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From Jack the Ripper to EastEnders, people’s perception of London‘s East End has been shaped by media. In reality, the working-class neighborhood has evolved over the years into a diverse area that’s also a great place to hang out, with a much more relaxed vibe than crowded central London. As high prices have forced people further east, excellent food, drink, & nightlife have followed. And yes, that includes craft beer. While the definition of the East End can differ, this roundup covers everything within the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, which encompasses Bethnal Green, Whitechapel, Spitalfields, & Shadwell. For more nearby craft beer, see my post about Hackney & Shoreditch. Here are the best places for craft beer in the East End of London, including craft beer bars, bottle shops, breweries, and taprooms.

The Best Craft Beer Bars in London’s East End

Mother Kelly’s Bethnal Green

Mother Kelly’s in Bethnal Green is one of the best craft beer bars in London. Despite being underneath a railway, it’s a big, lively space, both inside and out. There are plenty of tables inside the street art-covered metal walls, along with a huge patio out front.

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The bar is named after a song from 1925 called “Mother Kelly’s Doorstep,” which references Paradise Row, the street where the taproom is now located.

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The bar has 23 taps, plus a large selection of cans & bottles that are also available to take away. While the food selection at Mother Kelly’s is small, you can never go wrong with cheese & meat boards. There are sometimes food popups on the patio. This Bethnal Green beer bar was their first location, but Mother Kelly’s also has other taprooms & bottle shops in Vauxhall and Stratford.

Address: 251 Paradise Row, London E2 9LE, United Kingdom (map)
Nearest station: Bethnal Green

Kill the Cat

There are much bigger beer bars in London than Kill the Cat, and there are also ones with larger selections. But what the bar & bottle shop lacks in size, it more than makes up for in quality & knowledge. It’s one of my favorite East End beer bars.

Kill the Cat has 3 taps, which frequently rotate with a particular emphasis on tiny & new brewers (including house offerings). They also have over 100 excellent cans & bottles, both local & imported.

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It’s a welcoming oasis for beer fans, an intimate spot on Brick Lane near Spitalfields & Whitechapel, which can often be hectic. There’s not a ton of seating inside, though there are also outside tables. The counter area has space for just 4 or 5 stools, inviting conversation & the making of new friends. I instantly felt welcomed the second I sat down.

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In addition to takeaway sales & regular drinking at the bar, Kill the Cat also serves as the host of frequent brewery tastings. It’s the place to go to find the absolute newest beer in London, the things you’ll be hearing much more about in the coming years. They also offer private tastings.

Kill the Cat is a place for curious beer drinkers of any level – if you haven’t yet figured that out by the name, I don’t know what to tell you.

Address: 43 Brick Ln, London E1 6PU, United Kingdom (map)
Nearest station: Liverpool Street or Aldgate East

Brick Lane Tap Room

Further north on Brick Lane towards Shoreditch is the New York-inspired Brick Lane Tap Room. Brick Lane Tap Room, which is located at the Old Truman Brewery, has 10 guest taps.

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Given the location & surrounding nightlife, it’s not the place to go for a quiet pint on a weekend, but instead a popular spot hosting events & DJs.

Address: Tap Room, 91 Brick Ln, London E1 6QL, United Kingdom (map)
Nearest station: Shoreditch High Street

The Craft Beer Co. Limehouse

The Craft Beer Co. (website) is a chain of craft beer bars with locations located all over London.

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Their Limehouse location on a corner right by the DLR station feels like an old neighborhood pub, with wood floors, cozy seats, plus lower tables with stools. It has 24 taps & casks. There is also a lounge and a secret rooftop terrace. 

Address: 576 Commercial Rd, London E14 7JD, United Kingdom (map)
Nearest station: Limehouse

Bethnal Green Tavern

Bethnal Green Tavern is a lovely old pub that’s been brought into the modern age with love. Dating back to the 1800s, you can still feel that in the wood-ensconced spot with an excellent back garden. However, the drinks menu is thoroughly modern, with a large selection of craft beer & cask ales.

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Bethnal Green Tavern has 20 taps & casks, plus dozens of bottles & cans. The beer list also includes a selection of sharing bottles (sours, lambics, gueuze, plus dark beers & strong ales). There’s also a solid selection of non-alcoholic drinks.

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Address: 456 Bethnal Green Rd, London E2 0EA, United Kingdom (map)
Nearest station: Bethnal Green

The Kings Arms

The Kings Arms (website) is a neighborhood pub in Bethnal Green that has a great beer menu plus excellent food.

In addition to 14 kegs & 6 casks, there’s also a big bottle list. The food menu includes pub favorites such as Scotch eggs, cheese plates, and other snacks.

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While the beer bar gets more lively on weekends, it can also be a chill spot for a quiet pint on a rainy weekday night.

Address: 11A Buckfast St, London E2 6EY, United Kingdom (map)
Nearest station: Bethnal Green

The Sun Tavern

The Sun Tavern is another Bethnal Green favorite. Their 10 taps of craft beer all come from breweries within a 10-mile radius, including a house lager & pale ale from Portobello Road Brewery.

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However, beer isn’t even the main reason to go to The Sun Tavern. They also have the largest collection of Irish whiskey in London, as well as the world’s largest collection of Poitín – Irish moonshine.

Along with such great drinks, it’s helpful to have some food, so you’ll find excellent meat, cheese, & bread at The Sun Tavern as well.

Address: 441 Bethnal Green Rd, London E2 0AN, United Kingdom (map)
Nearest station: Bethnal Green

The Best Breweries in London’s East End

BOXCAR Brewery & Taproom

Note: BOXCAR Brewery lost its location in 2023 & is currently looking for a new place while restarting operations.

Tucked down a side street, Bethnal Green’s BOXCAR Brewery & Taproom is located underneath a railway line, as most good British craft breweries are.

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Inside, it’s a cozy dark spot, but there’s also a nice little beer garden out front. The taproom has 8 taps, plus cans, all fresh. BOXCAR’s beers are both contemporary & experimental as well as traditional, with their Dark Mild serving as a flagship offering.

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Food (mostly pizza) can be delivered from the nearby Fugitive Motel, which also has craft beer.

Address: Currently none
Nearest station: Bethnal Green

If you have any other favorite places for craft beer in the East End of London, let me know in the comments!

For more great London beer, see my related posts:

Do you love craft beer? Check out more of my recommendations for the best craft beer around the world!

Here are some great London tours & activities & other things to see & do in London.

If you’re looking for a place to stay in London, check out these London hotels.

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