London is a great place for beer at the moment. There’s plenty of fantastic pubs and loads of amazing breweries. Following on from my “where I like to go for cocktails” is the beer edition. I’m focusing on places that sell different beers, rather than brewery taprooms, which I may include later. Due to being a massive hipster all but one of the places are definitely bars (or even taprooms) rather than pubs. Without further ado…
This is where it all started. Sort of anyway, I’d always had more than a passing interest in craft beer, and generally any beer that wasn’t just mainstream lager. The Euston Tap really took me to another level though. It was the right place at the right time. 27 taps. 100s of bottles. Drinking in a bus stop.
No. Really. A Bus stop. It’s in the base of what was the entrance to Euston Station, which is now the bus stop. Split across two sides of the road, the pub(s) is/are also tiny, which leads to mostly drinking outside.
I studied my PhD in UCL, which is just across the road and a German colleague insisted we go there so she could get real German beer. The rest of us were skeptical, but went along… and fell in love. As well as getting me through the PhD it’s where I really learnt my stuff about modern beer.I’ve not been for ages now, but it’ll always have a special place in my heart.
Sister to the Euston Tap is worth a mention in it’s own right. It’s cleaner. It’s busier. It’s closer to where I live too, but it’s fundamentally a nicer place to drink than it’s sibling. It’s under the railway between Waterloo and the Southbank Centre and has a gorgeous copper back bar.
A good friend from my PhD/Euston Tap drinking days currently works behind the bar there, so I’m always told what’s best to have. That being said it’s not special treatment. They’re always willing to advise and give tasters if you show even the vaguest interest. Last time I was there they even managed to sell me a lager. It was delicious.
The Hole in the Wall
This is the only pub on my list. It’s a REAL pub too. Its just round the corner from the Waterloo Tap, but also a world away. Sports on TV. Many fizzy sugared water (Lagers). It’s also incredibly cheap. That’s not why it makes the list (although it does help). They also have real ales. The ones your grandad drinks/drank (although my grandad wouldn’t have as they were all southern and he refused to drink anything that wasn’t from the north). They’re really well kept and really reasonably priced. Every Good Friday, me and my mate Nic, plus anyone else we can drag along work our way through as many of them as we can. This ritual is why it makes the list.
That being said, if you want that kind of real ale, you could do a lot worse!
Nested among the breweries on Bermondsey’s beer mile is Bottle Shop. It’s a bottle shop. It’s THE bottle shop. It’s got the best selection of bottles in London by miles and is always the first place with the new stuff. They also have tables and a few taps. Last time I was there it was for a Cloudwater Brewery take over (which involved the only Kettle Sour I’ve ever liked and a oak aged DIPA, both of which were INSANELY good).
There’s two of them. One in Bethnal Green and one in Vauxhall. They’re both great. They both have HUGE fridges and over 30 taps. They’re both in railway arches. They’re both excellent. Bottle Shop may have the best selection of bottles, but Mother Kelly’s definitely wins on the taps.
I can’t choose one over the other. The Original Bethnal Green one has other great places to drink directly around it. The Vauxhall one is about a minutes walk from my flat. They are both really great places to drink.