3461 California St, San Francisco, CA | Directions 9411837.786691 -122.451118
Neighborhoods: Laurel Heights, Northwest
Not a snooty wine store – I thoroughly enjoy shopping here. I can browse without being bothered, but if I need a recommendation, the staff is really helpful. They usually ask what I'm looking for, including price point, general preferences, and food pairing. [And I am not a "regular," over 60 years of age (as several of the reviews suggested), with tons of money to spend on wine.] I The staff is SO friendly and chatty. I like wines; I don't study wine magazines and reviews; I usually spend less than $20 per bottle. This place is great for me; I recommend it!
Depends on the customer – If you are familiar with wine, prices and availability, don't go here for wine. You will be shocked. The wine prices are so jacked up, it's not even funny.
Two of the men who work there are quite nice and amiable. The Asian man is, well, extremely rude, and unless you're seeking his grandiose advice on what overpriced wines to buy, he appears to not have an inkling that you are a paying customer. I was just there, had my hands full with sake and beers, and he cut me off as I was making my way to the register. He didn't offer to help or even let me pass. Incredible.
So in short, if you know little about wine, are easily impressed by BS from a wine "expert", are ready to spend much more money that you should, then this is the place for you. I imagine their rent is astronomical, hence the average wines for sky-high prices.
As far as spirits go, they have a decent selection, and the prices are more reasonable.
Notable neighborhood wine and spirits shop with a large selection and knowledgeable staff. – In Short
Well-heeled Laurel and Pacific Heights locals stop here before dinner parties or larger events for bottles, cases and buying advice. Owners Adel, Raymond and Rusty have many combined years of wine expertise and often serve as judges and lecturers at local events. Their store features a tasting bar and more than 800 selections of wine--many under $12, a neighborhood secret--and nearly 500 options for fine spirits, with a focus on cognac and scotch.
Wine Pairing Extraodinaire – I live in the neighborhood. I'm over 60, but I'm very immature. I go to Wine Impressions to get Rusty's wine pairing for whatever I'm making that night. (Rusty's usually the only one wearing a hat.) And he almost always bats 1.000 so I keep coming back. But if I want a Pinot I hold out for Peter. He's very passionate about his Pinots. And even though I'm a regular customer and over 60 they don't chat with me with me either. But my 24 year old daughter went in to get wines for my birthday - crab cakes followed by shrimp/chicken/sausage gumbo and the recommendations she got were extraordinary. So if you're looking for great RESULTS you can't go wrong wrong here. Maybe that's why they call it Wine Impressions instead of Good Impressions???
Great store with knowledgeable staff – This store is a great example of why we should patronize our local merchants and not the "WalMarts" of the world. You can get really personalized attention and wine/food pairing information. They get a very local clientele but you don't have to be old to get good service, you just have to be enthusiastic about wine and spirits. In addition to wine they have a good selection of sake, tequila, and scotch. No, it ain't BevMo, but you'll get alot more personalized service here.
Ava – I have been into this store many times because I live in the neighborhood, and although I wouldn't call the service friendly, usually I don't get visibly snubbed when I'm making purchases. I don't know if one has to be over 60 and an alcoholic to get respectable service there, but that seems to be the majority of the clientele - very unpleasant, to say the least.
As a paying customer, I don't expect to be ignored by the staff while they chit chat with other customers inb aloud and unfriendly manner.
Anyhow, the only reason I would return to 'Wine Impression" is to see if they're as rude to me again, so i can have an excuse to go off on someone.
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