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Best craft beer bars, pubs, and taprooms in London

The Best Places to Drink (Craft) Beer in London

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London has it all, when it comes to beer: The old-worldliness of British bitter, German lager, Nordic mead, and of course the voguish, relentless wave of North American-style pale ales in all corners of the city. Right now, there are few better places on Earth for draining a pint (or, in some cases, a dainty third of one) than the UK’s capital. A spree might involve a snug Edwardian tavern with leathery old chairs and hand pumps. Or it might be a brewery taproom, all industrial pipes and concrete. Or even a carpark that shares its space with a tile wholesaler and Screwfix. The point is: where there’s good beer, people will come. Here are 19 places in London to drink great beer today.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Beavertown Brewery

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17-18 Lockwood Industrial Estate, Mill Mead Road
London, Greater London

One of London’s favourite craft breweries is, at the weekend, also one of London’s busiest. Possibly because the tap room’s only open six hours a week, and as well as being the cheapest venue to find a pint of Neck Oil, Gamma Ray or Lupuloid, is the best place to drink Beavertown one-offs and seasonals, such as their DIPA collaboration with Lervig, at £2.50 a half.

Jonathan Fisher

2. Wild Card Tap Bar

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Unit 7 Ravenswood Industrial Estate, Shernhall St
Walthamstow, Greater London
(+44) 798-2402650
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Walthamstow’s Wild Card do easily one of the best IPAs in the capital, and on (almost) any given Saturday, this amber spicy caramel number is right here, flowing from the taps. Bear in mind this is no massive operation, so quantity isn’t oceanic, but there’s a certain consistency that resonates throughout their five core beers.

3. The Duke's Head

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16 Highgate High St
Highgate, Greater London
(+44) 208-3411310
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The Duke’s Head in Highgate has a solid reputation for hosting street-food residencies, but it’s worth visiting for the beer, as much as who’s in the kitchen. The bar has 20 lines, all from homegrown British brewers, with a cask-keg balance (10 a piece) that’ll keep both real ale lovers and West Coast hop hunters happy.

Hugh Thomas

4. The Cock Tavern

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315 Mare St
Hackney, Greater London

The Cock Tavern doesn’t just serve beer — it lives and breathes it. Local brewery Howling Hops started life in the pub’s basement, and a fair few homebrewers have been known to make use of the space, too. Other than that, there’s nothing complicated about it: The Cock is simply a good pub with good beer.

Ewan Munro

5. Beer Merchants Tap

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99 Wallis Rd
London E9 5LN, UK

Beer Merchants have distributed on behalf of European breweries ­— Belgian ones especially ­— for the past 30 years. That history has culminated in a substantial taproom around the corner from Hackney Wick Overground station, from where beers that are a challenge to find on draught elsewhere are being poured: Cantillon, De Dolle, De La Senne, to name but a few. Hundreds of others stock the fridges, while the taproom will soon have its own “blendery” — the first of its kind in Britain.

Beer Merchants Tap [Official Photo]

6. Howling Hops Brewery and Tank Bar

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Unit 9A Queen's Yard, White Post Ln
London E9 5EN, UK

From the line of massive steel tanks behind Howling Hops’ Hackney Wick bar, beers (both the brewery’s core and seasonal) are served unpasteurised straight from tank to tankard without touching a keg, can, or bottle on the way. Clearly, visitors don’t hold back — in the late evenings, the taproom erupts into a disco of sorts, with limb-throwing patrons all too willing to get involved. Until nightclubs start serving their own lemon goses and US-hopped pale ales, this is the next best thing.

7. Earl of Essex

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25 Danbury St
Islington, Greater London
(+44) 207-4245828
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Sour power rules at the Earl of Essex. In a world where aged, tart and spontaneously fermented beers — like your lambics and gueuze — are rare, this Angel pub has them in abundance. As such, the Earl of Essex befits, but doesn’t feel exclusive to, the more adventurous drinker.

8. The Three Johns

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73 White Lion St
London, Greater London
(+44) 203-7147830
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Angel’s nightlife is a heavy hitter, and the Three Johns is a big reason why. It’s open until 1am at the weekend, and that means the pub’s as loud as it is impenetrable on a Friday night, so if you’re hoping to enjoy a quiet pint of Warpigs’ IPA or Anspach & Hobday’s New World Gose, best visit when the rest of N1 isn’t.

9. Mother Kelly's Bottle Shop and Tap Room

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251 Paradise Row
Bethnal Green, Greater London
(+44) 207-0121244
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Mother Kelly’s wall of fridges is a beautiful thing. Six of them, shoulder to shoulder, shelves full of anything from Amundsen to Wild Beer Co. Pair that with 23 taps on constant rotation, and it’s fair to say this tap room has one of the most extensive beer ranges in London.

10. The Old Fountain

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3 Baldwin St
Hoxton, Greater London
(+44) 207-2532970
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This two-time CAMRA award-winner just outside Old Street Tube features a list of 20-odd keg and cask beers from some of the best brewers in the country. Dark Star, Tiny Rebel, Siren, Kernel and Redemption are often well-represented on the bar top.

11. The Euston Tap

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190 Euston Rd
London, Greater London
(+44) 203-1378837
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Standing so close to the station, the Euston Tap has blessed many a waiting commuter with some of the world’s best in modern beer. Until recently, the premises was split between the Euston Tap and, on the opposite side of the road, the Cider Tap. But the Cider Tap has been rehashed as the “East Lodge”, bringing to the table an extra 20 draught beer lines, in addition to the West Lodge’s 28. Spoilt for choice, much?

Adam Bruderer

12. The Harp

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47 Chandos Pl
Covent Garden, Greater London
(+44) 872-1077077
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Hanging baskets, leadlight windows and a collage of pump clips adorn this West End Fuller’s pub. Yes, it’s traditional, indeed iconic, through and through. And, with ten hand-drawn beers on tap, is certainly one of the best places to take your favourite cask ale fan.

Hugh Thomas

13. The Rake

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14a Winchester Walk
Greater London, Greater London
(+44) 207-4070557
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Ten years ago, owners of the Rake were told the pub wouldn’t last its first Christmas. Now, it’s easily one of the top drinking holes in the London Bridge area, with ten beers on draught, and 130 bottles and cans in the fridge. The shoebox-sized bar has recently been renovated, though its trademark wall of visiting brewers’ signatures has persisted.

14. Brew by Numbers

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79 Enid St
London, Greater London

Tiptoe up to anyone who knows the UK beer scene, ask for their top four London breweries, and BBNo is more than likely to be up there. Much of the brewery’s philosophy is about exploring traditional Belgian brews, like saisons, tripels and blondes, though their fresh and juicy IPAs and pale ales seem to prove more popular at their tap room.

15. Fourpure Brewing Co. Tap Room

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22 Bermondsey Trading Estate
Bermondsey, Greater London
(+44) 203-7442141
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Fourpure’s location at the back of a fairly unlovely trading estate would be — otherwise — the last place you’d choose to spend a Saturday afternoon. However, read the tap list on the monitor behind the bar, and you’ll know you’re in the right place. The bar carries 16 lines, dispensing the brewery’s core range, many more of their somewhat leftfield beers, and the odd guest draught.

16. The Greenwich Union

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56 Royal Hill
London, Greater London
(+44) 208-6926258
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This is a Meantime pub so, as you’d expect, the brewery’s frontline beers are on most of the taps. But once you get chatting to the staff, they’re more interested in finding something you’d like, Meantime or not. Indeed, the pub’s beer menu is a welcome distraction from London’s usual: five pages’ worth of Trappists, wheat and abbey beers, plus a fridge full of lambic and gueuze.

17. Stormbird

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25 Church St.
Camberwell, Greater London
(+44) 207-7084460

No one quite knows how it’s done, but Camberwell pub Stormbird manages to serve up quality pints of cask beer — we’re talking Dark Star, Marble Brewery, Five Points et al — for £3 a go. Their 16 draft lines are well priced too — sometimes under a fiver.

18. Hop Burns & Black

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38 East Dulwich Rd
London, Greater London

Granted, there are pubs with more room to manoeuvre than beer shop and “tasting room” HB&B. But then, not many pubs offer the kinds of nectar every beer hound wants to get her sticky paws on. Beers such as Cloudwater’s DIPL, Gypsy Hill and DEYA’s Ramblers, and the very small batch Mill’s Brewing & Oliver’s Cider Foxbic.

19. Ghost Whale

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70 Atlantic Rd, Brixton
London SW9 8PX, UK

For a bottle shop barely a year young, Brixton-based Ghost Whale has a remarkable roster fresh-off-the-canning-line beer from around the world, including barleywines from Oklahoma aged in cognac barrels, to pink peppercorn and raspberry sours from Somerset. Much thought has been spared for the drinker, as on the website the operators painstakingly maintain a full rundown of the constantly rotating 416 (as it currently stands) beers on the shelves.

Ghost Whale [Official Photo]

1. Beavertown Brewery

17-18 Lockwood Industrial Estate, Mill Mead Road, London, Greater London
Jonathan Fisher

One of London’s favourite craft breweries is, at the weekend, also one of London’s busiest. Possibly because the tap room’s only open six hours a week, and as well as being the cheapest venue to find a pint of Neck Oil, Gamma Ray or Lupuloid, is the best place to drink Beavertown one-offs and seasonals, such as their DIPA collaboration with Lervig, at £2.50 a half.

17-18 Lockwood Industrial Estate, Mill Mead Road
London, Greater London

2. Wild Card Tap Bar

Unit 7 Ravenswood Industrial Estate, Shernhall St, Walthamstow, Greater London

Walthamstow’s Wild Card do easily one of the best IPAs in the capital, and on (almost) any given Saturday, this amber spicy caramel number is right here, flowing from the taps. Bear in mind this is no massive operation, so quantity isn’t oceanic, but there’s a certain consistency that resonates throughout their five core beers.

Unit 7 Ravenswood Industrial Estate, Shernhall St
Walthamstow, Greater London

3. The Duke's Head

16 Highgate High St, Highgate, Greater London
Hugh Thomas

The Duke’s Head in Highgate has a solid reputation for hosting street-food residencies, but it’s worth visiting for the beer, as much as who’s in the kitchen. The bar has 20 lines, all from homegrown British brewers, with a cask-keg balance (10 a piece) that’ll keep both real ale lovers and West Coast hop hunters happy.

16 Highgate High St
Highgate, Greater London

4. The Cock Tavern

315 Mare St, Hackney, Greater London
Ewan Munro

The Cock Tavern doesn’t just serve beer — it lives and breathes it. Local brewery Howling Hops started life in the pub’s basement, and a fair few homebrewers have been known to make use of the space, too. Other than that, there’s nothing complicated about it: The Cock is simply a good pub with good beer.

315 Mare St
Hackney, Greater London

5. Beer Merchants Tap

99 Wallis Rd, London E9 5LN, UK
Beer Merchants Tap [Official Photo]

Beer Merchants have distributed on behalf of European breweries ­— Belgian ones especially ­— for the past 30 years. That history has culminated in a substantial taproom around the corner from Hackney Wick Overground station, from where beers that are a challenge to find on draught elsewhere are being poured: Cantillon, De Dolle, De La Senne, to name but a few. Hundreds of others stock the fridges, while the taproom will soon have its own “blendery” — the first of its kind in Britain.

99 Wallis Rd
London E9 5LN, UK

6. Howling Hops Brewery and Tank Bar

Unit 9A Queen's Yard, White Post Ln, London E9 5EN, UK

From the line of massive steel tanks behind Howling Hops’ Hackney Wick bar, beers (both the brewery’s core and seasonal) are served unpasteurised straight from tank to tankard without touching a keg, can, or bottle on the way. Clearly, visitors don’t hold back — in the late evenings, the taproom erupts into a disco of sorts, with limb-throwing patrons all too willing to get involved. Until nightclubs start serving their own lemon goses and US-hopped pale ales, this is the next best thing.

Unit 9A Queen's Yard, White Post Ln
London E9 5EN, UK

7. Earl of Essex

25 Danbury St, Islington, Greater London

Sour power rules at the Earl of Essex. In a world where aged, tart and spontaneously fermented beers — like your lambics and gueuze — are rare, this Angel pub has them in abundance. As such, the Earl of Essex befits, but doesn’t feel exclusive to, the more adventurous drinker.

25 Danbury St
Islington, Greater London

8. The Three Johns

73 White Lion St, London, Greater London

Angel’s nightlife is a heavy hitter, and the Three Johns is a big reason why. It’s open until 1am at the weekend, and that means the pub’s as loud as it is impenetrable on a Friday night, so if you’re hoping to enjoy a quiet pint of Warpigs’ IPA or Anspach & Hobday’s New World Gose, best visit when the rest of N1 isn’t.

73 White Lion St
London, Greater London

9. Mother Kelly's Bottle Shop and Tap Room

251 Paradise Row, Bethnal Green, Greater London

Mother Kelly’s wall of fridges is a beautiful thing. Six of them, shoulder to shoulder, shelves full of anything from Amundsen to Wild Beer Co. Pair that with 23 taps on constant rotation, and it’s fair to say this tap room has one of the most extensive beer ranges in London.

251 Paradise Row
Bethnal Green, Greater London

10. The Old Fountain

3 Baldwin St, Hoxton, Greater London

This two-time CAMRA award-winner just outside Old Street Tube features a list of 20-odd keg and cask beers from some of the best brewers in the country. Dark Star, Tiny Rebel, Siren, Kernel and Redemption are often well-represented on the bar top.

3 Baldwin St
Hoxton, Greater London

11. The Euston Tap

190 Euston Rd, London, Greater London
Adam Bruderer

Standing so close to the station, the Euston Tap has blessed many a waiting commuter with some of the world’s best in modern beer. Until recently, the premises was split between the Euston Tap and, on the opposite side of the road, the Cider Tap. But the Cider Tap has been rehashed as the “East Lodge”, bringing to the table an extra 20 draught beer lines, in addition to the West Lodge’s 28. Spoilt for choice, much?

190 Euston Rd
London, Greater London

12. The Harp

47 Chandos Pl, Covent Garden, Greater London
Hugh Thomas

Hanging baskets, leadlight windows and a collage of pump clips adorn this West End Fuller’s pub. Yes, it’s traditional, indeed iconic, through and through. And, with ten hand-drawn beers on tap, is certainly one of the best places to take your favourite cask ale fan.

47 Chandos Pl
Covent Garden, Greater London

13. The Rake

14a Winchester Walk, Greater London, Greater London

Ten years ago, owners of the Rake were told the pub wouldn’t last its first Christmas. Now, it’s easily one of the top drinking holes in the London Bridge area, with ten beers on draught, and 130 bottles and cans in the fridge. The shoebox-sized bar has recently been renovated, though its trademark wall of visiting brewers’ signatures has persisted.

14a Winchester Walk
Greater London, Greater London

14. Brew by Numbers

79 Enid St, London, Greater London

Tiptoe up to anyone who knows the UK beer scene, ask for their top four London breweries, and BBNo is more than likely to be up there. Much of the brewery’s philosophy is about exploring traditional Belgian brews, like saisons, tripels and blondes, though their fresh and juicy IPAs and pale ales seem to prove more popular at their tap room.

79 Enid St
London, Greater London

15. Fourpure Brewing Co. Tap Room

22 Bermondsey Trading Estate, Bermondsey, Greater London

Fourpure’s location at the back of a fairly unlovely trading estate would be — otherwise — the last place you’d choose to spend a Saturday afternoon. However, read the tap list on the monitor behind the bar, and you’ll know you’re in the right place. The bar carries 16 lines, dispensing the brewery’s core range, many more of their somewhat leftfield beers, and the odd guest draught.

22 Bermondsey Trading Estate
Bermondsey, Greater London

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16. The Greenwich Union

56 Royal Hill, London, Greater London

This is a Meantime pub so, as you’d expect, the brewery’s frontline beers are on most of the taps. But once you get chatting to the staff, they’re more interested in finding something you’d like, Meantime or not. Indeed, the pub’s beer menu is a welcome distraction from London’s usual: five pages’ worth of Trappists, wheat and abbey beers, plus a fridge full of lambic and gueuze.

56 Royal Hill
London, Greater London

17. Stormbird

25 Church St., Camberwell, Greater London

No one quite knows how it’s done, but Camberwell pub Stormbird manages to serve up quality pints of cask beer — we’re talking Dark Star, Marble Brewery, Five Points et al — for £3 a go. Their 16 draft lines are well priced too — sometimes under a fiver.

25 Church St.
Camberwell, Greater London

18. Hop Burns & Black

38 East Dulwich Rd, London, Greater London

Granted, there are pubs with more room to manoeuvre than beer shop and “tasting room” HB&B. But then, not many pubs offer the kinds of nectar every beer hound wants to get her sticky paws on. Beers such as Cloudwater’s DIPL, Gypsy Hill and DEYA’s Ramblers, and the very small batch Mill’s Brewing & Oliver’s Cider Foxbic.

38 East Dulwich Rd
London, Greater London

19. Ghost Whale

70 Atlantic Rd, Brixton, London SW9 8PX, UK
Ghost Whale [Official Photo]

For a bottle shop barely a year young, Brixton-based Ghost Whale has a remarkable roster fresh-off-the-canning-line beer from around the world, including barleywines from Oklahoma aged in cognac barrels, to pink peppercorn and raspberry sours from Somerset. Much thought has been spared for the drinker, as on the website the operators painstakingly maintain a full rundown of the constantly rotating 416 (as it currently stands) beers on the shelves.

70 Atlantic Rd, Brixton
London SW9 8PX, UK

Related Maps