Ledger's Liquors


1399 University Ave
Berkeley, California, 94702-1710
United States

(510) 540-9243 | map

View: Place Reviews
Reviews: 54 | Ratings: 61 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by Beerandraiderfan:
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Beerandraiderfan from Nevada

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.

Mar 11, 2010
More User Reviews:
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BarrelAgedG from California

3.97/5  rDev -8.1%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4 | service: 4.25 | selection: 3.75

As stated in previous posts it’s a bit “chaotic”... there were a few gems but for the most part I was disappointed for such a highly rated spot. Didn’t have much in the way of Bay Area fresh hops which is probly what was most disappointing. Maybe I caught them on a thin week

Aug 04, 2018
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Hophazzard from California

4.61/5  rDev +6.7%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.75

Sep 02, 2017
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Boilerup from Maryland

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

Jul 08, 2016
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elNopalero from California

4.21/5  rDev -2.5%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 5

Oh goodness, this place is a mess. As in, pure chaos. You’re going to see dust. A lot of dust. But you’ll also find the freshest IPAs in the neighborhood. (They’ll even let you know—I saw signs in the refrigerated section saying “This was bottled 2 days ago.”) The up-sell feels a little too pushy, but the beer selection made the visit worth it.

Jun 30, 2015
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WiggyKGB from Illinois

4.5/5  rDev +4.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

These guys are awesome. Great selection (Russian River) and friendly service. Very welcoming to an out-of-towner looking for good local craft beers.

Apr 16, 2015
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Tamigleo from California

4.75/5  rDev +10%

Oct 16, 2014
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wethorseblanket from California

4.33/5  rDev +0.2%

Sep 18, 2014
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brywhite from California

4/5  rDev -7.4%

Sep 04, 2014
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atpca from California

4.5/5  rDev +4.2%

Jul 17, 2014
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RblWthACoz from Pennsylvania

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.

Jun 20, 2013
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Tiburon from Wisconsin

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.

Jan 19, 2013
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CommanderOfAwesome from California

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.

Oct 12, 2012
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Seanibus from California

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.

Jan 08, 2012
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coldriver from Texas

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.

Dec 24, 2011
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Heavenisbeer from Georgia

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.

Dec 20, 2011
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TheStove from Illinois

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.

Oct 06, 2011
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BerkeleyBeerMan from California

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.

Aug 28, 2011
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magictacosinus from California

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!

Jul 20, 2011
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eyeenjoybeer from Seychelles

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.

Jul 02, 2011
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NorCalgrowler from California

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

May 05, 2011
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nataku00 from California

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.

Mar 19, 2011
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DaveJanssen from Germany

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.

Mar 11, 2011
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veinless from Ohio

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.

Jan 22, 2011
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RBassSFHOPit2ME from California

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.

Jan 06, 2011
Ledger's Liquors in Berkeley, CA
Place rating: 4.32 out of 5 with 61 ratings