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craft beer bottle shops london, clapton craft

London's best beer shops

Discover where to buy great bottled beer and ale in London

By David Clack
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When a can of Carling isn't going to cut it, seek out one of these specialist shops and take your pick of some of the most exciting craft beers made in London breweries or for beers from microbreweries in the UK, Europe, the US and beyond. Do you have a favourite shop that sells brilliant beer? Leave a comment below.

Best beer shops in central London

BottleDog

Shopping Gray’s Inn Road

The Scottish brewery Brewdog is intent on taking over the world with its flavoursome craft beers and ever-increasing chain of bars; this was its first dedicated bottle shop, and as well as its own beers it stocks a mighty selection from around the world, as well as books and homebrew supplies. Look out for tutored tasting events.

bottle shops in london, royal mile whiskies
© Robert Loudan

Royal Mile Whiskies

Shopping Off licences Bloomsbury

Not just whiskies (although there are loads) – a decent range of craft beers, including many from Scotland that you won’t see elsewhere in London.

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The London Beer House

Bars and pubs Craft beer pubs St James’s

As backward as it may seem, there’s a noticeable dearth of quality craft beer in central London, especially when it comes to take-outs. This makes the presence of this pocket-sized bar and bottleshop, just off Haymarket, all the more surprising. Ideal for stocking up before a picnic in a nearby Royal Parks.

Best beer shops in north London

Richard Ehrlich

Caps & Taps

Shopping Off licences Kentish Town

Caps & Taps, Kentish Town’s first craft beer specialist, is a tiny place but it sells around 300 beers from London, the rest of the UK, the US and the rest of the world. Look out for relative rarities. And fans of esoteric US beers are particularly well served.

Highbury Vintners

Shopping Off licences Highbury

Although primarily a wine shop, this recently extended off-licence also has more than 100 specialist beers from around the world, including Anchor, Coopers, Kernel and Meantime. You can also purchase bottles from its website.

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Clapton Craft NW5

Shopping Specialist food and drink Kentish Town

When the original Clapton Craft (the one that’s actually in Clapton) opened back in 2014, it was clear they’d got the formula right. Unsurprisingly, then, expansion didn’t take long: there are now four locations in north London (with a south-London outpost due soon), all offering the same setup of well-curated beers from around the world, plus accessible brews for growler-fill.

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Dusty Dick's Craft Beer Emporium

Shopping Off licences Crouch End

This bottleshop attached to the Harringay Arms offers a strong selection of British and international beers, plus growler-fill facilities. Themed mixed cases make good presents for the craft-obsessed folk in your life.

Kris Wines

Shopping Off licences Holloway

An otherwise unremarkable parade of shops in Holloway is actually a magnet for north London beer lovers thanks to this quirky and packed-in little shop. Ales are arranged by country of origin and come from around the world; look out for Odell's 90 /- and 5 Barrel Pale Ale from the US; occasional bottles from Manchester's Marble Brewery or Otley from North Wales also pop up. The full range of Redchurch Brewery beers is available, as is that from the organic Pitfield and Bermondsey's Kernel.

Best beer shops in east London

Borough Wines

Shopping Off licences Hackney

The clue’s in the name – this is of course primarily a chain of wine shops, but in recent years it has increasingly stocked a range of well-chosen beers, with a focus on London breweries.

Bottle Apostle

Shopping Off licences Victoria Park

Like Borough Wines, Bottle Apostle is a small but growing chain of wine shops. However, it too doesn’t ignore beer – the Victoria Park outpost is particularly strong, with a whole room dedicated to beer, ale, cider and mead, most of it from within London.

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Clapton Craft

Shopping Clapton

The best bottle shop in London? It’s a strong contender. As well as the original in Clapton, as of 2015 there’s a handsome, brand-new branch in Kentish Town, which has ten taps of draught beer to take away in refillable 1 litre bottles and growlers as well as shelves of brilliant beer. Staff are genial and really know their stuff.

Tim Crocker

Eat 17

Restaurants Walthamstow

In the ‘posh Spar’ in Walthamstow Village, there’s a comprehensive range of London-brewed beers, including many from Wild Card, made just round the corner.

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Kill the Cat

Shopping Off licences Brick Lane

When one of your neighbours is a cereal café, doing the basic bottleshop thing isn’t going to cut it. As well as running regular tasting events, Kill the Cat has also devised an appropriately novel way of displaying its stock, breaking it up into three sections that range from familiar and accessible (Beavertown’s Gamma Ray et al) to the potent and bonkers (imperial stouts from  the likes of Swedish brewer Omnipollo).

Mother Kelly's

Bars and pubs Breweries Bethnal Green

A craft beer bar, in the first instance, and one of the best in London; however, all the fridges down one wall hold beers that can be taken away at uncynical prices. A fine place.

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Seven Seasons

Shopping Specialist food and drink Hoxton

This exceptionally well-stocked bottleshop claims to have over 400 different types of beer on the shelves at any one time. The range covers everything from local trailblazers to revered European brewers, with plenty of respect for classic Belgian styles.

Best beer shops in south London

We Brought Beer

Shopping Specialist food and drink Tooting

Set within buzzy Tooting Market, the smallest of the WBB clan sports a fridge stocked with 200 different canned beers, plus three keg lines. The market setup means you can take advantage of communal tables and hang out with a drink, should the concept of grab-and-go feel all too fleeting.

We Brought Beer Clapham Junction

Shopping Specialist food and drink Clapham Junction

The second in the WBB stable builds on the original’s offering of bottles, cans and homebrew supplies with an upstairs tasting room and a beer garden out back. Local homebrewers should bring a bottle along to the shop’s regular homebrew club.

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The Bottle Shop

Shopping Specialist food and drink Bermondsey

Despite its simple name, The Bottle Shop is a sophisticated operation – it’s an importer and distributor of incredible craft beer, much of it exclusive, and sells mostly through mail order. This London shop is only open Saturdays and Sundays, but makes up for that with an amazing selection of beer, plus a bar and regular brewer takeovers.

Best beer shops in west London

Beer + Burger

No prizes for guessing what’s on the menu at this bar-slash-bottleshop. With over 300 beers in the five metres' worth of fridges, picking a few to take home could take time. Our advice? Mull it over at the bar, where you can tuck into juicy-looking burgers and 20 further taps of hop-laden loveliness.

DR.ink of Fulham

Shopping Off licences Fulham

A truly exceptional range of beers from around the world pack the shelves of this dedicated Fulham beer shop. There are more than 500 examples of British, Belgian, German, American, Antipodean and other world beers available, and stock changes regularly. Staff will happily point you in the direction of new and interesting bottles – Brewdog Bashah double black IPA, for example, or Goose Island Bourbon County Stout.

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Micro Beers

Shopping Off licences Mortlake and Sheen

This family-run operation in East Sheen stocks brews from an impressive range of international breweries, plus a strong selection of wines and soft drinks. There are four taps for draught takeouts in one- or two-litre growlers, mostly dominated by London brewers.

Real Ale Shop

Shopping Off licences Twickenham

This award-winning shop is well stocked with every conceivable type of interesting beer in bottles, cans and on tap. If you’re having a party, they also offer keg equipment for hire, or you can summon brews to your door via Deliveroo.

Find places to drink craft beer

best craft beer bars in london, holborn whippet
© Ming Tang-Evans

London's best craft beer bars and pubs

Bars and pubs

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.

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