Riley's Wines of the World

BA SCORE
90
outstanding

88 Ratings
Riley's Wines of the WorldRiley's Wines of the World
PLACE INFO

Type: Store

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

(608) 257-0400 | map
rileyswinesoftheworld.com

Notes:
No notes at this time.

Added by cokes

PLACE STATS
Score:
90
Ratings:
88
Reviews:
56
Avg:
4.02
pDev:
10.95%
View: Place Reviews | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 88 |  Reviews: 56
Photo of emerge077
3.8/5  rDev -5.5%

Stopped at Riley's on a recent trip through Madison, based on Beerfly reviews.

The layout was easy enough to figure out, I made my way to the singles and import cases on the right side of the store. Small selection of glasses in the aisle closest to this end of the coolers. It was nice to see singles of WI micros here, such as Viking, Central Waters, Lake Louie, etc. Plus Bell's and Dark Horse singles. Extra bonus was the 10% discount for the mixed-six. The downside was that there were only one or two of each in the cooler, and I cleaned out several individual selections. This may have just been an in-between day for stocking this particular area, so no points lost there.

Good selection of imports and seasonals on the shelves behind the right end coolers, including Fantome Noel & De Ranke Pere Noel. In the back coolers, many six-packs to be had, focus on domestic micros. Also shelves full of sixes facing the back coolers.

Service was ok, no one on the floor at the time I visited, but staff were helpful at the counter. There were a couple seasonals in the "employee only" cooler that I spotted, that they retrieved for me. They explained that there wasn't room on the shelves for them at the moment. They were also rare, so go figure.

Overall, Riley's is certainly above average in all aspects, and worth the stop in Madison. Traffic was heavy on a saturday morning getting to the area.

2008: On the last couple visits, the import shelf looks almost exactly the same. A little dusty, some singles in the cooler don't seem to move. Be wary of dates, or out of season seasonals, etc.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.35/5  rDev +8.2%

The first time I pulled into town and drove past Riley's I assumed that it wasn't worth a visit as it seemed like a college beer shop. Boy was I wrong! I drove for miles in all directions looking for a place that sold single bottles and came up pretty dry. Oddly, the other place right near where I was staying (Steve's Wines?) also had a good selection, but I didn't go there at first either. Finally, on about my third trip to Madison, I stopped in at Riley's just to see if they had anything that I'd missed. I started with the coolers of six-packs along the back wall and was impressed, but still left wanting, and then I found the bank of coolers on the east wall loaded with single bottles! Beer nirvana! I took home $80 worth and could easily have done that three times over. They have a great selection of imports, and an excellent selection of local beers! So don't be fooled by the surrounding campus and give it a shot. It's without a doubt the best selection of single bottles in the area!

 1,001 characters

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.

 625 characters

Photo of Sixpoint
3/5  rDev -25.4%

Ummm....

It's funny. With all of this selection, you'd think this place would be a haven for microbrews. Well, the fact is most of the people who get their beer here are college students. And college students are broke. And broke people drink Keystone Light.

As a result, most of the microbrews (a lot which are unrefrigerated) are outdated and dusty. To make things worse, the service is pretty lousy. It's a steady stream of meatheads who think it would be cool to work at a beer store.

You can get a decent selection of microbrews, but pay attention to how old they are. Try to grab a sixpack of a hot seller, that way you know the stock has been rotated.

 669 characters

Photo of ejimhof
3.28/5  rDev -18.4%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 3 | selection: 4

Photo of dirtylou
4.15/5  rDev +3.2%

I used to use beerfly all time...lately ive been "stuck" in madison(believe me you could do much worse as a lover of music, politics, and beer), but i think these reviews can be quite useful to people

Well, the worst thing about this place is definately the level of difficulty of getting there....Traffic is very bad right around here, at least when I'm driving by (daily around 4:30-5). The traffic patter is quite obnoxious and slightly dangerous, and the parking is minimal.

All that aside, if you make it inside, theres plenty of things to keep you happy. There seems to be a large selection of premium liquors and fine wines. The beer selection is pretty impressive too. The back wall is where the 6 packs are held....a pretty large wall of refrigerated beer across from a few shelves of non-refridgerated. Expect to find the standard(read low alc) bell's beers, some founders (no bfast though), everything the locals (lake louie, new glarus, and capital) have to offer and a fair amount of other things (great lakes, DFH, viking, etc)

That stuff is all good and dandy but its the singles cooler that really gets the job done for me....They usually have the more premium bells beers(tcoa, expedition, 7000, etc), premium founders(devil dancer), the avery bombers, a few rogues(imp ipa singles), some goose island, all the dfh premiums(d'extra, wws, etc), some locals, some belgians, and even more.

There seems to be way too many people working...if you ask them something they know whats up, but i dont usually need much help

location is crucial for me, its literally right on the way from my work (wisconsin ave) to my apt(west main)

prices seem to be rather hit or miss...some things are very cheap, others are not(why did batch 7000 increase 1$ a single? and why was it not sold in 6 packs in the first place?)

overall...there are 4 places you must go to in madison...Steves on the west side and univ ave, Rileys, woodmans, and ....(another place im trying to keep on the hush, but its near my apt!)

 2,029 characters

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.

 528 characters

Photo of GCBrewingCo
4.05/5  rDev +0.7%

Riley's is a piece of cake to find just a few blocks up from where Gorham magically transforms into University. With Sunday hours, how can you go wrong?

The store is well lit and the beer is presented in sixers in a back cold case up a level and some warm sixers in front of the case. The case is mainly filled with Midwestern micros, some macros, and a few imports. To the left as you enter is a cold case and shelving unit that contains single bottles of Midwestern brews and Belgians. The Belgian selection is small, but the beers from the area are plentiful.

The pricing at Riley's is in line with other places and the service was acceptable, but on our second time in the store we still were never asked if we needed any assistance despite the persons restocking and blocking the beers. At any rate, no dust in the store.

I'd go back to Riley's in a heartbeat!

I wonder what is located in the other two stories of the building?

 944 characters

Photo of Canada_Dan
4/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of zeff80
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%

Photo of TX-Badger
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%

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.

 994 characters

Photo of DaPeculierDane
4.15/5  rDev +3.2%

Riley’s has some tremendous ups and some pretty hefty downs. I’ll start with its weaker points.

Bad

1. Location: They have 4 parking spots, 6 if you’re really clever, and 7 if you count the handicap spot. They are located on a bizarre corner between a bunch of busy streets so actually getting into their parking lot is really hard. They are located mid-State Street so there are no parking ramps near by to park in and walk from.

2. Prices: Prices are a little hit but mostly miss. Some singles are priced ridiculously high. Six packs have the collage campus surcharge on them so they're all a buck or two higher than most places.

Good

1. Great selection of Belgian imports.

2. Best singles selection in town. A 10% discount if you buy 6 bottles helps relieve the aforementioned high prices.

3. Solid service. They even have a BA or two working there. I’m always complemented for buying good brews. That makes me feel special.

4. Tons of Saison and Geuze.

 985 characters

Photo of 22Blue
4/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of spycow
4/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of BarrelAgedG
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25

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.

 583 characters

Photo of jera1350
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%

Photo of blackie
4.35/5  rDev +8.2%

quality: I've never had a beer here that seemed to be either light struck or past its date.

service: I've never really had to ask many questions here, but most of the guys seem to know their product well.

selection: Great selection, especially for Wisconsin and Midwestern goodies. Great selection of six packs of Lake Louie, Capital, Central Waters, and New Glarus...and plenty of others that I could never recall. Nice rotating singles selection as well, well representing the wonderful Wisco breweries.

 511 characters

Photo of italianstallion
4.5/5  rDev +11.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

Photo of shivtim
4.15/5  rDev +3.2%

I stopped in here to by some Wisconsin beers, and boy is this the place to do it. From the outside it just looks like a little crappy liquor store. As soon as I walked through the door I saw that the place is about 4 times bigger than I thought. Straight in the back are various 6 packs of all kinds of microbrews. To the right is exactly what I was hoping for: single bottles! All kinds of Wisconsin stuff here, with many WI microbreweries well respresented (Central Waters, Sand Creek, Tyranena, Harbor City, Capital Brewing, etc). They have a better New Glarus selection than the actual New Glarus brewery does! Mix and match 6 packs save 10%, so it's not too expensive. This is a great store to put together a "wisconsin sampler" at.

Oh, they also have a lot of non-wisconsin beers, and more wine than you can shake a stick at, but I wasn't paying too much attention to that.

 882 characters

Photo of rhoadsrage
3.85/5  rDev -4.2%

I was in Madison for work at the capital and it was in walking distance. I was interested in lots of good local beers and they did not let me down. I am a big fan of singles, 12 oz., bombers, or 750ml it doesn't matter. They had a great selection that was about 2 cooler doors full of local singles.

When I got to the parking lot it was small but if it gets full wait 5 minutes and you can get a spot. It is lots of college kids buying everything from kegs of the Beast to wines with trendy logos. Inside they have a medium size space with stairs to the wine loft. The beer coolers of to the right was all that I was concerned with. The have good regional beers with some Belgian, English and California beers.

I was happy to find lots of local along with the East cost beers that are afraid to sell in Illinois. If you buy a 6-pack you get a discount on the singles so I had to buy in several 6-packs.

The Tuesday night I was in there it was pretty busy so the employees didn’t have time make rounds through the isles they were all working at the cash registers, but they were friendly enough.

If you are downtown and having a good time at the Great Dane make sure to get to Riley's for some good local brews to take home.

 1,238 characters

Photo of SlightlyGrey
4.07/5  rDev +1.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.25

Photo of Stevedore
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%

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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Riley's Wines of the World in Madison, WI
4.02 out of 5 based on 88 ratings.
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