Tops Liquors

Tops LiquorsTops Liquors
Tops LiquorsTops Liquors
Bar, Beer-to-go

403 W University Dr
Ste 104
Tempe, Arizona, 85281-5472
United States

(480) 967-5643 | map

View: Place Reviews
Recent ratings and reviews. | Log in to view more ratings + sorting options.
Ratings by Camjmorton:
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Rated by Camjmorton from Virginia

4.6/5  rDev +8.2%

May 24, 2014
More User Ratings:
Rated: 4.42 by slasich from Pennsylvania

May 16, 2020
Rated: 4.6 by LumpkinBrews from Colorado

Jan 29, 2019
Rated: 3.78 by TheCrowsEye from California

Feb 14, 2018
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Reviewed by andrewh995 from Arizona

4.24/5  rDev -0.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.25 | service: 5 | selection: 4.75
Bottle Shop: A little crowded but still easy to find things. Great selection with pretty much any beer you could find in AZ. The service great and they are very friendly. Only problem is that a lot of the beers (specifically certain IPAs or Pale Ales) are well past their best by date.

Bar: An incredibly nice vibe with a great selection of beers. You can bring in beers from the shop too. The bartender was very friendly as well.
Dec 24, 2017
Rated: 4.46 by ovaltine from Indiana

Dec 13, 2017
Rated: 4.26 by tobelerone from New Jersey

Nov 11, 2017
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Reviewed by SaCkErZ9 from South Carolina

4.71/5  rDev +10.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.75
We were staying in Tempe for the night after doing some local stuff in Phoenix/Mesa area. We got in around 4 and I just wanted to get some beers and sit by the pool and enjoy the almost-too-cool weather. I looked on BeerAdvocate and found that Tops was my choice for local craft beer. At that point in the day, nothing was more important.

I drove the 3 miles from the hotel to the store and was very happy I did so. All of the beer selections were to the right, and they were many and varied. I was looking for some local selections and found a cooler in the back that had everything I needed and wanted. I settled on some San Tan, Huss Brewing, and Lumberyard selections for the locals with Four Peaks as another solid selection.

I was also looking for a local sour beer and the store associated were able to help me with that. They walked me right to the beers in the cooler. Prices were fair and service was great. My only beef is that some of the IPAs I got were a little older than I expected. I looked at the dates on all six packs except for one, which happened to be the last of its kind, and was disappointed when I got to the hotel to notice that it was 6 months old. It still tasted fine but seemed rather muted and not quite as fresh as hoped.
Mar 06, 2017
Rated: 4.3 by GoffmanvsDuffman from Arizona

Jul 01, 2016
Rated: 4.88 by erk0607 from Colorado

May 01, 2016
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Reviewed by Beerzoid from Arizona

5/5  rDev +17.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5
THIS REVIEW IS FOR THE BAR ONLY. This is the best beer bar in the world! You can drink it, buy it, and ship it here! I have been going here 18 months now. If Norm lived in Tempe he would go here. I have been a bartender since 1993 in London, England. I have lived all over the world and the US. I have bartended in so many places I cannot keep track of all of them. Never has one bar met all my needs. The bartenders, Jess and Matt are both so knowledgeable that many times I let them select my flights for me. I have NEVER done this anywhere. I am super picky.

The selection is amazing because the selectors are the liquor store owners/employees not a manager or some corporate bafoon. When you go into a liquor store and ask for a bottle of wine, beer, or liquor in a top notch store the sales associate almost always nails it. The Tops staff does that without a hitch and they extend that selection to Taste of Tops. SIMPLY AWESOME. The prices are most affordable!!! This needs repeating...prices are most affordable!!! I paid $3.00 for a Stella Artois and $8.00 a flight. Food is not sold, but you can bring take out. This is a high density delivery area with a Thai Basil, Oregano's, Vegan, and Chillis within a stone's throw. Stouts, chocolate stouts, porters, vanilla porters, wild ales, india pale ales, pale ales, american pales ales, brown ales, bitters, lagers, pilsners, fruit beers, wheat beers, Belgians, barley wines, meads, etc. They serve wine too. If they serve liquor I have never noticed.

I work in a very fancy bar next to a lot of hotels and I recommend Taste of Tops daily to my guests who frown at my vanilla beer selection. They drink at my bar because their room is a 2 minute walk away so I have never lost a customer, but they take clients to Taste of Tops to impress them. Many have tipped a ridiculous amount of money because their clients were so impressed by Taste of Tops! I must have sent at least 100 people there now including friends and school mates.

I love all the local artists on the walls and the quiet environment. One time a glass blower had desert terrariums in glass floats hanging from the ceiling over the bar. This is my speakeasy to unwind and relax. One night I heard they had a DJ and my friend went elsewhere. So loud you could not hear yourself think she said. DJ's do not mix (pun intended).

The music is eclectic because every bartender has their own music selection be it an internet radio station sometimes. I am always intrigued. The TVs play all the old cult classics and memorable movies. Saw Aliens and Heavy Metal.

The decor is wood. All wood. There are seats and tables of all kinds. Something for everyone. Board games are in the front.

Lastly, when you are done drinking and adding your distinct beers on Untapped you can walk through the internal doorway to Tops Liquors. There you can buy the same beer you drank if available in bottles or cans. Wine and liquor too. Then you can ship it to your friends!

I LOVE THIS PLACE! It is one of three bars I can say I have been a regular.
Apr 14, 2016
Rated: 4.15 by jschott75 from Illinois

Nov 29, 2015
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Reviewed by Robert_Ray from Arizona

2.44/5  rDev -42.6%
vibe: 2 | quality: 2.5 | service: 1 | selection: 4
Just left the store with my selections still on the counter. Staff or owner very rude. I was trying to get a little guidance since nothing seems to grouped or arranged in any particular order. When asking if a bottle of beer was very good, he shouted out loud "Fucking terrible, that's why I'm telling you about it". He was not in the best mood since I was taking him away from his stocking duties. He also said later in the conversion that he doubts that I will find anything in the store that I like. Wow! What a douche bag. This after having spent hundreds of dollars in this store over the last few years. I left about $20 worth on the counter and walked out. I always try to give the mom and pops my business instead of the chains, but Total Wine never treated my like this and Total Wine is a hell of a lot cheaper. They lost a customer for good.
Oct 19, 2015
Rated: 3.89 by PassMeAZima from Kentucky

Jul 04, 2015
Rated: 4.94 by tjumfrid from Arizona

Jun 01, 2015
Rated: 4.75 by Lobina from Arizona

Nov 28, 2014
Rated: 4.5 by Coconuts from Arizona

Oct 20, 2014
Rated: 4 by t2grogan from Arizona

Oct 10, 2014
Rated: 4.75 by chefbigjon from Arizona

Aug 04, 2014
Rated: 4.75 by BarrelAgedG from California

Jul 29, 2014
Rated: 3.25 by nleaders from Arizona

Jul 03, 2014
Rated: 5 by timlyon from Arizona

Jun 17, 2014
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Reviewed by EyePeeAyBryan from Arizona

4.1/5  rDev -3.5%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4 | service: 2.25 | selection: 4.5
Tend to only visit Tops when I'm desperate or heading by and feel like killing a few minutes. Prices will and are always higher than every single shop in AZ and the service is just awful. Every time I buy something I get the evil-eye from the dude who's ringing me up. For some reason they always look pissed and like they would rather do anything in the world other than helping my give them my money. Great selection of Imported stuff as well as the usual suspects we see in AZ. Points for an excellent selection but have to take some away for the piss-poor customer service.
Jun 04, 2014
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Reviewed by Auraan from Arizona

4.39/5  rDev +3.3%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5
Review is for both the liquor store and Taste of Tops, the attached bar.
Atmosphere for the liquor store is simple Arizona strip mall feel, crappy old floors, same shelves you see at every Goodwill here, packed with bottles. It's not the most upscale feel, but it has a charm to it that I love. The bar is amazing. It looks like nothing from the outside but then you go in and it's a charming place with local art on the walls, nice wood floors, great looking tables and an excellent bar set up. Nice set up of coolers as well. It's a hidden gem. Quality for the liquor store is great, they have lots of great stuff in there. The bar is even better. They get all sorts of amazing stuff on tap on a regular basis. Service is all round excellent, I've never had a truly bad experience here. This holds for both the bar and the liquor store. The bar staff in particular is great, always knowledgeable and able to tell you what's good. Selection for the liquor store is amazing. You can find all sorts of great stuff in there, often at excellent prices. I see stuff here that I never see anywhere else, and pretty dang fresh at that. The bar is the same, excellent selection of both taps and bottles, with all sorts of great rare and special stuff in both bottles and taps. No food, so I can't rate that. The value varies. The liquor store can either be more than the local big store, or way, way less. I've seen six packs for a buck or two more than elsewhere, but at the same time I've gotten bottles of Drie Fontien's for a couple bucks less and Witch's Wit in 750mls for five dollars less than the next cheapest place. Not to mention the $4 Thirez Blonde 750mls. So while it might not be the least expensive for everything, you can get some great deals in there. The bar is always a great value, with all sorts of taps for great prices. The bottles are bar priced, but fair, especially the cellar series selection. Overall the bar is my favorite spot in the Valley to have a drink, and the liquor store can be a great place to find some great stuff.
May 18, 2014
Rated: 4.75 by kerry4porters from Arizona

Mar 11, 2014
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Reviewed by orangesol from Pennsylvania

4.22/5  rDev -0.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4.75
Stopped in here after four peaks since it was so close by. Upon entering I was a bit overwhelmed as there is a TON of beer, liquor and wine in that medium sized store. Beer is located on the right, the middle and the middle left as well as the right and back walls. Atmosphere was pretty laid back. People coming and going buying their wares for the weekend ahead. Service was ok. My interaction with them were fine but one of them tried to run me over from behind with a hand cart without even asking me to move. Selection was insane. 4-5 isles packed to the gills with beers from all over the country as well as the world. I was able to find two bottles I was looking for the last few days as well as a few others that I hadn't seen in years. Prices were more than reasonable and on par with the other shops I visited in town. Overall one of the better bottle shops I have stopped at on the trip, glad I made the side trek to check it out.
Feb 08, 2014
Rated: 4.75 by skholbrook1982 from Arizona

Feb 07, 2014
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Reviewed by Tjvan2 from Iowa

4.49/5  rDev +5.6%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5
Stopped in from out of state just to see what they had that I can't get in Iowa. As it turns out, there are a bunch of things here I can't get in Iowa! The best thing about this place, as far as I am concerned, is that you can just grab an empty six pack and grab singles of anything that they have in the store....I mean anything! I like to try as much variety as possible, so this is fantastic. The organization is pretty much chaotic at best, but there is a lot there.
Nov 21, 2013
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Reviewed by Jonesy12 from Arizona

4.26/5  rDev +0.2%
vibe: 2.75 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5
Just reviewing for the Shop, haven't tried the bar yet. The shop is fully stacked... I mean FULLY sacked. It is a lot of college kids running in and out so many of the imports and wines are dusty. Yes this is the desert and things get dusty quickly believe it or not.

There is a absolutely amazing selection however of most anything you could want. Basically If tops and total wine don't carry it, its not in the state. Although the staff can be a little abrasive at first, they are great and know what they are talking about. Also if there is something specific that you want, they will go out of their way to get on their distributors for it.

They have a large refrigerated section with many different micro-brews that is great for a quick stop in.
Feb 11, 2013
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Reviewed by rhartogsq from Virginia

4.61/5  rDev +8.5%
vibe: 3 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5
Just visited this place and was duly impressed with the selection. Being from out of town, visiting a local beer shop or brewery is akin to going to a museum or something.
I was way impressed with the selection. My goal, which was achieved, was to find what I can't get at home. There is a lot of Arizona beers as well as Southern California, and stuff from back east. The selection of Jolly Pumpkin and Lost Abby was insane.
It is crowded there because they have so much inventory. The owner asked if I needed help, but I politely declined.
A must stop for beer drinkers.
The tequila selection looked primo top!
Feb 01, 2013
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Reviewed by jale from Michigan

3.5/5  rDev -17.6%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4
Reviewing the store and bar. I live in Michigan, so this place has a great selection of beer unavailable to me in my state. Seems dusty and not well organized but this does'nt matter to me. I'm only here to find bottles. The staff appear to be wishing they were somewhere else, so come knowing what you want. Connected to the store is a casual bar with a nice tap selection. I tried the Stoic and several local beers. If your looking for sours, I did'nt see anything worth buying. I think sours have not caught on in AZ like other parts of the country.
Feb 28, 2012
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Reviewed by matttttYCE from Arizona

3.56/5  rDev -16.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4
This is for the store, not the bar (Taste of Tops).

I like the atmosphere here because there's almost always some music playing in the store which gives it a cool vibe. The music has a broad range of styles but fits well with a more hip college place. The layout of the store is a bit crowded, and that's when there aren't many people in the store. On a Friday or Saturday night the place can get pretty hard to navigate. But overall the atmosphere is pretty laid back and cool - fitting for being essentially right at the heart of Arizona State University territory.

The quality (which I'm having a little trouble differentiating between selection) I would say is pretty good. If anything I would say it's a little lacking because it's hard to tell how long things have been on the shelves unless they are bottle dated.

The service is usually good. The employees are usually helpful when you ask for something but I have had times where they have been either a bit short with me (like they didn't really want to help me because they thought my question was stupid) or seen them do the same with other customers, especially ones you can tell aren't as informed on most things beer as some BA members might be. I've also noticed that they tend to be short with you on the phone when you call about releases. And if you ask about more than one thing, you can just tell the guy on the other end is rolling his eyes as he responds. The other thing that really gets me and causes me to knock the service is that I have had employees talk either directly to me or to other employees or customers about buying some more expensive beers and then selling them online to turn a profit. From what I have overheard, at least a few of them seem to practice this. I try to just overlook this, but it's happened so much that I just can't anymore.

The selection is very broad, great range of year round and seasonal beers, fantastic range of imports, and for the most part you can get most limited releases here, but there have been times where I have tried and struck out here when some other stores around the valley have had what I'm looking for. More often than not you can find it at Tops, though. Again the only downfall, which I deducted from the quality rating, is that you often can't tell how long things have been on the shelves unless they are bottle dated. Some things get pretty dusty and leave you wondering if you really want to spend the money.

And lastly, the value rating is where this review really sticks out for me. I understand that this is a smaller store and located in a college area but the prices are usually the what lead me to shop elsewhere unless I can't find something anywhere else first. It just seems like the prices could be a little lower considering the likely volume of money they take in for where they are located. When I compare prices here to other stores like Total Wine, BevMo, and Whole Foods, Tops is almost always more expensive by a few (or many) dollars. It's not so much that it keeps me from shopping here all the time, but if I can get it for $5 less somewhere else, you better believe I'm going somewhere else. Money don't grow on trees, ya know.

Overall, a good stop for the breadth of the selection the store has, but when comparing to some of the bigger stores, I'll sacrifice some selection for much better prices.
Jan 15, 2012
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Reviewed by TempeBeerMan from Arizona

4.03/5  rDev -5.2%
vibe: 2 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 5
I have been to Tops many times being that I am a Tempe resident, and they are definitely a destination spot for craft beer in Tempe.

First, the selection at Tops is insane. After you have reviewed a huge double-sided aisle of American craft beers and rows of coolers featuring all styles, dont miss that there is ANOTHER aisle in the mid point of the store featuring two huge rows of imports! Belgian, German, Russian, English, you name it. You can usually find some rare stuff here.

Drawback - hard to tell how long some of this stuff has been on the shelf, because sometimes a layer of dust covers a particular bottle. Store aging anyone? :)

Tops has taken some knocks about the service, but I found their service to be just fine, as the one time I asked about certain beers, a clerk was more than happy to dig in the back until they found it, or walk the aisle with me looking for a missed bottle.

The aisles are a little narrow, and if the store is crowded (often) managing them while "window shopping" can be challenging.

Going to Tops is like a treasure hunt in that you never know what you will find. One caveat - not sure how often they "restock" and if you clean them out of a particular brand, it might be months until you find it there again in some cases. Sounds like an excuse to try a new potential favorite!
Nov 23, 2011
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Reviewed by landspeed57 from Arizona

3.2/5  rDev -24.7%
vibe: 2 | quality: 4 | service: 2 | selection: 4
This is supposed to be THE place to go for beer in Tempe. I've gone into this store several times and while it's not bad, I don't find myself too impressed either.

First off, the staff can be pretty oblivious to what's going on in their store, or actually just rude. One time this lady asked about some beer(forget what she was looking for) for I think it was her son. The older guy at the counter kind of looked at her funny, pointed down the beer isle and said "have you looked there yet?" Dickhead. But other times they've been fairly helpful to me so take it for what you will.

As far as selection, aside from a few belgians, they really don't seem to have anything that Total Wine can't get for $3 less. The tasting room is cool though and worth a visit. Personally I'd rather take the trip out to SunDevil though.
May 12, 2011
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Reviewed by jbtice0315 from California

4.08/5  rDev -4%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 5
Sister store to Sun Devil Liquor in Mesa.

Taste of tops is a small tasting room off to the side of the liquor store. The tasting room is a cool little place to hang out for a few beers. There's only craft beer on tap and the taps rotate pretty frequently.

Tops liquor store is one of the best in the area. They always get the limited release beers and there's always some real goodies there every time I go.

They even have vintage euro beers there as evidenced by the dusty bottle tops.

Great little place when I lived there and I always try to stop back when I'm in Tempe.
May 07, 2011
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Reviewed by SunDevilBeer from Massachusetts

4.3/5  rDev +1.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4
***Review for bar only***

Was on a crawl of crap beer places with a group on a Friday night on Mill....split off and hit this place solo to have some good beers at the end of the night.

Small, comfortable place with couches towards the front. Busy when I went but didn't take long for me to get noticed for a beer. Most of the people here knew their craft beer.

Nice combination of geek beers and others you've heard of that you just want to drink. Totally dig it. Beers were reasonably priced and poured.

Good alt-indie music played at a reasonable decible level...enough so that you could listen to it and have a conversation.

I will visit again next time I'm in Tempe.
May 04, 2011
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Reviewed by Beerandraiderfan from Nevada

3.89/5  rDev -8.5%
vibe: 2 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5
Located in a hole in the wall in Tempe, not the most prominent location, mixed amongst restaurants, bars, looks like an oversize convenience mart. Everything inside doesn't seem to have much organization, no rhyme or reason to have the stuff where it is. Shit all over the floor, dusty, stacked high.

What is inside is a good amount of beer. And some stuff I haven't seen before, so that was cool. Staff leaves you alone, lets you take extra cardboard if you need it.

Pricing doesn't seem out of the ordinary. I dunno what it is about the Pheonix area beer stores, but organization and appearance is not their strong suit. But I'd rather have a good varied selection over a pretty location, so I'd hit these up again if I am in the area.
Apr 09, 2011
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Reviewed by DPFRD from Arizona

4.94/5  rDev +16.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5
The liquor store side is the tits. Really it's the big dog in AZ, not even bevmo or total wine have such an extensive selection... these dudes go out of there way to get all kinds of distributors on board so your mind can be blown when you go there.

Don't go there with to much solvent cash as you will blow it all.

The have an isle of belgian beer that will make your panties moist. It's stocked with anything you could think of and legally get... I have rarely been let down by this isle when on a hunt for a rarity, but shit, every section is like that.

They have shit from everywhere, an amazing american assortment, german selection is out of control, all kinds of eastern european stuff, asian... I mean damn.

They keep a good amount of stuff on redundant cold storage if you need to drink it right when you get it...

Their wine and booze selection is as thorough as their beer... this place is crowded with shit.

You can order all kinds of legit kegs from them... anyone want a pony of Houblon Dobblen... call tops.

They'll give you 10% if you buy a case, so go large.

The beer bar next door is great, large tap with really great rotating choices... always something new and interesting.
Dec 20, 2010
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Reviewed by Phelps from Arizona

3.93/5  rDev -7.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4
A liquor store (Tops) and a beer/wine bar (Taste of Tops) that's become one of my favorite drinking spots in the city.

Taste of Tops has a laid-back atmosphere, often populated by the hipster crowd, though the occasional businessman will sneak in for happy hour after work. They usually play indie music and the artwork adorning the walls is produced by local artists and is always for sale. Taste of Tops will often hold events to showcase a new artist as well as new beers.

The bartenders at Taste of Tops are usually very friendly and knowledgeable about the brews they're pouring. The guys next door at Tops can be a little surly, but are also pretty willing to help you look around for a brew. The owner, Greg, is a certified Cicerone, and is awesome to just talk beer with. Just go in person; I've had a few experiences on the phone when workers seemed annoyed about my asking if they had a recent release, and once I was put on hold for ten minutes only to be hung up on.

Along with a decent selection of domestic craft beer, Tops has one of the better selections of European beers you'll find in the city. The downside is most of the stuff is left on the shelf un-refrigerated and exposed to the light. Some of the beers have obviously been hanging out for quite a while, so this might pose a problem.

I've never tried the food, though I believe it's just simple appetizers: chips, hummus, cheese, etc. You can bring in meals from nearby restaurants if you get hungry, and the place is right next to both a pizza joint and a place for Thai food.

The price of bottles at Tops is usually very reasonable; I remember picking up Parabola for about $13. The bar is another story. Glasses of higher-end beers can get up there in price -- Chimay is usually around $8, and I recently paid $11 for a goblet of Kasteel Quadrupel. They do, however, offer tasting flights for only $7, allowing you four three-ounce pours of any beer on tap.
Nov 19, 2010
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Reviewed by Banger530 from Arizona

4.15/5  rDev -2.4%
When I first entered the store, I was a bit confused. I must have came on delivery day because all the aisles were full of new product, and I assume its not like that every time. It made it difficult to see some of the beer.

Very large selection of beer. I was able to find a beer I've been looking for and 4 other stores in the area did not have.

I searched the browsed the aisles to check the selection. No one asked if I needed help or if I was looking for something. I approached a worker and asked a few questions. He was very helpful.

They had quite a bit of beer in the cooler, more than other stores in the area, but a majority was still kept at room temperature.

All things considered, I would definitely go back
Apr 09, 2010
Tops Liquors in Tempe, AZ
Place rating: 4.25 out of 5 with 55 ratings