Blanchard's Liquors

Blanchard's LiquorsBlanchard's Liquors
Blanchard's LiquorsBlanchard's Liquors

103 Harvard Ave
Allston, Massachusetts, 02134-2702
United States

(617) 782-5588 | map

View: Place Reviews
Reviews: 36 | Ratings: 52 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of BostonHops
3.8/5  rDev +4.7%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4


Blanchard's has been one of my staple beer stores for a good six or seven years now, not so much due to their selection or pricing (the former is good but not amazing, and the latter is on the high side) but because it's the best selection that is the closest to my apartment.

atmosphere is ok. it's a big liquor store, what can you expect? located on one of my least favorite Allston streets (Harvard Ave - meh), but I guess you can't hold that against it. tons of wine occupy the right half of the store while aisles of liquor can be found off to the left. beer is located in coolers lining the back (6 and 12 pks, cases, etc; craft options mingling with macros), while shelving units in the middle of the store are where the bombers and some warm 4/6pks are kept. as mentioned the craft selection is solid but won't blow your hair back (unless you're really into Belgians, then it might go back a little). you get the usual suspects from the major players like Founders, Lagunitas, Stone, Allagash, Southern Tier, Firestone Walker, The Bruery, Sixpoint, Alesmith, Boulevard, Dogfish Head, Goose Island, Victory, Ommegang, et al., and the locals - Jack's Abby, Pretty Things, Clown Shoes, etc. then there is another shelving unit adjacent to the American offerings devoted to international craft - especially Belgians.

service can be hit or miss. they don't exactly trip over themselves to ask if you need anything, but I have had interactions with staff who were very friendly and helpful. likewise, prices are a bit of a crap-shoot, ranging from reasonable to highway robbery. I've been able to score limited releases here (lot of Firestone stuff, KBS, etc) so they earned points there. all in all, not a destination beer store but more than serviceable if you're in the area. keep in mind though that depending on where you're coming from, Marty's Big Buys is a 5-10 minutes walk away (vastly superior selection), or if you're heading toward Brighton you have Walsh's and Brookline Liquor Mart, or in Brookline there's Coolidge Corner Wine and Spirits and Bay State Liquors both on Beacon. so there are options.

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Photo of mcguirmn
3.86/5  rDev +6.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5

This is my go-to liquor store when I am up in Boston.

Only reason I didn't rank the atmosphere higher is because I have to climb over homeless people and shuffle past smoking hipsters just to get in the store. But once in the store, the atmosphere significantly improves.

Prices are the cheapest in the area, by far. Their keg selection is also incredibly long and they keep their fridge well stocked.

Selection is definitely exceptional. They have all of your major breweries, but where Blanchard's really shines is in its selection of microbrews. They also have single bottles available at reasonable rates.

Service is definitely not Blanchard's strong suit. It usually takes a long time before people come up to me and ask me if I need help, which is understandable. It really depends on when you go in. Some of the kids are really helpful, others just want to get out of there. Cashiers aren't very helpful, or bright. One time a cashier refused me service because my license was expired. After explaining to him that I got the license a week earlier, and that my under-21 license still hadn't expired yet, he finally realized that the date he was looking at was the "issue date" not the "expiration date." Also a friend of mine bought seven cases of rolling rock and a few handles of vodka, only to drive away and realize he was never charged for the seven cases. While that, in my eyes is a definite plus, just goes to show that some of the cashiers aren't that bright.

One of Blanchard's redeeming qualities (service wise) is when I had to go in to return a beer. When I brought the beer home, and opened it, it was all foam. I brought it back and asked for an exchange. Even then, the cashier said there was nothing she could do. But luckily, the manager understood the problem and gave me another bottle.

All in all, if you know what you want, Blanchard's is great. They have a good variety at very good prices. If you are looking for kegs, their prices are unbeatable. If you are looking to try a new and exciting beer, they have a great selection of microbrews and single bottles. Just don't expect the employees to go above and beyond to help you.

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Photo of gdrydenc
3.76/5  rDev +3.6%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4.5 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4.5

Atmosphere is kinda shady. Lots of homeless people in the area, but such is Allston, I suppose.

Quality is superb. Lots of very good brews, best I've seen in the area (unless you're driving to Julio's).

Service is weak. Only once have I ever been asked if I'm looking for anything, and that was after spending 20 minutes+ as the only person in the beer area.

Selection is good. Lots of stuff I can't find anywhere else. They sometimes have some vintage(ish) stuff, too, which is cool. They had a 2 year old Anchor Holiday once.

Overall, if I know what I'm looking for, this is a solid joint. Not great for people looking to ask a lot of questions though.

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Photo of busterthecat
4.15/5  rDev +14.3%

I've been in here a few times so time for a review.
The selection is great. The beers are organized by country of origin which is helpful. Lots of 22oz, 750mL, and anything else. I have easily spent 30 minutes just browsing. One of the best selections i've seen. Lots of hard to find and rare bottles.

About half the cooler space is BMC. Hardly any chilled bombers which is bothersome and where they lose .5. They do have some growlers to go. They are a bit pricey for some brews but average for most. Service is poor, except for the wine guy.

This is place is worth a stop if in the area. The parking lot they own is really nice to have (parking is crazy). Also good selection of wine and liquor.

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Photo of perrymarcus
3.8/5  rDev +4.7%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5

review based almost entirely on beer. the wine selection seems extensive but i'm not much of a wine guy. they also have a broad range of liquors. service can be great or nonexistent depending on who is working that day, what day/time it is, etc.

beer selection is definitely good but won't blow you away. due to some alleged spat with a dogfish head distributor, dfh is not available here, which, as a dfh fan, leads to docked points from me. decent assortment of local crafts and belgians, with a mixed bag from out of state brewers like stone, victory, the bruery, founders, and southern tier, to name a few. biggest downside is cost. when i first started frequenting blanchard's, their prices were an advantage, but they seem to have spun a 180. case in point: recently went to pickup a 4 pack of bourbon county stout, which they sold for 24.99... at the star market liquor store adjunct @ packard's corner a mere few blocks away, the same can be had for 17.99. ten-fidy will run you 17.99, while over in coolidge corner the same 4pk is 13.99. to me that's quite a disparity for same-area stores. rochefort 10 is nearly $10 per 11.2oz bottle; you don't have to travel far to get it for $6.50-7. i could go on, but you get the idea.

update: upping my score regarding selection after today's trip. craft section has expanded, with more local, out of state, and foreign beers added and the belgian selection is outstanding. still no dfh, and still for the most part overpriced, but an area must-stop for craft fans.

update 2 (04/04/11): scored both KBS and abacus here in recent weeks. (as well as FW 14 and double jack)... plus nugget nectar... upping the selection another .5

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Photo of SFLpunk
3.2/5  rDev -11.8%

Since Marty's Allston closed this has become my go-to on the way to the highway. No one offers help here. These folks seem to pay the bills off of 30 racks and kegs, but they do stock a great selection of American micro, odd Italian craft, strange meads, and a good selection of Belgians - nothing crazy exotic, but if you know it's in Boston and can't find it, chances are it's still on their shelves.

Not a lot of good tasties kept cold, but lots of standards in the cooler (BMC plus Sierra, Magic Hat, etc). Picked up 6 Green Flash Imp. IPA's and two GF Stouts bombers (~$60). Was looking for Avery and didn't see any.

Not a bad stop. Will probably stop in again next time.

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Photo of gdkersey
3.7/5  rDev +1.9%

I live a few blocks from Blanchard's, so when I need a larger amount of booze this is the place I hit up. They have a pretty good selection of all types of alcohol: wine, beer and liquor. They stock a good number of kegs, and I always head into the walk-in refrigerator to see what kind of 1/6 barrels they have.

They have a solid craft beer selection, which they do a good job of segmenting off and locating in between the wine and other beers. Some of the selections can be a bit on the pricey side, but compared to other stores like Martignettis and Marty's, I honestly don't see too much of a difference.

Unless you are shopping for wine, the service here isn't that great. The guys in the wine section are the saving grace (hence the 3.0 for service), and will help you find what you're looking for and are willing to give you a little lesson in whatever type of wine you are buying. But besides that, the grungy hipsters like to keep to themselves while stocking shelves.

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Photo of drnknmnky
3.7/5  rDev +1.9%

Probabaly one of the best selections around. Allston area. Have everything from your BMC to alot of local crafts brews. I find the craft beers mainly stick to the a shelf or two. They have growlers of BBC(Berkshire), Opa Opa and maybe some others. Import section is good but no sixers of Weinstephaner (spelling??) have pretty much everything from belgiums to german beers and eve many local brews too.
;also no Stone. you have to go to Marty's for it. Prices are usually atleast a 1$ cheaper than Marty's who does up charge on everything.

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Photo of albern
3.85/5  rDev +6.1%

This place is really close to the Sunset Grill and worth paying a visit after you've tried something obscure on tap and want to find it in the bottle. The store has a nice selection and I'm always impressed with stores that allow you to buy singles. In fact the singles are stocked on the shelves, but one can easily grab a single out of the six packs too, without any issue. The place has all the usual suspects and a few of the more localized craft beers not available widely, e.g., Mayflower, Cisco, Off Shore, etc.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
3.65/5  rDev +0.6%

Very nice selection at this store close to the streetcar on the way to Deep Ellum and Sunset. Deep selection of North East locals and a fair number of nice Belgian and other imports. This is a busy store and so I didn't really seee anyone to help me, but there were employees scattered around the store helping others. Prices were fine and there were plenty of selections from each brewery. Really nice store and agreat place to stop from out of town to load up on the locals. A very nice selection of bombers in particular, and on occasion there were some verticals on offer. Recommended.

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Photo of IBUnit63
3.7/5  rDev +1.9%

Haven't been here in a while so I stopped in quickly after a pint or 2 at Sunset to check the selection.

I was surprised at the varied selection they were sportin'. A fair of very good and sometimes hard-to-find craft offerings. It did look a bit like some had extended shelf time, though. Perhaps not a huge selection but decent nonetheless if you're in the neighborhood. Prices weren't off the reservation, either. Service was nondescript, but that's OK - I'll defer to my regular haunts for service in locating hard-to-find items. in this place if it's on the shelf and interesting I'll go ahead and pick it up. Good stop if in the area.

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Photo of TurdFurgison
4.2/5  rDev +15.7%

I stumbled upon this store on the way out of the Sunset Grille and decided to take a look. The beer selection was really good, with lots of things I haven't seen in OH stores. There were lots of New England beers I hadn't seen before but also lots of imports which should have made it to my radar before, especially from Belgium. The prices on the local stuff was pretty good, the imports struck me as pricy but weren't out of the norm, especially in a big city like Boston. With the proximity to Deep Ellum and Sunset Grille I'll definitely be here again in future trips to Boston.

Edit on Feb 28 2009: After seeing this post ( I will not go to this location again. In case the link doesn't allow you to see the video, apparently the owner of the store stomped on an innocent little dog in its cage next to the cash registers. I cannot recommend purchasing anything from somebody who would do this.

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Photo of leif86
3.85/5  rDev +6.1%

I live in the area and Blanchard's is my place to go to if I have the time since it's not the closest to my apartment. Very good beer selection and mostly reasonable prices. If you want a better selection you're going to have to go to Marty's, but except to pay for it there.

Expect average service, nothing spectacular. I have had a friend tell me that he refuses to go to Blanchard's because they've been rude to him on a number of times.

Overall, expect good beer and good prices. A good balance.

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Photo of Hojaminbag
4/5  rDev +10.2%

I think Blanchard's is definitely underrated. It has a great selection of imports, and a good selection of micros and locals. Awesome sale area is a good time to look through. I have been offered help several time before, and the people are friendly. At worst the beer prices will be on average with other Boston places, but I find it is somewhat cheaper than the rest of the area. I have noticed some dust here and there, but no quality problems from what I've had. Extensive cooler selection.
Import selection is great, micro is only OK, so it averages out. Worth a stop, and they have a parking lot!

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Photo of Billolick
4/5  rDev +10.2%

This place is abit underated in my opinion. The selections were extensive, plenty of quality Belgians, locals, regionals and the national BA worthy brews all showing up in force. Nice displays slightly to the right as enter. I did not see the dust that mentioned in some of the older reviews, so perhaps they are giving their stock more respect/moving more product quicker. They also stock a wide array of wines and the harder stuff. Lived in the neighborhood too many years ago, as a college student, wished we had this type of selection of world class brews back then. They carry Port brewing, but no Lost Abbey, wierd. Anyway, well worth a visit if in the Student slums of Allston

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Photo of YonderWanderer
3.35/5  rDev -7.7%

Blanchard's is a pretty good store overall, with a solid selection of standard beers and craft/micro/imports. A fairly good selection of Belgian imports, with some harder-to-find bottles, are on one shelf. A large variety of US craft brews are on another. Coolers contain all the standard as well as a good deal of brews from around the country. Definitely worth stopping in at. They had a few beers I hadn't seen before that I would have been interested in picking up. Price-wise was as reasonable as one can expect for the area.

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Photo of joebrewer
3.2/5  rDev -11.8%

I swung in here simply because it's a big place next to Sunset. I wasn't that impressed by the depth of selection in the beer section, but there were some notable gems in what they had. I picked up some JW Lee's Harvest Ale and some of their Port Barrel series. I was also impressed that they had a Belgian Primitive ale from de Prof. I know this can't be the case given the location, but I had a feeling this place isn't frequented by a lot of beer geeks. If it was, some of the vintage bottles I found wouldn't be there.

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Photo of bjohnson
3.5/5  rDev -3.6%

Popped in the other night before stopping by the Sunset to see the new selection, etc., after reading a post about the new beer manager requesting recommendations. This Blanchard's has completely changed their image and selection. I remember only about six months ago, when the selection was slim, especially in the Belgian and German department. The American bomber and higher end stuff was also non-existent.

Fridges are stocked with all the local and regional offerings as well as the more noticeable ones from farther away, including Founders, Great Divide, Left Hand, etc. The bomber section has totally improved with many good labels--Alesmith and Moylan's are the two that come to mind first. The Belgian and German sections have drastically improved with now many good styles. I did see a J.W. Lee's 1997 on hand. I believe the craft bomber and onsey section now has 4 shelves totally devoted to wonderful beer for your browsing/drinking experience.

Very well organized with bright lights and clean floors. I didn't receive any help, even though I was browsing for quite some time. Prices tend to be a bit steep I thought, highlighted by a Southern Tier Unearthly at around $8.

Worth a shot if you live in the area of if you need to pick up something for a trade. The demographics of the area make this a hit or miss stop as those college kids usually don't splurge on great beer--meaning that some stuff may hang on the shelves for longer than it should. One of the best selections for the area, especially if you don't have a car.

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Photo of morebeergood
3.5/5  rDev -3.6%

The new beer manager at Blanchard's is definitely changing things around. There is now a whole section dedicated to 22oz bottles and foreign six packs. Marty's may have more bombers, but Blanchard's has more cold six packs than most places, if that's what you are shopping for. There is now a new section for beer glassware, with all kinds for sale. I would like to see more branded beerware, for those who collect such items. The service here stays behind the counters, so don't expect to get help in the aisles. The prices here are decent, some beers can be found cheaper just a few blocks away. Overall, this is a good place if you are looking for selection.

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Photo of ciderfaerie
3.85/5  rDev +6.1%

Clean, comfortable, well organized, well stocked with a reasonable selection of beers, ciders, and wines. A small variety of singles available in a case near the walk-in. Energetic staff, very willing to help me find the treasure I was in search of.

I hadn't been to this Blanchard's in several years, and was pleasantly surprised it was cleaner and better organized than most liquer stores I've shopped. I was specifically on a cider hunt and was pleased to find several ciders I've been unable to find in my own neighborhood. I also appreciate that they carry Nashoba Valley products since they are difficult to find.

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Photo of brewandbbq
3.7/5  rDev +1.9%

Blanchards Allston is very close to the Sunset, but they don't seem to take advantage of that fact with thier selection.
Recently they have done some shuffling of the beer area, and have split it up into several areas.- Off to the right, follow the back wall, and then to the far left there's more shelving.
Selection seems to have grown somewhat, with some differnet finds than you may see down the street at Marty's.
As of yesterday, new finds include:
Mendocino Winter IIPA, Southern Tier 22's, and Sprecher Triple.
As the case with most stores, there is older stock, but they seem to limit it to beers that age better.
As for service, it's limited to the cashier up front, and there's easy parking out back.
Prices are on the high side as is the case with most stores in the city now, and check your date codes if possible.

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Photo of beals
2.9/5  rDev -20.1%

Blanchard's used to be "our place" to get beer in college despite the drive, mainly for their kegs (they had corny's of Magic Hat while everyone else only had half-barrels of macro). I also used to like going here for (what I once thought was) their selection of beer: cold 6- and 12-packs of micros, especially local ones. What I didn't realize at the time was that their selection of craft-brewed beer is rather weak. Recently, they re-did the store, making more empty floor space, and in doing so, eliminating space for beer. On the positive side, they do have parking for customers.

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Photo of bignick
2.5/5  rDev -31.1%

This is a huge liquor store right in the center of Allston. The wine and booze selection is vast, but the beer selection is just not that great. There is a very nice selection of 6-packs in the cooler, but there is almost nothing besides the cooled beer. There are no American bombers, and just a few Belgians. There is no one to talk to when interested in beer selection; rather, it is a grab yourself type of establishment. On the whole, I would say, that this place is overrated, and there is no reason to stop here with many other great liquor stores within a couple of miles.

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Photo of twelvsies
3/5  rDev -17.4%

This isn't really anything special, but if you're just going in looking for more than a few choices of sixpacks and maybe some bombers you'll do fine. Just don't go in expecting to find any rare belgians or anything, although they do have a few things like Chimay, etc.. Last time I went in they were remodeling the place and I couldn't really find anything at all except what was in the coolers, but I'm sure it's temporary so I can't really hold it against them. That being said, I was sort of wandering around the store trying to find the section they used to have with a shelf full of bombers and no one came to point me in the right direction. They did have a few Founders sixers, so I picked up a Red's Rye, which I highly recommend by the way and I was glad to see it there. Overall not a place to go out of your way to get to, but, if you find yourself in the area go in a pick out a sixer or something and you won't be disappointed.

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Photo of Sycodrummer
3.15/5  rDev -13.2%

Like Marty's down the street, a decent selection but nothing super vast. Most of the beer is not refridgerated. The locals are there in force (SA, Harpoon, Ipswich) and small bottles and bombers of imports from Belgium, Britian, and the rest of Europe can be found.

Service is slim. Gotta ask if you want anything specific as they will not volunteer to help you. Asked two people about Harpoon's 100 barrell series and neither of them has heard of it. Finally the "beer guy" helped me out.

Quite expensive compared to other stores of comparable of better quality. SA sixers going for around 8-9 dollars (I thought that was a bit steep).

An okay place, many are better.

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Blanchard's Liquors in Allston, MA
Place rating: 3.63 out of 5 with 52 ratings