Ledger's Liquors

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BA SCORE
95
world-class

56 Ratings
Ratings: 56
Reviews: 52
rAvg: 4.32
pDev: n/a
[ Store ]

1399 University Ave
Berkeley, California, 94702-1710
United States
phone: (510) 540-9243

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

Notes:
None, yet.

(Place added by: GClarkage on 07-01-2005)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 56 | Reviews: 52 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by sfprint:
Photo of sfprint
4.35/5  rDev +0.7%

Great place. Very unorganized but I don't mind that. It's fun to dig for treasures there, and the selection is pretty great, ranging from all over the world to many great local breweries. I found it to be a bit pricey, but not too much so. Grocery stores like the Berkeley Bowl and even Andronico's offer some better prices, but dont come close with the selection. I wish the whole store was beer rather only 1/3 being for beer. Imagine the possibilities! The people there seemed nice enough too. Perhaps the best place in Berkeley.

More User Reviews:
Photo of Tamigleo
4.75/5  rDev +10%

Photo of wethorseblanket
4.33/5  rDev +0.2%

Photo of brywhite
4/5  rDev -7.4%

Photo of atpca
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of RblWthACoz
3.98/5  rDev -7.9%
vibe: 3.25 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.25

There is certainly a lot of beer going on here. My only complaint would be that there seems to be a haphazard style of organizing it for display. Stuff here, stuff there, stuff everywhere. Don't be too let down when you walk in and the place seems old and run down. There certainly is a lot here that will keep you happy. But if you live in San Francisco, or this is out of your way, I can't really suggest the trek. It is 1.5 miles from Jupiter though, if you feel like doing the two-fer thing.

Photo of Tiburon
4.21/5  rDev -2.5%
vibe: 3.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

I must say that this establishment met all my expectations regarding being highly disorganized and also a gold mine of beer. I was lucky enough to be witness to a Pliny the Elder beer event. I entered the store at about 4:30pm on a Wednesday. I first noticed a case of Blind Pig sitting in an aisle, opened but no price tags on the bottles. I immediately knew this was a significant find, after having searching various San Fran liquor stores for Pliny/ RR and only scoring a bottle of Damnation at Whole Foods on Haight Street.

So I keep searching through the train wreck of beer selection at Ledger, and eventually find a case of Pliny which still had about 15 bottles left, w a price tag of $4.18. So I grab one bottle, mindful of the fact that my checked luggage only has so much room before I reach the 50 pound limit. Also factoring in that I enjoy my home state New Glarus beers much more that Pliny. So I know I am sitting on a gold mine, and I keep searching.

Then I start talking to an older guy in the store w his 20 something college? kid. He tells me that earlier this year he stood in line for 5 hours at a Pliny the Younger event, etc etc. I grab a second bottle as I see a frenzy developing. Meanwhile an older foreign dude that works at the place said he just put the case of Pliny out an hour ago, and that he has one more that his is shelving that day. So dude’s kid gets a hand basket and puts maybe four bottles in, after asking jefe if there is a limit on bottles. Then some other bozo comes in and swoops up the remainder of the case, which at that point was about 8. So I talk w my guy for a while longer, then head for the check out. I cashed out, then look at the glassware at the store entrance for a short time. I go to my car, and see another patron giving the stink eye to the guy who walked out w the 8 pack of Pliny. He pulls out in his Subaru, and I follow shortly afterwards. I come around the corner in the parking lot, and I am blocked in. I say WTF, then see the Pliny pig walk to the back of his vehicle holding the front headlight ensemble for his vehicle. I believe he made a wide and hasty turn, bumped into the guard rail and knocked out his head light…..

Anyway, Ledger has a ginormous selection of beer and other spirits. Be patient while you search through the shelves, and you will find something good. I did visit at 10am the next day, and the aisles were clear. I believe they stock the shelves during the day, and get interrupted by the waves of customers coming through. So it depends on what time of day that you come through. They have a dedicated parking lot also, which is a definite plus in Berkeley. There is a Trader Joe’s a couple blocks down the street, which has a decent selection of beer and their own parking lot.

Photo of CommanderOfAwesome
4.31/5  rDev -0.2%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.75 | selection: 5

Recently moved to the area and have been looking around without success for a great craft beer store. I heard about this store from a friend whose also into craft beer.

Rode my bike to check it out, and their selection is massive. Bring some spare time when you're there because you're going to have to dig. There's very little organization to the store other than most belgians are on one side of one of the aisles. Also be careful about what you buy, particularly with IPAs. They don't really rotate their stock or remove old beers (least not that I could tell). But the price tags all say when they got the beer which is nice. Prices are some of the best I've seen, and pretty reasonable with a great selection.

I wouldn't say the staff is all that knowledgeable, I asked about when/if they would be getting certain beers like Double Bastard, Darkness, or Firestone Walker Anniversary beers and they didn't know even when they were usually released let alone when they'd be getting it.

Overall best selection I've come across in the Bay Area and that includes SF. friendly staff and prices are right in line. In the area I'd highly suggest checking it out.

Photo of Seanibus
3.85/5  rDev -10.9%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

A fairly run-of-the-mill liquor store that just happens to have an amazing, if extremely disorganized, beer selection. There is an aisle of imports and a couple of islands of domestics, with a good selection of regionals and locals, but a scattering of good East Coast offerings (Including some oddballs that are hard to find out West, such as Victory's Otto). Did I mention that it was disorganized? Because it is - take some time and pick through the selection carefully because there are treasures back in there somewhere. I didn't speak with the staff, but I overheard some conversations with customers that suggested they are friendly and knowledgeable and love beer themselves.

Photo of coldriver
4.1/5  rDev -5.1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5

visited on December 23. Pretty non-descript look from the outside, but what a joy on the inside. Two aisles of beer seemingly randomly dispersed. It would easy to spend at least an hour digging through the inventory, but the 20 minutes I had was very enjoyable. Very high quality selections from Russian River, Alesmith, Belgians, etc. Some selections were a bit dusty, which in a way is a good thing (you know it might be a little old rather than trying to guess among dusted bottles). Prices were reasonable. A very solid east Bay bottle shop.

Photo of Heavenisbeer
4.38/5  rDev +1.4%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

Unlike any liquor store I've ever been to; it's like your grandfather's basement with stuff filling every possible space, leaving just enough room for mobility. But imagine that the stuff was booze.

Fine selection of brews from all over the world and some excellent local stuff. They've get tons of RR, some FW, the Bruery, Alesmith, etc. They also had SA Infinium which I had never seen in person. Great selection of glassware as well.

It's a lot like a great used clothing store where most of the stuff is actually pretty good but you've got to dig through a lot of it to find the gems.

Some folks have mentioned the mold in the coolers, and I noticed it too. Don't know what's going on with it, but luckily it didn't affect anything I bought or wanted anyways.
Glad I stopped in while staying in Berkeley. Will def be go to when back in the area.

Photo of TheStove
3.74/5  rDev -13.4%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4

Worth your time if you're around Berkeley and need some beer.

Impressive selection of Belgians for sure. Tons of stuff from Witkap to Petrus to Chouffe to a few I didn't even know. Prices are decent and stuff can be scattered which is kind of bad if you are in a rush but great if you're looking to do a little beer hunting and see what's around.

Good selection of craft stuff; definitely didn't recognize some bottles on the shelf and was unfortunately on foot so couldn't buy too much. Great selection of beer glasses too if you're looking to build a beer den. Prices are about on par, if not a dollar better, than most other places.

Service was good; received a greeting upon entering and I think I was helped by the one guy who knows where every beer in the store is. Recommended if you're in the area or considering "quality of earest liquor store" while apartment hunting.

Photo of BerkeleyBeerMan
4.44/5  rDev +2.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

Looks like any other liquor store on the outside but is a treasure trove of cool finds when you enter.
This quickly becoming my go to place in the Berkeley area. The selection is diverse and huge. No matter what mood you are in you will find something to suit you here. The shelved beer isles are the place to seek new beers. They have an incredible selection of crafts, Belgians, and Uk beers. I am especially fond of the English ales they have on the shelves. They always have something new in the coolers. I did notice some dust covered beers on the bottom shelves which could be rotated. The prices are average. I don't find the staff to be as paranoiac as some of the other reviewers have. Young looking people are treated with a certain level of suspicion at any place that sells liquor. Once you show your ID you are fine. Cool place that also gives away free beer newspapers and magazines.

Photo of magictacosinus
4.41/5  rDev +2.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

This is by far one of the wildest corner stores I've ever stumbled upon. Any review on Yelp will immediately tell you that it's a messy yet incredibly overwhelming place to buy drinks, and they're not kidding. Ledger's Liquors has no isles, but rather crates of different beers stacked over each other in the middle of room to create passageways. However, this messy vibe only enhances the charm of this store. In fact, I wouldn't dare come close to criticizing this store for anything due to them holding by the far the most diverse, colorful and well stocked collection of beers that I've seen yet. Any corner store with a Samuel Adams' Utopia for sale seems worth a shot!

There's a lot of amazing beers to choose here, that's for sure. However, a lot of light enters this store and it concerns me when that does for the beers that are always sitting out in the open. Their coolers are nice and dark to maintain beer quality, although I did find a bottle of Scaldis Prestige inside one of them that was covered with mold... haven't seen that before, and hope that is taken care of by now. Despite that, the staff is very helpful, and they especially know their glassware and aged ales - the most helpful combination of knowledge, if you ask me!

Its funky vibe is part of its fun, and with the ridiculous selection of beverages, how could I not return? Overall, a great corner filled with good prices!

Photo of eyeenjoybeer
3.74/5  rDev -13.4%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5

I visit this place every time I visit friends in Berkeley.

The store is a nondescript front on University, and the inside pretty much bottles, bottles, bottles. The selection includes all of the Bay Area favorites: RR, 21st Amendment, Lagunitas, Moylan's, et al. as well as many other California brews. Beyond this, they have fun stuff like Jolly Pumpkin and a slew of other domestics. Their foreign collection is pretty good as well. However, I am curious about how long some of the bottles have been there on the floor.

The staff has been friendly, unlike some notes of the previous posters who have claimed a paranoid response from whoever is working. Their prices for PtE, for example, are the best I have ever found. The rest of their pricing is very reasonable.

I will always stop by here when in the area.

Photo of NorCalgrowler
4.4/5  rDev +1.9%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

All in all this is the best beer and liquor store in the East Bay. Ed and his staff have made a great name for themselves here. Dont let the initial clutter get to you. Often it is only when new stock comes in. There is often older stock that is no longer available anywhere else that is fair market price. The beer selection is spectacular. Lots of craft brews, supports Russian River huge! Always the freshest Pliny and Blind Pig. And where else can you get a bottle of Johnnie Walker Blue for $139??? This is the only store I go to for beer

Photo of nataku00
4.44/5  rDev +2.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

Fairly close to my alma mater on University Ave in Berkeley, I stopped by to see if they had any of the recent releases available. Really typical corner liquor store filled to the max with liquor, wine and of course beer, boxes everywhere in the aisles and on the shelves. Well lit but the store is still a bit disorderly and you do have to look closely to find some beers, but there's a great selection of domestic and foreign beers. The owner behind the counter keeps a stoic face and will answer questions curtly, but I don't expect glowing service from this type of store.

Their selection of local brewers like Drakes, Lagunitas, and Russian River is very good, they allow people to break up six pack type beers into singles, though with a small increase in price for that convenience, and there are just so many types of beers available that you have to spend some time looking carefully to make sure you don't miss anything interesting.

Photo of DaveJanssen
3.56/5  rDev -17.6%
vibe: 2 | quality: 3 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

They had a great selection, though it was clear that much of it was very old and may not have been taken care of. Some coolers had significant amounts of mold growing on labels. There was not much organization, so they may have what you're looking for, but it might be hidden behind a jumble of other random beers you'll find in three other places throughout the store. They still had the jubel 2010, old guardian 2010 and mirror mirror in the coolers, which was surprising. All in all a great selection, but Im concerned how well they care for their beer.

Photo of veinless
4.2/5  rDev -2.8%

Don't let the shady environs, initially paranoid Indian guy, and disorganization get to you - this is a great beer store. Good selection of Russian river, along with limited releases from locals like firestone walker. I picked up hoptimum there, and they also have a great selection of Deschutes and Colorado beers. Tougher to find east coast stuff, but you cant have everything I guess. Lots of glassware too. Prices are reasonable, similar to those at Berkeley bowl west. This is your local spot if you go to Berkeley.

UPDATE: My roommate tried buying beer there, as he turned 21 in December. He was told his license had expired and therefore his id must be a fake. Ten minutes of arguing + paperwork for his temporary license until he gets a new license yielded no results. These guys are flat out paranoid, so build a good rapport early if you can.

UPDATE AGAIN: They really warm up once you go a couple times, that initial paranoia is irritating though. As a young beer lover it puts me off a bit that store owners wouldn't be excited for people to bypass the dumb binge drinking phase and truly appreciate beer, but they may have had some bad experiences in the past so they deserve the benefit of the doubt.

Photo of RBassSFHOPit2ME
4.6/5  rDev +6.5%

When it comes to the quality, I state "good" because from the outside, it looks like a hole in the wall and that it may have been robbed a few times.

That's the beauty of it once you walk inside. Everything opposite. Arguably the best selection in the east bay and less expensive than the known beer stores in the city. (Healthy Spirits to name one)

The best aspect of this store front is the owner Ed. He's more than happy to spend time with you, educate you and just make you feel welcome. Selection is fantastic including all the latest releases. $15.99 for Parabola when at Toronado sells it for $20 and Perry's liquor sells it for $28.99 (LMFAO!) Just one example.

The second example is a conversation Ed and I had about vintage beers meaning 2009 and 2008 Barleywines, RIS's and other older Barrel Aged Beers that's stuck around on his shelves some. Keep in mind other beer stores look to profit off these and upcharge for them once they feel the age is right (less than a year in most cases) Can you say City Beer and Perry's Liquor to name a few...

The conversation went like this when I asked about keeping his prices the same on vintages:

"If they stayed on the shelves, I still payed the same price for them. The price shouldn't change on the consumer just because it's still on my shelf".

I can't tell you how many times he's thrown a extra in my bag after a decent haul. Not cheap extra's either let me tell you. After plenty experience in shopping beer in SF and the greater Bay Area, I can honestly say Ed is looking for your continued business and loyalty. He's not caught up in getting the most $$ out of your wallet and over charging rarities.

I highly recommend Ledger's as hands down my favorite. A better experience than every location in SF in my experience.

Photo of MilwaukeeCrusher
5/5  rDev +15.7%

I heard good things about this place so I decided to stop in and everything I heard was true. Tons of bombers and other singles to choose from, and the man who worked there was genuinely interested in send me off happy. He helped me with some choices, gave me publications as to events in the area and around California, and even threw in a few free beers for me since I was from out of the area. It seemed to be an old place but you can't judge a book by its cover. While it had some beers in the cooler, some where on the floor but considering the outstanding service there turnover is probably brisk and not an issue... I mean they excelled at everything else so they must know what they're doing.

Photo of WOTO97
4.65/5  rDev +7.6%

In terms of quality and quantity, you'd be hard-pressed to find a better bottle shop in the east bay, or maybe anywhere in the bay area.

The number of beers on the shelves and in the cold boxes is pretty impressive. They generally get most new releases and have on hand many rarer bottles. I've managed to find a bottle of the Alaskan Balkan Porter here not to long ago, which I hadn't seen anywhere else. Anytime I visit, I always manage to pick up something I didn't expect to find.

Service is a perfect balance. The staff really let's you figure out your own shit; allowing you to meander for quite a while without pestering you. Nonetheless, most of the folks, namely the owner, is stoked to talk shop and help you out if you need it. My visits are always very pleasant.

Selection is very solid. Organization could use some work, but that is part of the charm of the place. In fact, digging around for those gems is part of the fun here.

Prices are bit steep, but nothing that would preclude a purchase.

If you are in the area, I highly recommend visiting this spot.

Photo of scottfrie
4.35/5  rDev +0.7%

I've lived in Oakland most of my life and I've just now finally made it to Ledger's. They have a great easy to find location, a great beer selection, and competitive prices. Their beer is kept in the far back of the store away from most of the light from the windows. There is a fairly large wall of cooler but another couple row of room temp bottles of shelves. The selection is of that of similar big named stores of the greater bay area (Bottle Barn, Perry's, Monument, etc), and there are always a few brews that you can find only at any one store. Pricing is very good, and closer to a store like Bevmo than a specialty bottle shop. One thing of note is they had fresh Pliny for $4.18 a bottle which is cheaper than most places. They the normal RR sours there as well. Overall, a great store for the area with a great bottle selection and friendly service. They had a pretty good selection of glassware as well. I highly recommend hunting here if you're in the area.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.1/5  rDev -5.1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Quality, lots of it. No problems there, lots of high end and limited quantity stuff.

Service, I've never had anyone ask to help me, but no big deal, I like looking around and I'll ask if I need help.

Selection: Problems. Where are the six packs? They carry like less than a dozen six packs. Its all bombers and the like. Sure, that has its place, but the 6er should not be an endangered species.

The organization is highly lacking. There seems to be no rhyme or reason as to the arrangement of bottles. Its a small place, but that should mean they should have the place organized better, to maximize the limited floorspace. Gotta love that selection that close to campus though.

EDIT: The owner was running almost 1/2 hour late before the IPA festival, I almost gave up hope. Dude gave me 10% off on my order to make it up to me, without asking. Gotta bump up the service points for that.

But I will repeat: Dude, 6 packs.

Photo of PeprSprYoFace
4.05/5  rDev -6.3%

Ok my 3.0 on quality is not because they don't take care of the beer but because... It's every where. They literally have boxes on the floor stacked up and made to look like a display but you have to search through the boxes and open some and check lables just to make sure your not missing out on anything good. I almost missed the Abyss because it wasn't opened and buried under a couple other boxes. Also I'm pretty sure they are suppose to be cold storing the Pliney and Blind pig but it was out with the other beers. There was also a bottle of Cuvee de Tomme I had to move some bottles around to find.

You do have to check this place out though if you wanna find some rare beers and a nice selection of beers you won't find else where. But it's just bad business to not take care ogf your stock. They would sell so much more if it was there and you could see it without having to search.

Staff was helpful in helping us locate a Utopias. They seemed to be knowledgable enough too.

Prices were very fair too. They weren't trying to stick you with extra cost for the more rare offerings.

Allin all. Go check it out. Yull find some awesome beers. I just wish they would get it together so you don't have to search.

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Ledger's Liquors in Berkeley, CA
95 out of 100 based on 56 ratings.