Food & Drink

London’s Best Beer Bars

Haley Forest Published On 10/15/2015 Published On 10/15/2015
Courtesy of The Sun Tavern

Along with the rise of the city’s craft brewing scene has come the rise of the beer bar: a place where they worship the almighty pint, and where the bartender basically needs a PhD to decrypt the menu. If you can’t find something you like at these hop spots, then you just aren’t thirsty.

Jason Allen/Thrillist

The Craft Beer Co.

With five London locations  -- plus a Brighton outpost -- there’s pretty much something for anyone here. In fact, the menu is the size of a medium-length novel. With 37 beers on draft alone at the Clerkenwell location, plus a casual 300 bottles available, this bar likes to boast that it has the largest selection in London, and frankly we’re not going to argue.

Jason Allen/Thrillist

Holborn Whippet

Just up from the chaos of Holborn and Covent Garden, this beer haven on the pedestrianized Sicilian Ave has 20 taps on regular rotation, and you’re only going to find super-small craft brews being poured here. It has a small kitchen, too, and the food menu is surprisingly good.

The Old Red Cow

The Old Red Cow

The marriage of meat & beer is one of the oldest, best partnerships in history -- so it comes as no surprise that this cleaned-up old-school boozer, located just around the corner from Smithfield market, is loaded with both various shades of liquid goodness and a protein-filled menu featuring the likes of bone-marrow & bacon burgers. It stocks a daily changing selection of kegs and casks, but it’s really the bottles that will keep you checking the shelves in wonder, boasting nearly 100 different brews in total.

The Cask Pub & Kitchen

Cask

With a massive chalk board sign instructing you to “ask for a beer menu,” it’s a good guess that the stuff you see on the tap handles is only the tip of the iceberg. The menu packs everything from Evil Twin, to Dark Star, Mad Hatter, Hoppin’ Frog, and so many more -- the list is in the ball park of 350.

Courtesy of The Sun Tavern

The Sun Tavern

This sister location to the cocktail-centric Discount Suit Company, the Sun focuses on the barley pops. With bottles from local buddies like Beavertown, CRATE, and Partizan, its also got 10 rotating brews on tap, including a couple of special house pours.

Flickr/Alan Perryman

Euston Tap

In an old Victorian gate house, a stones throw from the transit hub of Euston station is a beer-drinking commuter’s dream. With eight rotating casks, 20 kegs, and 150 bottles stashed into this tiny, postage stamp of a bar, it actively encourage you to go outside of your comfort zone and try something new, with loads of small batched brews sourced from around the globe keeping you on your tasting toes.

Draft House Northcote

The Draft House

Aiming to have a beer for everyone -- even those who don’t, like, swear by the stuff -- Draft House has been quietly creating a hoppy empire across the capital -- and with eight locations (and counting), it's on its way. There are plenty of glass-size options too, so it’s a great place to try everything, and still leave with your wallet & liver on speaking terms.

The Rake

The Rake

On the site of a former greasy spoon, The Rake boasts a simple motto: no crap on tap. That certainly makes ordering a bit easier. Keeping things always changing, it's got an awesome 130 (or there abouts) bottles hanging out in ttheeir cellar, and a constantly changing three kegs and seven casks for the taps. If you really want to get your geek level up, check out the walls -- they’re covered in the signatures of your favorite brewers.

The White Horse

Otherwise known as The Sloaney Pony. To say these guys like beer is kind of an understatement. The bar has 135 different bottled brews, plus 8 cask ales, a whole selection of guest drafts that regularly rotate, and it also throws beer festivals quarterly. No, this is a stallion.

BrewDog Bar Camden

BrewDog

While the thought of a brewery-owned bar might sound like a clever way to sell its own product, the BrewDog temples of beer are so much more. Sure, this place love you to down one of its barley pops -- there are loads of different batches to try, after all -- but with a constant changing list of guests beers, plus staple taps from rival hop-houses, it's happy for you to expand your palate and mind and just enjoy great beer, regardless of where it comes from. Mikkeller, Weird Beard, Stone and Ballast Point, and more are fixtures behind the bar.

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Haley Forest is a London writer who put together the majority of this article in a bar. Follow her at @HCForest.

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1. The Craft Beer Co. 82 Leather Lane, , London, EC1N 7TR (Clerkenwell)

If the Craft Beer Co. doesn't have it, it probably doesn't exist, or you're pronouncing it wrong. From craft beers, bourbon to wine, they have it all, and also offer tastings.

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2. The Holborn Whippet 25–29 Sicilian Ave, , London, WC1A 2QH (Holborn)

The boys behind Euston Tap are also behind The Whippet: Holborn's first independent pub, with a "less paralyzingly large" choice of brews -- 20 rotators, served from a bar wrapped around a huge slated pillar.

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3. The Old Red Cow 71 Long Ln, Smithfield, EC1A 9EJ (Clerkenwell)

This bar has a wide range of craft brews, ranging from Stouts and Porters, to Casks, to Wheats. Their wine selection matches their ambitious desire to impress your eyes and mouth -- just take it slow, there is a lot of brew to be had.

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4. Cask 6 Charlwood Street, Pimlico, SW1V 2EE

Prepare yourself for about 350 craft beers.

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5. The Sun Tavern 441 Bethnal Green, London, E2 0AN

This Bethnal Green bar not only puts out stunning cocktails, but it also features its own beer program too, with its own house lager & pale ale, as well as a rotating menu of local microbrews.

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6. Euston Tap 190 Euston Road, London, NW1 2EF (Kings Cross)

The Euston Tap is a dedicated cider bar, but also churns out taps & bottles of fermented fruit monthly -- which are their for your drinking pleasure.

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7. The Draft House Westbridge 74-76 Battersea Bridge Rd, Battersea, London, SW11 3AG (Battersea)

You can't go wrong with the food or drink here, but you may have a dilemma when it comes to picking your beer. They have more than 150 (!) brews to choose from, from assorted ales on tap to numerous craft bottled beers.

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8. The Rake 14a Winchester Walk,, Borough Market , N9

Here you'll find all of the bottle, taps, and casks you will ever need.

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9. White Horse 94 Brixton Hill, London, SW2 1QN (Brixton)

An old favorite to the area, White Horse is one of those place that has a life of its own. It's great for chilled-out weekday drinking, which evolves into a bit more of a party atmosphere on the weekends, and the food always brings people coming back for more, and the crowd themselves are always good for a bit of people watching.

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10. BrewDog Shoreditch 55 Bethnal Green Rd, London, E1 6LA (Shoreditch)

Not only does this place have the aesthetics of a cool beer bar down (antique tiles, reclaimed metal throughout, and a bar completely exposed by a wall of glass), they also serve up great suds and house the amazing BBQ joint that is Texas Joe's, whose brisket is otherworldly.

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