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Ledger's Liquors

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BA SCORE
95
world-class

56 Ratings
Ratings: 56
Reviews: 52
rAvg: 4.32
pDev: 9.03%
[ 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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 56 | Reviews: 52 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

WOTO97, Aug 23, 2010
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.

scottfrie, Aug 21, 2010
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.

sfprint, Jun 22, 2010
Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.1/5  rDev -5.1%

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 -6.3%

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.

PeprSprYoFace, Jan 12, 2010
Photo of biggbossmanng
3.85/5  rDev -10.9%

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 +7.6%

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 +8.8%

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 +7.6%

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 +4.2%

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 -2.8%

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 +12.3%

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 -4.2%

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 -3.9%

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 +7.6%

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 +7.6%

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 -10.9%

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
Photo of OStrungT
4/5  rDev -7.4%

I stopped by this place on a trip to Jupiter, and on the advice of my beer loving mom. It looks like any liquor store from the outside until you notice the Dogfish Head sign in the window. That tips off what is to come. Inside you are greated with a good selection of beer glasses. I can not comment on their price because I want shopping for them, but it is always good to know where to find a good glass.

The beer is all the way to the back of the store. One full wall with a cooler, and a nother smaller cooler on an adjacent wall. Then one row both sided with many beers, and another one sided row. They had a lot of stuff. No Dogfish Head, which was a let down from seeing the sign.

I got a lot of Russian River stuff, saw lots of Lost Abbey, and lots of great Belgain beers. After 7 months on deployment in the Gulf of Oman, this store was like being a kid in a candy store. Definately something for everyone.

I dropped about $100 and was happy with the beers I got. Some of the reviews say this place is a little pricey, but I really cant comment because after being out of the country for 7 months with the current state of the economy, and the hop shortage, I am just not as up to date on current prices as I should be.

Overall: This place is great. It a little out of my way, but as I plan to stop by Jupiter again in the future, I will definately stop bace here.

OStrungT, Oct 12, 2008
Photo of flexabull
4.05/5  rDev -6.3%

A nice easy stop just a few blocks off the highway.

Looks can be deceiving. From the outside this looks like your average run down wino shop. But inside there is a pretty nice selection of beers. Focus seems to be on Belgium and California. Saw tons of Belgians, and great Cali stuff like Russian River, Lost Abbey, and Marin.

Wish more of the beer was stored in the cooler, but it didn't look like they had a whole lot of space.

Service was fine. Nobody really to help you shop, but I usually like it that way.

Prices were a bit high, but not outrageous. Maybe a $1 or so higher than normal.

Definitely worth checking out.

flexabull, Jun 27, 2008
Photo of urwatuh8
4.7/5  rDev +8.8%

Somehow, I have never reviewed this place. I live maybe a mile away, and this is my go to store. I see some complaining about the price, but on most stuff it's not much more than bevmo. And bevmo doesn't move five to ten cases of every Russian River release. Or have a huge collection of obscure belgian stuff. In my opinion, this place has the best selection in the bay area. (By a nose, there are several close competitors.) I can probably think of one or two places on the east coast that are more impressive. Very handy to have nearby in case I have a sudden urge for, say, a good gueuze and I don't happen to have any on hand.

The stuff is friendly too, and Ed definitely knows his beer. I'm not usually looking for recommendations so much as info on what's coming in and when and such.

urwatuh8, May 15, 2008
Photo of reade
2.6/5  rDev -39.8%

Went here while on business, as I frequently seek out good stuff I can't get in the backward state of Texas, and the reviews said this place was one of the best. Initially, this place seemed pretty cool - good selection of some of my favorite but harder to find Belgians, all the CA micros, etc. - but then I noticed some of the prices were way out of line. One that sticks in my mind was Ommegang Three Philosophers for $14.99 a bottle. I told the guy behind the counter (who appeared to be more than just a clerk) that most places sell it for about $8-9, even in Texas, where it's pretty common. He didn't bat an eye.

My brother lives in Berkeley and has stopped going there altogether, since the prices are ridiculous and many of the bottles (which are mostly outside of the cooler) are beginning to collect dust. This place may have been a welcome novelty at one time, but price does matter and I suspect they will either get real or fade away. I hope it's the former, but it may take more than this infrequent traveller to send them a message.

reade, Apr 21, 2008
Photo of bbothen
4.3/5  rDev -0.5%

Ledger's is my go to spot to stock up.

Ed is an awesome guy. Always friendly and goes out of his way to get beers you won't find at the run of the mill stores around the bay.

The beer aisles are kinda sorted by region, but are in a slight state of disarray. This makes hunting fun. About 10 fridges stocked with cold selections.

A regular stock of Stone, Bear Republic, Deschutes, Port, Lost Abbey, etc. An excellent belgian selection as well. I've got some gems here I wouldn't find elsewhere like Older Viscosity, The Abyss, Firestone 11, Schooner Old Woody, Port Signature, etc.

If you're looking for one of the 2 best selections in the bay area, this is it. You might pay a dollar or two more, but it's worth it. Support the good guys like Ed, they deserve it.

bbothen, Feb 26, 2008
Photo of bcm119
4.6/5  rDev +6.5%

Ledger's seems to just keep improving. It has a great selection of California beer and Belgians, all displayed in a random fashion to make your beer hunt a little more fun. The owner is knowledgeable, friendly and not the least bit pretentious. He really caters to the beer enthusiast by seeking out stuff that can't be found elsewhere in the bay area, and when he has something really special like Abyss he'll keep it in the back so you have to ask for it-- thereby saving his stock for the enthusiasts. There are new things arriving all the time so frequent trips here are recommended. As a nice bonus he carries a good selection of glasses. All this in a seedy liquor store atmosphere... it doesn't get much better.

bcm119, Jan 27, 2008
Photo of Lothore
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%

Let me start off by saying I love small beer stores but absolutely have not been impressed with any stores in the Bay Area. While City Beer has its advantages, driving into the city sucks any way you look at it and the vibe there is just too cramped in my opinion. In comes Ledger's Liquors. While this is in a fairly decent part of town, this store looks to be like just another run down liquor store from the outside...WRONG! When one approaches closer there is a wide variety of glassware in the window. As I started to peruse the isles of beer I absolutely loved how things weren't very organized but there was enough room for them to be spread out. This lead to a treasure hunt for beer and I ended up finding some gems. What was also amazing was that every 6 pack I saw could be broken up into singles (and there were quite a few). I hate it when expensive six packs can be broken up but the common or cheap ones usually can't at normal stores, there is no such problem here. I found 4 Russian River Brews here as well as a good selection of Lost Abbey/Port Brewing, etc etc. While the selection wasn't mindblowing, it was great for the Bay Area. The prices weren't all that bad. From other reviews I was expecting this place to be super expensive but it seems to only be a matter of a buck or two here and there off from bevmo and I would much rather give ledgers my business. After I paid and was about to leave I remembered that I wanted a bottle of water so I went up to the counter and took my wallet out only to have the owner tell me not to worry about it and to enjoy the beer. Great service, awesome vibe, this place is hard to beat.

Lothore, Jan 01, 2008
Photo of illidurit
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%

Ledger's is a must-go place for me whenever I visit friends in Berkeley. Their selection is really quite amazing, with 3 aisles of unrefrigerated beer shelves along with almost a full wall of beer in cooler windows.
I always find a big selection of Hair of the Dog, Drake's, and Moylan's, along with lots of other Norcal micros. They usually have some Russian River too. San Diego area beers often have a hard time getting up here to Norcal but the owners have been known to travel down there and bring beer back for resale. Port Brewing and Stone are usually on the shelves, but I haven't seen any AleSmith here.
Belgians are also well-accounted for. Plenty of Cantillon, Fantome, Drie Fonteinen, and St Bernardus, as well as some more obscure stuff. The unrefrigerated shelves are disorganized and a delight to search through for hidden gems.

Service is good. If the owners are there you can strike up a good beer conversation because they know their stuff. Friendly and helpful.

Prices are a bit higher than average, which is pretty normal for Bay Area specialty shops.

A beer tour of the Bay Area must make a stop here.

illidurit, Dec 30, 2007
Ledger's Liquors in Berkeley, CA
95 out of 100 based on 56 ratings.