This low-key hangout has craft beers on tap, plus a selection of hundreds of...
Los Angeles may have taken a while to catch up with the craft beer scenes in nearby San Diego and close-enough San Francisco, but you know where we’ve long been killing the game? At our bottle shop-craft beer bar hybrids. Plenty of cities have great bottle shops and equally good craft beer bars, but we’re blessed with quite a few combos that can give any other town a run for their beer money.
What makes these so great? Simply put, nearly every one of these focuses on Los Angeles or Southern California beers on their fresh AF taps, and their fridges tend to be stocked with not only the same but plenty of cans and bottles from nearby states that you can crack open right there in the bar. Having the option of both is pretty sweet, especially if you’re not feeling the taps that day, but being able to pop the top of a hard-to-find beer right there with your buddies during a fun night out is tough to beat. From South Bay to the Valley, here’s our guide to visiting the best of L.A.’s bunch.
This Echo Park favorite is the city’s O.G. hybrid. Their space is divided into two main rooms, a massive bottle shop with about a dozen fridges labeled by location and a cozy taproom full of couches, high-tops, and board games. There’s even an outdoor patio, but you’ll probably have to be there when they open to snag a spot there, even in the winter. You can choose between drinking one of their thousands of bottle options on-premise for a $2 corkage fee, but that’s waived if you pop in during happy hour from 4-7 p.m. from Monday through Thursday, or their dozen taps which always favor Los Angeles-area breweries. It’s pretty hard to leave this place as an unhappy customer.
The Heights is one of those hidden gems that’s not-so-hidden but yet still kind-of a secret. Located very much out in the open on Broadway, they run one of the best bottle games in town with 10 gorgeous fridges to choose from (they go especially hard on IPAs)and a whole rack of saison and sour options, plus they have a small bar and patio in the back to enjoy their 15 tap options. Don’t forget to grab a sandwich or some snacks to go take your drinking game to new, well, heights.
You can rejoice about this Koreatown space for a number of reasons, which include their parking lot (how L.A. of us to count this as a pro point), proximity to a metro line, choice snacks that include a charcuterie plate and spicy popcorn, and their killer taps which are almost always from a local or beer nerd-favorite brewery. Their fridges are located in the far back corner of the bar and are carefully curated, so it’s tough to go wrong, especially when there’s nearly always a Prairie, Mikkeller, or Kern River option available. They do have a corkage fee — $2 for anything under 500 ml, $3 for anything above that — though it’s waived for happy hour, and they also have an excellent selection of natural wines and ciders, with Wednesdays being corkage fee-free for vino as well. As a bonus, their Thursdays generally focus on one specific brewery, cidery, or meadery for a night deemed “An Evening With.”
You know when you just need a PBJ & Bacon sandwich and a fresh hazy IPA but also want to catch a Lakers game? Welcome to this strip mall gem you never knew you needed. When the original Henry’s grandnephew, George III, was given the chance to reinvent the meat market-turned-sandwich shop, he went hard on craft beer. The shop now has a whopping 104 taps, including 16 year-round offerings (Modern Times, Barrel House, Russian River, and North Coast are amongst the regulars), with plenty of family-style seating from which to enjoy both your suds and your subs. The five doors of roughly 100 varieties of beers have been carefully selected by the now-reigning George. “Flavor – it’s all it is,” he told Hopped LA about how he chooses each beer, which also includes following releases and picking up beers if he has to. Their vintage selection is also not to be missed; online ordering is currently getting an overhaul, but in-store, there are some beauties that include quite a few FiftyFifty Eclipse varieties from over the years.
Having just celebrated their first birthday, Hop Merchants is the new kid on the block, but don’t let that fool you. This North Hollywood joint — which calls itself NoHo’s #1 craft beer shop, and they’re not wrong — is beloved by Valley craft beer nerds and beyond. They reward their regulars with both a points system and a mug club, and their 16 taps focus solely on Southern California breweries, with the majority coming from Los Angeles County. They’ve got plenty of seating at high-tops and tables towards the front of the store as well as a few stools at the bar, which are perfect for getting some work done or catching up with friends. Their fridge selections are also stellar; you’ll regularly see locals popping in to take their latest selections to-go (their dark beers and IPA options are particularly on point), but consider staying for a while; there’s no corkage fee on Tuesdays, and any other time it’s just $1.50. Pro tip: There’s a free parking lot in the back if you don’t want to fight for metered parking on Lankershim.
Pour-your-own taprooms aren’t a new concept, but they’re also not all that common around here. The South Bay has both a brewery and tap house with them, with Brewport being the latter. The fine folks working up front provide you with a wristband to wave in front of their 60 self-pour taps, and they’ve got glasses ranging from taster sizes to pints for you to choose from. There are 48 craft beer options on draft from breweries like Imperial Western, Claremont, SLO Brew, and Coronado, with the rest rounded out by ciders and wines, and as a full restaurant manned by a LeCordon Bleu-trained Executive Chef, there’s plenty of food to keep you from hitting those taps one too many times (the freedom!). The extremely knowledgeable manager Gina Traber curates both the kegs and the tight bottle selection towards the front of the restaurant, so you’re in good hands whether you drink in-house (they’ve got a patio, too!) or at your house.
Buzz has a little bit of everything to get you, well, buzzed. Their bar is open from noon to 1:30 a.m., and you can nab any bottle from the shop and drink right there or choose from 16 curated taps, including flight options. Weekly tap takeovers give you the chance to regularly see what breweries are offering right now, and their highly trained staff love helping people find the perfect beer or wine for their tastebuds. The bottle shop is stocked with brews from around the country, with plenty of selections from the likes of Bell’s, Dogfish Head, Left Hand, and Pizza Port. As an added bonus, Buzz is just two blocks away from the Pershing Square metro stop, and the store is right across the street from the beloved Last Bookstore if you want to pick up a tome to read first.
Select is a beloved South Bay spot and already an institution, having opened in 2012 before the craft beer scene truly took off in the L.A.-area. Located in family-friendly Riviera Village, the beach-adjacent hang is big on featuring local brews on their 18 taps — many of which are IPAs and lighter styles that are perfect for surfside vibes — and astounding you with their cool bottle selection featuring 500 different varieties. One of the roomier of these hybrids, you can drink both draft and bottles on-site, though there is a $2-3 corkage fee, or take your bombers to go, and you’re always welcome to bring in your own food. Cowabunga, dude!
Get thee to the ‘burbs, for Whittier is home to a fine selection of craft beers. Cellar Bottle Shop is run by the family behind Ramirez Liquor, so you know these guys know what’s up. They’ve got one wall lined with bottles as far as the eye can see and another full of fridge after fridge of quality brews. Take advantage of the location, because they sure do — the Uptown Whittier space happily features plenty of beer from San Gabriel Valley and Long Beach breweries across their 24 taps. You can also choose to drink a bottle of wine from the shop on-premise, which comes with a $5 corkage fee, and you’ll have plenty of time to do so, as the shop is open until midnight. This is about as local as it gets, and that’s not a bad thing.
Talon is the very new kid on the block, having just opened in the fall in the former Craft Beer Cellar space. (FYI: CBC is a chain, but each franchise is independently owned, and the Torrance bottle shop is still open). The new owners are locals and big on making sure the space is simply a good neighborhood bar. The basic layout has remained the same and much of the previous staff is still there, so you know what to expect: plenty of domestic and international bottles, a half-dozen local beers on tap, and a sweet patio to catch some sun on. You will also find a lot of sports fans here, if you want to bond over the Clippers and craft beer.
OK, so GT is pretty strictly a beer bar, and one of the best around, with 52 taps filled with some of the best craft beer you can find in Los Angeles. They regularly have tap takeovers and special events, and their bartenders know their brews. But they’ve also got a small fridge right next to the bar, so you’ve got a choice of takeaways if you choose to leave the red Christmas-light adorned dive — though we don’t know why you would, seeing as they always have sought after releases on tap. And, yes, they also housed Hopped LA’s inaugural Invitational Hazy IPA Fest… not that we’re biased.
Located in Long Beach’s delightful, walkable neighborhood full of stellar food and drink options, Stateside celebrated five years as a bottle shop in December 2019, with the same anniversary coming for their taproom in February. Owner Patrick Homa has built the mellow, chill space into an intimate neighborhood, twinkly-light stalwart for beer lovers, bringing heavy hops hitters to the LBC. South Bay faves like Smog City (Torrance), Brouwerij West (San Pedro), and Beachwood (Long Beach) are covered, as are national beloved breweries like Hoof Hearted, Prairie Artisan Ales, and Holy Mountain. They’ve also got ciders and artisan snacks available, and you can try varieties by pints, flights, or bottles and cans. Make this a mid-week or weekend stop, as the shop isn’t open on Mondays or Tuesdays.
One thing Stanley’s definitely has going for it is a very well-designed space and logo and one of the best web presences of the bunch. The sleekly designed, elegant hipster haven ranks high in the aesthetics department, with a wood-and-marble bar lined with modern white stools and a few tables to sample your beers, wines, craft cocktails, and cheeses at. Even the shelving is an Instagram paradise. They’ve got all the spirits and vinos covered, but if you want a place that can double as a date night while showing off your knowledge of all things libations, this is it. They’re also one of the few spaces with live music, which is a Sunday staple, and they’ve got specials on Mondays and Tuesdays as well, with the former featuring no corkage fees on wine or beer and the latter happy hour at every hour. Stanley’s hopes you’ll peruse their bottles but also stay and hang for a while with your like-minded community, and there’s a good chance you’ll do both.
Sandwiches and suds seems to be a thing in the SGV, and who are we to argue? Though the sandwich part comes first at this joint – as in, it’s in the name – don’t overlook the craft beer game here. The selection can be overwhelming, but the staff is happy to help you navigate their wares, and there are plenty of tables to settle in at as you make your decision between the nine taps or opening a can or bottle (a tough choice, we know, as Stuffed is one of the few hybrids with no corkage fee). May we suggest getting the spaghetti sandwich, because where else are you going to pair that with your Monkish must-haves? The shop is also known to have special beer events, so keep your eyes out for those – if you have any room left after wolfing down one of those hoagies.
Emily Krauser is an entertainment journalist and freelance writer focusing on craft beer, pop culture, and music. A Jersey native and Ithaca College grad, she watches Gilmore Girls on loop and bleeds blue and orange for the Mets. You can almost always find her taking a road trip or in a brewery or on a road trip to a brewery. She lives in Los Angeles.