Big Top Wine & Spirits

Big Top Wine & SpiritsBig Top Wine & Spirits
Liked This Place
3.66 w/ 22 ratings
Big Top Wine & SpiritsBig Top Wine & Spirits

Type: Store

1574 University Ave W
Saint Paul, Minnesota, 55104-3908
United States

(651) 644-4501 | map

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Added by tavernjef

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 22 |  Reviews: 15
Reviews by JeffKrenner:
Photo of JeffKrenner
4.15/5  rDev +13.4%

Big Top is the place I go to buy all of my kegs. They are great about helping me get anything that their distributors can obtain. Nice clean store that is spacious and easy to shop. Things aren't crammed together and it makes it easy to see what is there and doesn't get too crowded even when the store is busy. Service is top notch. Everyone is there to help you and there is usually at least one person there that knows beer. Mike is top notch! Selection is good, but could improve. Started getting more premium stuff like Yeti, Hercules, and other good micros, but could use some work on the belgians in particular. Prices are on par for the Twin Cities.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of mattmarka1
4/5  rDev +9.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Photo of gatornation
3.36/5  rDev -8.2%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.25 | service: 3.25 | selection: 3.75

At Snelling and University, this store has a decent selection at fair prices , some sketchy people in and outside the store, would not want to shop late at night, if in the area and need a sixer this place has what you need otherwise skip a visit.

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Photo of KAF
3.5/5  rDev -4.4%

Photo of millelacsmark
3.75/5  rDev +2.5%

Photo of mnredsoxfan69
3.5/5  rDev -4.4%

Fairly large selection at a reasonable price, but the staff operates on an ethic of benign neglect. They keep the shelves stocked and man the registers, but one seldom see's them on the floor actually helping customers.

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Photo of Bunuelian
4/5  rDev +9.3%

Photo of XCBeerDrinker
2/5  rDev -45.4%

Photo of hardy008
3.5/5  rDev -4.4%

Photo of Chudem
4.25/5  rDev +16.1%

Photo of jjanega08
3.45/5  rDev -5.7%

Went to this place because I heard they have everything. While they do have a lot of good beer its not everything. They have prolly the best selection I have seen in the twin cities so far however I'm confident there's better. Walked in and wandered to the back west corner and I saw tons and tons of beer. Warehouse style but it was still nice to see. Lotta things that are hard to find here. I didn't talk to anyone working because I enjoy searching myself and finding things but my cashier (despite his scruffy look) was friendly. I wouldn't go here with questions but if I wanted to stalk around and look at beer I would be here. Wide selection but that's about it.

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Photo of CHSLBrew
3.55/5  rDev -3%

Walk into this store, and it looks like it'll be a typical warehouse liquor store, i.e. lots of wine, lots of liquor, lots of cheap beer, a little bit of imports. All at warehouse prices.

What I was pleasantly surprised about as I perused this store over a couple visits was the large number of less run-of-the-mill American craft, and even import, selections this store has. Many six packs available, as well as some more popular (and a few less available) bombers, in addition to some big beer 4-packs and a grip of 750 mL corked bottles. Also, I'm pretty confident that this store, being in a well-trafficked part of town, has pretty decent turnover to ensure fresh beers.

Plus, you absolutely cannot beat the prices for their "Beer of the Month" beer sales. One brand's beers all on sale for unbeatable prices. Brands are typically some of the larger state, regional, and national micro/craft breweries.

Service is not great here. Never been asked by someone for help, and have usually not received the best treatment at the purchase counter. However, this doesn't bother me much, as it's a great store overall.

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Photo of happygnome
4.35/5  rDev +18.9%

I walked in to the store and immediatly was confronted by a cop checking id's. It's really not a problem that they have a cop checking id's but it just seems less friendly than getting carded by the clerk at checkout. The service really goes up a notch (recovering from first sentence) because i was able to talk to an employee and he was able to help me find something that would go well with the meal that i was planning for the evening. Saw a lot of good local stuff like summit, and schells. Also it was good to be able to see Sprecher and other hard to find brews. Very nice selection of belgians as well.

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Photo of bucko
4/5  rDev +9.3%

Big Top was a common stop when I worked near the Saint's stadium on Energy Park Drive. I still make it a point to stop by when I get a chance. The place is huge, though perhaps 1/4 is dedicated to beer. They have a decent selection of regional and microbrews from across the US and around the world. They lack the depth of some of the great beer shops around the state, but I never have a hard time finding something good on each visit. Big Top runs weekly specials on beer and usually there some great deals on regional/micros from time to time.

 546 characters

Photo of supercolter
3.7/5  rDev +1.1%

Pretty decent and busy place. I stopped in last Friday night and there was a police officer to whom I handed my ID, but there was a line in front and behind me. No big deal, just a lot of people. Anyways because it was so busy I couldn't completely fault them for not helping out and the people were pretty friendly at the checkout. Decent selection of higher commodity craft (ie Unibroue, Baltnick, ACME) but other than that nothing too special. Pretty good for the local scene as well- I saw Tyranena, Capital, Goose Island, Summit and Schell

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Photo of objectivemonkey
3.4/5  rDev -7.1%

This is by far the closest beer store to my home, a scant 8 blocks away. Yet, it took me about 6 months to try it, being so close to Cellars. While they do have a number of singles of all sizes (mostly the larger)(I saw Avery, Unibroue, Delirium, good brews), I'd go there mostly for 6 packs. A pretty good selection, considering it mostly caters to the Bud crowd. Others were Calis like North Coast, SN, Anchor, locals like Summit, James Page, Lake Superior, Capitol, Schell, and just a bunch more good stuff. Among them, I bought Franziskaner and Anchor (on sale). There is pretty much no service to speak of, but thats not surprising. So, good place to go get your stock beer, but if you want something special, go elsewhere.

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Photo of TastyTaste
3.4/5  rDev -7.1%

Stopped by after the state fair one night, I had remembered hearing about Big Top a while ago, and just happened upon it. Very big liquor store, also very busy the night I went. There was a very large and impressive stock of beer, wuite a few belgians and other Euros, also many US micros in 6ers. There were very limited singles available. The prices were very cheap.. I picked up a Unibroue Terrible for $6.49, $3 less than the store near my house. I was in a rush and didn't buy very much, but this was a store that I would recommend for it's fairly decent selection, and it's good prices.

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Photo of ThisOnesOnMe
3.35/5  rDev -8.5%

The great thing about Big Top is that you can always find at least one beer you've been thinking about at pretty decent price. They carry everything from the cheap Wisconsin swill to Chimay. Its true that there are stores that have more of the better beers, but big top is one of the few places I've been to that has a decent selection of all levels of beer quality. They have a decent selection of imports. The have a good selection of individual bottles and they carry most of those beers in six packs as well. You're not going to find really obscure brews, but if you're looking for a six pack of Paulaner Salvator Doppelbock or a bottle of Le Fin du Monde or a box of Newcastles, this is you're best bet for finding it and having enough cash left over to go somewhere else and buy obscure lambics and barley wines.

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Photo of jaymirage
3.7/5  rDev +1.1%

Pros: Sales on 12-packs are where Big Top shines: they prove frequent, the beers vary weekly, and sale prices are typically dirt cheap. Missing most of the rarer finds in the cities, but a rather comprehensive assortment of some of the more popular Belgians, English ales, and local microbrew varieties.

Cons: bargain-warehouse-style. No atmosphere. No breaking 6-packs.

Bottom Line: Recommended, especially if this happens to be your local, but even so if you're just passing by. Impressive, guys.

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Photo of ADR
3.35/5  rDev -8.5%

A mega store on University Ave., the place most of the folk I work with go for beers for company parties. Decent selection overall, most of the better stuff (micros and imports that lean away from jucier Belgians, though some are here) is kept warm and on shelves in the huge aisles of this converted supermarket...concentrates on wines and liquors, and is a good choice for sales on beers, something that is more rare in the smaller shops that can't afford advertising budgets. A good place to cop a keg. If there's anything that I don't like, its the impersonal nature of the mall location, the treeless squalor of University Avenue, the racks of chips and cheez-its, and the lack of staff who want to talk beer in any detail. An OK place, but it doesn't really capture the essence of small but dedicated liquor stores that define Minnesota -- but that's just me...

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Photo of Chaz
4.15/5  rDev +13.4%

A very big store with plenty of breathing room and an overall selection that's comparable to the better locations of local name-brand chain-stores, Big Top also takes a stab at offering items usually only found at the high-brow retailers. This selection includes of-the-moment wines, Riedel glassware, a more than adequate stock of bar supplies/mixers, liqueurs and cordials. Also, as this place had for many years been a grocery store (part of Sid Applebaum's chain) it was allowed to retain a food license after the transition, so there's a pretty good selection of snacks and frozen pizzas so you won't have to make an extra trip to the big grocery next door. I've been shopping this place for years now, and the beer selection has been consistently excellent considering the store's location, their good variety of micros and better variety of imports (mostly kept on warm shelves and floor stacks) easily offset the cheap/Popular and Premium domestic lagers found in more abundance. A good variety of formats (plenty of singles, six/12pack NR, 6/12 pk can, flats, plastic bottles) and a good in-stock keg selection. Everyday prices are very good, and sale prices are virtually unbeatable. If you're accustomed to paying top dollar for the good micros at those retailers which cater to the wine and cheese crowd you really owe it to yourself to check Big Top out. So if you're anywhere near this place, have a couple of bucks to spare and ten minutes to browse, don't pass it by!

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Photo of tavernjef
4/5  rDev +9.3%

Pretty big store with big lanes for pushing your cart around. Lots of parking, its located in a strip mall next to a another strip mall. Good selection of singles, some variety packs, and always have great blow out sales on seasonal brews when they're considered no longer that season. I recently took home a ton of winter brews when they stocked up on bocks and spring. I spent little and got alot including Bell's Double Cream stout, Sierra Nevada Bigfoot & Celebration, Anchor X-mas 2002. Saved about $12 from what it would've been.This is the place where I discovered Victory, DogfishHead, and Rogue. They also carry I pretty good selection of Belgiums and UK, those thin out from time to time. The help is good, they seem to know about most the stuff they carry. When I was purchasing DogfishHead the young man behind the counter was floored that someone knew of it and told me I'd like it. He was right.

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Big Top Wine & Spirits in Saint Paul, MN
Place rating: 40.9% out of 100 with 22 ratings
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