The Best Craft Beer Tap Rooms in the UK
Want to tap into some of the best craft beer tap rooms in the UK? We don’t blame you. The UK is the crafty beer-lover’s paradise and where better to enjoy these bevvies than with the experts, and surrounded by like-minded fans?
That’s where tap rooms come in. Unlike pubs – which serve a range of spirits, cocktails, ciders, wine, food and even wellness drinks like kombucha – you know what you’re getting with a tap room; and it’s beer. Great beer. Tapped straight from the source.
What is a Tap Room?
Tap rooms are effectively drinking areas in breweries, where customers can sample beer that’s produced on site. In this article, we’re looking at innovative, quality, craft beer, and beer of this type is produced in low quantities, in small and independent breweries, or microbreweries.
So, think of a tap room like a mini, beer-only pub situated in the front garden of a microbrewery. Picket fence, bunting, fairy lights and all… Okay, maybe not, but they’re pretty nice hangout spots.
Scotland’s Best Tap Rooms
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Ferry Brewery Tap Bar and Shop, Edinburgh
Situated in Edinburgh’s Queensferry (or “The Ferry” if you’re a local), Ferry Brewery serve big smiles, warm welcomes and delicious ales from four handpumps.
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And, they’ve done more than brew excellent craft beer.
Establishing the area’s first brewery since the closure of Queensferry Brewery in 1851, this brewery and tap room have revived local history. What’s more, they’ve used Queensferry Brewery’s original manuscripts, from over 165 years ago, recreating recipes for their own taps. That’s pretty cool!
Where? Bankshead Farm Steading, Bankshead Road, South Queensferry, Edinburgh EH30 9TF
Opening hours: Friday and Saturday 10 am – 7 pm
Campervan Brewery Tap Room, Edinburgh
When faced with a family illness, Founder Paul started his passion project in his garage, serving home brews from a green VW camper. Having grown exponentially, Paul now brews beer from his impressive and quirky Leith-based warehouse, and it’s open to the public on Fridays and Saturdays.
“The tap room was designed to immerse the customer in the complete beer experience, so our customers can see, touch and smell the beer as it’s being produced,” Paul told The Cocktail Service.
“We provide guided tours of the brewery with tasting sessions. Educating people on the processes and flavours enhances their appreciation of the product and encourages responsible drinking.”
Lined with tanks and filled with cushioned wooden crates, trestle tables, and (during opening hours) keen customers, Campervan Brewery’s relaxing atmosphere is infectious and beer delicious.
When we asked Paul about the inspiration behind his unique décor, he told us: “We were keen to limit our impact on the environment, so we involved the skills of a local charity, Edinburgh Tool Library, to design and build a bar and seating area by upcycling disused palettes.
“Not only did it limit our carbon footprint, but this also resulted in a bespoke socialising space that has an industrial feel, in keeping with the original building.”
Every week, this alternative tap room has eight Campervan beers on tap and a wide selection of their bottled Wandering range. Popular choices include Leith Juice – a crisp, juicy and zesty orange IPA that packs a citrus punch – and The Hoppy Botanist – a rhubarb crumble and custard pale ale that satisfies a sweet tooth.
“Many of the kegs we use here are Campervan tap room exclusives that aren’t available to purchase elsewhere; the opportunity to try exclusive brews is a big draw for the beer connoisseurs,” Paul told us. “Both Edinburgh locals and tourists to the city visit for precisely this reason.”
And just when you thought this tap room couldn’t get any better… Hungry customers can really make themselves at home and order a takeout straight to the tap. Come on then: shoes off, feet up, and “Aaah,” relax.
Where? Unit 4 Bonnington Business Centre 112 Jane Street Edinburgh Scotland EH6 5HG
Opening hours: Friday 4 pm – 10 pm and Saturday 2 pm – 10 pm (kids and furry friends are welcome until 8 pm)
BrewDog DogTap, Ellon
From Budapest to Brisbane, BrewDog has infiltrated some of the best bars across the world. But where did it all begin?
Back in 2007, BrewDog was the brainchild of two friends who took out some big bank loans, leased a building in Scotland’s Fraserburgh and began brewing craft beers.
Starting small, the passionate duo brewed tiny batches and filled bottles by hand to be sold at local markets. Today, BrewDog products make up five of the UK’s top 10 craft beer best-sellers.
Where better to get among the action than to sit amidst it? Head to Ellon’s BrewDog tap room: in the shadows of the giant fermenters and see for yourself where this impeccable beer brand began.
Where? Unit Balmacassie Industrial Estate, Ellon AB41 8BX
Opening hours: Monday – Thursday 11 am – 10 pm, Friday 11 am – 12 am, Saturday 10 am – 12 am and Sunday 10 am – 10 pm
Innis and Gunn Brewery and Tap Room, Edinburgh
Since its establishment in 2003, Innis and Gunn has grown to be one of Scotland’s most successful craft breweries, exporting their products to over 35 countries.
Their flagship beer, a bourbon barrel-aged brew, is the recipe that started Innis and Gun, and one you can try it at their tap room, alongside their extensive range of 26 craft beers on tap.
Want to learn to brew your own beer? Head over to Innis and Gunn on a Sunday afternoon for beer brewing lessons, a 5-litre keg of beer, lunch and beer tasters; lessons are held every Sunday from 12 pm.
Where? 81-83 Lothian Road, Edinburgh, EH3 9AW
Opening hours: Monday – Friday 11 pm – 1 am, Saturday and Sunday 10 pm – 1 am
Best Tap Room in Northern Ireland
Boundary Brewing Tap Room, Belfast
Situated just outside Belfast, Boundary is the city’s only brewery with a public tap room.
Boundary is also thought to be Northern Ireland’s first brewery to bring together modern US and traditional Franco-Belgian brewing traditions. The result? Anything but bland. Just like Boundary’s epic branding, their beers are big, bold and brilliant (and sometimes barrel-aged).
Head over to Boundary for craft beers, local food and a cinema night.
Where? Unit A5 310 Portview Trade Centre, Newtownards Road, Belfast BT4 1HE
Opening hours: Twice monthly, usually 4 pm – 11 pm but check their site to be certain
Best Tap Rooms in Northern England
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Brew York Tap Room, North Yorkshire
Brew York: a multi-award-winning brewery situated within York’s historic walls. Pull up a stool in the tap room, grab a cold one in the beer hall or hang out in the riverside beer garden.
Located inside the warehouse brewery, tap room customers sit by the tanks, watching the latest brews ferment and sipping their choice of seven cask beers, nine keg beers and three ciders. With regular, seasonal, experimental and collaboration ales, beer here is never in short supply.
Where? Unit 6, Enterprise Complex, Walmgate, York YO1 9TT
Opening hours: Wednesday – Thursday 6 pm – 11 pm, Friday 4 pm – 11 pm, Saturday 12 pm – 11 pm and Sunday 12 pm – 9 pm
Black Lodge Brewery, Liverpool
Like the sound of beer, cheese, meat and music?
Well, you’ll have to find this teeny tiny 100-litre brewery, hidden behind a shutter in Liverpool’s hipster Baltic Triangle. When Thursday hits, the shutter rolls up and the locals roll in.
Mastering the art of what it means to be ‘craft’, Black Lodge are forever pushing the boundaries and experimenting with flavour profiles and styles, switching the menu up daily.
With the whole Black Lodge family involved with the brewing process, all tap room bar staff are equipped to answer customers’ beer-related queries.
Where? 3 Kings Dock St, Liverpool L1 8JU
Opening hours: Friday 5 pm – 10 pm, Saturday 12 pm – 10 pm and Sunday 1 pm – 6 pm
North Brewing Co Tap Rooms, Leeds
Beer-bonkers Loiners, listen up! Sheepscar-based North Brewing produces some of Leeds’s freshest beer, to be sampled at their on-location tap room.
Complete with a tiled wall of taps, offering what feels like a never-ending supply of flagship brews, test runs, guest beers and even prosecco (for those in your party who aren’t as bonkers about beer as you are), this UK tap room is the perfect place for customers to kick back and indulge.
Ordering food in is encouraged, so spend your Saturday with a pint in one hand and your favourite take-out in the other. Ah, bliss.
Where? Unit 6, Taverner’s Walk Estate, Sheepscar Grove, Leeds LS7 1AH
Opening hours: Saturday 12 pm – 7 pm (guided brewery tours take place 3 pm – 4 pm)
North Brewing Co. City Centre Tap Room, Leeds
Fancy a mid-week tipple? Since the company’s inception in 2015, North Brewing Co. has firmly established itself as one of the leading brewers in the UK, even launching an ‘offsite tap room’ that’s open seven days a week and conveniently situated in Leeds’s city centre.
Serving the best from North Brewing, alongside national and international craft beers from other admirable breweries, this bar has a similar sample size to their traditional tap.
Where? 3 Sovereign Square, Sovereign Street, Leeds LS1 4BA
Opening hours: Monday – Thursday 7.30 am – 11.30 pm, Friday 7.30 am – 12.30 am, Saturday 10 am – 12.30 am and Sunday 10 am – 10 pm
Cloudwater Brew Co Tap room, Manchester
From pungent pilsners to punchy pale ales, Cloudwater Brew Co’s plentiful range was the first in Britain to hit RateBeers’ top 10, and with 20 draft lines at their Manchester tap room, this is the perfect place to see what all the fuss is about. Kept beneath the tap room at optimum 3ºC temperature, beers are drawn straight from the brewery and into your glass.
And the décor’s as fresh as the pints! A craft beer in this unique and vibrant tap room, with its minimalist, Scandi-style seating and elaborate artwork, is an absolute delight.
Getting peckish? We hope you like scotch eggs! In true tap room style, Cloudwater’s limited food menu includes only scotch eggs and bread baskets. Deee-lish!
Where? 9 Piccadilly Trading Estate, Manchester M1 2NP
Opening hours: Monday – Thursday 3 pm – 10 pm, Friday 12 pm – 11 pm, Saturday 10 am – 11 pm and Sunday 12 pm – 8 pm
Located in London? Head over to Cloudwater’s Bermonsey-based tap for a similar Scandi-setup.
Where? 73 Enid Street, London SE16 3RA
Opening hours: Wednesday – Friday 3 pm – 10 pm, Saturday 12 pm – 10 pm and Sunday 12 pm – 8 pm
Burning Soul Brewery Tap Room, Birmingham
While Birmingham’s participation in the UK craft beer game is still pretty modest, the city’s hoppiness levels are significantly increasing.
Dramatically contributing to this is Burning Soul: brewers of experimental flavour bombs, which adventurous beer-lovers are lapping up. Chocolatey, coconutty and, at 7%, downright dangerous, Coconut Porter is popular with newcomers, and Zephyr Saison – a fruit sensation curated from a heavenly blend of hops – is hit with regulars.
Decked out with comfy old sofas, ornamental kegs, and a pool table, it’s likely this Brummie boozer is exactly what the tap room novice might envisage before ever having visited one.
Spend weekends chilling here, sampling hand-crafted, unfiltered, unrefined experimental pilot brews that will be widely produced and distributed upon your liking.
Have a beer suggestion? The team are always open to new ideas; they’d love to hear from you.
Where? Unit 11, 15 Sheepscar Street, Leeds LS7 1AD
Opening hours: Fridays 4 pm – 8 pm and Saturdays 1 pm – 8 pm
Nomadic Beers Tap Room, Leeds
Putting taste, quality and community first, once a month this Sheepscar brewery opens its doors to beer-loving locals, inviting them to their vegan- and vegetarian- friendly events that champion inclusion and beer collaborations. Themes range from International Women’s Day celebrations to charity events in memory of a tap room regular who unexpectedly passed.
In the coming months, Nomadic Beers have July’s annual dog show, August’s homebrew competition and September’s annual conker tournament. There’s food, gin, free soft drinks, and of course, Nomadic’s delicious vegetarian and vegan beer.
Flagship beers include Pale (3.8%), a refreshing citrus pale ale, Strider (4.4%), which puts a modern, caramelly and biscuity twist on a British bitter, and Bandit (4.8%), an American pale ale which is complete with a pine and citrus aroma and taste.
Where? Unit 11, 15 Sheepscar Street, Leeds LS7 1AD
Opening hours: Only open 12 pm – 8 pm, one Saturday a month. 2020 open dates: 14th March, 4th April, 30th May, 27th June, 25th July, 29th August, 26th September and 31st October
Best Tap Rooms in Southern England
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Bristol Beer Factory Tap Room, Bristol
Bristol has become synonymous with craft beer, and with over 20 breweries in the city and surrounding countryside, it’s a tap room haven.
Bristol Beer Factory Tap Room is relaxed and comfortable, with a familiar pub feel; but the most significant difference, of course, being that this drinking hole is situated only a stone’s throw from the brewery.
With four real ales on tap, and six keg lines, head over to this UK tap room for one of their regular events: be it beer tastings, book signings or sports screenings.
Oh, and feel free to grab a bite to eat from the neighbouring shops and bakeries and bring it in with you!
Where? 291 North Street, Southville, Bristol BS3 1JP
Opening hours: Monday 12 pm – 7 pm, Tuesday – Thursday 12 pm – 9 pm, Friday 12 pm – 11 pm, Saturday 10 am – 11 pm and Sunday 12 pm – 7 pm
Wiper & True’s Tap Room, Bristol
Contributing to Bristol’s exploding brewing scene is Wiper & True’s Tap Room, in the St Werburghs neighbourhood. Choose your tipple at this popular little hub and sit among the brewing action with likeminded folk.
Believe it or not, the innovative masters of brewing that we see today began their beer-making journey on a kitchen stove. Pop along to Wiper & True’s Saturday guided brewery tours to find out more about their fascinating history and wonderfully wacky beers, including Milkshake: a 5.6% stout.
Where? 2-8 York St, St Werburghs, Bristol BS2 9XT
Opening hours: Friday 6 pm – 10 pm and Saturday 1 pm – 10 pm
Cambridge Brew House, Cambridgeshire
Cambridge Brew House has an atmosphere, food menu and opening hours that seem to closer acquaint it with a contemporary gastropub than a tap room.
But, of course, the main difference between this trendy tap room and a pub is its microbrewery – The Cambridge Brewing Company. Head into the heart of Cambridge to sample their choice of six cask ales, three of which are their own brews.
With their sister pub, The Mill, named Pub of the Year by the CAMRA group, you can expect big things from a pint in this UK tap room.
Where? 1 King Street, Cambridge CB1 1LH
Opening hours: Monday – Thursday 11 am – 11.30 pm, Friday 11 am – 12 pm, Saturday and Sunday 11 am – 12 pm
Fourpure Basecamp, London
As for London, we can’t talk craft beer without mentioning (yep, you guessed it) Bermondsey’s beer mile, and one of our favourite Bermondsey-based brewhouses is Fourpure Basecamp tap room. Despite its remote industrial estate location and vast size, Fourpure tap room has a cosy yet buzzy feel.
If you’re around South East London on a Wednesday at 7pm, pop along to their incredibly beery and not at all dreary pub quiz. But be warned, with 43 taps, you might find it hard to choose from their beer list. The refreshing, tangerine-tasting (and vegan) Easy Peeler (4%) and the flavoursome (and also vegan) Star City IPA (7.4%) are pretty special.
Where? 25 Bermondsey Trading Estate, 22 Rotherhithe New Rd, Bermondsey, London SE16 3LL
Opening hours: Tuesday – Sunday from 12 pm (but 11 am on Saturday)
Hiver Beers and Tap Room, London
A beer brand built on brews and bees? Err, sure, it certainly offers a change to the typical Bermondsey brewery. With homemade honey, beehives on display and the occasional candle-rolling class, there’s no better place than Hiver Beers for the bee-loving boozer, and we’re sure there are lots of you out there.
Where? Arch 56, London Stanworth Street, London SE1 3NY
Opening hours: Saturday 11 am – 8 pm and Sunday 11 am – 4 pm
Canopy Beer Tap Room, London
Canopy Beer tap room: a modest and welcoming bar that in no way pretends to be fancy. ‘There’s not much glitz and glamour’ reads Canopy Beer Tap Room’s website, ‘Oh, but come for the beer!’
Don’t mind if we do!
Matching their branding with their bunting (yes, this tap room does actually have bunting!), you can expect bright colours and brilliant craft beer from this London bar.
Where? Arch Unit 1127, Bath Factory Estate, 41 Norwood Road London SE24 9AJ
Opening hours: Wednesday – Friday 5 pm – 11 pm, Saturday 12 pm – 11 pm and Sunday 12 pm – 10 pm
Best Tap Room in Wales
Tiny Rebel, Newport
Bradley Cummings and Gareth Williams started pumping out pints from their garage back in 2012. Today, the Tiny Rebel team, which has since grown exponentially, works from their award-winning 60,000 square ft. brewery in South Wales’s Newport.
The only Welsh brewery to win Champion beer of Britain, and two-times gold medallists of Champion Beer of Wales, sample Tiny Rebel’s brews in Cardiff and Newport city-centre bars, or better, drink on-site at their tap room on Newport’s Wern Industrial Estate.
With everything from hoppy IPAs to dark ales, taste the brand’s best-known brews – Cwtch and Clwb Tropicana – or opt for their one-off collaborations and pair it with a plate from their extensive food menu.
Where? Tiny Rebel Brewing Bar, Wern Industrial Estate, Newport NP10 9FQ
Opening hours: Monday – Thursday 12 pm – 11 pm, Friday 12 pm – 12 am, Saturday 9 am – 12 am, Sunday 9.30 am – 10 pm