Summertime is finally here, which means it is time to make plans for your Summer vacation. Even if most people are happy to be able to finally travel to (almost) everywhere, for some this leads to a really difficult decision to make. Zurich Beer Tour is here to help you out, as usual. We will tell you about 5 of our favorite beer spots across Europe, hoping to inspire you for your next trip. Of course this random order list is by far not a complete one (we have far over a hundred bars and taprooms on our private list). For the ones of you who want to learn more about the best Swiss beer bars, there's an even better option for you: book your Zurich Beer Tour here!
KANAAL - Sofia, Bulgaria
(Photo courtesy of Kanaal)
If you are looking for a bar with a huge beer selection and various beer styles to try, KANAAL in Sofia, Bulgaria's capital , should be a more than a satisfying choice for you: up to 38 taps and 300+ bottles of cans are offered in this cozy bar. Opened in 2012, this bar has more than 10 years experience in serving the best local and International brews The staff here is really knowledgeable (even if you don't speak Bulgarian), fast and really friendly. The breweries served here are some of the best local ones (we recommend to try Sofia Electric Brewing) and top breweries from around the world (Fürst Wiacek, Omnipollo, Jester King...). The bar has a nice patio for the Summer months. If you get the munchies don't worry, they have a small but super high quality selection of hot and cold treats. KANAAL is also open during the day, but the beer is exchanged for excellent coffee (they have cake as well!).
Obviously, we are a bit biased here, as our own Simona was born and raised in Sofia. We spend several weeks a year here, but nonetheless (or precisely for this reason) we want to recommend this beautiful and historical city to you. Sofia has an amazing food scene, from traditional Bulgarian food to fine dining, you can find anything. Also you can find some of the coolest bars we have ever seen in our lives. The craft beer scene is booming here and there is plenty of great breweries and beer bars (even though they can be a bit difficult to find sometimes). But most importantly the people are super friendly, welcoming and are happy to help you. You should absolutely go there and find out for yourself (message us for recommendations)!
bul. "Madrid" 2,
1505 Oborishte, Sofia
Labietis - Riga, Latvia
(Photo courtesy of Labietis)
Labietis is not only a bar, they are actually a brewery, and not just another modern craft brewery. They call themselves a pagan brewery, which means they brew historically inspired beers, using ingredients and brewing techniques from the medieval times. They brew beers that are connected to nature, using ingredients like yarrow, rosemary, juniper berries, cranberries... the list is almost endless. And this connection to nature can also be felt in their bars, they have several locations in the city. We especially liked the original location at Aristida Briāna iela. They work with a lot of wood and using old medieval taproom decor, which makes you feel like you traveled through time. The audience is a super nice mix of generations, ages and origins: this bar is everything craft beer stands for.
Riga really blew us away with its beauty and history. Another one of those European capitals that has been through a lot in its history and this can be seen. The medieval city center, which was built in 1201, is even a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is stunning indeed. Riga is also known as the Art Nouveau capital of Europe with its beautiful detailed figures on the façades of buildings mostly built in the 19th century. Also we felt that Riga wasn't as touristy yet, so if you look for a bit more space at the main sightseeing spots, this is the place to go. Riga is far up on our list of cities we want to go back to for several reasons, like their amazing food (garlic bread is out of this world) and the friendly locals.
Aristida Briāna iela 9a
Poechenellekelder - Brussels, Belgium
(Photo courtesy of Poechenellekelder)
This was a tough one. We absolutely had to feature a Brussels beer bar in this article, as there is probably no better city for beer in the whole world. But because it is such a famous beer city, it was really hard to choose a bar to feature. We decided for Poechenellekelder (which translates to theater puppet cellar) not only because of their amazing location, beer list and knowledgeable staff. What really makes this spot so special is the interior. You almost feel like visiting a museum, there are hundreds of pictures on the wall, puppets and other rather weird exhibits. You will never get bored in here and every trip to the restrooms will be a new adventure. Talking about beer, the Poechenellekelder has an amazing selection of Belgian brews, ranging from Trappiste to Lambics beers. And even if this bar is right next to the most famous (and most underwhelming) sightseeing spot in Brussels, the Manneken Pis, it is still visited by lots of locals. The servers here really know about their beers, don't know what you like from the menu? Feel free to ask them for a recommendation and with just a few questions they will find your perfect beer.
Brussels is Beer Geek Heaven. Growing up in countries with at least two centuries of Lager-only culture, we were so overwhelmed by the Belgian approach to beer. Even if you go to a Pizzeria on the The Grand-Place, the will have a beer menu featuring 10 fantastic Belgian brews. Not to talk about all the specialized beer bars and even the breweries. Of course the city has a lot more to offer than beer, they also have the chocolate. And even if there is kind of a rivalry between the Swiss and the Belgians, we have to say that their chocolate is also amazing. The old town with its amazing architecture is always worth a visit, but also their street art is amazing: In 1991 the city decided to decorate plain house walls with 50 murals of comic strips. So much to see (and drink) in Brussels.
The Hanging Bat - Edinburgh, Scotland
If you have followed our monthly top 3 beers or our social media, you probably have realized that we like to spend time in Scotland, especially in Edinburgh. Now we have the chance to present you one of the reasons why. The Hanging Bat is one of our favorite beer spots in Edinburgh, with 14 lines of kegs, 6 lines of cask and hundreds of bottles and cans this bar probably has the biggest beer selection in the whole city. They offer a wide range of local Scottish and international guest beers and they even brew their own beer, which you literally can't find anywhere else in the world. Another highlight in this bar is their food, they offer some amazing grub and yes there is haggis, in all forms you could imagine: as bonbons, in your hot dog, wrapped in dough or as haggis cheese fries. Never tried haggis? This is the place to go!
Edinburgh looks like it came out of a fairy tale (or a Harry Potter book), with Edinburgh Castle dominating the city on the top the hill in a spectacular way. Surrounded by all those old buildings which have been used as a film set so many times, and there is no wonder why. In the summer (this year from August 5. to 29. ) the city hosts the famous Fringe festival, a huge celebration of arts and culture, one of the biggest in the world. During this time hundreds of comedy shows, musicals and theater plays are shown all across the city. Edinburgh is obviously extremely packed during these weeks, but it is absolutely worth it. You should also pay a visit to the port district called Leith, which has some of the best restaurants in the city and an amazing amount of breweries and taprooms.
133 Lothian Road
Stigbergets Fot - Stockholm, Sweden
(Photo courtesy of Stigbergets Fot)
Stigbergets Fot (which translates to exactly what you think: Stigbergets Foot) is the new bar of Gothenburg based Stirbergets brewery. They are one of the best breweries in Sweden and finally opened their own bar in Sweden's capital of Stockholm. Smack in the centre of town (which we call the beer triangle, as they are surrounded by the similar amazing beer bars Omnipollos Hatt and Akkurat) this place opened up in 2020 and is a really modern and stylish interpretation of a beer bar. The bar offers 24 taps of their own experimental brews and also International guest beers and is run in collaboration with Barrels Burgers & Beers. The food menu was developed to be perfectly paired with their beer styles. If you are traveling with someone who is not so fond of beer (which we hope not, otherwise send them to our tour) they even serve wine from tap, which they import themselves from the Chateau Pesquie vineyard.
Stockholm, the home of ABBA. But that's not the only reason why you should visit this city (even though the ABBA museum is pretty cool). Stockholm is a wonderful city, especially the old town core of Gamla Stan. Cozy cafes, hip bars and fantastic restaurants are next to each other here. What is also amazing is that even though the city is really urban, the nature is never too far away. Get on a boat and hop from island to island, discovering lots of amazing landscapes and beautiful villages. Stockholm is also amazing for shopping, even though it is rather expensive, the Swedes are really stylish people and have an amazing taste in fashion and design. And as mentioned above they are also responsible for some of the best breweries in the world, so you should not miss out!
116 46 Stockholm
These are only a few of our favorite beer bars in Europe. We have many more for you, so let us know in the comments (here or on social media) if this would be interesting for you. If many of you guys want to read more we can make a series out of this blog.
What are your favorite beer bars in Europe or the world?
Your Zurich Beer Tour Guides