Whiskey and wine have traditionally been the go-to for specialized imbibing. But beer, particularly craft and foreign varieties, has made tremendous inroads throughout the last decade, and a brewing boom has elevated the once overlooked beverage. With dedicated liquor shops and wine stores providing the unusual, hard-to-find and expensive in their particular categories, it only seems natural that a new vertical of stores specializing in beer would begin to flourish. Despite our historic lack of LA breweries (until recently), Los Angeles has always been a beer city, and the beer stores here are a manifestation of our affection for all things hoppy, malty, fruity, sour, crisp and, most certainly, cold.
Beer store options in LA
This beer store and bar offers a gigantic selection of brewskies, from West Coast microbrews to rare Belgian ales and small production specialty bottles. (There's also wine, and a pretty good little selection, but we rarely see anyone drinking it here.) There are refrigerated cases from which you can grab bottles to go, or get one opened at the bar (for a small corkage fee) and hang out with a plethora of Eastside beer nerds. There are always local brews on tap, and the space hosts special events such as a beer and cheese tasting with Stone Brewing's master brewer. Join the "mug club" and corkage fees are waived for a year, with each pour you buy going into your very own mug (well, more like a stein) that's kept behind the bar. The staff is super knowledgeable and friendly—no beer snobs here—and the atmosphere is cozy, with communal benches, comfy plush chairs and a smoking area outside. There's also a decent pizza place next door to help you soak up all that delicious booze.
Perhaps the San Fernando Valley’s best place to purchase beer, the selection at Valley Beverage can be best summed up as extensive. Though it’s a full-service liquor store with a large offering of wines and spirits, the aisles and aisles of beers bring it into the pantheon of great beer stores. Containing a wide variety of beers from all over the planet, Valley Beverage’s extensive international collection truly boggles. Inexpensive beers from places like Poland and Lithuania sit next to the more commonly seen German, Czech and Belgian varieties, while an "oddities" section and various specials make Valley Beverage one of Los Angeles’ true beer stand-outs.
This unassuming convenience/liquor store on a quiet stretch of Highland Park's Avenue 50 belies one of the finest selections of beers in the Los Angeles area. Part of a small local chain of shops—with other outlets in El Monte, Whittier, Norwalk and Hawaiian Gardens—Happy’s has a truly remarkable selection of fantastic beers and ciders. Because it is also a full-service liquor store, micro-brews share shelf-space with the big-boys of American brewing, and this co-mingling seems to keep the prices on the craftier bottles and six-packs surprisingly low. It is definitely a go-to location for truly hard-to-find beers and unusual gems.
Situated in Boyle Heights, just beyond the expanding borders of DTLA, Ramirez Liquor is an old-school liquor store that's new school with its beer. Though it is perhaps best known by Eastsiders as the definitive place for civilians to acquire an entire keg, this particular service is only one facet of Ramirez Liquor’s dedication to all things beer. A truly tremendous and perhaps overlooked selection of some of the country’s best beers line the store’s shelves, rounding out what is undoubtedly one of the city’s very finest beer buying experiences.
Perhaps the most unique beer store on this list, Uncle Henry’s Deli is something of a hybrid: part deli, part tap room and part beer store. Located somewhat off the grid in Downey, the front portion of Uncle Henry’s is dedicated to a full service, New York-style deli, where young men slice cold cuts and put together gut-busting sandwiches. In the back of the shop, past the slim, cramped picnic-style tables, are 30 taps of the finest beers an aficionado could imagine. Grab a glass or a flight and peruse the considerable coolers and ceiling-high shelves of Uncle Henry’s to go section for some truly special bottles to take home after you’ve filled your belly.
Los Feliz’s premier seller of unusual and hard-to-find beers and spirits, this full-service liquor store with an extensive selection of craft-beers has been setting the standard for beer-selling in one of the county’s flagship beer drinking neighborhoods. A stalwart, free-standing neighborhood store, Cap N Cork’s selection of craft, local and international brews is trendsetting and comprehensive, and the shop’s knowledgeable staff can answer any question you might have about beers. It’s served the neighborhood for many years, and is a great destination shop for picking up odd and hard-to-find beers, ciders, wines and spirits.
Probably the largest national chain of craft beer sellers, Craft Beer Cellars provides beer drinkers a place to not only buy local, small batch and international bottles and cans, but also to drink them. With two locations in the greater Los Angeles area (Eagle Rock and Torrance), Craft Beer Cellar is jam-packed with coolers and shelves dedicated to beer and cider. In the back of the Eagle Rock shop is a bar and patio, with eight well-curated taps. Bottles purchased at the shop can be enjoyed on site for a small corkage fee, and the large projection screen, multitudes of games and al fresco imbibing provide a plethora of reasons to stick around.
Tucked away on an idyllic stretch of Redondo Beach, Select Beer store is the perfect place to while away an afternoon shopping for, talking about and drinking delicious beers. With coolers on one side of the shop and shelves on the other, the middle is a wide open area where friendly and knowledgeable clerks fill glasses from one of the shop's 17 taps. The store’s wood accented concrete interior maintains the hip, beachy vibe, complementing the shop’s wide selection of West Coast and international brews. Select Beer Store runs a number of beer- and community-focused events, so check their calendar to see what’s happening.
Rounding out what makes the Highland Park/Eagle Rock area LA’s premier beer zone, Galco’s is a neighborhood mainstay. Though primarily known for what is possibly the world’s most extensive collection of soda pops, Galco’s doesn’t get enough credit for its large and unusual beer selection. Perusing the many aisles at Galco’s, it begins to make sense that sodas and beers would go hand in hand, as craft and locally made beers and colas are sometimes even brewed at same place. The beer section has a particular emphasis on odd and international beers, with some frequently crossing over into the category of "novelty," much like the sodas. Nevertheless, the old-timey grocery store aesthetic of the shop is a delight, whether one is a teetotaler or searching for the harder stuff.
It may be a little tricky finding this place at first. Nestled deep in a quiet strip mall a few blocks down from the Wiltern, Southland Beer isn't the first place that comes to mind for Koreatown imbibing. Inside, a craft beer haven dreamt up by two librarians—Tim Sturn and his wife, Orchid Mazurkiewicz—awaits. Nineteen ales from relatively nearby breweries like Smog City, Monkish, Barley Forge and El Segundo flow from the tap, some on nitro. But that’s not what sets it apart from other beer bars. Southland is the area’s first tasting room and bottle shop rolled into one. Tucked off to the side through an archway aptly labeled “BEER” in marquee lights is every brew hound’s dream: refrigerators and shelves chock-full of carefully selected bottles priced to-go. For an extra $2, imbibers can sample the suds on-site. Close quarters, communal seating, games and some interesting food pairings (aged Gouda and a double cream stout, for example) make this dressed-up hole-in-the-wall a solid neighborhood spot.
Despite the hyperbolic name, this small Downtown LA storefront (by far the smallest square footage of any shop on this list, and just about any other shop you’ve been inside) provides a wonderful selection of craft beers and ciders to a growing neighborhood of beer lovers. With a varied and comprehensive selection as they can have in such a small space, Weird Beers focuses on larger bottles of craft brews, though there are a few six- and four-packs alongside the requisite twelver of PBR. In addition to beers, Weird Beers has a small cafe and (non-weird) cigarettes on offer.