A grocery store in downtown Bloomington with a good bottle selection. Problem is, many of the APAs/IPAs are dusty, so I donít trust their freshness. Place isnít as clean as it probably should be either, especially for a gtocery store. No real cold beer selection either; just a few sixers tossed in a cooler that isnít even cold. And what kind of a grocery store doesnít have a restroom? Not sure why this place is rated so well; everything about it is underwhelming. Worth a stop if youíre in the area, but thatís it.
A very strong selection of both US and imported beers, and they are usually $1-$2 cheaper than Big Red on rare craft beers like Hopslam, and Goose Islandís belgian wild series. The only problem with Sahara is that they sometimes keep beer on the shelves too long, so be sure to check the dates on the bottles. Otherwise, a great place to find some great craft beers.
My only complaint, not knowing the Indiana Sunday laws, you canít buy beer on a Sunday. We stopped by on our way out of town on Monday and filled a shopping cart. I was able to pick up several Indiana beers and a bunch of others, to hopefully share with the bottle liberation group. They have the beers grouped in sections, makes it easy to find things. Worth the stop, just donít go there on a Sunday.
If you canít find what you are looking for at the main Big Red location this should be your next stop. Prices are lower ($3 a bottle less for Gilgamesh for example) and the stock is not 50% macro beers for the frat crowd.
I havenít had a chance to interact with the staff much but they seem very knowledgeable about what is coming up. The shelves themself are a mix of imports (primarily German and Belgian) with a good representation of local bottles from NABC, Cutters, Three Floyds, and more. There is even a mix six section if you donít want to take a gamble on multiples.
Overall I would say this is the best option in town without traveling up to a Crown Liquors in Indianapolis. I will probably do most of my rare shopping at places like the Louisville Beer Store or Keg Liquors but for most things this serves the market nicely.
I added a new place for the 3rd St. location (near the mall) so this is for the 2nd St. location downtown. Sahara Mart is actually a gourmet grocery store although I would never buy food here, particularly anything perishable. The store itself is pretty run down and most food on the shelf is expired. However, the beer selection is very good - Just about anything available in the Indiana market can be found at either store (although the selection at the 3rd St. location is better). Prices are considerably lower than Big Red or Crown liquors in Indianapolis. I would not buy any IPAs or anything else to be consumed fresh here unless they are dated - they do not turnover their inventory very quickly. As for service, Iíve never seen anyone working in the beer department but the wine guy seems pretty knowledgeable about beer.
Beware, selection is too large for the stock to turn. Iíve bought old beer that was way past its prime. Some beers age well, some donít.
shrubber85 (346) Greenville, Indiana | October 4, 2012| Updated September 4, 2016
Wasnít sure when I walked into this store (I was impressed with the variety of Middle Eastern products) but in the back is a great selection of beers - most available in singles. Better selection than Big Red and definitely a better choice on a Friday or Saturday when Big Red is jammed packed with students buying Bud Light or Corona.