London's best craft beer bars and pubs

The watering holes with the best selection of US-style craft beers from breweries both near and far

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Craft beer – interesting, progressive beers made by small-scale breweries, and distinct from real ale – is often explosively hoppy and quite unlike traditional British beer. An increasing number of London bars and pubs are specialising in them. Here's our pick.

Do you have a favourite bar that serves brilliant craft beer? Let us know about it – leave a comment below.

Craft beer in south London

Craft Beer Company

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 1/4

The fabulous Craft Beer Company mini-chain specialises in the more offbeat offerings from small, unusual, mostly British breweries. At this Clapham branch – there are also outlets in Brixton, Islington and Farringdon – you'll find around 30 beers on tap (ten cask, 20 keg), all carefully tended by enthusiastic staff. There's a sterling array of 120 exotic bottles too, and the burgers are pretty decent.

  1. 128 Clapham Manor Street, SW4 6ED
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Crown & Anchor

  • Rated as: 4/5

At this Stockwell pub, run by the people behind the Jolly Butchers in Stoke Newington, there are seven real ales from cask, and 14 keg beers and ciders. The breweries you'll see represented regularly are Redemption, Dark Star, Camden Town, BrewDog, Kernel and Five Points; bottles take a worldlier approach and include a fair few Belgians.

  1. 246 Brixton Rd, SW9 6AQ
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Draft House

  • Rated as: 2/5

True to its name, the Draft House puts beer centre stage, taking provenance, cellaring and pouring seriously. The brews (from the likes of Camden, Meantime, Kernel and Duvel) are indeed impressive, and the option of one-third pint measures reinforces the spirit of discovery. There are other branches in the City, Fitzrovia, Battersea and near Tower Bridge.


  1. 94 Northcote Rd, SW11 6QW
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Old Brewery

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Critics choice

Brewer Alistair Hook and his team's own artisan beers feature strongly on the menu at this Greenwich bar and restaurant, as you'd expect, but there's plenty of outside choice too. The full Meantime range – including London lager and the more outlandish Strawberry and Chocolate varieties – are worth a visit on their own. The best of British, Belgian and beyond appear among the 50 or so craft beers served by the bottle.

  1. Pepys Building, Old Royal Naval College, SE10 9LM
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Powder Keg Diplomacy

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 2/4

An almost-over-the-top colonial theme might put off some serious drinkers, but a glance at the beer menu should dispel any doubts. The US, Australia and New Zealand are well represented alongside some little-seen British beers from the likes of the Bristol Beer Company. Alternatively, keep it very local and take your pick from London's Beavertown, Kernel or Redchurch breweries.

  1. 147 St John's Hill, SW11 1TQ
More info

Rake

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Critics choice

Seven kegs, three casks and 130 bottles: you wouldn't expect the owners of Borough Market's comprehensively stocked Utobeer stall to hold back when it came to their own diminutive bar. The bottles come from all over the world, with about 20 of the selection changing each week; the taps rotate on a daily basis.

  1. 14 Winchester Walk, SE1 9AG
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Users say

5 comments
Crafti Beet
Crafti Beet

Agree, surprised The Rake isn't on the list

Honky Tonk
Honky Tonk

LONDON'S FIRST EVER BEER TROLLEY TAKEOVER! Brand new venue Honky Tonk Clapham will host a trolley takeover with London’s first ever beer trolley on 21st November. The Trolley Takeover will be a craft beer and food matching master class, where the experts will come in and hi-jack the Honky Tonk Beer Trolley. Top beer sommelier, Phil Harding will host the evening, matching five different craft beers to a delicious five course-tasting menu of Honky Tonk classic dishes including the crab cakes with Fordham Wisteria Wheat, the Honky Tonk burger with Fordham Copperhead - Brooklyn Lager and glazed ribs with Fordham Ramshead. So if you think you know your malty brews to your fruity fusions come down to Honky Tonk Clapham and prove it. Trolley Takeover 21st November 7pm - 2am Tickets Available from: https://trolleytakeover.eventbrite.co.uk/

Honky Tonk
Honky Tonk

LONDON'S FIRST EVER BEER TROLLEY TAKEOVER! Brand new venue Honky Tonk Clapham will host a trolley takeover with London’s first ever beer trolley on 21st November. The Trolley Takeover will be a craft beer and food matching master class, where the experts will come in and hi-jack the Honky Tonk Beer Trolley. Top beer sommelier, Phil Harding will host the evening, matching five different craft beers to a delicious five course-tasting menu of Honky Tonk classic dishes including the crab cakes with Fordham Wisteria Wheat, the Honky Tonk burger with Fordham Copperhead - Brooklyn Lager and glazed ribs with Fordham Ramshead. So if you think you know your malty brews to your fruity fusions come down to Honky Tonk Clapham and prove it. Trolley Takeover 21st November 7pm - 2am Tickets Available from: https://trolleytakeover.eventbrite.co.uk/

Allison
Allison

Beer Mutiny: British Craft Beer Festival Wednesday 19th June - Sunday 23rd June Arch 402, 37 Cremer Street, London, E2 8HD http://www.TheCraftBeerSocialClub.co.uk Beer Mutiny is the only beer festival that fights the establishment – no more dull beer, we say! Taste a fantastic range of beers from ALL OVER the UK. Shatter the perception that UK Beer is boring, and be proud to drink British! All sessions include a selection of over 30 beers to choose from. Plus! An introduction to the science behind how we taste! You'll learn some fascinating facts about how you experience flavour and how you can improve your palate! Tickets: £15 per person for ten beers £20 per person for ten beers plus snacks http://www.TheCraftBeerSocialClub.co.uk

Michelle
Michelle

I'm surprised that The Rake near Borough Market isn't on the list!