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August 27, 2009

What city convenience stores have liquor licenses?

rite aid beerThe other day, I happened to be in the snack aisle of the Rite Aid at Baltimore and Calvert streets when I noticed the beer section.

Wait a minute: The beer section?

Yes, the beer section.

That particular Rite Aid happens to have a liquor license. Though the selection isn't amazing, the Rite Aid stocks a pretty comprehensive collection of domestics and standard imports. There is also wine, and I believe, spirits.

I'm sure it's quite convenient for folks who either live in the neighborhood or are passing through on their way home from work or to The Block.

That got me thinking -- what other city convenience stores also happen to have liquor licenses? ...

According to jmgiordano, the Rite Aid at 3133 Greenmount Ave. has a decent selection -- reasonably priced, too.

How did this come to be?

jmgiordano spoke with the folks at the Greenmount Rite Aid who said long ago, the spot used to be a liquor store. When Rite Aid took over a couple decades ago, the liquor license was grandfathered in. They just can't sell booze on Sunday.

Now if I can only get the Lucky's near me to stock Clipper City.

Also, if you know of any other odd spots besides convenience stores that also happen to have liquor licenses, fill us in.

(Photo by me)

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Posted by Sam Sessa at 8:58 AM | | Comments (30)
Categories: Bars & Clubs


The Eddie's in Mt. Vernon has beer and wine. Maria D's sells beer, too.

Snap! Which Maria's? The one on Light St.?

Canton Market on Boston St. sells beer and wine.

Royal Farm Store on Keswick (and Berry) in Hampden sells beer and wine.

The Royal Farm on Keswick near 37th St. sells beer. They're open later than other neighborhood options. Hopkins Deli on 39th near University is open Sunday with a large selection of beer, wine and liquor as well as a pretty big convenience-grocery section.

not in the city, but the 7-11 on frederick rd. out in ellicott city sells beer/wine, as well as taquitos.

I vant some taquitos

In addition to beer, Maria D's sells the most miserable excuse for pizza I've ever tasted and people happily lap it up because they don't know any better.

The Rite Aid in Annapolis (Rowe Blvd. next to Graul's) sells beer, wine and liquor. Their prices are actually really good and the beer selection definitely surprised me. Clipper City, Wild Goose, Otter Creek, Saranac, Magic Hat, Pyramid, Goose Island, and Lancaster are some of the breweries I remember had representation.

wow sam, great stuff. i spent my first 22 years living in ohio, and you could buy beer in grocery stores, drive thru's, gass stations...pretty much anywhere...even on sundays

so this was quite an adjustment moving here. i mean not a huge adjustment, but kind of a pain. also whenever i try to explain "packaged goods" to someone from out of town i always get this "what?" look.

Ridgely Mini Market in Ridgely's delight at Washington and Emory: a little pricey but they have a decent selection of beer, wine and liquor.

ryan97ou, I get the same stare. it's so weird how much liquor laws vary -- even from county to county.

DBQ -- oh snap, I totally forgot about the Ridgely's mini mart, i used to go there on a pretty regular basis.

i bought beer from a guy on the street out of a cooler after the ravens game last week. i dont know if he has a license though!

Locust Point Man, I bought a beer from that guy too! I kept looking around thinking it was a cop, but let's just say my judgement was not where it shoulda been.

Drive thrus are the best. Goldberg's on Ritchie Hywy is cool but on the eastern shore they actually have stores that you drive through rather than driving up to a window. There are refrigerators on both sides of your car and an attendant takes care of you. Very convenient.

I bought a beer from a guy with a cooler in the parking lot of the phish show and then peed in the woods

I'm not sure about this, as I heard it years ago, but outside of the city limits I think that only one store, per chain, per county can sell package.

That's why it's only the one 7-11 on Frederick in EC and that one Royal Farms on Old Harford rd that can sell. Those are the only locations that come to mind, but then again if I spent all my time seeking out all the stores in the counties I would have even less of a life than I do now.

Oh, I was recently outside of St. Louis at a Cosco. It was amazing.

I envy their liquor laws.

MD liquor laws suck. I have been to Costco's in different states and have been impressed with their huge selection. Also, not being able to have wine shipped to a MD address is just plain stupid.

Sam, I suggestion for a future post... Best Liquor Stores.

Has anyone been to Beltway Liquors? Amazing!. It's the size of a small grocery store and you need a shopping cart. They have the best selection (regardless of what you hear about King's Liquors on the radio and TV).

A couple years ago, after what seemed like days without end driving through West Virginia on I-79, I stopped into a Rite Aid and was surprised to see lots of hard liquor. Aisles and aisles of it.

But considering how painfully mundane that drive had been, I figured there was a definite need for it.

Be careful what you wish for.

In my beer-snobbery experience, the states/regions where beer is available everywhere--supermarkets, convenience stores, Wal-Marts, etc.--also have a much harder time selling quality products, or the quality high-end-beer that is in those markets is MUCH harder to find. As much as we may hate the inconvenience of some liquor stores, the system in Maryland and some other states does level the playing field considerably, so that smaller micros have more of a chance. When 98% of the people buy from Safeway or Rite-Aid or Wal-Mart, 99% of the market is dominated ONLY by those players that can deliver trailer-loads of beer to the distribution centers, and smaller fry like Belgian imports, local brewpubs, etc. get shut out.

@LP Man & sturmy

Special events license allows the Sharp-Leadenhall Neighborhood Association to raise money selling beer to the Ravens faithful on game days.

@LP Man & sturmy

Special events license allows the Sharp-Leadenhall Neighborhood Association to raise money selling beer to the Ravens faithful on game days.

I think the ABC systems of VA and PA are much worse. We can buy liquor and booze at the same time in one location usually with more competitive pricing, better selection, and less fake ID confiscations for high-schoolers. The Sunday blue law is unfortunate but places are still open if you know where to find them.

"We can buy liquor and booze at the same time in one location usually with . . . less fake ID confiscations for high-schoolers"

Ummm........ ZIG? Would you care to explain why an easier ability to VIOLATE THE LAW is supposed to be a GOOD thing? I don't necessarily approve of the 21 age limit myself, but knowing promoting violations of said law is not a good way to win people to the cause of lowering the age limit.......

There was some sarcasm implied...but not much

Liquor laws in Maryland are up to individual counties. Go to Salisbury and you can buy beer & wine in the grocery store. Almost every convenience store in Ocean City has beer.

Buy her dinner first.

Buy her dinner first."



The store in the ground floor of the Hopkins House sells booze too. Open on Sundays as well.

Sam, did you mean "Luckie's"?

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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.

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