The term “beverage depot” doesn’t inspire in me a lot of confidence. I picture a Sam’s Club or BJs type place, chockfull of cheap-ass beer. However, here in Chicago, with it’s liberal alcohol laws (especially when compared to New York,) apparently a beverage depot means something more akin to adult toystore. Or at least this Binny’s does.
This is the biggest liquor store I have ever been in. It’s so big, and you can actually get a lot of craft spirits right alongside the jugs o’ margarita mix and the big bottles of Absolut and Jim Beam. There’s also a large selection of mixers, a decent selection of snack items, a whole cheese section, with pieces cut to order, and a small gourmet grocery section. How perfect is that? I love one-stop shopping when it’s done well, and Binny’s definitely does it well. Being able to buy your cheese, wine and olives in one place makes perfect sense. You can even buy your accompanying glassware here too.
But that’s not all. There’s also a whole bar in the back with a grand piano, tables, leather club chairs and a small food menu. We counted 20 different types of bitters there. Holy crap. And the selection was really quite good. I was very happy with my $6 glass of tempranillo-grenache blend. The whole time we were there, we could scarcely contain our amazement. Seriously. This place is amazing – especially if you’re used to New York’s somewhat Draconian restrictions against selling food or beer in the same store as liquor and wine.
If you’re into cigars, there’s also a cigar section with a humidor room. A-mazing.
I don’t think I’ve ever spotted such a large section of hard ciders and gluten-free beers before. I was almost overwhelmed. Here’s one of the ones I picked, Aspall, which I decided was actually a little too dry for me. I normally like the very dry ciders but this one just had an aftertaste I couldn’t get down with, although I did like that it formed a nice pseudo-head in my glass.
BK had to practically drag me out of this place. I will be back, Binny’s. That’s a promise.