Giant supermarket with a great selection of just about everything, including some good beer. Since this is the only beer store I saw in the state, I can’t really vouch for their relative selection, but it appeared to be pretty solid. Prices are typical; no grocery store savings. Decent.
Very good selection with two locations in town. Good choice of singles which I like to purchase. Little known fact is that they will (or used to anyway) let you grab a single bottle from a six pack for $2 bucks even if it’s not normally sold as a single.
The usual disclaimer: a perfect 5.0 on selection not because it’s the best you’re going to find anywhere, but if it’s available in Texas there’s a 97-98% chance you can get it at Central Market.
Both Austin locations have a similar selection, so there is little reason other than proximity to choose one over the other. Both have cafes with outdoor seating and bands on the weekend. Central Market itself is owned by HEB and centrally located in Austin, although in the last few years it’s branched out to the San Antonio, Houston, and Dallas areas. Those who have Whole Foods in their neighborhood (none too coincidentally also headquartered in Austin) will pretty much know what to expect. The main difference is probably in the beer selection. Prior to the Austin Whole Foods relocating to it’s new, much larger, World HQ building in March the selection they had was maybe one-fourth of CM’s at best. Even at the new World HQ the selection is not quite as large as CM’s, although there are a few meads stocked by WF that are not available at CM. Central Market is constantly battling it out with the Whip In and Grapevine Market for beer supremacy in Austin, so it never hurts to hit all three. If I could afford the gourmet food prices I’d do all my grocery shopping there as well.
North Lamar location: Typical Central Market selection...lots of bottles, but nothing I did not expect...they did have very fresh Orval however...I couldn’t find anyone there to help me with beer or sake questions though...great cheese selection though...
Decent selection, but after having been in Austin for four months now - I have been through almost everything. Must have the same distributor as Grapevine - if on the south side of Austin - go here in stead of traveling north to Grapevine. All of your common Belgiums, Germans and Brits are here with a fewwest coast gems and some Texas Brewers. Displayed nicely and plenty of room.
fly (273) austin, Tejas, Texas | February 11, 2004
Most of the staff seems more dedicated to wine (profitability?) although the former Beer & Wine person at the south store (now at HEB @ Hancock, I believe) was very much into beer. It is convenient for me to pop in and they often have a decent sale item or two or three. You can get deli food or from their cafe (not great, not bad and a tad pricey when you consider they provide their own damn ingredients) and do a "fly" - buy beer from beer section, grab some food, and eat in cafe or out on patio. Not exactly kosher, but haven't been stopped yet.
Service makes a difference here. If selection is about the same for Grapevine and Central Market the big difference in my book is that Grapevine has people that will ask what I'm looking for, make phone calls for me and point out new offerings.