicago people that I've traded with and they were right. Great selection of beers from the area which is what I was looking for while on vacation. Staff was unbelievably helpful and even offered me some Zombie Dust. The male staffer took the time to write out bars/breweries that I should visit while in town. Pretty much my ideal store

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Photo of Taybeh
4.25/5  rDev -7.2%

Pretty small and not a huge number of offerings, but the stuff that they did have was high quality. Very helpful staff. Asked about 3 Floyds stuff (because I only saw some Gumballhead and Robert the Bruce on the shelves) and he hooked me up with some Zombie Dust. Made the drive back to Minneapolis a lot better, full of happy anticipation.

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Photo of stouts4me
4.75/5  rDev +3.7%

This fine establishment is the tits of beer stores; pack in a lot of great stuff in a slightly smaller are, perfect.love the new courtyard in the back for Zwanze Day.

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Photo of Cubatobaco
3.9/5  rDev -14.8%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5

While this may be an awesome store to visit, I am very disappointed in their online service, as well as, customer service via email. I placed an order on June 7th and did not get an update until June 23rd about shipping. It was for 6 bottles!!!! Come on! The sad thing is that I had to call. I also received and email with a FedEx tracking number that said it would show up today (6/23), but it's being shipped today.

I'm a bit sketchy about the IPA's that I ordered as they are now 3 weeks older. I hope that they compensated for such. I hope that they can get their orders caught up and no one else has to go through this kind of delay.

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Photo of GSThorn
4.82/5  rDev +5.2%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 5 | selection: 4.75

What can be said other than THANK YOU! WLVL deserves it's World Class Rating. Exceptional service and selection at reasonable prices in a great storefront. Was able to find an outstanding selection of local and regional micros and a great cross section from across the country. The well known and lesser distributed breweries too. A considerable quantity of seasonal & special releases, as well as the regular stuff. The imports were amazing. Possibly the best Mikkeller selection I've ever seen. Was even offered extremely hard to find items from their cellar! Super Folks! I can't recommend this one high enough.

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Photo of Circles413
4.33/5  rDev -5.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 3 | selection: 5

In the past 2 weeks I had spent over $400 at this store & I loved everything about it...until today. Before I go into what happened today let me go back to my first visit a couple weeks ago. I was greeted by a girl who seemed slightly out of it but friendly. She pushed Three Floyd's on me despite the fact that I try to stay away from their hype. She wasn't very knowledgeable about the smaller batches & admitted that she hasn't tried much of what they had but she knew everyone loved (again) Three Floyd's.

(Moving forward to today)

I call the store to see if they will be getting in 2 different beers only to be greeted by the same girl & after asking about the brews she says, "who know....(moments of silence & says) there's so many beers out there". This girl is 100% useless & only goes off what she sees & isn't willing to find out what the customer is looking for.

That being said, I was at the store & a rep ran to the basement trying to find other brews that weren't on the floor that he thought I might enjoy.

So my final thoughts....

The young lady is a stoned hippy who runs with what most people ask for & the guys actually respect their customers. They have a huge selection of great beer that can only be found here! Don't go off the website because it doesn't show everything. You'll have to go in & see for yourself what an amazing assortment they truly have.

Again, if you run into a younger woman or if she answers the phone? Hang up & call back at a later time or just stay away from her. She'll talk your ear off about Three Floyd's & Three Floyd's only.

 1,587 characters

Photo of chrismason269
5/5  rDev +9.2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

WLVL has a selection that is unmatched not only within the city, but in the world. Beers varying from a couple thousand feet to couple thousand miles from the store's front door make it impossible to leave without something you had no idea existed or was available. It offers the rare and regular beers from popular Goose Island, 3Floyds and Pipeworks locally but also has an imported selection that allows you to step into another world.

 438 characters

Photo of CopperMtnPlowboy
4.72/5  rDev +3.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

Undergoing some remodeling when I was there right before Christmas 2013. They said it took over 3 years to get a permit to expand? Wow, I knew Chicago politics weren't freedom-friendly, but sheesh! Plenty of selections of singles and bombers, plus had a few local cans I didn't yet have for my "drank it myself" can collection. I'll be back next time in town.

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Photo of Hall312
4.39/5  rDev -4.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.75 | food: 3

They have the best selection in the city n best part in the morning when u can get first pick a things that come up from the basement, she has some amazing things that come out a that collection. People are great n have all the Pipeworks when they come out as some of the members worked at this store.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.46/5  rDev -2.6%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.5

WLL didn't exactly live up to the hype for me. The bottle selection was very good but there was very little that I couldn't find at other bottle shops in the city and in many cases WLL seemed more picked over than the two Binny's stores that I visited.

The service was outstanding though; very helpful and informative. Worth a visit if you are in Chicago but not the first place I'd stop.

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Photo of Offa
4.91/5  rDev +7.2%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

This is an outstanding liquor store. My experience included excellent, helpful, and friendly service. The selection is incredible, especially for local/Midwest beers, which is what I'm primarily looking for when going to a store in this region (my primary interest in visiting any beer store is usually getting local regional beers that I can't obtain at home). The import selection is great, too.

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Photo of rorj
5/5  rDev +9.2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Fantastic Service. The young guy who was working was super nice, super helpful and knowledgeable. Told me all about pipeworks and some beers in the back.

The Selection was great, tons of pipeworks, Half Acre Daisey Cutter, not too much 3Floyds but going to the pub so didn't matter to me.

someone on here said they had to pay cash for glassware, but I used a card.

great store

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Photo of ssimpson89
5/5  rDev +9.2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

I was in the city and wanted to see what I could get that's not available in the 'burbs. It's a small store, but has an awesome selection. It was early on Saturday, March 9 and me and my wife were the only 2 in the store.

I didn't get the name of the guy working, but he mentioned he was a Cleveland native and was rocking a Great Lakes hoodie. He knew I wanted local and pointed me to Pipeworks, Spiteful, Begyle, etc. I also grabbed some Daisy Cutter, which is limited in the 'burbs and he asked if I wanted some Double Daisy Cutter as he thought there may be few bottles in the back. It was my first time there and he made me feel like a regular. I've been buying at least 12 beers a week from my local Binny's for the last 5 years and have never received such great service and selection of hard to get beers. They tend to hold limited releases in the back for friends of the beer guy...bad policy.

West Lakeview had most of the recent limited releases on the shelf with a 1 per customer limit, which I love. It gives everyone a chance to get their hands on rarer beers.

What a great store. Everyone in craft beer retailing should make a visit to see how it should be done. Well educated and friendly employees do make a difference. I'll definitely be going back.

 1,272 characters

Photo of cnbrown313
5/5  rDev +9.2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Whenever my beer advocate friends come into Chicago from out of the area and ask, "Where should I go to find good beer in Chicago?" West Lakeview Liquors is my immediate response. And nobody has ever been disappointed.

A - The shop has a "boutique" feel to it (although not in a bad way). There are only about 2-3 bottles of each beer on the shelves (usually more are available in the back stock), so the store feels like a museum that is being constantly kept up by a very knowledgeable curator. Amongst the endless bottles of beers they also offer t-shirts, glasses, lambic baskets, etc. (many of which you aren't likely to find anywhere else except here and Belgium)

Q - The selection of quality beers here is the best I've ever seen. I have to imagine that it has to be up there with the best in the world. Very rare beers from breweries like Mikkeller, De Dolle, Evil Twin, Fantome, De Molen, etc. sit alongside local breweries like Pipeworks (they got their start working at this store by the way), Revolution, Three Floyds... and it goes on...and on...

Service - I've heard some people say that they haven't had the best service here, but personally, I've had nothing but good experiences. Last time I was in there buying a bottle of Bon Chein, the employee working the counter said, "If you like that, I've got a 2006 bottle in the basement you might really like? Another time I was buying about $200 worth of bottles and they threw in a free t-shirt for me too. I dropped a bottle on the floor once and thought I was about to get scolded, but the employee that saw just said, "Ah, don't worry man... that's why we've got rubber floors here!" So my service experiences here have been nothing but great.

Selection - If you are looking for the best and rarest beer you can find in Chicago. This is it...

V - Every once in a while you might be able to get a bottle $1 cheaper at Binny's, but in general, they are on par with everyone else. Also... Pipeworks bombers are $1 cheaper here than anywhere else.

O - If you haven't been here and have the means to do so. Do yourself a favor and go. And only bring what you're willing to spend... because I've gone in there for "a bottle for the night" and came out with $200-$300 in beer. It will happen...

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Photo of freeride
4.64/5  rDev +1.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

Definitely one of the better spots in Chicago. Walked away with one of my best haul's here in Chicago. Great staff that knows a lot about the beers and latches on quickly to beers you'd dig. Went in there just to cruise the selections and walked out with WAY more than I had expected. Oddly they did not get any Westy's in (was not looking for them, but thought I'd ask). Only place in Chicago that I know of with the Eclipse in stock. I would definitely recommend this spot to anyone visiting or living in the Chicago area (Chicago proper)

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Photo of gtermi
4.94/5  rDev +7.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

When I walked into this place, I had to pinch myself because I thought I had died and went into beer heaven. Now this place isn't like Binny's where it is huge and spread out, no, this place is very tiny and stacked to the ceiling with amazing beer.. literally. They had rare beer after rare beer as I scrolled through the selection. They have the biggest selection of Mikkeller I have ever seen and a crap load of imports that I have never seen. They had hard to find Bell's, 3 Floyd's and The Bruery. The people that worked there were super nice and they enjoyed talking beer. They had a doorway you can go through and they have t-shirts and beer glasses for sale from different breweries. There is also a little bit of wine and liquor too, but you can tell their main focus is the beer. When I come back to Chicago, this is for sure the first place I will hit up.

 866 characters

Photo of GJ40
4.5/5  rDev -1.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

West Lakeview Liquors is a dedicated shop that focuses on presentation, selection, quality and service. I stopped in looking for something I couldn't find back in NC. The guy behind the counter suggested a beer by Mikkeller brewed only for their shop. Hopefully it'll be a good one.

They have lots of everything but seem to be particularly deep on Belgians. They have the usual six packs displayed in the coolers with the more serious beers nicely displayed on wooden shelves that cover the back of the store. They unfortunately didn't have much from FFF but it seems like everyone in the area was out or running low.

I definitely recommend this place to anyone traveling to Chicago.

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Photo of Sammy
4/5  rDev -12.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Ranked the best store in Chicago, it likely is. Very good Shelton brothers selection, as well as twelve Percent (Evil Twin). Several US microbrews not available or sent here by distributors that were available at other small stores I visited. Looked like 700 different selections. Some overflow bottles were in the front window which was not a good idea. No breaking up of 4 or 6 packs. Service was a bit spoty but also only one server this night and I was keeping him hopping.Attached to a small deli-like store with some good snacks that go with beer.

 553 characters

Photo of Bobbydigi
4.58/5  rDev 0%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

I went here twice on my short trip to Chicago. The first time was to pick up a sixer for the hotel and figure out what bars we needed to hit up for the night. The staff was more than helpful, almost giving us too may good suggestions. The second stop was for beer to take home. They have a lot of hard to find stuff here. Really great import selection. The only reason I didn’t give them a 15 on selection is because their 6 pack selection was limited. But considering how small the store is they pack it full of top notch beer. I’ll definitely be back next time I head to Chicago.

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Photo of AleWatcher
3.95/5  rDev -13.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4.5

I stopped in here while cruising around the Chicago area looking for some beer to add to the cellar.

I was truly surprised by how small this place is-- but even more surprised by how many beers they managed to fit in here!
The overall vibe in the look of the place makes me think of an old wild west saloon and general store-- and I actually like it. I do the shelves are pretty over-crowded, but they seem to be doing the best they can with the space available.

I bought a few bottles of 3F Oude Kriek (as it is implement unavailable in the SW suburbs). As of mid-February, the shop still has some bottles of mikeller Sour Bitch available -- 2 bottle limit, $30 per bottle. I was also surprised to find several cases of Jester King Black Metal... I was told that the owners of the store are friends with the brewery.

I was mainly excited to see they still had several of the Cantillon stemware glasses remaining, and happily grabbed 2 of them. The glasses were "cash only," and $10 each, but I was excited none the less.
The store also had a bunch of other glasses available, including some of the Duvel artist series.

My only complaint about the store-- The 2 employees I dealt with seemed to act like my presence was an inconvenience up with which they begrudgingly put.
The tall guy with longer dark hair in his late 30s that appeared to be the manager and the hipster in his young 20s that rang me up both gave the impression that what they needed to make their store a better place was having fewer customers looking around.

Now to be fair, I'm sure that both of these guys are friendly and courteous and all that, and perhaps I caught them during an inventory or while they were trying to organize new shipments... But, as stated, it remains my only complaint.

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Photo of dexterk1
4.56/5  rDev -0.4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

This is perhaps the best liquor store in the city for beer! The set up is very nice. It is a small place on the corner of addison and leavitt. It has an a joining store with cheese and some other grocery stuff. The beer selection is very good. They have a lot of very good beers in the coolers and outside on the shelves as well. The quality of the selection is impressive as well. Many nice beer both foreign and domestic. They also will rotate some of there selection from time to time. It is actually more in Roscoe Village area, but it is a destination for the whole north side of the city.

 594 characters

Photo of osusullins
5/5  rDev +9.2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

This is a beer lover's paradise. Far and away my favorite liquor store in Chicago. They always have a great stock of the highest quality of beers, and in the off chance that they are out of something, then they will special order it if it is available. Some of the kegs they have available on their keg list are simply amazing. The store is very intimate, but not cramped. It is very organized with the bottles easily accessable and easy to find if you know specifically what you are looking for. The staff is very helpful and friendly. I have had many conversations with the owner and she is an absolute pleasure to talk with. Parking is easy and it is in a great neighborhood. I can't express enough how much I love this place.

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West Lakeview Liquors in Chicago, IL
4.58 out of 5 based on 185 ratings.
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