Blackwell's Wines & Spirits

Blackwell's Wines & SpiritsBlackwell's Wines & Spirits
Blackwell's Wines & SpiritsBlackwell's Wines & Spirits

5620 Geary Blvd
San Francisco, California, 94121-2215
United States

(415) 386-9463 | map
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Photo of elNopalero
Reviewed by elNopalero from California

3.51/5  rDev -12.5%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.75 | service: 4.25 | selection: 2.5
I have no experience with their shipping side of things, although in general I think they are better known for their spirits and wines as opposed to beers. Their beer selection is limited, and on the times I have visited I have found more than a fair share of unintentionally aged brews.
Jun 24, 2023
Photo of zimba-austria
Reviewed by zimba-austria from Canada (ON)

1/5  rDev -75.1%
vibe: 1 | quality: 1 | service: 1 | selection: 1
The owner, Gary, didn't ship the initial order (no proof of shipment was provided) and I had to follow up weeks later to discover it had "fallen between the cracks". Then I received his bad advice suggesting that the shipment should be mislabeled to get it across the border. I went with this idea, never having done this before. Well, of course, it didn't work out and now I wonder what I actually paid for - an empty box perhaps?? After hours spent trying to get the mismatching shipping label and invoice past customs (including requests to have the shipment opened etc.), it was confiscated by Customs due to time expiration. (It could have been recalled by Gary, but he wasn't interested in this option either. Since then, Gary has not re-shipped a new bottle with correct labeling (that I now know would be fine getting through customs). And, alternatively, he has not refunded my purchase, thus leaving a very unhappy customer after months of effort. I do not recommend this shop to anyone. There are many other places to order from that don't stir up such troubles for customers leaving them at a loss in the end.
Jun 11, 2019
Photo of Trinaj
Reviewed by Trinaj from Michigan

3.45/5  rDev -14%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 1 | selection: 5
I purchased an online order, it came in great time but was damaged (the top was cracked on one bottle so it was half full and it ruined some of the boxes the others came in). I have been emailing and calling for TWO WEEKS and have not been able to resolve the issue. These are Christmas stocking stuffers and now I will be short and have paid for items that cannot all be used. Disappointed!!
Dec 15, 2018
Rated: 1 by CMC1991 from Massachusetts

Dec 05, 2017
Photo of LaurenPurtell
Rated by LaurenPurtell from Massachusetts

1/5  rDev -75.1%
vibe: 1 | quality: 1 | service: 1 | selection: 1
Absolutely terrible customer service. I would not recommend online orders.
Dec 04, 2017
Rated: 3.96 by Spaceman_Jer from Colorado

Jan 31, 2017
Photo of SanFranJake
Reviewed by SanFranJake from California

3.94/5  rDev -1.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5
I used to shop here almost daily when I lived in the Richmond District.
Six to seven coolers of solid selections and some harder to find stuff, as well as two to three floor shelves of higher octane 750's bombers, 375's and 12's.
While it's more of a wine and liquor space, the beer selection was (and may still be) solid and decent prices. But I've also seen what he marks stuff up to on-line because he can ship. Supply and demand I guess...?
I saw the owner today in a local grocery store, not in San Francisco, and while I can't be certain, I think he was buying off of their shelves for his shelves. There was no justifiable reason why a shop owner would have bought the beers he did.
My rating is based on the chance that he is pulling this low-brow move. I'd like to believe otherwise but I'm going with my gut.
That being said, the sales staff was always nice (except one guy who I got fired for going off on me on some rant about my Adidas jumper and track pants) and even if he IS poaching other shops, the selection is solid.
Mar 08, 2016
Photo of fuhkyou
Reviewed by fuhkyou from Idaho

4.68/5  rDev +16.7%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 5 | selection: 4.25
The owner, Gary Blackwell is a hands on and very conscious person to deal with. This outfit is quick and efficient with FedEx orders, and if something isn't right they will make it right, and I mean right now.
A complete pleasure to do business with.
I would NOT recommend however having anything shipped between approx mid April through October due to the fact it might sit in the shipper's truck in 90 degree heat AND in the sun over the weekend or during transportation.
Dec 20, 2015
Rated: 4.57 by walt5 from Delaware

Jun 16, 2015
Rated: 4.68 by Eziel from Ohio

May 26, 2015
Rated: 4.5 by AlexFields from Tennessee

Oct 08, 2014
Rated: 4.5 by breathmint from Florida

Aug 10, 2014
Rated: 3.75 by greenspointexas from Texas

Jul 03, 2014
Rated: 5 by Clint_Yoho from Maryland

Mar 27, 2014
Rated: 4.25 by claspada from New Jersey

Mar 06, 2014
Rated: 4.5 by YoudownwithABV from Tennessee

Feb 15, 2014
Rated: 4.5 by Dweedlebug from Pennsylvania

Jan 21, 2014
Photo of terence
Reviewed by terence from California

4.71/5  rDev +17.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.75
Blackwell's Wine & Spirits is a fantastic shop with a smart and friendly staff. Craft beer selection is excellent and ranks up there with Healthy Spirits and Ales Unlimited. Parking is slightly easier to find in this area than most of SF's bottle shops.

They do a great job of rotating there beers and often have some of the harder to find stuff like Russian River and Cantillon.
Jan 09, 2014
Photo of RblWthACoz
Reviewed by RblWthACoz from Pennsylvania

4.32/5  rDev +7.7%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.25
Blackwell's is a very nice store, albeit kind of out of the way of virtually anything else, as far as craft beer goes. However, one of the better sushi spots in town is around here, as are a ton of Chinese, Korean, Thai, and other restaurants that you might enjoy if that's your thing. Mayflower has a location here (I get down to the Silicon Valley location in Milpitas once in a while with family) too, so if you like dim sum, there ya go.

Selection wasn't the largest around, but that is find. There is attention to quality, instead of attention to quantity. I never really need much assistance in the stores anymore, but the woman working there who was stocking seemed very ready to help out and looking to spread the good news to whoever would take the time.
Jan 11, 2013
Photo of WesM63
Reviewed by WesM63 from Ohio

4.58/5  rDev +14.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5
I lived in NW Ohio and as such don't have access to the California (or west coast for that matter) craft brewing scene, as you can imagine.

A few hours scouring the net for various Russian River beers landed me on Blackwell's website. Not the most user friendly, but it wasn't until after my initial web order did I get the full benefit's that is Blackwell's.

The email based newsletter!

Gary sends them out with new and limited releases as well as the rest of the craft beer selection.

First I searched the website for said new and limited releases mentioned in the newsletter to no avail. Finally I tried the old fashioned method of responding to the email with my "verbal" order.

Gary responded back in person with acknowledgement and even notified me when his shipment of Wooky Jack was delayed. (Turns out it was only delayed a few hours)

Selection is top notch, prices are reasonable (in line with other places I've bought locally), service and quality is above and beyond.

I know where i'll be ordering all my west coast craft beers from, from now on.
May 02, 2012
Photo of magictacosinus
Reviewed by magictacosinus from California

4.5/5  rDev +12.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5
Blackwell's in an all-around ideal dream corner store for beer geeks and wine enthusiasts alike. I stumbled upon it on my various early frustrating journeys in attempting to find a nice bottle of Pliny throughout SF. However, when walking into the store for the first time, I felt that I had uncovered my very first treasure chest that beer geeks first uncover in their lifelong adventure of beer tasting.

My God, the selection! I found all kinds of beers by Trappist breweries and craft breweries from Rochefort to Russian River to the Lost Abbey for the first time in my life. Or, at least, the first time I decided to pay attention to their beers when visiting corner stores. I was assisted by one of the full-time employees at the time, a kooky looking character with long white hair, who proceeded to educate me about different Belgian styles and how they can be aged, as well as furthering my knowledge on imperial IPAs.

After various returns, employees at the store begin to identify me as the "Pliny Guy" and always asked me to check out their awesome wine selection as well. Whenever I have the chance to go here, the experience is very intimate and nice. Not all of the people here are full beer experts, but they always know what to recommend you if you want to try something new. Plus, this store very well organized, clean, and it's easy to tell that a lot of love was put into its crafty selection of beverages. A great store!
Jul 20, 2011
Photo of NorCalgrowler
Reviewed by NorCalgrowler from California

4.34/5  rDev +8.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 4
I joined Blackwell's email list which is the way to go. You get emails about some limited rlease beers etc that a lot of stores just dont get their hands on. Their beer selection is decent for northern California but is not the center of their stock. Bourbons, whiskeys, and wines are their best attribute. Spectacular selection of all of them. I found out about them when I was searching for a store that might carry Templeton Rye - an Iowa prohibition style rye whiskey only distributed in 4 states. They carried it. And I was grateful they did. They even shipped me 2 bottles across the bay for not much more than the bridge toll. Well worth a visit!
May 05, 2011
Photo of Huhzubendah
Reviewed by Huhzubendah from District of Columbia

4.84/5  rDev +20.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5
Blackwell's Wine and Spirits carries a wonderful selection of Lost Abbey, Russian River, Stone, Ballast Point, Deschutes, Port, Avery, Oskar Blues, and many other American craft beers. Additionally, they offer a variety of delectable foreign brews, including La Chouffe, Rodenbach, Gouden Carolus, Rochefort, Aecht Schlenkerla, Aventinus, and more.

The customer service is simply second to none. The staff is extremely friendly, helpful, and knowledgeable. It's quite refreshing to deal with people who are both competent and amiable.

Prices are very reasonable, and I have yet to see a better deal.

Blackwell's carries a variety of fabulous beers, has great customer service, and very reasonable prices. Highly recommended.
Mar 01, 2011
Photo of Hatzilla
Reviewed by Hatzilla from California

4.28/5  rDev +6.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 4
I have been shopping at Blackwell's for about a year now. There are many good reasons to visit this Outer Richmond store if you are into great beer. Pliny the Elder, Blind Pig, Racer 5 and Green Flash West Coast IPA are four of their regulars. They also have a rotating selection of various American beers like Consecration, 2 Turtle Doves, Abyss and Black Butte XXI.

In addition to the American craft beers, there are also a great number of Belgian, German and British imports. Chimay, Duvel, Gulden Draak and of course many more.

If wine is your thing, there is an army of wine bottles at your disposal as well as frequent wine tastings.

The service is top-notch; there is always someone ready to help if you have a question. If you live in the neighborhood or are just visiting The City, come check out the selection. You will not leave empty-handed.
Mar 14, 2010
Photo of ThreeWiseMen
Reviewed by ThreeWiseMen from California

4.4/5  rDev +9.7%
Liz and I rolled in here on Saturday in search of a good six pack for the beach. Unfortunately, the sixers were a little pricey (as were all of the beers), so we went to Martell's across the street instead. That's not where the story ends though. Several bottles in Blackwell's Wine & Spirits caught my eye, so I made sure to come back the next day (yesterday).

So what makes this place worthy of an "A"? Well, first off, it's a very classy little wine store that's got a nice feel to it. Everything is very clean and chic, and all of the beers being sold are near the top of their respective classes. Also, the beers are kept in the very back of the store, where sunlight could never reach. The majority of the beers are kept in coolers too, and those few that aren't are high ABV Belgians (which do just fine without refrigeration). I don't think it gets any higher quality than that.

As for the selection, I found the likes of Temptation, Consecration, Pliny, Blind Pig, Cantillon Classic Gueuze and Rosé De Gambrinus, Monk's Café Flemish Sour Red Ale, Lindemans Gueuze Cuvée René, etc. As you probably picked up on, they specialize in Belgians and have a fine selection of sours. I would have liked to see some more imperial stouts, barleywines, and imperial IPAs, but I was very happy with what I saw on the shelves.

The service varied. We were stuck with a very snobby young lady the first day who straight-up ignored me twice! (I was trying to ask her when the store hours were.) Luckily, her coworker stepped in and helped me out. This guy was cool. I talked to him more yesterday when I came back to get some Temptation. He was very friendly and seemed to know his shit about beer, though he claimed to be pretty green when it came to sours (same as me). We chatted for a bit and I left a happy customer.

I'll likely be back to this place again, but only for some of the rare specialties. Blackwell's is on the pricey side, and I'd rather buy my staple brews elsewhere.
Aug 31, 2009
Photo of Gilmango
Reviewed by Gilmango from California

4.35/5  rDev +8.5%
I am really lucky to have this great store in my neighborhood, turns out it opened up less than a year before I moved to the Richmond District. They stock a great range of quality beers, and liquors into this space and their wine selection is better still.

For the Richmond District the selection is amazing and pricing is very fair, that said they are not quite the "destination" beer store that City Beer is. There prices are on par with City Beer, BevMo and Whole Foods and cheaper than Healthy Spirits.

They are not afraid to think independently, so you will barely find any BMC here, and they do not even bother stocking the whole line of most craft beers that you see in grocery stores. Instead they stock great products you rarely see at groceries and other neighborhood stores, like Belgians, RRBC's whole line, etc. For wine and spirits they have a special knack for stocking great value products that you won't find elsewhere.

Nearly everything is refrigerated but they also have a shelf with age worthy beers at room temperature.

Because they are not a "destination" spot they sometimes manage to keep things in stock longer than other spots. For instance they have had Consecration or Beatification or Abyss or Damnation 23 in stock long after those sold out at City Beer.

Very friendly and knowledgable staff and owners, they tend to greet every customer and ask if they need help but otherwise leave you alone if you want to look on your own.
Apr 21, 2009
Photo of popery
Reviewed by popery from California

3.9/5  rDev -2.7%
I recently stopped in at Blackwell's for the first time. I will update my scores based on future visits. I didn't get a chance to talk about beer with anyone there, but they were very nice while ringing me up and didn't crowd me while I perused their selection. The store is largely dedicated to wine with a good-sized selection of hard liquor. I know next to nothing about wine and nothing about any liquor besides whiskeys, so I can't really comment on those sections. I will say that the store is very aesthetically pleasing and, unlike many stores in San Francisco, quite spacious. It's not a huge store, but everything is laid out well with plenty of room between displays. The wine is attractively displayed and the hard liquor is, well, on a wall of shelves but I'm not sure how that could really be improved.

The beer selection is on the small side, but everything that they stock is high quality. They have some short descriptions for the beer, which is always nice. While the selection could be larger, I visited the day after going to Healthy Spirits, which is my new favorite store and packed to the gills with variety, so the comparison is certainly coloring my judgment on that. That said, they had a few bottles not available at City Beer or Healthy Spirits, so it's certainly not too shabby. On my next visit, I'll try to strike up a conversation with the staff and revise my service score.
Dec 22, 2008
Photo of Offa
Reviewed by Offa from California

4.35/5  rDev +8.5%
This is a great store overall but specifically it is a good beer store. Although wine takes up the bulk of the store and much of the entire left/western wall is for spirits and liqueurs, it has a nice beer selection at the back of the store and on the back part of the left wall.

The selection is not large in terms of volume, but considering the size of the store, it has great variety, with a high proportion of interesting and varied Belgian and German beers, a number almost unavailable elsehwere in the region, along with some harder-to-find Czech and British beers as well as various domestic microbrews. I mainly go here for the imports, since I can find a good selection of domestic microbrews everywhere.

I have not had much occasion to test the service, but it always seems friendly and accommodating.

They also have a nice selection of beer glasses, again some harder to find.

When I'm in San Francisco, which is often but not often enough, I usually stop here.
Oct 22, 2008
Photo of clickpush
Reviewed by clickpush from Pennsylvania

4.35/5  rDev +8.5%
This is one of the very best beer locations in the city - and is extremely under appreciated by local beer lovers. I happened in here by accident one day shortly after moving to SF, and I've made it a point over the past year to go here at least twice a month. They do wine tastings on Saturdays and that's what'll motivate me to head to the middle Richmond. The beer cooler takes up the entire back wall and Gary has recently installed a large shelf to the right of the register where he keeps some of the better beers at room temp. Blackwell's carries an excellent selection of local micros, Belgians, German's and English beers. It's one of the only places in the city to have a permanent display of AleSmith and Russian River. Good seasonal selection, everything you can think of from California, and small batch imports that you can't find anywhere else. While the staff is trained almost solely on wine, some are well versed in beer as well and will aid in selecting, offer advice, or even hint at ordering something they don't normally carry if you ask nice enough. I'm a big fan.
Nov 22, 2006
Photo of TurdFurgison
Reviewed by TurdFurgison from Ohio

3.55/5  rDev -11.5%
Stopped here last week while in San Francisco. Found it on BA, and thoughts I'd look for an alternative to Plumpjack for beer on the bay.

Blackwell's stocks some pretty high quality stuff, but the selection is nowhere near as good as Plumpjack. The prices are equally high though.

I was especially looking to find some Russian River beers, or some rare belgians. I was disappointed to find none of the first and few of the latter.

I think this is a place to stop at if you live in the immediate neighborhood. If you're in the city on business, no need to stop here. With less selection and the same price as Plumpjacks, which would you choose?
Oct 25, 2005
Photo of lou91
Reviewed by lou91 from California

3.7/5  rDev -7.7%
This is an odd place to put such a beautiful wine/liquor store since it feels like it belongs in a rich neighborhood. The beer selection is somewhere between a bev'mo and a plumpjack. Bevmo for stocking on up on good but fairly easy to find beer and plumpjack for an occasional "wow" beer like the Rulles triple, thomas hardy or the Russian River Supplication. It would be great if they could be great and go the extra mile as they clearly did for their wine selection. I didn't ask for help and was left alone but they could have checked in on my snooping.
Sep 13, 2005
Photo of axisjones
Reviewed by axisjones from California

4.5/5  rDev +12.2%
This has become one of my favorite places to pick up beer in San Francisco. It sells mostly wine, but the entire back wall is devoted to coolers of beer. While the selection isn't huge, the owners are dedicated to stocking mostly quality beer and each time I go back they have upped the ante. Belgium, Germany, England, and the United States are all well represented with interesting offerings. From Deep Shaft Stout, to Boon Geuze, to Ceramic Bottles of Crusty, there is always something for everyone. On top of the diversity, there are random gems and the selection improves almost weekly. The owners are always there and are super cool, enthusiastic about what they carry and have held a few beer tastings in the last couple months. While maybe not a "must visit", this is a great place to pick up beer in San Francisco, especially considering that the upper Richmond isn't the hottest place for beer.
May 20, 2005
Blackwell's Wines & Spirits in San Francisco, CA
Place rating: 4.01 out of 5 with 33 ratings