With its low self-esteem and high urban blight, Hartford is the ultimate underdog city. Sad City Hartford documents the joys, sorrows and eccentricities of New England's Rising Star.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A Guide To Hartford Liquor Stores

As a follow up to Jumper's popular Guide To Hartford Supermarkets, we present: A Guide To Hartford Liquor Stores. Since we obviously couldn't visit them all, we selected a random cross sample of stores. Being the great innovators we are, we came up with a system to measure prices that we think will catch on with economists; the basket of goods. In our basket of goods we measured the prices of (1) a 30 pack of Bud Light cans, (2) a 12 pack of Heineken bottles, and (3) a 750 ML bottle of Jameson. Sounds like a party. Let's go shopping!

CAPITOL LIQUORS
Location: Hawthorne Street
Rating: A Full Six Pack!
Basket Price: $62.97 - The lowest!
The Rum Line: There isn't much not to like about this store which is very conveniently located for frustrated Aetna employees. Not only does it have the lowest prices, the parking is easy and the beer selection is quite varied for a small urban store. To top it off, you get to shop through bullet-proof glass, which we always love! A true hidden gem.

ROGERS WINE & LIQUOR
Location: Prospect Street
Rating: Four beers
Basket Price: $63.97
The Rum Line: Good prices, great beer selection and good parking score well for Rogers. Probably the most diverse beer selection we sampled. Rogers loses points for only being open until 8PM (a sign states this is for employees to have"family time") and the fact that the old dudes who work there are almost always completely miserable and seem like they want to be anywhere else. Also they don't sell cigarettes so smokers will have to find a vending machine.

FARMINGTON AVENUE PACKAGE STORE
Location: Farmington Ave
Rating: One Beer
Basket Price: $70.93 - The Highest!
The Rum Line: Not only does this store have the highest prices, a number of other factors drag it down. It is very difficult to park and get out of the small lot. There are often pan handlers outside
the small and crowded store. The owners friends also hang around the already tight space making it even more crowded.


CONGRESS MAN PACKAGE STORE
Location: Main Street
Rating: A Full Six Pack!
Basket Price: $64.74
The Rum Line: What's not to like about this
store? It is located just a short walk from The Old North Cemetery. It has the best name of any store we've seen. We aren't quite sure what the name is supposed to mean but we love it. You get to shop through bullet proof glass. Not only are the prices very good, the owner seemed willing to negotiate on the price of the bottle of Jameson! Just look at the picture and you can see the store offers everything; Pay Phone #6, the "F" word spray painted on the wall, the "New England's Rising Star" banner, we couldn't ask for more!

HOMESTEAD PACKAGE STORE
Location: Corner of Homestead & Woodland
Rating: Three Beers
Basket Price: $69.19*
*Did not have Jameson so used 750 ML Johnnie Walker Red
The Rum Line: This store offers ample parking and shopping through bullet-proof glass. On the con, the selection is lacking and the prices are high. There is a little grill shack towards the back of the lot we have yet to try, it could affect the rating either way.


D'APRILE WINE & LIQUOR
Location: Franklin Ave
Rating: Three Beers
Basket Price: $68.97
The Rum Line: While the prices are high, D'Aprile does offer a good selection and great parking. In the same lot you can find a Dunkin Donuts and D&D Market. You have to ask an employee to get you a 30 pack from the cooler which just annoys us. Penalized for closing at 8PM.



CLUB DISCOUNT LIQUORS
Location: Wethersfield Ave
Rating: Five Beers
Basket Price: $67.93
The Rum Line: The place to go if your in the South End. Club offers decent prices and selection and easy parking. Can sometimes find a hot dog street vendor right outside if you visit in the afternoon.



CITY CELLARS WINE & SPIRITS
Location: Farmington Ave
Rating: Two Beers
Basket Price: $64.97
The Rum Line: Despite offering decent prices, selection and parking, City Cellars loses point for being generally disorganized and the parking lot. On one visit, we told a pan handler that we didn't have a dollar for him. He then replied that he wanted a beer. When we told him no and got in the car, he grabbed at the passenger side door as we backed out. Fairly certain that drugs are sold on the side of the building also.

CONNECTICUT LIQOUR OUTLET
Location: Prospect Ave
Rating: Two Beers
Basket Price: $69.97
The Rum Line: Though the name implies low prices, this was the second most expensive store we surveyed. The parking is ample and the selection is decent. If you are looking to grossly overpay for some fancy liquors this is your place. Offers the most suburban shopping experience. The high prices and terrible location are the Liquor Outlets downfall.

CHEERS WINE & SPIRITS SHOPPE
Location: Farmington Ave
Rating: ZERO Beers
Basket Price: Irrelevant
The Rum Line: Though just over the line and in West Hartford we would be remiss not to mention Cheers which enters the Sad City Hall of Shame as the Worst Liquor Store in the area. Cheers wins this dishonor by having the biggest asshole shopkeeper one will ever find. This went down when Hakaan went into Cheers with a friend who was buying a six pack.
Asshole: "I need your ID too"
Hakaan: "Oh, I'm sorry I didn't hear you"
Asshole: "Well maybe you need to listen"
Hakaan: (bemused) "Excuse me"
Asshole: "You need to pay attention"
Hakaan to friend while leaving: "I won't be coming here again"
Asshole: "Talk outside the store"

So there you have it. Cheers is the worst store in the area. Do yourself and us a favor and do not shop there.


26 comments:

  1. Fuck rogers, the old dude who looks like mark twain, was ringing me out and never asked for my ID. While he was placing my forty into the bag, he later ripped it out with anger and belligerently asked me for my ID. Which I gratefully handed it over to prove that I was well over the drinking age. Sure im a girl and i look like im 16, but there was no need for such hostility. I am never going to that dumb liquor store ever again.

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  2. LOl, yeah those old dudes there aren't exactly jovial.

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  3. You guys are not alone in having a horrible experience at Cheers. The owner, an older guy, is a complete asshole who demands ID even if you visibly display it before reaching the counter. He won't sell to you if you have an out-of-state driver's license, and he won't sell to you if anyone accompanying you doesn't have an ID. Sometimes his younger son is working; because of his age, I think, the younger son is more accommodating.

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  4. You have to check out the new liquor store down the street from Cheers in West Hartford. Its called Harvest Fine Wine and Spirits. They have hundreds of beers including an area called 'the beer cave' and a bunch of wine and liquors. The owners are real nice and even recognized me in only my second visit. I hope they take all of Cheers business away.

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  5. ^^^^^ Owns Harvest Fine Wine & Spirits ^^^^^

    Christ, just go to Crazy Bruce and save yourself the hassles.

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  6. Lol, that dude def owns Harvest. Crazy Bruce needs some bulletproof glass to get us really stoked!

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  7. actually i dont own harvest at all...there are two guys who i've only met while visiting the place. i'm just a big fan so i thought i'd share a good new spot.

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  8. Having an out of state ID sucks in any liqour store in Hartford, but Cheers takes the cake for xenophobia towards non-Connecticutions. I had to sign an affidavit that I was who my ID said I was.To top it all off, while I was filling out the ridiculous form the young guy kept saying things like--"You better read that shit, dude" and "You don't want to go to jail do you?"

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  9. Harvest is actually awesome. I highly recommend it. Great selection of beers with a staff that's actuallly into the brew they're selling. I've been going to Gillette Wines for years, in West Hartford, but vie been looking for a spot in Hartford. This is it. Incredible selection, interested staff. Check. It. Out.

    They need to get Narragansett 'Fest' Lager.

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  10. better yet, try Cibao Market, they will get you a forty way after 9 o'clock, just let 'em know you want something from the back, they're even open on Holidays, :D...they EVEN have Hard liquor for a Bodega, :D

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  11. You're so right about the Roger's Wine & Liquor. I used to go there multiple times a week and no matter how nice my girlfriend and I would try to be (we drink a lot, so we like to be nice to our local package store clerks) they would have none of it, often demanding my ID like I was trying to hide my age from them.

    I have yet to find a store I like on the West End. City Cellars SERIOUSLY needs to do something about all the loitering outside. I've had my purse stolen outside of there before.

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    1. try the place next to the Pharmacy next to Braza's. They have a big selection and they will ask for ID, but not like in Rogers. And I can't say I've had a problem with him at all, but to each their own. Rogers is a prick for closing at 8pm though. I'll bet his bitch ass won't even open on Sundays when it's legal. They're just stubborn like that.

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    2. I think its Farmington Package store. :D

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  12. @Ruby - I live in the West End too and I agree they are all bad. The best is Capitol on Hawthorne which I guess is sort of, kind of the West End.

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  13. My experience with Cheers has been quite the opposite. Polite service always and prices that are lower than Rogers by a couple of bucks per bottle. Just sayin'.

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  14. If you come in looking like a fucktard hipster and have a wiseass demeanor, of course you are going to get attitude from a business owner. Just with him being from a foreign company he doesn't sugarcoat his problem with you, if he wants you to get the fuck out of his store for being a dick, then he has every right. I'm a small business owner also and if I didn't want to waste my time with you condescending bastards with bullshit blogs and polls, I'd ask you to politely leave. If you give me any hipster backtalk or talking shit about me to each other and not have the balls to tell me up front, then I'd kick you the fuck out. Try working for a living instead shopping at the thrift stores, smoking your rolled cigarettes in your underwear you've had on since last Tuesday!

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    1. wow, which liquor store you work in IN Hartford? It has to be City Cellars, LOL...that's the only ghetto spot on the northern part of Farmington avenue. Nobody told you to go there, LOL....yeah that part is ghetto as all hell. And there are plenty of liquors to go to and I'm not afraid to go into any. Maybe you should move your establishment to the Western End, because I think you're on Asylum Hill...not a good area...and that place is so ghetto, LMAO!!! the place I go to isn't expensive like them stupid Dominican bodegas, and they have panderers, but I ignore them. most of the people that go there are ghetto, but they don't bother you.

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  15. The guys at Roger's are miserable and follow me around the store. I avoid it when I can. Harvest seems like they know about complementing food and wine. There's obviously lots of little stores that sell just beer like the Amigo Mart on farmington and evergreen. That owner from 03/03/2011 sucks.

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    1. he's probably the owner of City Cellars, lmao!!!

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  16. I'd love it if I didn't have to go to Bloomfield center for selection, service and price, but due to all the aforementioned I'm happy to go out of my way. Immigration and customs entering communist China was a warmer/friendlier experience than Roger's, and Connecticut Liquor Outlet while nice is pricey. For those who drive: Liquor Wine Outlet in Bloomfield has it all, they really are the cheapest and they WANT your business enough to say hello and remember you. And no I'm not related!

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  17. Ha, Farmington Avenue moved across the street to where the Video place used to be. Bigger space for their friends to hang out(because they still do) and a bigger selection of ghetto-mentioned liquors(everybody in the hood loves a Moscato...too sweet for me) the parking still sucks, but once you're in, you have alot of space to maneuver. the panhandlers have since moved across the street.

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  18. The people at Club are funny and its a great place.

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  19. Club Discount Liquors is newly renovated inside. They have a brand new 19 door walk in cooler with the coldest beer in town. The service is the fastest and friendliest in Hartford and parking is extremely convenient. The knowledgeable staff has been there for years. They have a lot of great beer specials all year round. Highly Recommended Experience!

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  20. Thank's a lot for sharing this type of important information. It's a very useful information about the Wine Providing services...

    online liquor store

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  21. I worked in the laundromat next to Cheers and yeah, the dude who works there is a total asshole. He bitched to us constantly about parking in the parking lot, accused me of smoking in the bathroom and "smelling up" his store multiple times, and regularly gets smashed on the job. Also, he's been cited two times in the past for selling to minors. His prices are decent compared to some places in the area but that doesn't nearly make up for it.

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  22. "Congress Man Package Store", Name came from former and original store owner in 1994 his was a real congress man back in his native Dominican Rep.

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