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London's best beer shops

Discover where to buy great bottled beer and ale in London

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

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.

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Holborn

Royal Mile Whiskies

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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Bloomsbury

The London Beer House

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.

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St James'

Best beer shops in north London

Caps & Taps

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.

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Kentish Town

Highbury Vintners

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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Highbury

Clapton Craft NW5

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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Kentish Town

Dusty Dick's Craft Beer Emporium

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.

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Crouch End

Kris Wines

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.

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Lower Holloway

Best beer shops in east London

Borough Wines

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.

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Hackney

Bottle Apostle

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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South Hackney

Clapton Craft

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.

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Hackney

Eat 17

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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Walthamstow

Kill the Cat

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).

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Brick Lane

Mother Kelly's

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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Bethnal Green

Seven Seasons

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.

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Hoxton

Best beer shops in south London

Art & Craft

Fledgling brewery Inkspot is behind this artily decorated beer shop in Streatham. The range stretches to over 500 brews and, unlike at many modern bottleshops, real ales (the warmer, flatter stuff) get equal billing, and are available to take home in two-litre growlers.

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Streatham

The Beer Boutique

A dedicated Putney beer shop with a carefully selected range of Trappist, Belgian, fruit and pilsner brews. London ales are well represented – there's Kernel, and Windsor & Eton – and staff will give advice on the optimum glassware to use with different varieties of beer, as well as food matching.

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East Putney

The Beer Shop

ts website labels it a ‘micro-pub’, but its colourful, light-filled, open-plan front room is probably best described as a drop-in centre for beer-lovers. The tiny back counter dispenses three draught beers and a 60-strong list of bottled beers, ciders and porters – mostly (but not all) from London brewers, all with clear, succinct tasting notes. The Beer Shop also sells everything to take away – even draught beers.

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Nunhead

Craft Tooting

This tiny outlet in Tooting Broadway Market is styled like a Scandi dive bar (that’s a good thing). If your tastes go beyond bigger breweries and basic styles, well-versed staff happily make recommendations.

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Tooting

Ghost Whale

The well-travelled owners behind this Brixton-based beer emporium have curated a broad and diverse range of brews, which includes lesser-seen styles from around the world. As well as shelves heaving with bottles and cans, there are four taps pouring beer to drink in or take away. The addition of a beer garden is due in spring 2017.

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Brixton

Hop Burns & Black

The ‘hops’ in the name is, of course, beer – chosen by two fanatical Kiwis. The ‘burns’ is hot sauce, to put on whatever you’re eating with the craft beer, and the ‘black’ is vinyl, because why not. An inspired retail trinity.

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Peckham Rye

Salthouse Bottles

Opened within weeks of fellow Brockley bottleshop Waterintobeer, this smaller shop is, by chance or otherwise, a very different operation. There’s beer on tap, for a start, which you’re welcome to taste before taking home by the growlerful. A lineup of wine and spirits completes a varied offering.

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Brockley

Theatre of Wine

Their focus is wine, but these two boutique off-licences carry a range of around 50 hand-picked beers from Britain, Belgium and around the world. It's a good spot to pick up Camden Brewery beers; Meantime and Kernel are also stocked. Phone ahead if there's something specific you're after and staff will ensure it's chilled for your arrival.

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Greenwich

waterintobeer

If the dizzying possibilities of craft beer have got you itching to brew yourself, make tracks for this Brockley bottleshop. As well as a better-than-solid range of bottles and cans (with a noticeable emphasis on northern UK brewers), it also stocks brewing equipment and ingredients. There’s also a small seating area where you can sit with a brew and plan your craft beer empire.

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Brockley

We Brought Beer

This Balham craft beer shop offers 150 different beers from 30 different breweries, and if you'd like to have a go at brewing your own they also sell brewing kits and guides. We Brought Beer have beers on tap to sip on whilst browsing or to take away.

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Balham
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Best beer shops in west London

Beer + Burger

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

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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Fulham

Micro Beers

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.

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East Sheen

Real Ale Shop

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.

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St Margarets

Find places to drink craft beer

London's best craft beer 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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By: David Clack

Comments

12 comments
Dan B
Dan B

To save anyone a wasted trip, BottleDog is now permanently closed.

DJStoney
DJStoney

Beer Asylum in Pinner is a hidden gem missing off this list. Growler filling, draft and loads of tasting nights from brewers

Tou
Tou

Do you have Lao beer?

drinkers paradise
drinkers paradise

hi every one just wanted to thank timeout for their support great news from us we have expanded our selection of beers and ales we also have a great selection of exclusive spirits and liqours from all around the world and will have a new web page for online sales soon. thank you all

jim
jim

nelson wines has the best beer collection i've ever seen. lots of obscure beers from around the world to try. would definitely recommend a look. i'll check the others a when im next in north london..

Ben K
Ben K

For anyone in West London, Drink on the Fulham Palace Road is only two weeks old but has hundreds of bottled beers. It is the London outpost of a CAMRA afficionado from Goring-on-Thames and combines a world of beers and ales with Gujurati cooking as well. A truly awesome outpost.

C
C

Belgo: actually not very helpful! They couldn't really be bothered to sell me the beer I wanted to buy and told me to try Tesco (!). I'm going to try some of the other shops though they sound great.

Liam Keeling
Liam Keeling

I live just down the road from Highbury Vintners and it really is fantastic. Easily the best wine shop in North London. They have a serious amount of beer and everything else really. Spoilt for choice really!

Nick
Nick

Also worth a mention is Kris Wines at the top of York Way (between Camden and Holloway) - so many beers that I usually just end up choosing at random.

Monika
Monika

One of the most amazing beer, cider and wine shops in South London is a little gem called Mr Lawrence in Crofton Park ( Lewisham ). They not only offer the most individual selection and advice, they have incredibly competitive prices. Can' t go wrong with any bottle of anything. The gem!

tal
tal

Nelson Wines is a veritable feast of beer, wine and pretty much all booze. Could a shop be any better stocked to the rafters!

Stu
Stu

I used to live just down the road from Drinkers Paradise and I can testify as to the amazing selection of booze from around the world, as well as the brilliant people who run it - a Kentish Town hidden gem!