The Quest for the Holy Grain - Best Beer Bars








The Last Drop Inn
27 Colliergate
York YO1 8BN
United Kingdom
+44 1904 621951

The Last Drop Inn is the outlet for the York Brewing Co. located near the traffic- restricted pedestrian zone of York.
There are several other pubs in York which serve as outlets for the brewery as well.
There are 5 York beers on tap as well as about 10 guests... some on cask.
One enters into a square room dining area and walks through to several stairs to an upper level where the bar and a few more seats are located.
As with many English pubs there are no seats at the bar, but room for perhaps 8 to stand with drink in hand.
Smokers can go out a back door near the kitchen to a tiny area that has a picnic table and a few seats.
Bar policy dictates there be no jukeboxes or video games...nothing to disrupt peace and quiet.
The bartender wore a York Brewing shirt and was quite enthusiastic about the York beers, telling me in great detail about each one.
He encouraged me to visit the actual brewery, less than a mile away, but I pointed out that as a tourist I was time-restricted. Maybe next time.






The Defector's Weld
170 Uxbridge Road
London W12 8AA
T: 0208 749 0008

Defector's Weld is a restaurant in the trendy Shepherds Bush neighborhood of London.
The door opens to the corner of a large room dominated by a three-sided bar which has no seating.
There are booths and tables on each of the three sides, and some sofas in the back near the rest room doors.
Each of the sides of the bar has 15 taps, but some are repeated so that there are only perhaps 20 different beers, including 5 casks. The menu is typical English pub, with big portions; lots of people were eating.
Defector's Weld describes their patrons as "eclectic clientele of all ages," and suggests stopping by to "grab a pie before the match."
The barmaids were friendly and could speak of the beer, offering samples to help one decide on the next beer.





BrewDog -
Shepherds Bush

15-19 Goldhawk Road London W12 8QQ
United Kingdom
+44 20 8749 8094

BrewDog - Shepherds Bush is one of many in the growing chain of BrewDog brewery-affiliated bars.
Want to open one up yourself?
Literature for becoming an investor is on each table in each location.
This particular location is in the trendy London neighborhood of Shepherds Bush.
One enters into the center of a very large room, with the bar across the back. There are no barstools along this long bar. There are some booths by the windows as well as several tables scattered about, with lots of space between.
An alcove with sofas and the doors to the rest rooms is to the left of the bar.
The short menu contains only a few sandwiches, but no one was eating.
There are 17 BrewDog beers on tap, some probably unique, as well as 23 guest taps.
BrewDog claims that 40 taps makes them tops in the city.
The barmaids were friendly and knowledgable about the beer. BrewDog would seem to be a kids' bar as no one seemed to be above 30 years of age.




The Sheaf
The Hop Exchange
24 Southwark St
London SE1 1TY
United Kingdom
+44 20 7407 9934

The Sheaf is a beer bar down the street from the historic London Bridge Station in downtown London.
One of it's claims to fame is that it is in the subterranean vault of the historic and beautiful Hop Exchange building.
The other is that The Sheaf is the reincarnation of the popular pub, The Wheatsheaf, which was forced to relocate from Borough Market.
The Wheatsheaf was so well-loved, that it's last days were recorded in a book, The Wheatsheaf RIP. The photos from this book now grace the walls of The Sheaf.
The pub is down a few steps into the basement and has a modern sports bar motif. During our visit one side of the bar was watching the local football (soccer) match, the other side the local rugby game.
The Sheaf has about 30 taps but many are duplicates.
They do have 10 real ale casks with some unique beer. Food was available.





Craft Beer Co.
55 White Lion St.
London N1 9PP
United Kingdom
+44 20 7278 0318

The Islington area of London is home to a number of brew pubs and beer bars.

About two blocks from the Underground is Craft Beer Co, a beer bar with about 30 taps. The bar room is relatively small but there are two large separate seating areas.
The young bartenders are very knowledgable, discussing the merits of each beer.
Craft Beer Co has no kitchen, but at the bar one can order a tasty hamburger that magically arrives from the place next door.

Craft Beer Co also hosts Group Tastings, and sponsors special events such as tap takeovers and beer festivals.

There are 5 or 6 other locations in the London area.



Bavarian Beerhouse
190 City Road
London EC1V 2QH
Phone 0207 60 80 925

The Bavarian Beerhouse is a replica of a German-style drinking establishment with about 30 picnic tables set up for eating and drinking.
The seven draft beers are all from Munich.
When I pointed this out to the waitress, she said every one that worked there was from Munich.


The Dove
19 Upper Mall,
Hammersmith, London, W6 9TA

The Dove has the smallest bar in Britain, maybe 4 feet across, with a service bar only slightly bigger, and two small rooms inside.
The poet James Thomson composed ‘Rule Britannia' here. 
King Charles II wined and dined his mistress, Nell Gwynne here at The Dove.
Walk outside to the one-and-a-half patios, and enjoy a wonderful view of the Thames. They have six European beers and 4 Fuller's handpulls.


Porterhouse Pub
21-22 Maiden Lane
Covent Garden
London WC2 E7NA
Tel: 020 7379 7917
Int'l: 00 44 20 7379 7917

Porterhouse is one of a chain of Irish pubs.
This location, in a busy tourist area, is rather new, and large for an Irish pub, but has lots of small rooms and cozy nooks.
Porterhouse has ten of their own beers, all made in Dublin, at the Porterhouse Brewery.
They also feature about five guest hand pulls, and an enormous selection of bottled beers.


Churchill Arms
119 Kensington Church St.
Kensington, London, W8 7LN
020 7727 4242

The Churchill Arms, a bar in the Notting Hill area of London, is a classic bar very popular with the locals.
The many frosted windows let it be both light and dark inside due to the dark paneling and many Churchill memorabelia.
The full line of Fullers, with duplicates, highlights the 19 taps.
There is also a portrait gallery of American presidents, and a butterfly collection.
Children welcome in restaurant only.



Sun in Splendour
7 Portobello Road,
Notting Hill, LONDON, W11 3DF
Tel. 08713322456

Sun in Splendour is a bar deep in the tourist area of Notting Hill.
With throngs of tourists, and probably some locals, the bar is crowded.
With many windows, it is brightly lit, and sofas, upholstered stools, and other comfy seats crowd the place. The bar is standing room only. The prices on the food menu were quite reasonable, but they don't serve food during what would be happy hour. Sun in Splendour offers 13 taps of European beer.



Portobello Gold
95/97 Portobello Rd
Notting Hill - London W11 2QB

Portobello Gold is an old and dark place in the high tourist area of Notting Hill.
Several couples were on the patio, but the inside was empty, although the classic interior and 60's music were enticing.
The bar has two halves, one with sofas and booths, and the other with a harder edge...about 10 stools around the bar and permanent stools situated around the peremiter.
Portobello Gold also houses a conservatory!
(That's a big room with plants.)
Gold has 9 European beers on tap plus two hand pumps.
The food menu prices are very high end.
As of the summer of 2017, Portobello Gold was temporarily closed but promised to return.



From Foamee's Guide to Oxford:

The Red Lion
14 Gloucester St
Oxford OX1 2BN, UK

The Red Lion, formerly called The Goose, is only a block from the tourist trail, but contains locals watching the telly and smoking. With 35 taps it seems like a real beer bar, until one realizes that they have the 6 European beers repeated a total of 5 times, plus 5 local handpulls.
The Red Lion also boasts one of the city's biggest beer gardens.



King's Arms
40 Holywell Street
Oxford OX1 3SP

The guide book says the Kings Arms is a good place to meet "professors and gays", so tourists abound. They have 6 European beers and 5 handpulls in a comfortable setting.
The King's Arms is the oldest pub in Oxford, having stood in this same spot since 1607.
Thsy also claim to be Oxford's smartest watering hole, having the highest IQ per square foot!


Turf Tavern
7 Bath Place
Oxford, OX1 3SU
01865 24 3235

The Turf has been in it's present location since the 1700's, with a "liquids concern" on the site since the 1300's.
It lies just outside the walls of Oxford.
Down a maze of alleyways, it's worth the trip.
The main bar room is rather small, but they have three levels of sitting rooms as well as three separate patios that are heated when need be. Turf Tavern has 11 different hand pulls on an agressive rotation.