Sam's Wines & Spirits

Sam's Wines & SpiritsSam's Wines & Spirits
Sam's Wines & SpiritsSam's Wines & Spirits

1720 N Marcey St
Chicago, Illinois, 60614-4819
United States

// CLOSED //

View: Place Reviews
Reviews by nlmartin:
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nlmartin from Ohio

4.15/5  rDev -4.2%

After my first foray to Goose Island my wife and I stumbled over to Sams. Sams has wine, liquor, party supplies and beer. The wine selection seemed to be huge; however, I dont know jack about wine. The liquor selection appeared to be huge. I will go out on a limb and say chances are if you are looking for liquour they have it. The party supplies consisted of nice deli selections and other food items. I was here to look for beer. The beer selection is indeed large. With the exception of some of the local beers like Capital Brewing, Ska and some odd ball items like Ellysium. I can get most of what Sams has on my home turf of Cincinnati. This is not to say the selection isnt nice. The rows of beer are well spaced out. Some of the beers are in the warm section and the coolers hold alot of beer goodies. I bought about a case and a half of bombers I couldnt get at home. Staff made rounds in the all areas of the store and offered help finding items. Sadly while I was there Goose Island Bourbon County Stout was not in. Oh well next time.

Nov 13, 2006
More User Reviews:
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rowew from Colorado

3.5/5  rDev -19.2%

Was having lunch across the street and decided to stop in to pick up some local offerings. Plenty of selection, but the beer section was a mess. Half stocked, random dispersion, some stuff looked to be a bit out of date. I did find plenty of interesting offerings, and the prices themselves seemed reasonable, but they definitely will make up for that with some very high shipping rates. I'd probably come back if I was a local, but next time I'm in town I will either ship it myself or try another alternative. Service was very mixed - customer service desk was friendly, the cashier seemed to think my wanting to purchase things was a major inconvenience.

Sep 15, 2009
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Seanibus from California

4.5/5  rDev +3.9%

A great store all around, with a nice looking selection of wine and liquor. The beer selection is extensive, though not overwhelming. It has a good collection of regional and national brews, including nearby Goose Island, and Three Floyds. It has a large selection of 22 oz bottles. The staff was friendly, knowledgeable, and helpful. One clerk observed I was browsing the Three Floyds selection and offered to go into the back to break out a bottle of some unusual stuff he had in stock. Very impressive.

Jul 14, 2009
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taylorhamrick from South Carolina

4.3/5  rDev -0.7%

I came in here after eating at GI on Clybourn. I was really impressed by the size, and though beer was only a small portion, there was more to choose from than the average store in the area. The beer guy was actually very nice to me, though I'm not sure that everyone gets the same treatment in a place this crowded. He told me beers to avoid that had been on the shelves too long, answered my questions about prices on misplaced or unmarked items, and answered questions about the availability of certain beers. I was very impressed, but if you want personal service, this might not be the easiest place to find it, there was one guy running around and about 30 customers. The selection was huge, as I mentioned before, and I doubt you could get much better - without getting lucky. There were a few things I was hoping to find that were missing, and you can't buy singles - unless the beer is already packaged as such, which always upsets me a bit. Even if there's only a limited number of singles for purchase, it makes it a bit better. Overall a good place to shop, and the prices are right about average for the area, if not a bit less than some of the smaller stores.

Jun 22, 2009
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KarlHungus from Minnesota

3.85/5  rDev -11.1%

I stopped by here to check out the selection, and stock up on stuff I can't get in Minnesota. The selection was very impressive. They have a huge selection of six/four packs. It is probably the largest non singles selection I have seen. The single bottle selection was strong too. I found a number of beers that I have been looking for through out the Midwest for quite some time now. The service was pretty much nonexistent. The guy at the register was friendly, but that is it. Overall, Sam's was well worth the stop, and I'd certainly stop in again.

Jun 18, 2009
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GRG1313 from California

4.65/5  rDev +7.4%

I visit Chicago many times a year. It's just not a completed visit without a trip to Sams.

The facility is huge. It's almost the size of a Costco and the beer section is like walking into beer heaven! The single largest selection of American and imported beer I've ever seen; others may come close but I've not seen yet a bigger or better or more diverse selection. Admittedly, I'm from Los Angeles and we don't get a lot of great stuff from places other than the west coast. However, while I've purchased on line from places no one or place has been like Sams. (Who, by the way, also does a fantastic job of shipping to me when I order from its website!)

Service is also great. I found a guy working the beer department and we engaged in some great conversation. I mentioned that I was sorry that while they had Dogfish Head they didn't carry the 120. He stopped me, excused himself, went into the back and asked me how many bottles I wanted; they just hadn't yet resocked the shelves.

Prices are fair; they are not one of the "higher priced" places. I visit the store when I can. I visit the website frequently.

One of the top places in the country. In fact, I met the owner one trip when he was bagging wine and beer at a cashier! He was fantastic and literally offered to get me and send me anything I wanted...from Scotch to water! The place is great.

May 24, 2009
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paco1029384756 from Illinois

4.65/5  rDev +7.4%

I visit this store every time I go to Goose Island, and sometimes even if I'm not.

I have had great experiences with service here, I am always asked if I need help promptly and when I do am provided with answers to any questions I have.

The selection here is great, there is always a nice rare beer to pick up, which is nice if I don't feel like traveling up to West Lakeview Liquors.

The selection is comparable to West Lakeview Liquors, but they don't get the more rare imports as often.

I really like this store, I am always in here when I know there is a new release and they always have what I am looking for.

Feb 21, 2009
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MacDomer from Illinois

3.7/5  rDev -14.5%

Another one of my spots here in Chicago. This place used to be the mecca, but other local spots have caught up. It's a great place to stop and pick up good local/regional beers, especially if you are across the street at Goose.

I've found lately that the service here is pretty poor. Nobody knows much of anything it seems, although they try to be helpful. It's become the Wal-Mart of beer and wine stores (huge selection, though not that deep, mediocre service, but without the deep discounts).

I do love them for wine, though. They are great for the high end bottles, but Wine Discount Center is my favorite place for wine these days.

Jan 09, 2009
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Yetiman420 from Ohio

3.2/5  rDev -26.1%

I stopped in while on foot/public transit and shopping at patagonia and goose island which are both next door. 4 oz samplers at Goose Island = afternoon delight.

For as big as the place is, beer is sort of lost in the mix. They had a couple of Lost Abbey varieties, Port Brewing, and the brand Jolly Pumpkin produces for some Hawaiin-named Michigan brewery (sorry the name escapes me).

They were doing a brisk business on this early Saturday evening and nobody bothered to ask me if I needed any help.

Felt like I was at Walmart. I wound up not returning in my car to stock up for the trip home.

Dec 17, 2008
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inhoc00 from Illinois

4.65/5  rDev +7.4%

What can I say about Sam's. This is the warehouse of beer. You walk down the aisle and its a ton of stuff. Organized by region and country, its alot of stuff. Service people always seem to be busy stocking stuff on the shelves but are not too busy to offer their help. My opinion is that they are very into their department and know quite a bit. The thing about Sam's is, however, its kind of hit or miss. They don't keep crazy stuff in stock - by that I mean you ask them if they have the new whatever and the answer is usually just whatever is on the shelf is what we have. The cool thing is Goose Island is across the street so they have tons of that stuff. Its not in a great location being on North and Clybourn. I usually go else where because I don't want to deal with the traffic.

Nov 20, 2008
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hoosier222002 from Illinois

4.2/5  rDev -3%

First time at Sam's even though I have been to Goose Island on several occasions. When you walk in, the place has the feel of a warehouse with beer to the left and then wine, spirits, etc. further to the right. They had a nice selection of bottles, bombers, etc. that I have seen very few places before. I was able to pick up a mix pack of Brooklyn brewery as well as a Dogfish 120 minute bottle. Probably would have bought more had it not been for the fact that I was a Binny;s earlier in the day.

Like Binny's, they offer a club card for discounts and points. All in all a good stop. I will head back next time I go to Goose for sure.

Nov 19, 2008
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spointon from Illinois

4.5/5  rDev +3.9%

To me, this is a beer Mecca in Chicago. This place is absolutely huge, with a big box store Lowes/Home Depot sort of feel. There are 4 long aisles or so of nothing but excellent imported and domestic craft beer. The depth of selection is what impresses me most. They don't just carry the flagship beers from each brewery, they also have the more rare and hard to find brews.

Across the back of the entire beer section are coolers filled with choice options that are ready to grab on your way to the party.

Though this place is in a cramped and congested area of Chicago, they have ample parking that is strictly enforced. One other perk of the place is that there are a few decent bars within walking distance, including the Goose Island Clybourn pub (but unfortunately that will soon close).

The staff are very knowledgable about beer and will help you find anything you want. The prices are fair, especially considering the overhead that this place must generate.

Huge selection for a fair price is a no-brainer in my book. Get thee to Sam's!!!

Oct 18, 2008
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tedsox31 from Illinois

4.35/5  rDev +0.5%

Ironically enough, this place is located right across the street from the Clybourne Goose Island Brewpub. While it is better known for its massive selection of wine and hard liquor, it also has a very good selection of beers from around the world. It has a decent selection of beers from the cooler, and a larger selection of bottled beers in the two or three aisles dedicated to brews. It is a very good place to go if you are looking for Belgian or English ales, but it also has a nice selection of domestic microbrewery beers. Not all the people in the store know their beer, but over the past few years I have met a couple who know their stuff, and they are more than willing to help you. Prices aren't too bad either, considering that a lot of smaller stores in Chicago have lesser quality beers for more money.

Sep 01, 2008
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objectivemonkey from Minnesota

4.35/5  rDev +0.5%

Located right by the Clybourn Goose Island location, this is a dressed up warehouse with a shitload of stuff in it. Lots and lots of wine, lots of liquor. Me, I go straight back to the beer coolers, and am instantly frustrated, nothing all that extrordinary. Then, working my way back, come across an isle. "oh, well, look at all this delightful beer!" Lots and lots of stuff. Not too familiar with what IL gets for distro, but from what I could tell, they had the lions share at this store. What I picked up? Hoppin' Frog Silk Porter, Bison Reunion, Brooklyn Local 1, Allagash Black, Sruisse Mikeller, Stone Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout, and Lagunitas Gnarleywine. And if I hadn't already made a stop in Madison the day before, would've tallied up a whole lot more. The service seemed pretty good and friendly, though I didn't ask 'em about anything. So, besides a few things 'missing' from their stock, and whatever, else, I'd say this is a must stop shop for Chicagoans. And, am jealous.

Jul 24, 2008
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Crosling from Colorado

4.3/5  rDev -0.7%

Really impressive operation. One of the most successful liquor stores in the United States. I've been to Sam's twice, once in 2006 and once again during Dark Lord Day 2008. I've also mail ordered some beer as well, which has always gone well. In store, the selection and service is really nice. They employ a lot of people so you can't expect everyone to have a lot of beer knowledge, but there are a couple employees that know there stuff. I've always received polite service as well. The warm shelf selection is really nice, lots of imports and lots of American crafts. I would prefer if the stock was stored cold, but that is a minor gripe. Overall, this is a very fine beer store. I think I prefer the expertise at West Lake View though.

Jul 13, 2008
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Domingo from Colorado

4.85/5  rDev +12%

Good stop near the downtown area of Chicago. It's actually directly across the street from the Clybourn Goose Island location.
The back has a standard set of coolers filled with local items from the Midwest as well as Rocky Mountain and East Coast items that make it this far inland. Nothing amazing, but a pretty solid selection. At first I was disappointed and then I realized that they have 3 full isles packed to max with 6-packs and bombers. Pretty much anything distributed to this area can be found in this section. They even have a pretty amazing selection of imports as well. Their selection of German beers is about as good as I've seen here in the US. Belgian selection isn't quite as good, but are still outstanding.
Excellent stop. One of the best beer-centric stores I've been in. Even the help noted what I was buying and struck up a conversation. Last time I was here a few years ago they were doing tastings of British ales and they even counseled a couple on beers to buy instead of Corona.
If you're in Chicago's downtown or even just driving through, Sam's is a GREAT stop. Pretty much the only knock on the store isn't their fault. Several brewers (Bell's being one) have recently pulled out of the market, so Sam's doesn't carry anything from them. Regardless, that can't be helped.

Jun 30, 2008
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nocheinsbitte from North Carolina

5/5  rDev +15.5%

I have been going to Sam's since I moved to Chicago in 2003. They have a great selection of biers from all over the world, plus if you like wine, you cannot beat this place. I have purchased a kegerator and now that I need kegs, Sam's is the place to go. They either have what I want, or can get it in a few days. The service there is always top-notch and friendly. They also have monthly tastings. They have just added a smallish deli that serves nice cheeses and salads. Finally, they also have many rows or liquor, from your vodkas to the Barenjager my father loves to have when in town.

By all means, go to Sam's for your bier and wine needs.

May 19, 2008
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pwoods from Ohio

4.15/5  rDev -4.2%

Stopped here right before GI Clybourn... right around the corner. Close to whatever line to took in, lol. Plenty of quality brews, mostly floor storage. Lots of Belgians. Selection was pretty good. They had a bunch of regionals that we don't get in Cincinnati. That thirty was satiated but their selection from each brew was on the small side(lots of breweries rep'd, just not a huge selection from each one) and their FFF selection was fucking terrible. RtB, AK, and RR were the only brews they had. Prices were mostly reasonable but a few bomber and 6ers seemed a touch high. Service was pretty good. I had 2 different employees stop by in the 20 or so minutes I was there. They had pretty decent knowledge of their beer selection, too. Worth a stop, especially if you're near GI Clybourn.

May 16, 2008
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brdc from Wisconsin

4.3/5  rDev -0.7%

I believe this one is better than the other Sam's - easy to reach from downtown, nice parking lot, with plenty of space and a nice staff that hauled all the beer to my car.
I though the selection was better than other Sam's, with a large selection of belgians including some that are more difficult to find, along with a lot of nice microbrews, including everything I wanted from Jolly Pumpkin.
It is a bit cheapr than other downtown stores, with a nice service as mentioned above. So far, my favorite Chicago store to "fill the trunk".

Apr 28, 2008
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jeonseh from Indiana

3.8/5  rDev -12.2%

Stopped here today after I went to a Binny's. I have to say that if you are a wine lover than this store is your mecca, however for a beer lover they really only had one aisle of beers that were imports and micros and a few coolers. I was impressed that they had some things that are hard to find such as lots of Nogne and all of the Rocheforts and St. Bernardus in the smaller bottles. Also, had a nice selection of Jolly pumpkin and Hitachio nest as it was the most different kinds of this beer that I ever saw. Thought this store was better priced than the binny's as some beers, such as Southern tier bombers and belgians, seemed to be almost a whole dollar cheaper. A good place that I would stop by again and also have to say they had a nice deli full of imported cheese and meats. The building itself reminded me of a giant Sam's club warehouse with metal shelfing, concrete floors and had that warehouse feel.

Apr 08, 2008
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tapman from Illinois

4.65/5  rDev +7.4%

I already reviewed the other Chicago Sam's and this one is similar if not the same. The beer selection is extensive and cheaper than smaller places and every time I have been there there was a guy patrolling the beer aisle asking if we need help or would just like to have a nice beer related discussion, which I always do. The major difference is that this Sam's has a large 5-gal keg selection. We're talkin Three Floyd's Alpha King and Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald, Burning River, and Nosferatu (a limited release beer) just to name a few. Here's what did the "5" for selection for me: This Sam's is located directly across a small street from the Goose Island brewery and sells Goose Island 5-gal kegs for LESS than the Goose Island across the street. They sell it less than the supplier! Dude, c'mon.

Mar 19, 2008
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bluemoonswoon from Illinois

3.5/5  rDev -19.2%

To be honest I was a bit dissapointed in this place. Reading previous reviews of this place I was imagining some kind of mecca for beer lovers, what's more annoying is that the size of this place completly threw me off. The place is as nearly as big as a costco but only two aisles were dedicated to beer, one mostly 12 packs and cases and the other one singles and six packs, there also was a row of coolers in the back, but compared to the rest of the store the beer section was tiny.

That being said they had a few things there I couldnt find anywhere in Binny's or Friar Tucks, a bottle of world wide stout for example. But the shelves seemed a bit empty and I saw a few bottles with heavy layers of dust on them so I'm not sure how fast turnover here is or how fresh the beers actually are.

If you are in the area I'd say go ahead and go, but I would not come out of my way to go here.

Dec 10, 2007
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joe1510 from Illinois

4.35/5  rDev +0.5%

Sam's is a giant warehouse type of liqour store. Huge selection of everything from Scotch to tequila to beer. I noticed the last couple months the import shelves were about half empty. Fortunately my last few visits they picked things up again. Lots of good tough to find Belgians along with the Swiss and Italian Belgian style brews. Good selection of local micros as well. Always find something good on the shelves.

There's usually an employee in the beer isle taking inventory, tidying up, or just helping customers. Service is decent but I'm not sure they know a great deal about beer. Prices are so-so. Some are a dollar or two more than other stores some beers are a dollar or two less. Stop in if you're anywhere close. Great selection. Last few times I've stopped in I've been very impressed.

Nov 04, 2007
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sfoley333 from Brazil

4.3/5  rDev -0.7%

Never been here but I just completed a over the phone order that was mailed to California. I bought the last two bottles of alpha kong and one behemoth barleywine. The web site didnt have the alpha kong listed so I called them the week it was distributed in chicago and the staff was very helpful in filling my order. I got 3 incredible beers that I wouldnt get anywhere in Cali. but at a price 17.99 per alpha kong 14.99 for behemoth and 16.00 for shipping. Well its still cheaper than a plane ticket and at least I dont get charged crv and tax. The shipped in foam wine holders in a single brown box. Everything was intact and the alpha kong was great.

Oct 18, 2007
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emerge077 from Illinois

3.65/5  rDev -15.7%

Currently...Sam's is slipping big time.

It used to be a serious utopia for the beer lover, and in terms of scale only, it still is. They get the seasonal releases, and occasional new arrivals, but Sam's is a shadow of it's former self. The imports, especially the Belgians, have taken a serious reduction in the last 6 months. What's left has been there a year already. If you are planning to hit Goose Island, definitely check it out. But in terms of quality, Whole Foods next door is nearly eclipsing it.

Service-wise, there has been alot of turnover. During the day there is usually a beer guy, but not always. The cashiers don't really know how to handle beer, but do an ok job. Usually someone will ask if you need help if you wander around aimlessly. Once, a middle-aged "good ol' boy" employee shoved a cart at me when I stepped in the door, kind of antagonistic. Haven't seen him around lately, thankfully. There seems to be an army of a staff here, but maybe only a couple with any beer knowledge.

Check it out if travelling from out of town, they have alot of great regional offerings. The import selection is lagging the most, hopefully it gets revived soon.

Sep 27, 2007
Sam's Wines & Spirits in Chicago, IL
Place rating: 4.33 out of 5 with 71 ratings