Armanetti Wine Shoppe & Beverage Mart

Armanetti Wine Shoppe & Beverage MartArmanetti Wine Shoppe & Beverage Mart
Armanetti Wine Shoppe & Beverage MartArmanetti Wine Shoppe & Beverage Mart

3530 N Lincoln Ave
Chicago, Illinois, 60657-1104
United States

// CLOSED //

Notes: May 2012: Liquor license revoked.
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Ratings by jrallen34:
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Reviewed by jrallen34 from Illinois

4.35/5  rDev -0.7%
I've heard so many bad stories about this place I've stayed away forever. Finally made it here on my way to Lush. Located on busy Lincoln, I was lucky to find a spot out front, but say they have parking in the back. Big store, not overly nice. I was greeted nicely upon walking in and was asked if I needed help twice. The people working there seemed very knowledgable in beer and wine as I eaves dropped on them helping other people. They had 3 rows of beer, very high quality and tons of it. Mostly focused on American craft staples, don't recall seeing anything that isn't other places. Huge Lost Abbey and GI selection. Lots of Cantillon and they have have the new De Cam Lambiek. Most beer seems overstocked, perhaps its their reputation. This place is a little out of my way but I would go back if there was something I couldn't find. On the pricey side though.
Dec 31, 2010
More User Ratings:
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Reviewed by emerge077 from Illinois

1.55/5  rDev -64.6%
vibe: 1 | quality: 1 | service: 1 | selection: 3
Armanettis deserves a re-review in light of the widespread poor service discussed in the Great Lakes forum, as well as my firsthand experiences:

More accounts on Yelp:

You just can't make this stuff up...

Armanettis used to be a regular stop for me, but I don't shop there anymore.

After shopping there weekly over the last several years, I was lectured by the owner on a random, unprovoked tirade about "customer loyalty", and was treated like i'd never spent a dime in the store before. Another time I asked if they sold branded beer glasses. Steve looks at me all funny, then goes and grabs some random glass from under the counter, hands it to me and says "don't say I never gave you nothing" like he was doing a huge favor.

Passive/aggressive behavior and widespread poor treatment of customers by the owner is the key issue here. Steve has some anger management issues that manifest on random customers... you never know if you'll catch him in a good or bad mood. Expect gloating arrogance and hostile condescension if its the latter. Why anyone would continue to support this business is beyond me, unless they haven't encountered Steve's Dr. Jeckyll side yet, which you don't usually see after 1-2 random visits. Even if he "changed his tune" recently due to bad press, his actions have already spoken.

The selection is good, but there's not anything you can't find elsewhere. They also have a "members only" card program that excludes people from access to buying limited beers that are sitting on the shelf for all to see. If you don't have an extended sales history (tracked by your card), you aren't worthy of buying "members only" beers on the shelf. This is clearly not beer advocacy. Maybe some with entitlement issues crave some perceived "exclusive vip treatment", personally I don't need a liquor store owner to make me feel special. Just sell beer without the mind games.

The high reviews prior to 2008 were based on the original ownership by the Armanetti family, which skew the current reviews unfortunately.

How did Armanetti's get such a great beer selection?
The selection you see today was originally pioneered by Dave/BA thelonegunman and his father who opened the store, then sold off the family business to Steve a few years later. Focus was on Midwest micros like FFF, Dark Horse, Flossmoor, Half Acre, and Belgians, though i've bought expired imports here on occasion, and Flossmoor IPA's would sit around for a year or two in the recent past.

With so many options nearby like West Lakeview, Lush on Roscoe, Pellys, and Whole Foods, I have no problem finding great craft beer elsewhere. Not to mention people who are passionate about beer and treat their customers like human beings.
Jun 02, 2011
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Reviewed by beernightscout from Illinois

4.54/5  rDev +3.7%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5
Small edit...compared to Lush, Armanetti's is a steal.

This is my main store for the last several years. I'm in there pretty much every week (usualy with my kids on Saturdays). I spend about $1000 a year here. There is a reason for this mildly irrational behavior.

Yes, the selection is great, it's the best AMERICAN craft beer store in the city, with a focus on local/regional stuff (rare Flossmoor beers, Goose Island rarities, all rare Bells and Founders, etc). Imports have a recent increased focus (Fantome, many Belgians, the good Shelton Brothers stuff). They also have many great wines and somewhat rarer spirits, too.

But -- I come here because I'm treated like a regular should be treated at a small, family-owned store: They will get only a case of a rare beer and dole it our by the bottle to their truly regular cutomers. It's the only way I can get some of the really rare stuff they get in; some stores will let some goon come buy a whole case of 2009 Nemesis before I even know it was in the market, but Armanetti's made sure I got a bottle, same with Goose Island Coffee BCS, same with Brooklyn Black Ops....Is that fair? Depends on your perspective, I suppose. For me and my friends who spend waaaay too much money here, we appreciate the thoughtfulness, since we can't go beer shopping during the week very easily, but can usually make it on weekends.

The only real beef with this place is that the owner won't let someone -- anyone -- come in and buy him out of something rare. Get over it, or make yourself a regular. I'd go with being a regular (unless you don't have a job because you are independently wealthy and you can drive around all week looking for new releases as they come in...sigh).

So...Coffee Bourbon County Stout was sold out instantly at Binny's, but I got two bottles, $8 each, at Armanetti's. Who do you think gets my business?

Honestly, you can find beer cheaper in the city. A small, family-owned store of ANY stripe (like Paulina Meat Market down the street, where they let me cut in line in front of 30 people because I'm a regular) will cost more than a big, impersonal chain-store or Jewel. I say, if you are shopping at a small business regularly, you're in it for the mutual relationship, not just what you can get out of it. So I'll pay more for Bigfoot at Armanetti's than I will at Binny's, but I have Nemesis saved for me even after Binny's sold out of it in a day.

And you should look out for deals here. I lived off 8-buck-a-case Point Maibock and $2 bombers of Redhook coffee stout last summer...and the frequent customer card gives you $10 for every $250 you spend. For me, that's $30-$40 of free beer a year. (NOTE: On-sale beers don't count toward your totals, so just watch your receipt, make sure you get credited your "points". If a beer comes up on "sale" but isn't, it's a mistake, have them credit your points.) And if it really is overpriced, just point it out to them or buy it somewhere else. Vote with your wallet like you do everywhere else. I don't buy ALL my beer here.

So: Armanetti's can be pricey compared to Binny's and Jewel, and even other small beer stores, that's fair. But they have the best service and AMERICAN beer selection of any beer store I've been to in Chicago, with world-class imports, too. I happen to like Steve's intensity (though I've had friends say he intimidated them) and Kathy's contrasting easy-going grace (she's NOT intimidating, but just in on the weekends). If Zach (Zak?) is there, you are in luck. Dave will be great once he tries more New Glarus, so he understand true greatness.

You will find something great here. Become a regular, and reap the rewards.
Jun 02, 2011
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Reviewed by MarcatGSB from Michigan

4.74/5  rDev +8.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5
Some brutal reviews on this place, I have to say.
Steve is a strong minded business owner, and has done his work to make a business strong in the competitive Chicago Wine & Spirits world. I see Steve as someone who is fed up with the attitude that some of us "beer geeks" take towards certain beers that are harder to get than others. He has that right, it is his business. There are clientele that make it viable for him to stay in the business. The folks that purchase 6 packs there on their way home from work, the people that buy six $10 bottles of wine. He does not stay in business by us beer geeks who venture in to buy one bottle of KBS, and insult him as a business man because he won't sell you and your family a bottle each. Everyone knows how this works. Props to Steve for holding onto his value as a small business owner, and loyal to his core customers.

The store has a great selection of craft beer. Mostly focused on the American beer scene, he does have a generous selection of Belgians and German beers. A really nice build your own 6 pack selection, at different, affordable levels. He stocks alot of beers you wont find at Binny's and some of the bigger stores around town.

It's worth the trip. Make your own decision. If you'd like to support a small business in your community, rather than feed the beast, make the stop, take a look, and judge for yourself. Steve is a good man, runs a tight ship, and sticks to his values. Gotta respect that.
Mar 16, 2011
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Reviewed by KickInTheChalice from Illinois

2.75/5  rDev -37.2%
What can I say about Armanetti that has not already been said? They have an owner that despite a debilitating anger management problem has managed to put together a fairly strong craft beer selection.

In terms of value, I think it is very expensive, once you factor in the cost of the emotional abuse you are likely to face. The actual prices are higher than other places too.

I have never had a genuinely good experience here, but going there for Bourbon County Vanilla was the worst. I called ahead of time, asking very politely if they could please hold a bottle for me. No, I'm sorry, it's first come first serve. When would they be getting it in? When the truck gets there. Today? Maybe. Thanks.

When I walk in, the display is somewhat out of the way to really discourage people from getting to it, unlike the fanfare the special releases get at Binny's. It's like they don't want walk in customers to be able to buy "the best stuff." So I grab a bottle, walk around, and end up picking up two more single bottles of beer, a 12 oz. and a 22 oz. When I go to check out, the owner says, "Just the Bourbon County Vanilla and a couple of limited releases? I shouldn't even sell you these, I never see you in here." Shocked, I responded that I had stopped in a few times. "Oh yea, I think I remember you coming in to buy other limited releases. You never buy any of the regular stuff."

There is always something going on that betrays the rules of good customer service and usually human decency. No thanks.
Jan 25, 2011
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Reviewed by Weebay from Canada (ON)

4.85/5  rDev +10.7%
Update Nov/2010:
Despite what I read here, I figured I would go back to Armanetti's on my return to Chicago, with Lakeview just down the street I would just cut and run if I got any flack. However, the service was the same for me as before. I had a list of what I was looking for; one of the employee's grabbed a cart and started filling the order for me as I browsed for other beers to pick up. They let me and my girlfriend use their washroom and helped carry everything out to the car. I wonder what it is with them that causes them to treat some people so well and other's so poorly.

Original review:
Reviewed on: 05-26-2010 14:45:21
Read about Armanetti's here on BeerAdvocate and had to check it out on a long weekend get away to Chicago.

I have to say that the selection was great; it was the only liquor store in town that I went to that had Three Floyd's Dreadnaught in stock that weekend. Their selection of American Craft Beers was amazing.

As I was only in the US for the weekend I wanted to stock up on as much as I could to bring back with me, and they had no problem with me taking over one of their counters while I made my selections. The gentleman behind the counter looked at the beers I was selecting and made some excellent recommendations based on them. They were also doing a wine tasting when I was there which served as an excellent distraction for my girlfriend, allowing me ample time to make all of my selections.

After reading the other reviews I wanted to note that I didn't see any "member's only" selections, but I did see a few limit one per customer selections for rare beers. I missed out on the bottle conditioned Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA.

In terms of price, I noticed for things like the Hercules Double IPA they were about a dollar more than Binny's, but really I was more than happy to pay the difference for the helpful service and better selection. They were nice enough to help me carry everything out to my car afterwards.

On a side note, they also had the full selection of Goose Island Craft Soda's which we were having a hard time finding.

I will be coming back here next time I'm in Chicago without a doubt.
Nov 29, 2010
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Reviewed by tjdemon from Illinois

3.1/5  rDev -29.2%
11/2010 update:

I no longer support this store as their customer service is terrible. I became a regular years ago because Len and Dave Armanetti always went out of their way to be friendly and helpful. The current owner seems to enjoy going out of his way to be the exact opposite. While I have never incurred his wrath, I have seen it unleashed on employees and other customers a few times. My money now goes to Binny's and West Lakeview.


I live on Chicago's north side and hadn't heard of this wonderful establishment until reading the Beer Advocate website.

I stopped in last Friday afternoon (6/2) and Dave and his colleagues were extemely helpful and friendly. I was trying a few different stouts and was given some very good recommendations for cheese/food pairings.

The only drawback was the lack of St. Bernardus brews (at least at the time), but Dave noted there had been some local distribution problems. The remainder of their selection, however, (both cold and overall) was top notch.

I didn't stay for the tasting, but that's definitely an added bonus on Fridays. I will definitely be back - thanks again Dave and Co.!!
Nov 19, 2010
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Reviewed by innersanctum from Illinois

5/5  rDev +14.2%
Armanetti is an absolute must for domestic and import brews. Their selection is thorough, and the staff are knowledgeable. These are real nice, thoughtful people whom you want to do business with. Their prices are very competitive too, so Binney's my friend (I love you too) you'd better watch out :) !

They'll even have a lolipop handy for your grouchy, whiney, pesky kid who's repeatedly saying, "dad when are we going to leave this place I'm soooo bored!". Magically you've got a happy lolipopen suckin kid who's next question is, "daddy, when are we going back to Armanetti's".
Jul 29, 2010
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Reviewed by Falcon91Wolvrn03 from California

3.84/5  rDev -12.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 1 | selection: 5
I visited this store and several others on a trip to Chicago to see if I could find some beers that I can't get in California. I have to admit, the beer selection was good here. Probably the best overall selection I found in Chicago. But the service left a lot to be desired, with what I'd call a "beer nazi" type of owner (I later found LOTS of interesting stories to complement my own). It seems you have to be a regular here that spends good money to get the good treatment.

My wife and I drove a good distance through Chicago traffic to get to this store, and my wife asked to use the bathroom when we arrived, which they wouldn't allow as their bathroom wasn't for customers. No problem, she used one at a restaurant across the street where we weren't customers.

Then I grabbed four Bourbon County Brand Coffee Stouts as the first of many selections, and took them up to the front counter but was told there was a limit of one per person. No problem again; this limitation is probably why we were able to find these beers here. I took two back and kept one for me and one for my wife. Then my wife was told she couldn't buy one because she was with me. My wife joked how she felt she wasn't being treated very well, and that got the owner very upset. He gave my wife and I a ten minute lecture on how he thought my wife was frictional, and that we were free to leave if we didn't like his service, and on and on about how he didn't need us as customers (while at the same time showing us some of his rare beers that we might miss out on). We were in disbelief at how long this guy talked down to us. I even warned him that I might do a BA review if he didn't stop, but that didn't deter him. A "normal" businessman would have simply replied with "I'm sorry you feel that way, I hope you understand" and left it at that. And we might have understood.

Fine, we only bought the one bottle and got the rest of our beers from other Chicago beer stores, such as West Lakeview. Friendlier service there, and a great selection too! We were even able to find four bottles of Bourbon County Brand Coffee Stout at Marion Street Cheese Market.

Nevertheless, if you can put up with the poor service, there's definitely a great selection here.
Jun 02, 2010
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Reviewed by MayorAdamWest from Illinois

5/5  rDev +14.2%
Wow, just simply wow!

I can't tell you how many times I've driven right by this place and not given it a second thought. So glad a friend of my wife recommended it. The selection is small-ish, but that they lack in size they more than make up for in quality and service.

I was able to locate a Reunion '08, sold out everywhere else in the city for a year and a half. I found a Bourbon County Brand Coffee Stout...sold out around the city already. They even told me they sold their last Double Crooked Tree the day before! I can't believe I have a pre-aged

Check this place out...or don't. More for me if you don't!
Apr 25, 2010
Photo of Sean9689
Reviewed by Sean9689 from Illinois

2.4/5  rDev -45.2%
Q - The store is always clean and presented well. Bottles are easy to find, and the beer selection is good. They're usually a buck or two higher then other stores in my area, but that really doesn't bother me.

S - On Valentine's Day, I went in to buy a bottle of champagne. While in there, I noticed they had Founders Nemesis for "members" of there store. These bottles are out in the open for anyone to see, as a teaser or something to join the club.

So, I spent $80 or so and asked about buying a bottle of Nemesis. Long story short, they said I had to be a member over a certain period of time and I had to spend a good amount of money to be able to get these limited bottles. Now, I've dropped a few hundred in there and they can sell me a $5.00 bottle of beer? Are you kidding me?

I basically learn that the "membership card" is just something they use to track your history with them. If you've had breaks in visits and aren't buying enough, they can refuse to sell you stuff.

S - Selection is good, if not better, then most local places.

V - Usually a buck or two higher, but no biggie.
Mar 19, 2010
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Reviewed by dukedevil0 from Illinois

2.75/5  rDev -37.2%
Quality: The store itself is a decent place with a nice setup. It's very clean and organized. A full aisle devoted to beer with some coolers as well. The store isn't huge, but not small and cramped.

Service: I used to go in there and look to see if they had anything interesting or rare and would often walk out with nothing - or I might pick up a sixer of something standard to drink if I felt like it. One day I started walking out with nothing and the owner/manager says "what, you can't find anything in here you want?" and proceeded to grill me about what I was looking for and pushing me to buy SOMETHING. This guy is really the ONLY problem I have with the service, but I felt so completely uncomfortable due to this incident and that guy is almost always there. Each time I've been there he gets pushy.

Selection: They definitely get some rarities that are hard to get ahold of at other stores. However, they often limit some of these to 1 or 2 per customer even with plenty on the shelf. Most of the time those rarities are only for their card members. I would say they have a "good" selection, due to the rarities, having many good choices, yet some beers I see at other places are not seen at Armanetti's.

Value: Also, prices there are higher than everywhere else I've seen. (some are on par with other beer stores but most are $0.50 to $2.00 more.)

Unfortunately, the service here really ruins my opinion of this store. I will only be going back if they happen to have something I need that I cannot get anywhere else. Luckily, that usually isn't the case as there are plenty of other great beer stores in the city - and even in close proximity to this one.
Feb 11, 2010
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Reviewed by wertzie06 from Ohio

4.85/5  rDev +10.7%
Easily the best beer store I have ever visited. Being from Ohio, I got to see a lot of local beer and other stuff I wasn't used to.They had an exceptional lineup of Allagash, Lost Abbey, Goose Island (of course) and a huge number of imports I had never heard of.

What makes this store stand out, however, is the service. Both employees that helped me were extremely knowledgeable and genuinely excited about showing me their selections.

If you are ever within 100 miles of this place, I suggest that you make an effort to stop in.
Dec 17, 2009
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Reviewed by sholland119 from Pennsylvania

4.5/5  rDev +2.7%
One of my favorite stops when doing some recent beer hunting in Chicago. Stopped in here after hitting West Lakeview just up the road and found this place very much its equal.

A particularly extensive domestic selection, especially locals like Goose Island and Flossmoor (some old inventory though) along with Lost Abbey/Port, DFH and Allagash. A very nice international selection as well, perhaps less than West Lakeview but quite representative.

I spent some time with a very knowledgeable beer guy, who made sure I did not miss anything.

Highly recommended.

Oct 29, 2009
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Reviewed by dirtylou from Washington

4.65/5  rDev +6.2%
first time visit to Armanetti - loyal shopper of west lakeview liquors when i'm near Wrigley but was excited to check out a new shop.

i rolled through at 11:30am on a Monday and was the only patron. limited parking was available on site, which was key.

there was an impressive shelf of bombers/750's - huge selection of lost abbey and port, including the angels share release at a heavy price. Everything that 3F bottles was available at a fair price. All the Allagash heavy hitters were available as were all of the new goose island bombers. I was stoked to see a couple of the Flossmoor IPA's were available. Lots of cool stuff to choose from, and all at fair prices.

the owner was super cool, friendly, and a definite beer lover.
Jul 20, 2009
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Reviewed by jim102864 from Connecticut

4.85/5  rDev +10.7%
After doing my usual thorough BA research, I targeted Armanetti's so I could get me mitts on some brews indiginous to Chicago. I was absolutely not dissappointed.

First, the Russian cabbie has no problem driving me there and waiting...without billing me extra mind you, for 20 minutes while I explore this place. Amazing.

It's a small store with a limited selection, but what they have is fantastic though very pricey. Three Floyds Oat Goop and Behemoth at $17.99 each bomber bottle??!! I have no way to comparison shop, but I'd love to know the going rate outside of the big city. They also have the much bally-hood Brooklyn Black Ops for sale. I chat with the young employee who obviously knows I'm into quality. He gives me a tour of the shelves and when we get there he says I can't buy it since I'm not a member. Having already read about this requirement before I get there, I politely say fine and I respect the store's policy, to whit, he says I'll make an exception for you, signs me up, and sells me a bottle of the Ops. What a dude! Mind you, it ain't cheap at 23 bucks, but it's a no brainer to me! I walk outta there with two bombers, a 25 oz-er and the price tag comes to $65.20! Crazy, but worth it.

Lot's of other labels too, inlcuding Lost Abbey, Bells, Hair of the Dog, and some other locals and regionals I forget now. But this place is the place to go in Chicago for high quality regional brew. Great service. Great selection.
Jan 31, 2009
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Reviewed by rudylaw from Illinois

1.6/5  rDev -63.5%
Let me preface by saying that this is one of my most favorite beer stops in Chicago. I don't live anywhere nearby, but when I'm within spitting distance, I'll head over.

I do have to relay a very disturbing service story that just happened to me. I was told that they had a stock of a highly sought after/rare beer. And, they have a whole shelf of it... great. I go to the register to buy one when the cashier says that the manager has to speak with me about purchasing this beer. Hmmm.

The manager comes over and says that I need to be a Armanetti's card holder in order to purchase it. OK, it's their store and they can absolutely hold rare beers for members, but why are they on the shelf with a price tag for all to see? Put them in back like everyone else does. But that's not what really gets me...

What really gets me is the guy seemed to enjoy not selling me the beer. He said "I'm sure you were excited to see it" but he still won't sell it to me because I wasn't a card holder. He didn't even offer to sign me up as a member. I mentioned that I don't live nearby and made a long trip specifically to get this beer, but that wasn't good enough either. Basically, I think he was getting a kick out of having power over me in this situation. I was completely floored.

I post this story here not to whine because I've never had this kind of experience here before. Usually, the people there are awesome. But, this was absolutely ridiculous, discriminating, rude and I hope never happens to anyone else. I'll now be making West Lakeview Liquors my northside stop exclusively.
Jan 13, 2009
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Reviewed by TurdFurgison from Ohio

4.5/5  rDev +2.7%
Very easy to find on Lincoln Ave, with limited free parking to the side of the store. The beer selection is really good, lots of US craft beers, including many local beers like 3F, Flossmoor Station, and Goose Island, with an increasing amount of MI beer too (lots of Dark Horse, Founders, Bells, etc). Many of the beers are available from both the cooler and store shelving, you can choose how you want it. The import selection is very good but probably not quite as broad as West Lakeview which is only a few blocks away. I can see why this place is rated so highly, you can't possibly fail to find something you like here.
Dec 03, 2008
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Reviewed by semihobo from Michigan

4.7/5  rDev +7.3%
Wandered by after a homebrewing session with a friend who lives in the neighborhood. Cubs had just won, lots of Cubs fans out (ugh), including the woman working in the store, who was very nice even though she had a Cubs shirt on. In fact the staff was great, knowledgeable, friendly but not overbearing, tolerant of the fact that my buddy and I soaked it in shopping for around half an hour, and then gave us a box to carry our stuff home.

I thought the selection was good but not amazing, there are few 12 oz singles and there aren't many mid-range American microbrews. Hey, they aren't that big, and better to have the good stuff if you can only choose one between good or mediocre. Lots of great beer, though. I found the prices to be pretty expensive, about as high as I've seen in Chicago, but the selection is about as fancy as I've seen, so it makes sense. I was looking for something other than big beers, which is what they specialized in. Settled on some Gumballhead and a Two Brothers sixer. Notable items were Flossmoor Station IPA (about $10 for a bomber) and seven varieties of Bell's (and they knew when the next Two Hearted would get to Chicago). I thought the import selection was pretty strong, a decent number of germans, lots of belgians, and some random stuff (some norweigian beers).

Place is totally clean, bright, was playing good music, well-organized, and even has some BA shelf notes.

Seems like a great place to find specialty items, not necessarily to load up for a party, but if you come here to load up for a party... invite me because their beer is primo. Someone likened this place to an independent bookstore -- definitely, in a great way.
Sep 23, 2008
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Reviewed by bluemoonswoon from Illinois

4.7/5  rDev +7.3%
Stopped in today and I have to say this is one of the nicest beer stores I've been to as of yet. Everything is clean, not a speck of dust on the bottles or a bunch of unopened boxes of beer and bombers covering the ground, selection is on par if not better than Sam's or Binnys chicago locations and doesn't have that warehouse feel. They even had Gumballhead which I have been unable to find anywhere else as of late. Peche Mortel, every high end offering from allagash, some Cantillion, Flossmoor station, a few different versions of Fantome, two big shelves one dedicated to domestic micro singles and the other dedicated to imported micros. Prices are on par with most other stores with some being a bit higher or a bit lower from brew to brew. Staff friendly if just a bit aloof, excellent store and I will be sure to stop in again if I am in the area.

Not as many Belgains as say West Lakeview but does better in the domestic areana.
Aug 19, 2008
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Reviewed by inhoc00 from Illinois

5/5  rDev +14.2%
I remeber going the first time to this store several years ago when there was a different owner and seeing for the first time ever a bottle of Dogfish Head 120 IPA. I nearly fell over. Now the new owners provide an even better selection.

120's on the shelf is pretty common now but this place still amazes me with what they are able to get in Chicago. The service is amazing - they definitely know their stuff and will "talk shop" about beer. Plus a parking lot in Lakeview! Highly recommend. Prices are reasonable based on their insanely rare selection.
Jun 16, 2008
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Reviewed by ejquin from Illinois

4.85/5  rDev +10.7%
I have to say, It took me a while to get over to this place, and the first time I went, I wasn't completely impressed. I felt they didn;t have much beyond what I could get at Sam's or Binny's or driving up to Woodman's in Kenosha.

That has completely changed. They now have numerous beers that are extremely difficult to find in IL. When I was just in I saw Hoppin Frog B.O.R.I.S, Pannepot, Peche Mortel, they have the best Dark Horse selection in the city. I picked up Hopsolution from Kalamazoo. Then in addition to that they have all the really good beers you can find at Sam's and Binny;s, though only the higher quality stuff.

Last but not least, their service is great. Jim knows his stuff, and the last time I was there, for no reason at all, he offered me a single of a very hard to find Dark Horse beer that wasn't on the shelves.

Thanks guys. Keep up the great work.
May 31, 2008
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Reviewed by HerrFaust from Illinois

4.65/5  rDev +6.2%
Discovered this place by accident on BA, and this now joins South Loop Binny's and Westview as my local faves. Beer manager Jim's enthusiasm for his portfolio is infectious.Hand sold me a bottle of Peche Mortel, which I hadn't heard of, and which I look forward to reviewing, soon. Think of it like an independent book or record store. You're not going to get the deep discount, but the education is worth it. Likewise, it's not going to have every single beer you're looking for, but I think the fun is going there with an open mind.
May 23, 2008
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Reviewed by htomsirveaux from Texas

4.65/5  rDev +6.2%
Stopped in on a quick visit to Chicago. When Jim noticed us perusing the beer section, he was quick to point out some rarities he had in stock as well as offer his opinion on which were worthwhile trying. We spent 30 min on and off with him discussing beer and he gave several suggestions for dinner that night (we ended up at Piece).

The micro selection included Founders, Southern Tier, DFH, FFF, Dark Horse as well as many others. They also have a good Belgian section to choose from. The only downside is that they would not break six packs.

Definitely make it a stop when you're in the area.
May 14, 2008
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Reviewed by EliteDigger from Wisconsin

4.5/5  rDev +2.7%
Stopped at this place on my way to DLD '08 mostly because it was highly rated on this site and it was on my way to some other stops so it was convenient.
Place was pretty easy to find with the directions I had. Walked in and immediately noticed how clean and organized everything was.
Not sure of his name, but was greeted by the guy in charge of the beer section who asked us if we were looking for anything in particular, explained how the rows of bottles were organized and said if we had any questions, to just ask.
Selection was decent, with a nice assortment of bombers/sixers. A lot of the beer was on shelves, with a lesser amount in coolers. Prices weren't bad, maybe just a tiny bit high, but easily in line with a lot of other places.
All in all, a nice place to check out and will probably stop again if I'm in the area.
May 01, 2008
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Reviewed by mdubzfrumpdubz from New York

4.65/5  rDev +6.2%
I have been going to this place for almost two years now, and I love it. They have greatly expanded their beer selection in the last 6 months, but in the last couple of months they have raised the prices drastically. For example, I bought a 6 pack of Alpha King for $8.99, then a couple of weeks later, saw it there for $11.99 (they still sell it at Jewel for $8.99). I try not to support that kind of BS, but they have a great selection, so I will keep going back. There are a few other liquor stores I like in the area, so I do not mind the extra walk to save a few bucks.

Overall, its a great place, and I highly recommend it.
Apr 02, 2008
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Reviewed by joeburke98 from Illinois

4.65/5  rDev +6.2%
This is one of the best small liquor stores on the North Side of Chicago. They may not carry everything at once, but they turn over there selection as well as anyone. I would also say that they have one of the best seasonal selections of any liquor store I've ever been in Chicago.

Armanetti's carries all of your basics, a good selection of your locals and as well as all of the major regional Micro's. They also have a strong selection of Belgiums.

Service here is friendly and knowledgable. As the register hovers over their Micro Brew selection they are always asking if you have tried something. They all really seem to dig beer.
Mar 27, 2008
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Reviewed by BrewTat from Missouri

4.7/5  rDev +7.3%
I very much enjoyed my stop at Armanetti's while in Chicago. As noted by others, their depth of selections of the breweries they carry is deep. They don't carry all beers available in Illinois, but they did have quite a few beers I haven't seen elsewhere. Several hard to find DFHs stood out as well as several Belgians I haven't seen. The knowledge of the beer guy (Armanettis on
BA) was excellent. I only planned on getting a few beers and ended up with a cart-full based on talking beer with him. If every beer store was like this I'd need a second job! A bonus was he's a beer trader so if you're from out of town bring something special and you may be able to get something special.
Mar 23, 2008
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Reviewed by robbyc1 from Illinois

4.5/5  rDev +2.7%
Stopped by for the 3/12 March tasting of brown ales. Jim Fraley was there and was super helpful. The tasting was OK, browns not my favorite, but this was not English browns, some interesting ones including Lagunitas Lumpy Gravy, the Val Dieu Brown and Trappist Achel Brune 8. All solid, I will review them later. Only issue, since they don't have a licence to pour they can only give 1 oz servings, a bit limiting but OK.

The store is clean and bright, parking in the back, nice American bomber selection with a few 12oz singles. The labels they do have are deep, must have been a dozen Rogues, unusual DogFish Heads unseen elsewhere in Chicagoland, Allagash, etc. A few titles they only had one selection, i.e. Jolly Pumpkin (had the Xmas though!). Ergo, great for certain labels, not so great for others.

Other selections included modest German section, some English, and a very nice Belgian row. Usual suspects including most of the Trappists, 2 De Dolles, 1 Fantome, 2 De Prof, 3 Cantillons, just a nice wide selection.

A solid A here, now that said if you could combine these guys with West Lakeview Liqours (not far) you might have the best ultra craft/belgian store in the US. As is, these are both must stops after you find you still cannot find everything you want at the massive new Sams/Binny's southside.
Mar 13, 2008
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Reviewed by mattyb319 from Indiana

4.55/5  rDev +3.9%
I was in Chicago for a weekend in mid February and definitely wanted to check this place out above all others after doing my research on local shops.

I scouted out the location on Google Earth, which has a nice feature that shows all the El lines on the map, making it easy to figure out how to get there. Before leaving my hotel downtown, though, I called them up to verify the best way to get there on the El, mentioning that I found the place through BA. I'm glad I did, as Jim, (I think that was his name, though I'm horrible with names) who I spoke to, let me know that the Addison stop had opened recently and I'd be better off jumping off the train there then where I'd originally planned. He also asked me to call when I got off the train so he could make sure I could find the place without a problem.

So I called when I got off, and sure enough, he walked outside the shop and met up with me half way, introduced himself, and showed me to the store. Now that's customer service. Once arriving, he asked what all I could get in Indy, and showed me a few things that I couldn't, a lot of which I ended up purchasing.

I do have to mark service down some, as during my visit, I was a bit put off than an employee was talking with a distributer for a regional brewery in the middle of the aisle that contained all the goods that I was wanting to look at. I went around them a few times, but they didn't seem to realize that I wasn't able to check out a good portion of the beer due to their location. I was a bit put off by that. However, upon checking out, they redeem themselves by throwin me a few goodies. They said they like to see folks from BA stopping in and want to show their appreciation. So, overall, service was very good, especially the help I got from Jim.

As far as selection, I was happy to purchase some brews from Bear Republic that I can't get in Indiana, along with a ST Chokolat and a Founder's Deca, which I so far had not seen in Indy.

Value was good, though I'm biased as I'm willing to drop more money for items I can't find locally.

Overall, besides the somewhat poor experience I had trying to navigate the beer aisle because of lack of good judgment from the service staff, they made up for it in other ways. I'm definatly looking forward to some trades with Jim next time I'm in town.
Mar 11, 2008
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Reviewed by kdesch from Illinois

4.45/5  rDev +1.6%
I live in the neighborhood and really find this place convenient. It is so much better to go here then battle traffic and crowds at a place like Sams

Over the last year or so the beer selection has got even better. They have a really nice selection of Belgians and other craft beers.

Service has always been great, but the addition of Jim, the new beer manager, it has got even better. Jim is very knowledgeable and excited about all the beers he sells.

The Armanetti club card is a nice touch as you get 4% off and every so often you also get $10 off you next purchase.
Mar 09, 2008
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Reviewed by amiles from Oregon

4.3/5  rDev -1.8%
This has become my new favorite beer store as of recent. I ussually stop in Friday nights afterwork when they typically have beer tastings (they have wine tastings on Saturday nights). Lots of rotating releases from our excellent midwest breweries, and stuff I just don't see anywhere else. They also just expanded their beer section by 6 feet or so. The beer guys seem to know there stuff and always willing to help or lend suggestions. It's not cheap, but it's not absurd. They also have a small parking lot on the north side of the store for easy shop and go. Worth a stop if you're in the area!
Mar 05, 2008
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Reviewed by KarlHungus from Minnesota

4.65/5  rDev +6.2%
I stopped here on my way out of town after helping my sister move. As other BAs have said they have a tremendous selection of rare imports and micros. They don't have a huge selection, and they don't carry everything from most breweries. However, what they do carry is exotic. Service was excellent. After browsing the selection I inquired about whether or not the carried Founders, as I like to pick up a six pack of Red's Rye everytime I get a chance. The clerk said they had Founder's Deca, and Blushing Monk (which I am kicking myself for not having bought), then went to the back to see if they had any Red's Rye. While he was gone two other employees asked me if I needed any help. The store was also one of the cleanest, most organizer liqour stores I have ever been to. I will certainly shop there again.
Aug 31, 2007
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Reviewed by Tbone from Illinois

4.7/5  rDev +7.3%
I have only been here once, so I'll edit my review as I get more experience.

Dave is great and clearly the most knowledgeable guy you'll find at any retail store in the Chicago area. He offered his assisstance without being pushy. The BA ratings posted on the shelves for most of the beers is a great touch that I'm sure biases most of us. The selection is obviously much smaller than Sam's, but what he's got is almost all high quality stuff. I'd say the number of top tier beers here is greater than just about any Chicago place besides Sam's.

The two beers there I hadn't seen elsewhere was the new Two Brothers Philosopher's Stone Black Saison and Sprecher Barley Wine.
I didn't look much at the non-beer liquors, but I did notice (and buy) a private lable 750ml orange flavored Cognac (Grand Marnier substitute) for under $20 that I haven't seen elsewhere.

His prices were right around and sometimes a little below Sam's, which is impressive considering the smaller volume.

I'll definitely be giving this place as much of my bussiness as possible.
Sep 25, 2006
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Reviewed by altoman from Indiana

4.85/5  rDev +10.7%
This is one of the premier places to buy beer in Chicago. Sams is way overpriced at this point due to their legal troubles probably. Those of you in Chi know what im talking about. Dave Armanetti is about as helpful and knowledgeable as any beer guy you could ask for. The store is laid out very clean and efficient and makes it easy to window shop for your favorite beers. Selection is solid and well chosen. If its not on the shelf, give him 3 days and he can probably get it for you. There is something to be said about walking in a store and the owner will rememeber you by name. He's got my business!
Aug 24, 2006
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Reviewed by GreenWBush from Oregon

4.5/5  rDev +2.7%

Since my Chicago trip got unfortunately expedited by a looming job interview, I had a matter of hours to hit up some of the best beer locales in town. In only a few hours I was able to hit up the Hopleaf, the Map Room, and this nice unassuming L-store.

I swerved across two lanes of traffic for an on-street parking spot a few blocks away...that just so happened to be a no-parking bus stop area. To my chagrin - but to the average customer's delight - customer parking is provided. I had to hustle in and out, assuming my car might not be there when I got back.

The thing that amazed me most about this place was not the selection - though that was very nice and seemingly handpicked - but the cost. Most everything was cheaper than i'm accustomed to here in Nowheresville, Indiana. Go figure. I hurredly picked up a 11.2 ozer of XX Bitter, a Rochefort, a Two Brothers Imperial Stout bomber, a Dupont Saison, and a few other goodies and my bill was less than $30. The customer service was very friendly and not overzealous as with some craft-oriented stores.

Hopefully i'll be able to come back to Chicago on a longer time-scale (and with a job) so I can buy TheLoneGunman a beer.
Jun 01, 2006
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Reviewed by ultralarry2006 from Illinois

5/5  rDev +14.2%
This is a little, unassuming store, if it were not for the Unibroue signs currently in the window, you might assume it was just an average neighborhood liqour store. Once inside however, you realize that this is a place that you are going to comeback to again and again. The store is small and friendly, with hardwood floors, and contemporary warehouse-style shelving that make the selection easy to look over. And it's a really good selection. Lot's of Belgian, German, and British selections, and plenty of American craft brew, and of course, Unibroue. The refridgerator is stocked with a wide vareity of American craft six packs, and Belgian bombers as well. The stock seems to always be fresh here, there is nothing that I can see that is languishing on the shelves, and I go here often. They also have BA shelf talkers here, which is very helpful sometimes in helping me make a selection when I can't remember why I was interested in something I haven't had before. The people here are friendly, knowledgeable, and helpful. The prices are very good. This is an excellent store to shop at, totally worth seeking out from anywhere in city.
May 08, 2006
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Reviewed by EvilKeith from Alabama

4.15/5  rDev -5.3%
Armanetti's is probably best known for their selection of wines and spirits. The times they are a' changing.
When you walk in the first thing you may notice is the decor, hardwood floors, and the lighting.
They have an amazing selection of wines and spirits. The beer is
a vast array of premium imports and micro crafts. The selection is what you would expect from a first rate beerstore with the added bonus of those rare gems that are not so common.
Dave, the beerguy, is a hands-on kind of guy. He knows his beer and is happy to help the afficionado or the novice beer drinker.

On my first trip to Armanetti's I was able to find many beers I have not yet reviewed. If I was in a larger vehicle and had more cash I would have purchased many more than I did on this trip.
I will be back!
Apr 25, 2006
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Reviewed by schenked from Illinois

4.35/5  rDev -0.7%
Armanetti is a fantasic place for beer. The selection is well chosen, and the handy Beer Advocate labels make browsing all the more enjoyable. They have a nice balance of American and International brews. As a big saison fan, it makes me very happy that they have muliple Fantome varieties on their shelves. The staff is knowledgable and friendly. They also are known to sponsor trips to local breweries, such as one to Three Floyds last fall. I have not partaken yet, but hope to to in the future. I am lucky that this place is close to home, because if it wasn't, I would go out of the way to get there.
Mar 25, 2006
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Reviewed by stopmakingsteve from Illinois

4.5/5  rDev +2.7%
This place kicks ass! Seriously, you hear about Sam's all the time, but this place beats it in price a lot of the time, and Armanetti's really excels in the service. Dave and his dad kept bugging me, in a good way, of course, making sure I was taken care of, and offering adivce on my selection and discussing beer in general.

I mentioned the value here: you might save fifty cents or a buck on a six or a Belgian, and this place feels so familiar and friendly that I want to spend all my money here. Even in a small store like this, the prices are always standard at worst and good at best. The selection is less comprehensive than a big place like Sam's, but they definetely keep it varied and interesting. Every time I stop in I find something to spend some cash on, and they fill all of the German / English / Belgian holes, as well as a good selection of American brews,

I don't know what else to say, you should definitely stop by here, it'll be worth your trip. Absolutely one of the best stores in the city.
Dec 10, 2005
Armanetti Wine Shoppe & Beverage Mart in Chicago, IL
Place rating: 4.38 out of 5 with 56 ratings