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Ledger's Liquors

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BA SCORE
95
world-class

54 Ratings
Ratings: 54
Reviews: 52
rAvg: 4.31
pDev: 9.05%
[ 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: 54 | Reviews: 52 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of magictacosinus
4.41/5  rDev +2.3%

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!

magictacosinus, Jul 20, 2011
Photo of eyeenjoybeer
3.74/5  rDev -13.2%

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.

eyeenjoybeer, Jul 02, 2011
Photo of NorCalgrowler
4.4/5  rDev +2.1%

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

NorCalgrowler, May 05, 2011
Photo of nataku00
4.44/5  rDev +3%

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.

nataku00, Mar 19, 2011
Photo of DaveJanssen
3.56/5  rDev -17.4%

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.

DaveJanssen, Mar 11, 2011
Photo of madvermin
4.2/5  rDev -2.6%

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.

madvermin, Jan 22, 2011
Photo of RBassSFHOPit2ME
4.6/5  rDev +6.7%

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.

RBassSFHOPit2ME, Jan 06, 2011
Photo of MilwaukeeCrusher
5/5  rDev +16%

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.

MilwaukeeCrusher, Jan 04, 2011
Photo of WOTO97
4.65/5  rDev +7.9%

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.

WOTO97, Aug 23, 2010
Photo of scottfrie
4.35/5  rDev +0.9%

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.

scottfrie, Aug 21, 2010
Photo of sfprint
4.35/5  rDev +0.9%

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.

sfprint, Jun 22, 2010
Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.1/5  rDev -4.9%

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.

Beerandraiderfan, Mar 11, 2010
Photo of PeprSprYoFace
4.05/5  rDev -6%

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.

PeprSprYoFace, Jan 12, 2010
Photo of biggbossmanng
3.85/5  rDev -10.7%

I visited Ledger's after having it recommended by a few friends and coworkers as a quality liquor store. What I found was a mish-mash array of quality brews from everywhere, commingled and (sometimes)dusty and otherwise waiting to be scoured. While the approach of the store requires a bit of work, it would be hard to complain about combing through a collection of beer. I walked out of Ledger's sporting a new tote bag awarded at the time of my purchase, which was filled with a few imported bottles of Bierre de Garde, a 750mL bottle of Duchesse de Borgogne, and some lemon bitters(the impetus of my visit). A fun place to find some new treasures, I'll be back...

biggbossmanng, Jan 07, 2010
Photo of htomsirveaux
4.65/5  rDev +7.9%

This is my regular bottle shop when I am in the area. Looks like nothing much from the outside (well except for that confusingly awesome new adult swim ad painted on the side of the building) but the inside is filled with beery goodness. The guys at the store will leave you alone but are helpful if you ask. Selection is good, prices are good, service if you need it. Layout is a little haphazard. Logoed glassware at the front for sale.

Not much else to add that hasn't already been said. Go. Buy a case of beer. Get the discount.

htomsirveaux, Dec 04, 2009
Photo of Falcon91Wolvrn03
4.7/5  rDev +9%

Ledger's is one of the biggest surprises I've found in the San Francisco Bay Area. From the outside, it doesn't look like much; in fact, it doesn't look like much from the inside either. It looks like a typical "hole-in-the-wall" liquor store.

But the beer selection IS very impressive. In fact, I'd rate it the #3 beer store in the entire San Francisco Bay Area; it's probably on par with Healthy Spirits in San Francisco in terms of overall selection, but Ledger's has better prices. Only Perry's in Livermore (#1) and Monument in Concord (#2) have more beer in my estimation.

The owner pretty much leaves you to browse unless you have questions for him, which I like, and then he's very helpful. You'll find some very nice surprises here. However, it'd be really nice if they updated their website to list their beer selection, as many other big beer stores do.

All in all, an excellent beer store.

Falcon91Wolvrn03, Nov 14, 2009
Photo of redbird
4.65/5  rDev +7.9%

What else can be said about this place? It's amazing. One of the best beer stores I've been in. They carry just about everything you could possibly want. One great thing that they do is the price sticker on every bottle has a month on it, so for all those bottles that don't have a born on date, you at least know when they got it.

The only knock I would have them is that the bottles are really scattered around, meaning not all the bottles from one brewery, or even the same beer, are in one place. This just means you need to really look hard and you could possibly find a hidden gem.

I didn't catch his name, but I had a great conversation with the guy working the counter, and he gave me a recipe for some beer pancakes that I can't wait to try out.

If I ever find myself in San Fran again, I'll definitely be going back.

redbird, Sep 06, 2009
Photo of excal
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

I went to Ledger's about a week ago in very much a RR mood. There just wasn't anywhere nearby (outside of the city, which I hate to drive into) that had ANY RR. The closest to me was Petaluma market, which was A) not that close and B) kinda pricey (5 bucks for a Pliny) so I went to Berkeley specifically looking on stocking my fridge up with Pliny. Well I did find some VERY fresh Pliny (this was a Saturday, "bottled on" date was the Monday of THAT WEEK), but I also left there with some oak-aged Damnation 23, Consecration and Beatification, and a BB XXI that had just come in that week to boot. I could have also had some regular Damnation, Temptation, Blind Pig and at least one other 'ation I can't remember. I don't have too much to add to what other reviewers have mentioned, (and if I did, it wouldn't be too coherent, as I've got most of the 750mL Damnation in me right now,) but this is very definitely a great place for beer.

excal, Jul 17, 2009
Photo of DaveHS
4.2/5  rDev -2.6%

Ledger's is a little out of the way (unless you live in Berkeley) but it's always worth the trip. Whenever I go here, I find things I thought were completely gone. For instance, last time I went in I saw a dozen or so bottles of Angel's Share. They were in the refrigerator. That's the thing about Ledger's...you can find all sorts of rare and interesting beers, but they are completely disorganized. I get the impression that most of the people who work there don't know a whole lot about beer. Ledger's has been around for a long time, and they have serious connections. Last year they were selling Lost Abbey Red Poppy and Older Viscosity from behind the counter.
So overall, a great beer spot, but you will need some time to poke around.

DaveHS, Mar 24, 2009
Photo of mjl21
4.85/5  rDev +12.5%

Every time I go in to Ledger's Liquors I always think about how many times I drove by this place not knowing what was inside.

When you walk in to Ledgers you are greeted by a very loud bell, the kind that you hear in a corner liquor store where you sole purpose is condoms, King Cobra, and Swisher Sweets. But don't let that ring fool you. Immediately to the right of the entrance and in front of you are cases stocked with all kinds of cool glassware. There are rows stocked with tons of good booze and towards the back is where the beer is located. They have a coolers along the wall which are stocked with everything. All of the popular guys are here including RR, HOTD, Port/Lost Abbey, Stone, Deschutes, The Bruery, et. al. You can slo find limited stuff from smaller guys such as Iron Springs and Schooner's.

Besides the beer in coolers there is beer in boxes on the floor and along several shelves. It is always fun to go through the shelves because there is always something new and interesting. They also have shelves dedicated to the Euro offerings. In the back is where they keep the Belgians.

Another nice feature is you can make your own six packs from any of their beers so you are not left feeling burned if you try a beer that you do not like.

The service is outstanding. Ed owns the place and Sonny is his right hand man. Both guys are extremely amiable. I have been told Ledger's is also frequented by bartenders for their rare liquor selection.

If you are visiting this is a must stop as Ledger's has great prices and selection.

mjl21, Mar 09, 2009
Photo of Arbitrator
4.14/5  rDev -3.9%

Hard to beat Ledger's Liquors in the Bay Area. I've been frustrated with grocery stores (poor selection) and BevMo (exposure to sunlight), so it's nice to find a store that seems to take its beers seriously.

The quality is top-notch: beer is stored carefully in the back, away from the sun. Several coolers are dedicated just to beer.

The service is excellent. If the staff isn't busy, they'll talk beer with you for a long time.

The selection is great for such a small store. Hair of the Dog, Russian River, imported Belgians. All found here.

I'm very impressed, and more than willing to make the long drive out here to buy stuff. A price comparison against BevMo finds BevMo cheaper for the stuff they do carry, but I'd trust this store to assure quality, and I'm willing to pay the $1 or so premium to get that.

Arbitrator, Feb 04, 2009
Photo of lhaqq
4.15/5  rDev -3.7%

The best selection I've found so far in Berkeley. A decent selection of good beer and a huge selection of whiskey. The staff was pretty helpful and knowledgeable. Went to the store right when I moved to the area and one of the men working helped me figure out some good local brews to try. They also have a deal for a lot of their beers that you can make your own six pack for a certain price (I think around $8). Haven't been there too many times because it is a bit far from my place, so I end up scrapping up good beers from a few other places that have good beers here and there.

lhaqq, Dec 28, 2008
Photo of BrewerB
4.65/5  rDev +7.9%

My go-to East Bay beer store.

The selection is top notch and they seem to have an "in" with the hard-to-find distributors. Prices are very reasonable compared with other shops.

I've found quite a few hard to track down beers including RR sours, old JW Lee's Harvest Ales, and limited edition Port Brewing.

The staff is friendly and more than willing to talk beer with you if you've got the time. They often give you a head's up on what beers might be in stock down the road if you ask the right questions.

Parking is free, too if you park in their lot (enter off University Ave.)

BrewerB, Dec 11, 2008
Photo of gubbt
4.65/5  rDev +7.9%

I've been going here for about a year now as a regular stop. Ed does a very good job of getting all the rare west coast micros and Belgian beers that he can.

Ledger's and Monument in Concord are the two places on the East Bay to go for rare releases like Abyss, Firestone Anniv., SA Utopias, and RR sours. Ledger's also has a great selection of other stuff consisting of Port/Lost Abbey, Stone, some odd micros here and there, and rare Belgian beer. Ed also goes out of his way to get beers that he can't get through normal means.

Also, Ed has a good selection of single malts if you're into that sort of thing. Prices are $0.50-$1.50 more than other places, but that should not be a deterrent from coming here and getting some great beer.

gubbt, Dec 09, 2008
Photo of aforbes10
3.85/5  rDev -10.7%

I stopped here yesterday on my way to visit a friend in San Francisco. I was excited because it was to be my first trip to a really good store since i arrived in CA (slim pickings further north so far). I found the place, which is sort of run down, though not disagreeably so. Walked in and started looking around and decided to grab a cart for the goodies. They had a lot of Port Brewing and Russian River and Lost Abbey, which was nice since i dont see those up here (RR coming soon to Davis though!) Import selection was fairly wide-ranging, as was the west coast beer selection. I have to say that i didnt see anything mind blowing, but a pretty good selection nonetheless. Paid a decent amount for what i got and talked to the clerk a bit, who said that they rotate the selection every couple of weeks or so. Id stop in again if in the area, its a good store.

aforbes10, Nov 16, 2008
Ledger's Liquors in Berkeley, CA
95 out of 100 based on 54 ratings.