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Buying Wine in Bethesda

j
joan324 Sep 11, 2008 06:05 PM

Significant other is moving to downtown Bethesda. Where do most of the locals pick up their wine/beer? Have been looking around, and it didn't seem like there were many places available. Wondering about picking up everything from a standard cold 6 pack, a cheap bottle for dinner, 30 packs/cases for parties, and the occasional nice bottle for gifting (I understand this is not all done at the same place. Just wondering where you go for all of the above).

  1. d
    Doh Sep 11, 2008 06:52 PM

    Welcome to the wonderful world of Montgomery county, where the county is the wholesaler for beer and wine, as well as the liquor. As you might have noticed, there's a county-owned liquor store tucked away in downtown Bethesda, which sells the hard alcohol, as well as beer and wine, but they're not allowed to sell cold beer (or wine) or mixers. In terms of quantity, they probably have the widest selection of wine.

    Personally, I like Dunmor's which is the little house on Woodmont near Cordell (across from Sala Thai). They have a great selection of beer and wine, and I've filled most or all of your categories there (although I often find myself thinking I'm paying a couple $ for the convenience of buying in downtown Bethesda). World Market (nearby on Wisconsin) and Lilit Cafe (on Old G'town) are small, primarily food stores that have surprisingly good wine selections, so if you're near one of them (esp. World Market) it's probably worth a stop by,

    If I'm really stocking up for a party, I'll often try to make a trip down to the Magruders near Chevy Chase circle (but that's obviously not in Bethesda).

    1. j
      jkosnett Sep 12, 2008 01:54 PM

      D.C. has so many good wine shops you should invest in a metro ride or drive into town. At Chevy Chase Circle you have Circle and Magruders, and at Van Ness Metro there is Calvert Woodley.

      The best wine shop in MoCo is Finewine.com in the Washingtonian Center in Rockburg... that's sorta Rockville and sorta G'burg... off 270. They have a wine bar and tastings, also really nice beer selection...

      1 Reply
      1. re: jkosnett
        r
        reiflame Sep 12, 2008 04:17 PM

        Agreed on the Finewine. They aren't huge, but they know their selection really well, and for the most part listen when you tell them what you're looking for.

      2. j
        Jeserf Sep 12, 2008 02:24 PM

        if you're going to friendship heights, check out Rodmans. Great beer selection. World Market is pretty good, too, and often has great values

        1 Reply
        1. re: Jeserf
          v
          vimumdelirium Dec 29, 2008 01:31 PM

          Cakebread Chard. at World Market is $5.00 more than at the Cork&Fork in downtown B-da.

        2. r
          rarotonga Sep 12, 2008 07:43 PM

          If you're looking just for a place to grab something workable quickly in that neighborhood, the two places I go are Bradley Food & Beverage (in the little shopping center on Arlington where Bruce Variety is) and the tiny wine store (I think it's called "Bethesda Chevy Chase Wine") that's next to Vace the Italian deli (on a tiny street just off Wisconsin, between Eastham's Exxon and the Starbucks). BF&B has a bigger beer selection.

          4 Replies
          1. re: rarotonga
            p
            potrzebie Sep 14, 2008 12:18 PM

            The prices are Bradley Food & Beverage are above retail. A bottle of wine there typically costs at least 30% more than the same bottle just up the road at Magruders, Chevy Chase Wine & Liquor, Rodman's, or Paul's. The county liquor stores have better prices than Bradley, too.

            1. re: potrzebie
              r
              rarotonga Sep 14, 2008 02:27 PM

              Yeah, Bradley is kind of pricey. But it's still good to know about because it's quite convenient. If I'm just grabbing a single bottle to drink with dinner I'd rather walk over to Bradley at lunch than have to go out of my way to these cheaper places.

            2. re: rarotonga
              s
              Spade Mar 30, 2009 12:47 PM

              I always wonder how that Bethesda Chevy Chase Wine place next to Vace stays in business. Talk about a hidden location-- I lived in Bethesda for 3 years before I knew those two stores were there! Miller Avenue I believe that road/alley is called.

              1. re: Spade
                l
                lisa1972 Mar 30, 2009 06:50 PM

                Me too! But the place is really nice with a unique wine selection and low prices. I've been going there for the past 3 years.

            3. g
              gp61 Sep 12, 2008 09:42 PM

              I do not have too much knowledge of the wine shop scene in Bethesda, but I do know that a boutique shop called Cork & Fork just opened in the Bethesda Walk shopping area. I've been in their Gainsville, VA shop many times and have been impressed by their selection and the staff. They have a good range of prices and carry wines from all over the world. I think the owner used to be a winemaker in Australia. Anyway, if that shop is anything like other location it would be worth checking out.

              3 Replies
              1. re: gp61
                c
                chriscatva Sep 13, 2008 05:28 AM

                I also really like the Gainesville Cork & Fork, and would recommend checking out the Bethesda shop. They have good weekly specials, tastings every Saturday, and some interesting seminars. They also sell some beers, but I think more the unusual sorts, and probably not cold. (I'm not a beer drinker so haven't paid too much attention to that.)

                1. re: gp61
                  d
                  Doh Sep 13, 2008 07:42 AM

                  That's good to know. I admit I have a prejudice that anything in that new development is horribly over-priced.

                  1. re: gp61
                    j
                    JRMorrisonJr Oct 12, 2008 12:24 PM

                    I REALLY love the cork 'n fork bethesda location. Upscale but a very knowledgeable proprietor and the selection (especially France and Austrailia) is tremendous. Its right in the cute new bethesda row area so you can shop and get dinner around there as well

                  2. c
                    CTR123 Mar 19, 2009 09:21 AM

                    A new beer and wine store called Cork 57 just opened opened in Bethesda at the corner of Bethesda Ave. and Arlington. They have a large selection of inexpensive wines that are rated between 88 points and 95 points in Wine Spectator. They also have alot of micro beers and belgium beers at a reasonable price. A nice looking store with friendly and knowledgable staff.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: CTR123
                      t
                      Terptime Mar 30, 2009 09:25 AM

                      I am not a fan of Cork 57 - went with the wife this weekend and their selection was abysmal and prices outrageous - although not as high as some of the markups I've seen at Bradley Food & Beverage. I also second the Finewine reccomendation (great selection) but only if you have the time to drive to northern Rockville. For my money, Bethesda Chevy Chase Beer and Wine right off Wisconsin Ave has the best selection and prices by far of any place in Bethesda. Whenever I drop by Vace Italian deli next foor for one of their amazing hoagies I stock up on wines.

                      1. re: Terptime
                        j
                        jkobrick Sep 5, 2009 03:26 PM

                        I stopped in at Bradley Food & Beverage today for some beer. They had Brooklyn Oktoberfest, which I've never tried, for $16.59 for a 6-pack, literally double the price of most 6-packs, even at a markup store. After recovering from the shock, I put it back on the shelf. I asked the manager why it was so expensive, thinking maybe there was a legitimate reason, and he gave me a blank stare and said "I don't know." When I pointed out that it was double what I would have expected, he told me, with a very snotty attitude, that the wholesale price was high because it was a craft beer. Thanks pal, I've had craft beer before and know what it usually costs. Due to the manager making me feel like a jerk for politely asking a legitimate question and his blatant attempt to charge a 100% markup to those who don't know better, they've lost my business permanently. For what it's worth, Total Wine in Virginia (I sometimes shop at the McLean location and love it for beer and wine) has Brooklyn Oktoberfest for $7.99, less than half of BF&B's attempted larceny.

                        1. re: jkobrick
                          r
                          reiflame Sep 7, 2009 02:15 PM

                          I'm sure they have a ridiculous markup, but part of that is Montgomery County's alcohol distribution scam. Everything goes through the county and they tack 25% onto the wholesale price.

                    2. g
                      Gigi007 Sep 7, 2009 03:02 PM

                      As others have suggested, Rodman's, Paul's, & World Market all have a good wine selection--they're in DC & Chevy Chase, not Bethesda. Plus if you're willing to drive a little farther, Calvert-Woodley in my neck of the woods is amazing.

                      1. v
                        vimumdelirium Nov 7, 2009 06:59 AM

                        New to Bethesda downtown. Has anybody checked out Cork and Fork? My boss swears by this little wine store. He gets 10% off on his purchases cause he lives Upstairs, but he insists it is not the reason. He shows up with delicious winesI have never seen before. My wife went there and raves about it too. I need an independent opinion before holidays. Thanks!

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: vimumdelirium
                          s
                          Spade Dec 10, 2009 10:27 AM

                          Cork and Fork is way, way overpriced (same with Cork 57 nearby). You're much better off heading down to Calvert-Woodley.

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