South Bay Drugs

South Bay DrugsSouth Bay Drugs
South Bay DrugsSouth Bay Drugs

779 Palm Ave
Imperial Beach, California, 91932-1234
United States

// CLOSED //

Notes: Moving?
View: Place Reviews
Reviews by srandycarter:
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srandycarter from California

4.65/5  rDev -1.1%

Met Joey on Beer Advocate last week in the forums. I had been overcharged on a hard to find beer in another store, and he let me know. I was really grateful for the information. I checked out his impressive web site and decided to take a trip down to his store. This guy has got an INCREDIBLE selection of things you can't find normally in your local store. And, to top it all off, he sells it all at very low margins. I saw fresh Pure Hoppiness there for not much more than it would be right at the brewery. He also sells all the beer online, which is truly convenient for your BAs on the East Coast. I need to find a similar store over there!

Aug 09, 2008
More User Reviews:
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NickMunford from Wyoming

5/5  rDev +6.4%

This was one of the best beer stores in San Diego County. And you would never know it from looking at the facade. The owner was extremely knowledgeable and friendly. They had an amazing selection and competitive prices. They didn't just have new shipments, but also some that were set aside and purposely aged (a couple Nogne-O beers I got there come to mind). I say "was" because they're currently closed and moving to a new location. I look forward to their new location, wherever that may be. I just hope it's in a more central area (or at least closer to my house).

Feb 15, 2011
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bikencycle from Illinois

5/5  rDev +6.4%

Have only ordered online, but have been very pleased with all of the Russian River, Ballast Point, Alpine, Lost Abbey, and other offerings. I have ordered 3 or 4 times and Joey does a great job packaging your items for shipping thanks to the styrofoam wine shippers he uses. They are moving right now so online orders are on hold for the moment, which is completely understandable under the circumstance. Haven't done a trade with the King yet bit maybe in the near future I will have something that he wants.

Feb 10, 2011
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gatornation from Minnesota

5/5  rDev +6.4%

as i write this south bay will be moving to a new location after 27 years at same location my reviews is at the current location....

south bay is my favorite online store the service is exceptional..the selection is exceptional..the overall beer buying is great..joey pays attention to you as a person and treats your order as such..after a few questions on initial order and some clerical things its a snap to reorder..and as i said joey always keeps you informed wish this store was open where i live ..highly recommended

Feb 05, 2011
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FARGO619 from California

5/5  rDev +6.4%

Have been in here several times. Great selection of micro brews. "Joey" is always up for talking about beers and recommends one if you are looking for something new. Would highly recommend this place. Great selection of hard to find stuff and local brews too. One of the best shops in SoCal. If you are looking for STONE, DESCHUTES, LOST ABBEY, ALPINE or anything that can go quick give this shop a shot. Check out his website...she ships! Keep up the great work and I will keep coming back for more.

Dec 28, 2010
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marquinoftroy from California

4.7/5  rDev 0%

South San Diego is sort of a dead end. Look into any visitors guide to SD and you will see that South San Diego lacks a certain visitor-friendly appeal. No sports teams, no big colleges, no fantastic parks and no seals at our beach. There are only a hand full of reasons one would venture south of downtown. The outlet mall at the border, sand castle competition, the amphitheater and the drive-in are the most popular reasons.

But, if you fancy yourself as a beer-ophile and in the SD area, then you owe it to yourself to check this place out. Like what everyone before me has stated: amazing selection, nice people, shady location and an ugly store.

Dec 24, 2010
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mulder1010 from Australia

4.65/5  rDev -1.1%

went in 2x while in SD

Q-- Huge drugstore, or is it just a lot of space?? with a smaller selection than I thought. But it made up in quality. That is for sure. Not the greatest area of Imperial but not arguing.

S-- Geoi is a good guy and easy to talk to and communicate with. Held 2 bottles of Victory at Sea for me. Very cool to do.

S-- Not a lot of stuff but it was quality. Goose Island to Great Divide. Avery to Russian River. Some of the harder to find CA beers to be found there. Notably Alpine. All the essential SD area beers at good prices. Lots of refrigeration as well. Able to buy singles is a huge plus as other stores will not let you. Had a good Belgian selection but not there for that.

V-- Good pricing on bombers and able to buy singles of Yeti and Goose Island are solid. Not the largest but a quality selection. A must hit if in Southern SD.

Nov 25, 2010
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mistakebythelake from Ohio

5/5  rDev +6.4%

Geoi is an outstanding guy. Have not had the chance to visit the store out in the San Diego area, but plan on doing so next trip out that way. I have ordered from South Bay numerous times and Goei always answers any questions promptly and is a pleasure to deal with. If he doesn't have it he probably can find it for you. Has a great selection of hard to find local San Diego craft beers along with some other outstanding west coast breweries.

Has an up to date website with listings of new arrivals and things like that. Beers are packaged great and shipping is inexpensive and always arrives on time.

Nov 16, 2010
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SpeedwayJim from New York

3.05/5  rDev -35.1%

Visited this place while in San Diego for a science conference.

South Bay seems like its located in a very run down neighborhood. The store is a huge waste of space as half of it is blocked off for the storage of shipping materials. Still though, appropriate "sensitive" beers are kept in the fridge and others are out on the shelves. Dates on the bottles indicate that traffic is rather high so everything is pretty fresh. Not impressed with how the store looks though.

There was no service. There was one guy at the counter and he was so old and looked so fragile that I felt bad asking him to help me and show me around. Nice guy though.

I must be missing something with regards to the selection. Maybe they offer more on their online store? South Bay, the physical store, barely has anything, just a well stocked variety of locals. Again, I'll give the benefit of the doubt because perhaps they offer a lot more online, but I wasn't impressed here either.

Prices are very reasonable here and even border on the cheap side. Worth a visit if you know what you want and what you want is something local and easy to obtain. Otherwise, take yourself elsewhere.

Nov 14, 2010
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WVbeergeek from West Virginia

4.5/5  rDev -4.3%

Here's my story, I've ordered from 4 online retailers thus far including Matt Maples Liquid Solutions, Vintage Cellar of Blacksburg, VA, Hi Time Wine Cellars in Costa Mesa, CA. Now the infamous South Bay Drugs of San Diego.

This was the most complicated so far due to the fact that I wanted three cases of identical orders for three different guys. Here's the plan, my bro Dante', and our joint best friend Kolby are all jonesing for West Coast IPAs. We lived out there for a summer when we were younger.

Here we all our spread out all preoccupied with grad school and families all on different paths. Dante's is getting his doctorate in PT living in Acworth, GA. Our buddy Kolbz is getting his masters in real estate development, and I'm working full time as an RN with 3 kids going for my RN to MSN for a nurse pracitioner.

Needless to say we're stressed out, but guess what Kolby came up with this plan that every year coming into Christmas and our birthdays. We're going to do a joint west coast beer order with telephone conferenced tastings to get us through our classes. It's on Kolbz this year and will rotate until we see fit each yar.

Here's this year's haul all new beers minus one or two for some of us. Alpine Pure Hoppiness and Duet IPAs, Karl Strauss Big Barrel DIPA, Lost Abbey Carnevale (Kolbz is obssessed with Brazil), Alaskan Smoked Porter 2010, Russian River Blind Pig, Port Old Viscosity, Wipeout, and Hightide Fresh Hop IPA, Kern River Just Outstanding IPA, Maui CocoNut Porter (2 cans), Mikkeller Beer Geek Breakfast.

Joey was extremely easy to work with and we can't really complain about pricing because the cost is multiplied by the shipping costs but we knew that coming in. It was 80+ for the beer and about 50 or so for the packing and shipping costs per case. Yeah, we're crazy!!!

Oct 19, 2010
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buzbuzzer from California

4.7/5  rDev 0%

Stopping here is a must if I ever find myself down that South. It is very easy to find in Imperial Beach.

The beer guy Joey keeps a pretty good shop, clean, simple, always stocked with good beer, usually beer that would be sold out anywhere in SD (I just picked up some Eric's Ale today). Although the City seems to be giving them a rough situation to drive them out, its a great stop while they hold on.

There you'll find the latest of Alpine, one of the best selections of locals to Belgian Beer, and just about everything else you would ever want.

Sep 19, 2010
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JoEBoBpr from Missouri

4.65/5  rDev -1.1%

Found this place online while looking for Pliny the Elder. I was surprised to find even more good stuff than just this elusive DIPA. Joey is an awesome guy to deal with. I was able to find the PtE along with great offerings from AleSmith, Alpine, Green Flash and some other Russian River. They constantly update their website and always have great offerings coming in. Once you make your first online order the rest is a cinch. good place to get some of the CA stuff that doesn't make it out of the state that much.

Sep 12, 2010
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armock from New York

4.35/5  rDev -7.4%

Wen to to this place Friday afternoon just to see what they have. Yeah that was a bad lie to myself a half hour later and $110 lighter I left with three 750s and nine small bottles. The quality of beer that this store has is crazy driving by this place you wouldn't even think they have Sierra Nevada here but they do and way beyond. The selection is pretty damn good probably ten cooler doors packed with craft and excellent imports. The guys working here are pretty cool willing to give you a hand finding something or getting you a box for your beers. This is a must stop by place if your in southern San Diego.

Aug 29, 2010
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kbutler1 from Minnesota

4.35/5  rDev -7.4%

Was very pleased with the service I got from Joey in ordering online. I ended up ordering Confluence, Interlude, Hottenroth, and Consecration for my first order. Since then I have ordered 2 more times with great service. Professional box job that was sent to my work. Very timely and great communication. Can't wait to stop in when I go to Cali.
If you are considering ordering from here online but not sure, I would suggest doing it as they are great. Beer prices seem fair but shipping will cost a some $'s

Aug 24, 2010
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irishgurl4 from California

5/5  rDev +6.4%

Just visted this place for the first time yesterday. I was down in SD for the Stone event and just had to stop by from reading the other reviews. This place truly does not disappoint.

From the outside it looks rather non-descript and when you walk in your like huh? But then you spy the wall of refrigerators on the right. After you get past the first 3 or 4 nirvana begins. Whether singles, sixers, or bombers the selection is great.

I came here in search of Lambic and Gueuze, I was not disappointed. I was definitely in a little happy place. There were so many bottles of things I've never even seen in LA stashed away in that one fridge section. I walked out with 10 bottles of goodness and a lighter wallet but happy as a clam.

Talked with Joey for a few and he was extremely nice and knowledgable. They also ship so I can definitely see myself ordering some tasty brews from this place in the future.

Aug 22, 2010
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tjfinkle from California

4.8/5  rDev +2.1%

Been to South Bay drugs multiple times now, each time with a specific beer in mind, however every time I go there I end up picking up a lot more than anticipated. Don't let the location or exterior of this place fool you. You would never guess that this place is one of the greatest beer shops in San Diego. The Selection is crazy and Joey is so knowledgeable and helpful that I end up finding multiple intriguing beers that I had not anticipated on picking up.

I recommend making sure to make a point to speak with Joey when ever one visits there because while the rest of the staff is very polite, Joey is the one with the greatest knowledge and I am always surprised with what beers he can pull out.

Joey keeps a great stock of local beers as well as imports. Also, the store web page is updated quite often with the latest arrivals.

Aug 11, 2010
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gdodd12 from Georgia

4.8/5  rDev +2.1%

I ordered a pick-6 from this place to be shipped to Georgia, and my experience was great. Joey is a nice guy and answered all my dozens of emails. Shipping is a bit expensive, but that's because of the distance. To be able to get West Coast beers in 1 week, is well worth the price. Actually, it wasn't even 1 week. he shipped on a Friday and it was delivered on that next Tuesday! That is really fast. I thought his beer prices were really good as well. Some of the bombers I got were extremely inexpensive. There is no doubt that I will be ordering from him again.

Aug 04, 2010
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DoubleJ from Wisconsin

4.5/5  rDev -4.3%

What a relief! After being held and questioned an additional 10 minutes at US customs, I quickly took myself and two friends to South Bay Drugs, as it was on the way back to Orange County. Be careful as you're driving and looking for the place though, as it is below street level.

You walk in, and on the right side you see a long line refrigerators extending as far as the eye can see. This is where you'll find the beer. Oddly, half of the sales floor wasn't being utilized. Ok, back to beer. It's all refrigerated with the exception of several cases on display near the front of the store. The bottles looked like they were in good condition, despite some being out of season (but discounted, whoppee!) The shelves of the refrigerators were all very well organized.

There are simply too many brands/types to list, but some examples include a number of Belgian gueuze, The Bruery, Alpine, Lightning, Avery, Saint Somewhere (rare in Cali), Full Sail, Mikkeller, Oskar Blues, Goose Island's Matilda and Sophie, Hitachino, Haandbrygeriet, Russian River, and so on. There's glassware for sale as well, but over at checkout. It *just* misses that 5.0 score for selection, but only just.

....I asked about Drie Fonteinen Kriek because it was advertised on their website. At checkout, one of the checkers told me he had to get it from the back, and it would cost $40. Being that much, I passed. But they both seemed really cool talking about beer, and one even gave me his business card and follow their website. It wouldn't surprise me if one of the guy's at checkout that night was Joey.

I wondered for years what this crown at Imperial Beach would be like. It's a lovely crown, and one that you'll naturally be sucked into if you're nearby.

May 20, 2010
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psiweaver from Washington

5/5  rDev +6.4%

Geoi is a true stand up guy. I've been in once and sent my Fiance in a couple times while she was visiting family, each time he has been truly helpful and gone out of his way to make my experience great. The selection is always top notch including getting many limited releases that he's always willing to help out with. He is very fair about limiting the numbers should there be a limited quantity in addition to helping out both in store and online customers. Truly a class act with great pricing and a great asset to the beer community.

May 17, 2010
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everetends from Alabama

4.7/5  rDev 0%

Geoi is a very personable and nice guy, too bad I didn't know I was talking to him when I was in the store. Ah well life goes on.
This place is a bit of a departure from what I am used to from a beer store. This is straight up an active pharmacy but the wall on the right is lined with beer coolers. Within these coolers you will find most of the greats you are looking for from SoCal. It was a bit like being in heaven staring into those coolers and having all those amazing beers staring back at you. I picked up a bottle of Red Poppy, Exponential Hoppiness and Hop Juice while I was in. I was planning on returning for more the next day but I ran out of time and had to head back to LA. They had a ton of great stuff from Alpine, Lost Abbey, Alesmith, etc.
Since everything is chilled and in coolers, space is limited but who cares with the quality Geoi is packing into those things. Everything was something I wanted or previously had and enjoyed. Fuggin redunk and I will be back everytime I am in San Diego.

Mar 22, 2010
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pwoods from Ohio

4.85/5  rDev +3.2%

Geoi is fucking nuts. You'd never know that one of the best beer stores in the world is actually inside of a pharmacy... and that's what it is first and foremost. Once you see the coolers and then talk with Geoi, it becomes so much more. The highest quality you can possible get, everything stored cold. Space is slightly limited but he packs in the best stuff. Prices are as good as expected. He even sold me something from his private collection since I spent so much money. He also has a good selection of glassware as well.

Geoi, I hope you get your own beer shop soon. I know you'll do it right!

Mar 19, 2010
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mbudner from Pennsylvania

4.85/5  rDev +3.2%

I placed my first order with South Bay roughly 2 months ago after several friends highly recommended doing so. I e-mailed Joey to ask some pricing and other questions before I actually called and placed my orders and he responded promptly, completely, and helpfully to each e-mail. When I finally decided on my order, I called up and Joey was just as helpful on the phone. I ended up staying on the line with him for about 20 minutes discussing beer in general, items soon to come in, our respective beer scenes, etc. He got my order out that afternoon at no additional cost as I was picking it up from a friends house in NY (can't ship to PA) and needed to make sure it didn't take the full 10 days. I would definitely order from him again. The website is updated fairly often with "coming soon" and "just in" sections. The selection is not the most extensive (granted, it is quite substantial,) but the mantra here is definitely quality over quantity. His access to San Diego area breweries means fresh west coast IPAs (specific favorites being Alpine brews and Sculpin) and Russian River beers makes placing an order worth it. Additionally, he carries dozens of other phenomenal beers. I had no problem filling up my box of 12 (in fact, I had trouble keeping it to one box.) With the absurd prices in Philadelphia, the beers common to both are actually cheaper coming from South Bay including shipping and handling (so it's more than worth it.) All in all, a great shop with stellar service.

Feb 15, 2010
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hardy008 from Minnesota

5/5  rDev +6.4%

I ordered from South Bay Drugs for the first time this week. The selection and the quality are both great. It only took 5 days for the shipment to be packed until it arrived at my front door.

I was able to pick from Russian River, Alesmith, Alaskan Brewing, Deschutes, and many other breweries whose beers are not available in Minnesota. Joey was quick to get the quote back to me, and shipped right away. Everything arrived in perfect condition. I would order from South Bay Drugs again in a heart beat.

Jan 23, 2010
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gthornton from California

4.65/5  rDev -1.1%

My good friend had been mentioning South Bay for several years now, and I finally had the chance to check it out this last winter break. I really wish i had done so sooner.

Joey hung out with us the whole time we were making our choices, and its clear that he respects his beer, because he has somehow managed to remember every detail about every beer in his well-stocked fridge.

The prices were great, which means we ended up spending way too much, because we knew we could get a lot of bang for the buck.

So, if you are an experienced beer snob, or someone still looking to get your feet yet, I highly recommend that you go so hello to this very friendly and knowledgeable place.

Jan 11, 2010
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PlinyTheYoungest from California

5/5  rDev +6.4%

South Bay Drugs has definitely become my go to bottle shop in San Diego. Even though it's at least a half hour round trip for me to get down to Imperial Beach and back to North Park, it's totally worth it. They have a very big and diverse selection of great beers and they are always at some of the best prices you will find in the county. Joey is a very friendly and knowledgeable guy, he knows his stuff and loves sharing with you about it. Also he is very responsive to emails and can generally set stuff aside for you if you ask. Even if you don't live in the South Bay I suggest you go check this place out.

Dec 11, 2009
South Bay Drugs in Imperial Beach, CA
Place rating: 4.7 out of 5 with 76 ratings