Riley's Wines of the World


87 Ratings
Riley's Wines of the WorldRiley's Wines of the World

Type: Store

402 W Gorham St
Madison, Wisconsin, 53703-2004
United States

(608) 257-0400 | map

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Added by cokes

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Reviews: 56 | Ratings: 87
Photo of Ferretferret
2.89/5  rDev -28.1%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 2 | service: 2.25 | selection: 4.75

I'm a little shocked to see this place attain such a high score, especially when adjacent to a much better liquor store, University Liquor.

Some of the beer here is ancient! Like, years old! They've had a holiday ale in the clearance bin for over 1.5 years; $7.99, instead of $8.99! I've also seen ancient beers all over the beer section, the cream-based liquors... Please, inspect the date before buying from here!

The service is neither offensive nor anything to write home about, trending toward the negative side.

The tastings they perform here are incredible, and the selection is great, if, again, they're a brewery that posts "bottled on" dates.

Notably, they require backpacks to be held near the employees while one shops, unlike any of the adjacent liquor stores.

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Photo of mothman
1/5  rDev -75.1%
vibe: 1 | quality: 1 | service: 1 | selection: 1

Overcharged me for a clearance item. Rude employees. Not very big selection. Lots of old beer. Not impressed with this store. Can't believe that people actually shop here. Avoid.

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Photo of crossovert
4.28/5  rDev +6.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

This is a great shop in Madison, right net to Brickhouse BBQ.

The craft is split up into singles which is great, too bad I was broke when I went in and just got 1 can of 8 Bit Pale ale.

A lot of shelton beers are represented including 14.99 bottles of Mikkeller weasel and those expensive as all fuck Italian beers.

Most of the beer was in the coolers except the big high abv brews and some seasonals. I didn't even get to the 6 pack area. This place probably has everything distributed to Madison giving it a pretty wide selection.

The service is pretty good too. A great store.

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Photo of jegross2
4.51/5  rDev +12.2%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

Riley's is great for three reasons:

1) Selection. They have almost every beer you could want to drink that is sold in the state of Wisconsin.

2) Quality. Rileys not only has a lot of beer, they have a lot of GREAT beer. Impossible not to find something new and interesting to try there.

3) Holding beer for me. I've bought a lot of beer from Rileys over the past 18 months, and a lot of it has to do with not only the helpfulness of their beer guys, but also their willingness to hold beers for me. I'd never been able to try CBS if not for the help of Rileys, and I am very excited for the Oak Aged Old Rasputin they're going to hold for me!

Riley's is the priciest of the quality beer selection places in Madison (the other two being Woodman's and Steve's), but they are not any more pricey than your average corner-liquor store. Making the trip to Riley's is certainly worth browsing their selection, getting their beer help, and most importantly, reserving those rare releases!

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Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.14/5  rDev +3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Stopped by this store today to pick up a bottle of Founders CBS!

Looks like a fairly small store front, especially for the city of Madison. I was really surprised with how big this store was when i got into the store!

Atmosphere: Reminds me of a grocery store. Fully stocked shelves that are neat, clean and organized.

Quality: We are in Wisconsin...the quality beers are everywhere, but nothing was expecially exciting thatwas on the shelf.(except for the bottle of CBS of course!)

Service: Very friendly and laid back staff.

Selection: Wide variety of beer here. Tons of craft beer from all over the USA. Lots of popular sours and huge belgian selection to compliment the USA craft. Also lots of overseas beers. nice variety, but it definately caters to the popular beers that beer geeks love.

Value: Little pricer than I like, but we are in a big city so its to be expected.

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Photo of Sammy
4.08/5  rDev +1.5%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Top notch beer store. Everything they can get their hands on from the state, plus great stuff from other states. They do not concentrate on Stone and the like, just their top picks. This put me in the unique position of picking up almost everything in stock, ex the Shelton brothers stuff. Single bottles of everything. I was here well over an hour fulfilling my customs import limit from cooler after cooler. Only the very high abv are available non-cooler, and given the shelf life of most regular beers, and the heat in the state over the summer, cooling makes good sense. Service OK, mostly younger guys, and it was buzy.

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Photo of CuriousMonk
4.3/5  rDev +7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

A gem in downtown Madison right off the UW campus. I heard about this place through other beer seller who suggested that I stop by this place for 3F bombers. This place sold all the New Glarus beers among the many microbreweries of Wisconsin. They also sold an arsenal of Mikkeller, 3F, Stillwater, and Dark Horse beers. This place is a little disorganized, but still you found the good stuff if you look long and hard enough. Friendly service but didn't come to you while looking at the beers. Just am glad I was able to buy a bunch of New Glarus and 3Fs here due to the extremely limited distribution!

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Photo of cwcolby74
4.24/5  rDev +5.5%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

I enjoy visiting this liquor store whenever I visit Madison. It keeps an outstanding selection of Wisconsin brews, with enough numbers that you can often find some of the seasonal releases a few months after they're over because the store stocked so many.

They also keep a separate cooler of singles that is a great mix of Wisconsin and out-of-state choices.

The staff is generally helpful and will look for whatever special requests you need.

The prices are a tad higher than at Woodman's, but given Riley's central location right down on State Street, and that it has its own parking, it's worth a visit.

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Photo of richkrull
4.24/5  rDev +5.5%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 5

Being so close to the Wisconsin campus, Riley's caters to a lot of students. That being said, I was pleasantly surprised at the vast selection of great beer they have. Lots of brews from throughout Wisconsin as well as the country. At least 10 doors of 6-packs as well as a walk in cooler. There were also 4-5 doors of singles and bombers available. This place had a ton of good stuff I wanted to try. I was able to slip out of there with 3 mixed 6-packs but I'll definitely be back for more very soon!

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Photo of MarcatGSB
4.35/5  rDev +8.2%

Another highly recommended stop on your way through Madison. We went to Woodman's first, and stocked up on some bombers of FFF, and some four packs of DFH Burton Baton, but saved some money in our wallets to head over to Riley's, and are glad we did.

The back wall is a large cooler, with a great selection of beers from Wisconsin and abound. The main reason for stopping at Riley's for the slim hope of scoring some Central Waters Peruvian Morning, and sure enough, they had it. I had never tried to beer, but read alot about it, and glad I picked up a few four packs. They had more of the limited releases from Tyranena, Central Waters, New Glarus, and Ale Asylum than Woodman's did, and a better selection of bombers and singles. They stocked quite a few (maybe 8-12) varieties of Jolly Pumpkin, which I was happily surprised with. Also some of the limited release DFH (Namaste, Theobroma, WWS, etc).

Woodman's is definitely cheaper, but Riley's will have some things that Woodman's does not. I would suggest stopping at both, and get the best of both worlds.

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Photo of MilwaukeeCrusher
4.35/5  rDev +8.2%

This is probably one of the better stops in Madison if you want to get high end micros. Their service is top notch and the place really uses their space well considering their size. Pretty much everything is there you can get, with the exclusion of maybe some lesser or lower demand stuff. If something comes out new, this is a place to go and get it. Staff is courteous and knows quite a bit about beer. Will be back again, and probably would be more often if parking wasn't a pain and all the wild college traffic in the area.

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Photo of Birchgrove77
4.2/5  rDev +4.5%

Visited 11/06/2010 in search of some great Wisconsin locals after a visit to the Farmers Market.

Store appears quite small from the outside and is tucked right next door to the Brickhouse BBQ and only a few blocks from the parking around the Capitol.

Was nicely greeted when I walked in the store, and I knew exactly where to go from a previous visit. Beer is located straight back, with a ton of sixers in the cooler. Stocked with the locals (NG, Tyranena, Central Waters, Lake Louie, etc.), but had a decent selection of Midwest and other craft brewers. There was also cooler space on the right that had a very large mix your own six pack stocked with a ton of locals. Belgian selection appeared to be small, but very high quality.

Prices were just a touch higher than Woodmans, but still very reasonable for nearly all of the beers, and there is a 10% discount if you fill a mix six pack. Scored some CW Brewhouse Coffee Stout and then a bunch of random locals CW Y2K Barleywine, Tyranena BGW beers, some Lake Louie Scotch ales...didn't want to leave.

If you're in downtown Madison this is great place to score beer and will be my go to spot when in town.

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Photo of Florida9
4.2/5  rDev +4.5%

Appears like a small little dump from the outside, but Riley's is a lot bigger than it looks. Kind of a poor layout with beer in the back and then again along the sides with sixers and cases stacked everywhere there is an empty spot to put them.

The selection is good with lots of Wisconsin brewers being represented. However, there are a lot of Midwest brewers missing, but, as someone who was shopping here for beer I can't get in Chicago, what they were missing wasn't what I was looking for, so it didn't really matter much.

Service was non-existent until I checked out. But once I did and I happened to ask a certain question it was as if the flood gates had opened and I quickly realized that not all of the beer they have is necessarily on display. If you're looking for a limited release, I suggest asking someone - it worked very well for me - with them advising me of limited releases they had that I wasn't even looking for in the first place.

I'll definitely hit Riley's up the next time I am in town.

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Photo of mdwalsh
4.2/5  rDev +4.5%

Stopped in here on a recommendation from the guy over at Fromagination (a local cheese place and a must if you are a cheese person visiting Madison). The place looked tiny on the outside, utterly TINY, but upon going in you realize it isn't just the storefront you see on the outside, but the multi-story building it is attached too. The beer selection is nice, not amazing but nice and well taken care of. It is in the back of the store away from light, about half refrigerated and includes all the locals you want including New Glarus and Lake Louie.

I didn't talk much to the beer guy (aka the guy loading cases of BMC) but he did have the exact answer to the question I had, so that's good. I spoke at length to someone about Liquor though, and the selection was impressive. Upstairs is a select area of wine and liquor, which is amazing. Lots of small batch and interesting things.

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Photo of AmberMan22
4.35/5  rDev +8.2%

Really nice store, well laid out and labeled. Even better now that it's got Brickhouse BBQ right next door. The store is well lit and organized sensibly.

The staff are friendly and helpful, but only if you go looking for help. I don't really expect anyone to come up and ask me if I need help, so I don't really mind it.
Actually, come to think of it, a guy told me there was a seperate fridge for Belgians...I need to go back for that.

Selection is very solid. Tons of WI local brews (Tyranena, New Glarus, Ale Asylum are all great, among others), and plenty of other top-notch domestics. Foreign beer section isn't too bad, and I haven't even gotten to look at the Belgian aisle yet. Damn, that's making my mouth water.

Prices are all very reasonable, pretty much as good as or better than you'll find anywhere in Madison. Pair that with their wide selection, and we have a winner.

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Photo of johnkale
4.35/5  rDev +8.2%

This is, thankfully, my local liquor store (this unfortunately means I live pretty close to State Street). Excellent selection of bombers and individual bottles, not enough space to provide the six-pack selection I would like. Staff is friendly, though not overly attentive, but in the end I tend to enjoy shopping without too much intervention. Everyone there is generally good at answering any questions I might have. Pricing is typical for Madison, certainly cheaper than my corner store. There are occasional deals, but generally on middling beer, I have yet to find a real steal in their clearance section.

Additionally, as the name implies, they have an excellent wine selection, especially from more obscure appellations, and they have some great top shelf liquor. Considering that its only a six block walk to this place, I can't think of a much better place to go beer shopping.

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Photo of Ek0nomik
4.05/5  rDev +0.7%

Anytime I am near State Street or the Capitol I stop at Riley's. I'd recommend walking there, as parking in their lot is usually a major pain in the ass.

I don't think I've ever talked to any employees beyond checking out with my selections, but that's fine. I usually know what I want. Although, talking beer can sometimes be enjoyable.

They have a nice selection of beer. Breweries ranging from all over Wisconsin, the Midwest (Three Floyds, Jolly Pumpkin, Goose Island, etc) and the rest of the country (Bear Republic, Lagunitas, Southern Tier, etc). They also have a fair amount of Belgium bottles too.

Riley's is a great beer store. I wish they had another location on the West side so I could make it my primary stop.

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Photo of BeerBelcher
4.35/5  rDev +8.2%

This is one of the best liquor stores I have ever shopped. WI is a great state for liquor stores (far better selection than many other states I've shopped), and this is one of the top couple in the state, if not #1. There are a lot of beers in WI that don't make it out of state, and Riley's has all those plus many others I've not seen elsewhere. A giant selection, big coolers, lots of singles for mixed 6-ers, a knowledgeable staff - this place pretty much has it all. Throw in a downtown location convenient to other places in Madison you'd like to visit and you've pretty much got anything you could want in a liquor store.

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Photo of ShareANevada
4.15/5  rDev +3.2%

Stopped in after the Great Taste to see what was kicking around the Madison bottle market. Was not disappointed.

Small corner store, about 4 parking spots in the lot (with street parking surrounding). Sixers line the fridges on the back wall, very much with regional craft, but a solid selection of other US brews, (ie- stuff I can get at home). Lots of Tyranena, Capital, New Glarus, Ale Asylum and whatnot.

There is another section of beer, mostly belgians and bombers of Us beers, along the right wall. Adjacent to this are a couple shelves of warm beer, which included a Dark Horizon v2 and Old Rasputin XII, quite a surprise to me. ($22 for each)

While there, a couple was asking about Dreadnaught, and when the worker found the beer, he offered to go find them a better bottle, as the last one in the cooler had the old label. Plus 5 for being in the know, and for caring enough to make the effort to look for a better bottle. Nice to see.

Quick easy stop to grab some quality brews. I didn't think the prices were too out of line with what I see at home. I would gladly patronize again.

Also, they had a solid Southern Tier line, and their Stone bombers were all a dollar less than we pay at home.

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Photo of DarbyOGill
3.4/5  rDev -15.4%

Believe it or not, this is the cheapest place to buy good beer near campus (downtown Madison is really pricey).

The place is laid out nicely and clean, no issues in the quality of the store.

The service isn't great, I've never really gotten any help for buying beer there so if you want to get something new I'd suggest surfing BeerAdvocates first.

The selection is pretty good, probably the best near campus, but it's still a little disappointing for being near University of Wisconsin. They have a good selection of Wisco micros, Dogfish Head, Old Rasputin, etc. They also have some Belgium beers and bombers of various different beers.

Overall if I'm going to buy beer (seeing as I live on campus and have no car) I go to Rileys.

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Photo of sweethome
3.7/5  rDev -8%

For an on campus joint, this place is pricey. They have a decent selection of singles, but pricey. Most average micros run $1.99, good ones are $2.99 to 3.49.

A very good selection of Wisconsin and Midwest beers:
Tyranena, Capital, Lakefront, Lake Louie, Central Waters, etc.
Problem - I have purchased some Wisconsin micros I had not had and asked the help what they thought - never much help - and in come cases - awful (all above NOT included).

Decent Belgian and other import selction, but a bit cramped. Back coolers have a nice six pack collection of Wisconsin beers, midwest and decent Rocky Mountain selections.

A good choice for micros - but I suggest you stick with well rated beers. Don;t count on much help.

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Photo of spointon
4.15/5  rDev +3.2%

I visited this place on 11/29/2008.

On a Thanksgiving weekend trip to Madison, WI, I stumbled into a beer store on State Street and saw only a few bottles of craft beers. Disappointed, I selected 2-3 good ones and went to the counter. Fortunately I was wearing my Beer Advocate winter cap and the guy behind the counter told me to forget those 3 beers and walk a block over to their sister store, Riley's Wines of the World.

Upon entering, I noticed that the place is mostly wine, but they had a large amount of cooler space dedicated to 4 packs and 6 packs as well as a bunch of coolers dedicated to single bottles. They let you build your own mixed six packs w/anything in the singles cooler. Nice.

Selection was mainly local and regional brews (Sprecher, Capital, New Glarus, Bell's as well as some more national stuff I can't get in IL like Stone brewing).

I really liked this place and would be glad to have it in my town! If you find yourself in Madison, I highly recommended a visit.

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Photo of Grinder
4.3/5  rDev +7%

WOW - they are correct when they say it's bigger then it looks. Problem is that 95% of the place is wine.

I would think they would have MORE beer being so close to campus.

A decent enough collection of craft and macro brews. A lot of local Wisconsin microbrews that can be found at most good liqueur stores.

So - yea - good place for craft beer . . .but there are better.

The help was very helpful as I needed a cheep church key and and really did not want to buy a cheap silver sharp one that opens cans (do they still make cans that need and opener like that?).

He must have seen me lamenting over the options and found an old one. SWEET!!!

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Photo of brdc
4/5  rDev -0.5%

This is a lot better than it looks from the outside. The selection is not huge, but it has a decent size, although you have to look around as it is spread around the store. The coolers and shelves mentioned on other reviews belong in the area of singles, but further back in the store there are additional six-packs and other stuff.
You can find just about evrything that is worthwhile from the region, and some good imports. The best feature is a very nice selection of singles, better than most places I have seen. If you need to try a lrge number of midwest beers and do not want to come out with a lot of six-packs, this is your place.

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Photo of drseamus
4.05/5  rDev +0.7%

Saw it on the way to my sisters and decided to drop in. It is much larger than it looks from the outside but unfortunately about 95% of the place is wine and spirits. All the beer is in one 10 foot aisle and 3 cooler doors. That said, they don't waste the space with crap. Pretty much every beer they had was damn good and even though I went in "to look around" i couldn't help but leave with a 6 pack. The prices were a bit high for singles but not high enough to make me leave. Staff weren't overly helpful but answered questions when asked. Not too shabby but not as good as Steve's.

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Riley's Wines of the World in Madison, WI
4.02 out of 5 based on 87 ratings.
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