The Best Craft Beer Bars in London

The late-20th century saw the dominance of industrial beer brands and corporate pubs in London, which threatened the livelihoods of independent breweries—a phenomenon London’s craft beer bars are seeking to reverse. Though the tap and bottle selections at these venues vary—one might favor aggressively hoppy beers, another cask ales, others imported brews—the commitment to serve craft beer from small and independent brewers is a unifying bond. As opposed to gastropubs, craft beer bars keep the focus firmly on beer, and though some might host restaurant pop-ups or serve hot food, their purpose is first and foremost to serve a proper pint. —Katie Parla

  • 1

    BrewDog (Shoreditch)

    The rapidly expanding Scottish brewer has four pubs (and counting) in London. The taps are dominated by the house brand, but there are also plenty of bottles and drafts from Britain’s other craft brewers. There’s a cocktail bar called Two-Bit in the basement: an American craft beer dive bar, which features brews from the US served alongside whisky, soul food, arcade games, and music.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • craft beer
    • outdoor / patio
    • day drinking
    • bar food
    • craft cocktails
    • live music
  • 2

    Duke's Brew & Que (De Beauvoir Town)

    This Beavertown Brewery pub in De Beauvoir Town specializes in American style barbecue and hoppy brews, with a good selection of British ales to boot. The dining room attracts a twenty-something crowd hungry for smoked meat (it's become a bona fide trend in London of late), while the bar area is the ideal place to taste house beers on tap, as well as bottles from local brewers like Partizan and The Kernel.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • day drinking
    • craft beer
    • outdoor / patio
    • bar food
    • full menu
    • lots of whiskey
    • lots of tequila / mezcal
    • craft cocktails
  • 3

    Hops & Glory

    This corner pub in Islington serves craft beers, fine spirits and cocktails (though for the full treatment, visit their recently opened cocktail bar, High Water, in nearby Dalston) as well as simple snacks like artisan meats and cheeses. There are around a dozen domestic and international beers on tap and 60 bottles from brewers as close as the neighboring borough and as distant as Oz. Editor's Note: Hops & Glory is currently closed for renovations.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • day drinking
    • craft beer
    • bar food
    • games
    • outdoors / patio
  • 4

    Sebright Arms

    Just off Hackney Road, Sebright Arms hosts live music and comedy shows in its basement, while the ground-floor pub serves up pints from London’s microbreweries. Bunsmiths is in residence in the Sebright Arms’ kitchen, and serves Beef Brisket Buns, Buttermilk Fried Chicken Buns and a Veg Fritter Bun to soak up all that craft beer.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • day drinking
    • craft beer
    • singles scene
    • live music
    • bar food
  • 5

    The Crown & Anchor

    From the creators of Stoke Newington’s The Jolly Butchers, this pub in Brixton serves over 20 craft beers and cask ales, mainly from the Southern UK. There is a major focus on London’s urban breweries, and a constantly rotating selection of local beers on tap.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • craft beer
    • outdoor / patio
    • day drinking
    • full menu
    • bar food
    • games
  • 6

    The Duke of Wellington

    A bright, cozy corner pub, the Duke of Wellington always has a selection of rotating guest ales and a range of bottles from local brewers like The Beavertown, The Kernel, Pressure Drop and Camden. The Duke of Wellington hosts regular kitchen take-overs by run by local pop-ups, as well as film screenings, comedy nights, and musical performances.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • craft beer
    • outdoor / patio
    • full menu
    • bar food
    • day drinking
    • singles scene
    • live music
  • 7

    The Jolly Butchers

    This popular pub in Stoke Newington scores major points for their beer list—a vast selection of real ales, ciders and premium lagers, most of which come from brewers in the UK. The food leaves something to be desired, but the attention to quality when it comes to beer and cider is beyond reproach.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • craft beer
    • outdoor / patio
    • bar food
    • full menu
    • singles scene
  • 8

    The Southampton Arms

    The Southampton Arms may well be the perfect pub: A stellar selection of real ales and ciders that rotate constantly, a well-worn, wood accented bar and a simple menu featuring comfort food like pork baps and pickled eggs are just the highlights. This haven for real ale drinkers is so popular on the weekends, it can be difficult to find standing room at the bar or a seat on the lovely patio, but hold ground and be rewarded with one of London’s finest drinking experiences.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • craft beer
    • outdoor / patio
    • bar food
  • 9

    The Rake

    The Rake was born in earnest as a small, quality beer shop and bar for craft beer wholesaler Utobeer. But soon after its founding in 2006, it emerged as on the edge of Borough Market as London’s premier craft beer pub, pouring pints and serving bottles from the world’s finest breweries. One hundred and thirty bottles, many of which are sought-after special edition brews, join the seven keg pumps and three hand-pulled ales.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • craft beer
    • outdoor / patio
    • historic
    • day drinking

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