Bethesda Magazine | July-August 2017

Table Talk: 4 Gaithersburg Beer and Wine Stores

Find out where you can shop, eat and drink; plus get a taste of Bethesda's new Thai ice cream

Gaithersburg’s, which offers charcuterie and other munchies, sells beer and wine to-go and has a section where customers can eat, drink and hang out. Turn the page for more on this hot spot and three others. Photo by Deb Lindsey

One-Stop Sip and Shop

One perk of Montgomery County’s Department of Liquor Control laws is that stores selling beer and wine to-go are able to acquire a license that allows on- and off-premises consumption. Some stores have carved out seating and bar areas and serve food or allow you to bring it in or have it delivered. Customers can avoid restaurant prices on alcohol by grabbing a bottle of wine off the shelf and sipping on site. (County law also permits open bottles to-go if the bottle has been corked or capped.) These stores can be found throughout the county, but Gaithersburg seems to have really taken to the concept. Here are four to check out.

Downtown Crown Wine and Beer

Opened: 2014
The vibe: The store is one large room, but the bar and seating area are separate from wine and beer displays. Nice design touches include exposed brick and ceiling fans. The staff is friendly and knowledgeable. Details of the 22 draft beers (such as amounts left in each keg) are on illuminated boards connected to the DigitalPour app. You can take home draft beer in 32-ounce or 64-ounce growlers, or in 32-ounce crowlers (sealed cans). There’s a carefully curated wine selection with 16 sold by the glass and several well-priced reserve wines offered in 3-ounce or 6.25-ounce pours using the Coravin system, which extracts wine without removing the cork. Tables fill up during happy hour, and the place is packed on Friday and Saturday nights.
The menu: Meat and cheese plates, olives, hummus and pita chips
Can you bring in food? Yes
Wine corkage: $10
Live music: Every Saturday
Seats: 24, plus 15 at the bar; 40 outside

303 Copley Place | 301-330-7010 |

Beers & Cheers Too

Opened: 2016
The vibe: This Quince Orchard Plaza hot spot is mostly beer-centric with 24 beers on tap (heavily favoring the Delmarva region and available in growlers) and four wines on tap. There’s a small, no-frills bar area with a mix of regular tables, high-tops and a communal high top. 
The staff is friendly and knows most customers by name, a testament to the store’s loyal following.
The menu: Fare includes hot and cold subs on French baguettes 
baked daily, and empañadas made by a former Coast Guard chef who co-owner George Photinakis met when their kids went to school together. Empañada fillings include beef, chicken, Mexican chorizo, cheese pizza, lump crab, shrimp and apple.
Can you bring in food? No
Wine corkage: $6, which includes a cheese-and-cracker plate
Live music: Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Seats: 30 inside, 24 outside

678 Quince Orchard Road | 301-947-4440 |

Opened: 1999
The vibe: The atmosphere is nice here, with contemporary furniture, an area rug and a sculptural drop ceiling. This RIO Washingtonian Center store is wine-focused as its name suggests. There are no draft beers, but you’ll find a good selection of bottled craft beers from local brewers. The store is staffed with wine aficionados, and tastings on Fridays are popular. The wine menu features six reds, six rosés and 
six whites by the glass and half and full bottle, plus four sparklers 
and six dessert wines; a flight of four half-glasses is $20.
The menu: Light munchies—such as olives, cheese, charcuterie and hummus—are available.
Can you bring in food? Yes
Wine corkage: No fee for bottles over $25; corkage is $10 for bottles under $25, but the store has been waiving it for a year.
Live music: Occasionally
Seats: 24, plus five at the bar

20-A Grand Corner Ave. | 301-987-5933 | 

The Wine Harvest

Opened: 1999 (purchased by the current owners in 2002)
The vibe: A Kentlands watering hole where regulars go to unwind with a glass of beer or wine, The Wine Harvest is small and cozy, with tables hidden in nooks made by stacked cases and displays of wine barrels topped with bottles. Five draft beers are offered, but wine is the star of the show. About 25 wines by the glass rotate monthly, and there are free tastings on Thursdays with discounts on those wines.
The menu: A full café menu is served, with a wide variety of sandwiches, cheese plates, salads and desserts.
Can you bring in food? No
Wine corkage: $7
Live music: The third Sunday of the month 
Seats: 25, plus 10 at the bar; 20 outside (pet-friendly)

114 Market St. | 301-869-4008 |