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Dec 11, 2009 07:16 PM

Quality liquor stores in San Diego?

I'm searching for a shop with a unique selection of different spirits and reasonable prices (not Bevmo or Costco). Specifically, I'd like to find one with a variety of rums (that includes Ron Zacapa). Recommendations anywhere in San Diego County are welcomed. Thanks for your help!

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  1. Holiday Liquors in Escondido is wonderful. Lots of choices. This would be my first choice.

    For something a littel bit more centrally located, you might also want to check out Del Cerro Liquors - now KnB. While they're primarily a wine and beer store now, they do have a fairly extensive selection of liquor with some unusual stuff from time to time.

    1 Reply
    1. re: DiningDiva

      Second for Holiday Wine Cellars. They have a very wide selection of liquors and cordials along with an extensive selection of wines. Check out the actual cellar down below.

    2. Del Mesa Foods and Liquor on Friars Rd. Big. Very big, with a room in back. Lots of more rare items--I can find my Cynar there. Not really a place for deals though. It's been a while since I've been...wondering if they're switching over into primarily wine like the others...


      1. Holiday Wine Cellars, Escondido
        Wine Vault, Downtown
        Keg-n-Bottle, College Area

        If you are willing to drive 1.5 hrs, then Hi-Time Wine Cellars in Newport Beach/Costa Mesa is far-and-away the best selection.

        8 Replies
        1. re: Josh

          I don't think Wine Vault sells distilled spirits

            1. re: Josh

              Have you actually been to the Wine Bank recently, Josh? The new owner made a deliberate effort to cater to the know-nothing convention trade (essentially taking Mike's already aggressive pricing and marking everything up another 30-50%). Their pricing is definitely not "reasonable" any more. BevMo has better pricing.

              1. re: mikec

                Since the OP is looking for a unique selection, and specifically said "not Bevmo", I didn't get the impression that price was their ultimate concern. There are not that many places close to San Diego proper where you can find the range of options that Wine Bank has, unless they have radically reduced their options since the last time I was there. Holiday Wine Cellar, Bristol Farms, and WIne Bank are the three best places I've been in San Diego in terms of a selection of obscure and hard-to-find spirits.

                1. re: Josh

                  My comparison to Bevmo was because I think Bevmo is typically aggressive in its pricing, not that it's a bargain place. I only brought up Bevmo because the Wine Bank's pricing has become ludicrous. The new owner took over about 1 1/2 years ago, and the changes are dramatic and disheartening. If you haven't been there in the last year and a half or so, you should be hesitant to recommend it.

                  1. re: mikec

                    I didn't realize it had been sold again that recently. Thanks for the heads up.

                2. re: mikec

                  "The new owner made a deliberate effort to cater to the know-nothing convention trade"

                  Don't you love when this happens?

                  1. re: stevewag23

                    haven't been to WB since Bryan left almost 2 years ago and have no intention of going back. bad vibe, high prices. all that said, they do have an extensive line up (or at least used to). Holiday Wine is a very nice shop and you have to love the spiral stair case down to the cellar but its a hike to get up there and they don't have the friendliest of prices either.

          1. FWIW, if you can't find want to want locally, BevMo can usually special order any spirt or beer (the exception is wine, which is purchased by BevMo's regional/natinoal buyer). Just talk to a store manager, as they are happy to help.

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