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Marty's Liquors

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Marty's LiquorsMarty's Liquors
29 Ratings
Marty's LiquorsMarty's Liquors

Type: Store

193 Harvard Ave
Allston, Massachusetts, 02134
United States

(617) 782-3250

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Ratings: 29 |  Reviews: 29
Reviews by Billolick:
Photo of Billolick
4/5  rDev +8.7%

Plenty of fine BA worthy brews to be had at this Allston/Boston, longtime beer distribution spot. All the stuff you would expect at a quality store and more...As you enter the beer is on the right on shelving units as well as in some lorge cooler units. I always am happy to see the selections from Lost Abbey and other quality selections from Calif., Stone, Alesmith,Bear Republic etc. This place also adds wine, booze and some (curmmy looking) gourmet style food selections. Good corner location, you will find loads of worthy beer here.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of JayfromBoston
3.3/5  rDev -10.3%

Well, for those that don't know Marty's in Allston is now closed. May 21st 2009 was the last day of operation and all of their goods will now be moved to the Newton location. Basically the landlord wanted to raise the rent for the next lease which pushed them to close altogether.

I'll miss their beer selection since it was the first place I always checked for no-so-easy to find beers. But I'll mostly miss them for their deli section and browsing their hot sauce selection.

That's because I won't miss the hit or miss service, the questionable freshness of their shelf beers, or paying more money for it.

I'm sorry to see it go, but in reality with other places increasing their selections at better prices I stopped going there as often. But don't get too excited Blanchards down the street, because you're not getting my money either:)

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Photo of SFLpunk
3.15/5  rDev -14.4%

Marty's is a staple-stop when I'm in the area because of the huge selection, but that comes with some caveats:

1) The service is usually not great. There isn't usually anyone on the floor in the liquor/beer areas offering help. You can usually get help in the wine department without even asking. They have a newer guy, David, who is good when he's there, and was extremely helpful on my last visit a couple weeks ago. But he's a newer addition and when he's not there...

2) Some of the beers are ageing on the shelves. This is both a good thing and a reason I do go there: you can find things that are out of season, out of stock in the "Beer stores," or gracefully aged; and it is also often a bad thing: Avery Maharajah from last year, The Beast from 2005, etc. Check the dates!

3) Friday/Saturday nights are not a great time to casually walk the beer isles. SUPER busy.

But, in the end, I always stop here and find some tasty and rare goodies. I'd recommend it, but buyer beware. Also, they're closing this store soon and moving it all to their other store.

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Photo of drnknmnky
3.5/5  rDev -4.9%

first of the head manager sucks. He wants his customers in and out no questions asked. Then there's the old creepy guy who pushes whatever the manager tells you to sell for liquor. Food is good not what I expected originally. Deli food is great nice selection of sauces, mustards, bbq, hot sauces.

Beer selection is good. they have Stone, Blanchard's does not. nothing too mind blowing about the selection. Staff not too willing to help. one was quite knowledgeable and even told me they had old gonzo's (the ones that were 9.2% ABV) around most staff is neither seen nor heard. Have not gotten Wine but I hear the Wine guy there knows his beer.

And if you want to save some money go to Blanchards. Also they once sold me a 6 month old box of killians. I still drank it but I'm pretty sure that's Illegal.

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Photo of Hojaminbag
2.35/5  rDev -36.1%

I will start this review by saying I love Marty's Newton, it is a great store. The Allston location is a different animal however.

Stuff seems to sit on the shelves here a little longer than at other locations.

Absolutely with no exceptions the worst service I have had at a beer store ever. Anywhere. First you will find that people are unwilling to help and are not very knowledgeable about beer. Those two things I could discount, but complete rudeness is unacceptable. Beginning with a misunderstanding, the manager here proceeded to berate and patronize me. He went on to use abusive language, relying on the word fuck several times. Awful place.

With that said, the selection is pretty good but too expensive. Go down the street to Blanchard's and save yourself 1-3 bucks a bottle.

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Photo of leif86
4/5  rDev +8.7%

Marty's is about selection. All about selection. More beer than any other liquor store in the area. Blanchard's carries a good stock, but not nearly as much as Marty's. Service and knowledge of the people here are average - don't expect anything mindblowing. A little pricey for beer (more than Blanchard's if I'm going to keep the comparison going) but I've seen worse in Boston. BUT it is possible to find stuff on sale, plus they have a good wine selection and best of all ... they make deli sandwiches... amazing ones. Beer and food. Can't miss.

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Photo of Kudashov
5/5  rDev +35.9%

As with the other Marty's in Newton this place is loaded with beer . Yes they have the BMC swill but they also have plenty of great craft beer that you cannot get in other establishments . Belgians are located down the back with rows and rows of jolly good stuff . Stone , BBC , DFH , and my two favorite breweries Oskar Blues and Port Brewing company . This place is great for selection and I read that people are a tad pissed about the prices . For me it is not that bad . You get what you pay for . For the selection that they have, in the city of Boston , it is second to none Which make this place my " go-to " when I need good beer in the city . Service is where this place shines . I would go in about twice a month to stock up . After a few months Rob ~ their beer guy ~ would recognize that I am a fan of the dark beers during the colder months and IPA's during the spring / summer months . He would tell me what is new and what I might like .He is a pleasure to talk to and is a class guy . Cheers to Marty's .
Again you can't go wrong with either Marty's . They are both great places .

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Photo of TJP75Beer
4.35/5  rDev +18.2%

I was introduced to Marty's when I began to adventure away from the confines of NH and into the more fruitful beer botiques of Massachusetts. My first impression as I walked through the door and into the beer section was 'Holy Crap!' The selection was amazing.

They had every type of Avery, Dogfish Head, Stoudt's, Stone, etc. In addition, they had what appeared to be an entire wall dedicated to Belgian beers. Being from New Hampshire we are lucky if we get a dozen different Belgians to choose from.

While the selection, qaulity and service were all good or very good I was not impressed by the prices. First and foremost, Marty's is one of the primary distributors (I believe it's Atlantic distributors which owns Marty's) of Dogfish Head in Massachusetts, yet the prices were higher at Marty's as compared with other places such as Bauer's and Julio's (I imagine that they have to buy from AD). I might have this whole thing wrong, but I believe that if they are the distributors then the other establishments have to buy from them thus making their shelf price more expensive. There has to be a reason why the prices are higher, but I wasn't going to get into a discussion of why. And I am sure that someone here at Beer Advocate will steer me in the right direction as to the "why".

In the end, this is a very good place to find a great selection of beer and if you don't mind paying extra then it is well worth the drive.

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Photo of mnj21655
3.85/5  rDev +4.6%

I recently moved to Brighton and this place just happens to be just a mile or so down the road. It also takes all my spending money. Great selection, lots to choose from, the best I've seen in the area. Not much to speak of in the way of service but they've always been quite pleasant in my limited interactions with the staff. In terms of value this place can be a bit pricey but if you look around you're sure to find something good at a fair price. Also I'd make sure to check dates as I have seen some older beers here (but I do it no matter where I go). Overall, its worth a stop, especially if you're new to the area and haven't had access to many of the fine brews that this establishment carries.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.65/5  rDev +26.4%

I first happened on this place back in 2003 when I would come up for Beer Summit fests (gasp!). I had a list of beers that I wanted to take home with me. In calling around, Marty's not only had everything that I wanted, but they also told me that they were convenient to the "B" - Boston College line of the Green Line T. Convenient?!? How about DIRECTLY across from the Harvard Avenue stop? In the passage of time, I have begun routinely staying at Abercrombie's Farrington Inn Hostel, which is about three or four blocks from that same stop. It also means that both the Sunset Grill & Tap and Deep Ellum are on my way back to crash out. There is Woody's Traveler's Tip of the Day.

The Entrance/Exit doors were side by side on Commonwealth Avenue and the vestibule had a railing separating the two sides. Electric sensors opened the doors and the extensive wine selection was RIGHT there upon entering. Further back, still on the left side of the space, they had a delicatessen counter with a cheese counter to its left.

Continuing aft, the coolers lined the left side wall, but it was on the right side where the fun began. Metal rack after metal rack filled with beers. We are talking singles, people! Unheard of in PA and Marty's had an incredible selection of 12-ounce bottles, bombers, just every shape and size and an incredible range of selection. This is my "Go To" place for Berkshire BC beers, which I think are not only fantastic, but also ridiculously underpriced.

The staff are also very customer-oriented. Imagine the scene on a snowy February Saturday night as a drunken stooge in a monk's robe stumbled in, asking for some help in finding the BBC products. Not only was this moron not shown the door in one quick hurry, he was escorted directly to the proper shelves, assisted in loading his selections into a shopping basket, and helped back to the checkout counter. On my latest visit (June 2007), I wanted to scout some things to take to the monthly Free the Hops meeting in Birmingham, AL. I stopped in, experiencing a euphoric state following the ABF and struck up a conversation with the duty beer guy. I suddenly remembered just why I routinely recommend this place to people. Others may pooh-pooh it, but it was my "discovery" and I stick by it.

Did I remeber to mention the liquor selection? Hoowee! How about the POS sancks for those late-nite munchies? And the tobacco counter along the wall by the exit for those who so indulge? Fantastiche!

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Photo of DoubleJ
4.15/5  rDev +12.8%

It says liquor on the outside, so I was surprised to see a service deli inside the shop. They sells kegs of beer and bottles of good beer. Lots of it. Very impressive selection. They have it all: Germans, English, Belgian, Polish, and American craft brews. i was able to score the last bottle of 120 Minute IPA off the shelf, which they sold for $9.99. It seemed like a reasonable deal to me considering I've heard stories of people paying a lot more, but much of the other beer seemed a little overpriced in my opinion. Anyways, checkout is quick and efficient, they had two people help me out; one to scan my purchase and the other to check my ID. I was impressed by the place, and feel it might be underrated by the community.

BTW, I also ran a short video clip of the place, which is currently on YouTube (just search "martys liquor").

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Photo of albern
4.15/5  rDev +12.8%

This is second to Elm Street liquors in Somerville for selection. The store is not as nicely laid out, and things seem to be piled up, but if you are looking for exotic beer, at reasonable prices, and you are in Allston, this is the best store to get beer. The register area and the check out aisles are pretty seedy, and it isn't all that clean, but you just have to live with it. I would list Colonial Liquors in Acton as a very close third in the beer store competition in Greater Boston. The store has all the Belgians you would want, plenty of local micros, and a nice refrigerated section.

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Photo of morebeergood
3.3/5  rDev -10.3%

This is where I go when I want to buy beer. The selection here is very impressive; there is always something new on the shelves. Like with any store, you need to look at what you are buying to make sure it has not expired and still looks drinkable. That aside, I love to just browse this place and look a the huge selection. I feel that the prices are quite reasonable if you compare Marty's to other stores aka Blanchard's. Just keep in mind what other prices you have seen/paid, and buy what you feel is reasonable. The crew that works in here are interesting, they all seem to be right out of an old punk rock video. I don't mind, they don't bother me, I don't bother them. If you want beer selection in Allston, this is the place to go. P.S. the deli makes some great sandwiches...

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Photo of Damian
3.8/5  rDev +3.3%

Marty's has one of the best beer selections in all of New England. Unfortunately, this store falls short in many other aspects. First, the isles are very narrow and congested and the lighting is quite dim. Second, any type of "service" does not exist here. You're lucky if you get a "thank you" from the "I just turned 21 and I'm angry at my daddy for making me this way" cute punk rock girl working the checkout. As far as beer... The vast array of beers here is mind boggling. Stocking everything from American craft beers to difficult to find Belgian and European imports, Marty's selection spans the gamut in both quality and sheer number. As far as pricing is concerned however, this place is ridiculous. Many beers (especially those that are not so expensive) are appropriately priced. Others, however, are off the charts. Dogfish Head Pangea for $20 when it should be $10, Sinebrychoff Porter for $6 when it should be $3, Trappistes Roquefort 10 for $9 when it should be $6, Stone Double Bastard for $9 when it should be $6, Dogfish Head Forte for $20 when it should be $15, etc. etc. I have never seen prices so inflated. Marty's also has a deli, a small selection of imported cheeses and other gourmet food products, as well as an array of wines and other liquors. A word to the wise - go to Marty's for the sheer selction of beer, but know what prices are appropriate before you purchase.

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Photo of ciderfaerie
3.3/5  rDev -10.3%

The downside:
The shelves, floors and tall maze-like aisles are a bit crowded with tall maze-like aisles, making it difficult to get around or out.
The discount shelf has dusty beers, most are old and should simply be returned to the distributer.
There seems to be little rhyme or reason to the organization - aisles of individual bottles and packs of beer haphazardly shelved. To find a specific beer, it might be faster to ask, or you could easily spend a good 15 minutes playing treasure hunt.

The upside:
A vast range of selection of beer and cider.
Singles galore! Taboo in most places, when I couldn't find singles of ciders and asked the bustling staff if they had them hidden... I was brought to the cider case and instructed to take what I wanted - so I did.
Pricing on singles is equivalent to 1/6 of 6 pack or 1/4 of 4 pack - also something most stores do not do.

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Photo of brewandbbq
3.3/5  rDev -10.3%

Marty's Allston is conveintly located close to the Sunset and Blanchard's liquors.
It carries roughly 1/3 the selection of Marty's Newton, and features beers just as old.
In recent months they added some additional shelving, and more cooler space.
As of yesterday, they even have a self standing cooler dedicated to DFH, exclusively.
The warm shelving has a decent cross section of domestics and imports, with many out of date and dusty.
New releases do not make it here quickly, but you may find an odd deal on magnums.
There is a restroom upstairs, but leaving the store without purchasing is quite difficult. They are strict with chaining off register aisles, so you have to basically wait in line to get to the exit.
Harpoon 100 bbl beers are cheap here and right up front of the beer aisle, in the cooler.
Another hit or miss type beer store.

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Photo of bignick
3.15/5  rDev -14.4%

This is the best liquor store in my neighborhood, unfortunately. They have a very nice selection of micros and imports, and they are well-sorted. Much of the cooler space is devoted to macros, because that is what most of the college crown in the area is after. There are still some very nice cooled six packs. Where Marty's really excels is the rack directly across from the cooler, where they have a great selection of beers from all over the country and the world. There is also a wonderful selection of singles, although (buyer beware), I would recommend checking the dates before buying.

Just a rant on the pricing:
The craft beers and imports are all priced competitively, but what really bugs me is that the liquor and micros, which are popular with the local college crowd, are all priced very low. Marty's undercuts the local competition on the college items, which they can sucessfully do because they are bigger and can buy in more volume than the local places; however, when it comes to the craft beer scene, the consumer doesn't get a similar break, because Marty's is the only place with a big enough customer base to enter the craft beer niche. So basically, they have me by the balls. I hate their big business tactics of only giving pricing breaks when it knocks out the smaller guy. At the same time, my nature is to want to try new and different beers.

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Photo of Marty
3.7/5  rDev +0.5%

Great selection. Beers seem to be organized geographically, with all the Russian beers in one place, Belgians in another. The American micro brews are somewhat mixed together, but not too hard to sort through. Good selection of beers are refrigerated, too. When I went, there were big cardboard boxes stacked in front of the Belgian beers, so those were sort of off-limits. It was a Tuesday night, though, which is probably the time of the week that they restock.

Overall, I liked this place a lot. Good thing I don't live around here, or I'd end up spending lots of money there.

Look for specials on beers they're trying to get rid of, but be sure to check the born-on/best-if-consumed-by date.

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Photo of twelvsies
3.65/5  rDev -0.8%

This is a surprisingly solid place. Walked in knowing they had a few things, but didn't expect to see such a selection of Belgians, English beers and other imports, as well as a nice line up of American bombers. No Berkshire Octoberfest though, maybe it just hasn't come out yet. Also, a decent selection of cold sixers. The one downside is that you have to navigate through litterally walls of crap beer and people wheeling kegs all over the place. Definately has a mainstream feel to it, but there is that one awesome aisle of craft beers so that makes up for it. Definately worth checking out.

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Photo of Sycodrummer
3.35/5  rDev -9%

Marty's offer a fairly large selection of craft beer at reasonable prices. The store offers both a mix of six-packs and bomber from some of the best names in craft beer. Brooklyn, Ipswich, Smuttynose, Sam Adams, Harpoon, and many other all appear in sixer form. Bombers from around the world including many belgian and British selections are available. A good selection of Abbey and Trappist beers, and some solid British offerings like Fullers. They also have Southampon PH bombers and some 4 packs of US craft brews like Old Rasputin and many others.

Pricing is not bad for the area. Most sixers go for between 7 and 10 dollars and most bomber between 6 and 10 dollars. Some of the craft four packs can run a little high (around $12). Many have said to be careful of the quality of their specials, but the few times I've been there, I have not scene anything on sale.

Service is not exactly active in helping you find what you want. Basically, if you want something, ask for it, or you will not be approached to be helped.

A pretty good place to go, with a vast selection, and reasonably priced.

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Photo of taez555
3.95/5  rDev +7.3%

April '05 Re-review

Marty's in Allston has probably the best selection of beer in the entire Boston Area, PERIOD. Living less than 2 blocks away for nearly 5 years I've been into and purchased from them hundreds of times.

Marty's is a huge liquor store that caters mostly to college kids. Cheap macro beer and kegs are what they're in business for. They ID everyone who tries to buy like you're going through airport security. Only marty's managers are aloud to give the OK on ID's. On top of this, they have a gigantic selection of wine, eclectic food/cheese, and liquor as well. They also have a deli section which makes some of the best sandwiches in Allston.

Now let's get down to business and talk beer.

Selection: They have it all. 6 packs from almost every macro, micro, craft, and import you can imagine. The singles selection is even better. US Craft, Micro, Belgian, German, English, Russian and then some. They basically carry it all and all the varieties. Stone, Dogfishhead, Bear Republic, Rogue, Rochefort, Delirium, Fullers, Fantome, Westvletern(at one time), etc. You name the particular style from the brewery, they usually have it. They also keep up with the trends and bring in every new beer as soon as it comes on the market. New Harpoon 100 barrel, Stone Anniversary or Epic, Avery, Dogfishhead special beers, etc. Plus, they usually always have them right as they're released.

Quality Issues: Yes Marty's has some SERIOUS quality issues. They put old and bad beer on sale to liquidate stock. They have old, dusty, and even beers from out of business brewery's on their shelves, but... for the most part the good far outweighs the bad. The past few years they've really tried to bring up their standards. If you stick with the new beers and make sure to check dates, the quality can be outstanding.

As a regular I became very familiar with the staff. Yes they're assholes, but that just comes with the college aged patrons. Once they see your face a few times and know you're serious about beer they can actually be VERY helpful. The one manager, Rob, is quite knowledgeable and was always very helpful keeping me updated with whatever new beers they had coming in. The one time I had an issue I came back to the store and they quickly fixed the problem.

My general rule of thumb for Marty's is to be just be smart about what you buy. If it's covered in dust or has a "best by" label from 2 years ago, maybe you should stay away from it.

Marty's stays in business by selling cheap swill to dumb college kids. I guess it doesn't help they also make a substantial profit on selling good beer that's gone bad to dumb college kids. You can argue one way or another on this practice(turns people off to truly great beer, blah, blah, etc), but it does allow them to keep an inventory of beer that blows away everybody else.

Basically, Caveat Emptor. Be smart and Marty's can be your best friend.

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Photo of Truh
3.6/5  rDev -2.2%

“All right, let’s get one more over at Great Scott,” Jim said collaring Kumar, “they’ve had some kick-ass bands there lately.” I edged towards the doors of Marty’s. Kumar desperately wanted me to throw him a lifeline, but if I did, the power of Jim would pull us both under. Instead, I swam through the garbage strewn all over the sidewalk around us and entered Marty’s, reminding Jim that I had to take off for the night. As the door closed shut behind me, I could just make out through the ripped “We ID” sticker that Jim had already forgotten about me. He and Kumar walked through the intersection of Comm. Ave. and Harvard St., mindless of the traffic hurtling around them with horns blaring, and disappeared from sight.

Upon entering Marty’s, I noticed a rack with hot sauces, spices, rubs, and mustards on the left. Traveling off into the distance straight ahead were boxes and racks of wine – the selection looked to be quite wide and varied, but that was not the reason why I was here. I took a right, the cash registers on my right shoulder, and walked past the deli counter on the left that featured Boar’s Head meats and cheeses (to order a sandwich you need to fill out a slip of paper on top of the deli case and hand it to the not always happy deli person). Finally, I had reached the beer area that consisted of a wall of coolers and a facing shelf, close to forty feet in length.

Among the items on the shelf were much of the Dogfish line, including Burton Baton, WWS, Olde School Barleywine, 120 IPA, and bombers of Pangaea and Festina Lente; all of the Allagash stuff with the exception of Curieux; east coast Avery offerings; a long line of Rogue stuff including the new swing-top bombers; some Heavyweight and Weyerbacher stuff, including Heresy (but no Insanity); typical bombers of McNeill’s, a bunch of Bear Republic; three Hair of the Dog bottles; Magic Hat’s Chaotic Chemistry, and on and on with the US offerings. The imports were of equal merit with various bottles of Rochefort, St. Bernadus, Fantome, Gouden Carolus, Westmalle, Chimay, Unibroue, Uerige Sticke, Thomas Hardys, J.W. Lees and many more. The coolers contained growlers of Ipswich, a full line of Sam Adams items, Harpoon, Magic Hat, Otter Creek, some Atlantic and Casco Bay stuff, Seadog, Shipyard, Smuttynose, Brooklyn, and the requisite macroswill moneymakers.

Behind the beer area were a number of shelves devoted to hard stuff, including Dogfish’s rums and vodka, and also some dusty beer glassware. In a locked cabinet near the registers was a bevy of high-end liquors, mostly single malts, but on one occasion I spied a Utopias, or a Millennium, not quite sure which one it was. Overall, selection at this location was excellent, though freshness could be an issue as I noticed they still had some Kross Brewing stuff on the shelves, which has been long out of business. I also noted that one of the cooler’s fans was blowing hot air onto one of the lower beer shelves, directly at some Heavyweight four-packs, which I wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole. The manager, Rob, has always been a good proprietor; he recognizes me and lets me know when new stuff arrives, even asking if he should save me something on occasion. Latest issues of Yankee Brew News and Ale Street News are always available near the exit.

All in all, this store ranks as one of my top three in the greater Boston area, along with Downtown Wine & Spirits and Charles Street Liquors. What all of these have in common is a stock that usually includes some buzz-worthy stuff, as well as a fine cross-range of stellar stand-bys and the occasional rarity. A stop at Marty’s is a must if you find yourself around the corner at the Sunset/Big City.

I left with a bag full of bottles and bolted for the first inbound B line train. I stared through the window of the streetcar as we passed the Great Scott and then settled quietly into a green seat.

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Photo of pmowen
1.9/5  rDev -48.4%

I Just noticed the review below about Marty's and Magic Hat. I was there a couple days ago and got a bottle of Terrible on sale ($6.99). Almost got a few since this is a beer I like tremendously but I already had a bunch of stuff to carry. Got it home, opened it and just like the poster below's bottle of MH it was awfull. Not drinkable at all. It's total bs that Marty's knowingly sells worthless beer. I did not try to return it. It's not worth it to me to take the T 10 stops each way so that I can get my $6.99 back. I'm sure they know that's how most people will fee. Beware of any specials there.

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Photo of bigbeerdrinka
4.2/5  rDev +14.1%

If your ever in the allston area, this is your one stop for finding a great selection of beer. They carry tons of Micros along with a good selection of Belgians. Recently it appears that they have picked up the pace on restocking brews, for I haven't seen to many past the best served date. For service they are mediocre with only some of the staff being knowledgeable on beer. Also they have decents snacks and wine, and actually a pretty good sandwich and sub area. The only downfall of this store is the amount of bud kegs flowing out the door, but what can you do, it is a college town.

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Photo of Jacobob10
4.5/5  rDev +22.3%

My roommates purchase our kegs from Marty's, but for some reason I have never actually gone into the store with them. Well, I'm damn glad that I did last week. What a great selection. Beers that I had only read reviews on, but never thought I would get a chance to try were available right in front of me. I purchased a Saranac mixed 12-pack and it was priced great at $9. Everything else was more expensive (nothing is cheap in Boston). I can't wait to head back there in the near future to try some more sophisticated beers.

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Marty's Liquors in Allston, MA
Place rating: 3.68 out of 5 with 29 ratings
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