The quality and choice of alcohol available in the UK has improved exponentially in the last decade. Where once the only options were the biggest brands on the supermarket shelves, there are now alternative beers, wines and spirits from micro brewers, local artisans and craft imports at passionate and expert drink stores. In York, there are some top liquor and bottle shops serving the city with better booze; here’s where to go.

Hop O’Clock

York is lucky to have Hop O’Clock. Jimmy from Leicester and Julia from Finland met in Amsterdam, lived across Europe, and wanted to share their passion for craft beer by opening a shop somewhere else. York won, and now we can all enjoy their experience and knowledge on Colliergate. Here you’ll find hundreds of craft beers from all over the world to peruse and choose which to take home. Plus four changing tap beers can be supped in the tiny taproom. It’d be rude not to; for as the saying nearly goes, it’s always Hop O’Clock somewhere.

York Gin

York Gin has made a big impact in its short life. Since launching in 2018, this independent distillery has created a range of six gins that have won awards nationally and internationally. Doing exactly what it says in the name, this local gin maker is found in bars across the city, but where better to pick up a bottle than from their very own shop. Indeed, they have two, one conveniently located in the railway station and another in a stunning 16th century building on Pavement. Both offer tasters of their range, which makes buying a bottle or six irresistible.

2 Many Wines

Joining the thriving community of independents on Bishopthorpe Road last year was a wine shop which fits in perfectly. Opened by Cyriaque Lajoinie and Beniamino Berluti, 2 Many Wines offers a friendly and personal service from experts in their field. With decades of experience, including in France and Italy, the duo remove the difficulty of finding your favourite wines from the endless options (hence the name) by recommending bottles based on customer tastes. They have built good relationships with an array of producers to stock some interesting and amazing wines, which can be sampled in the tasting room, purchased from the shop, and slurped back at home.

The Whisky Shop

For thirty years The Whisky Shop has been educating the nation on the complex joys of the best scotches and single malts from their home country. This Scottish success now has twenty stores across the UK, including one on Coppergate in York, which stock a huge range of spirits to suit all palettes and budgets. As well as Scotland’s finest, there are world whiskeys from Japan and America, plus gins and liqueurs and more. As Mark Twain said, ‘too much of anything is bad, but too much good whisky is barely enough’.

House of the Trembling Madness

This popular York bar is loved for its characterful buildings and unique interior at both its Stonegate and Lendal sites. But as impressive as the atmosphere and the quirks are, the drinks are the real standout, and what a selection House of the Trembling Madness has. Head downstairs rather than up and you’ll discover a cellar stocked with over 1000 craft beers in one of the best bottle shops anywhere. You’d be trembling mad not to sample a fair few of them.

Majestic Wine

As a major national store, Majestic Wine has retained the essence of a quality bottle shop. By focusing on its core product, Majestic stocks a huge range of world wines, with prices from a fiver to five hundred. The knowledgeable staff are happy to share their expertise by offering advice to those daunted by the choice, and you can also pick up beers and spirits here too. Well worth a visit to Foss Islands Road to stock up.

Evil Eye

As an eclectic and vibrant city bar with an extensive drinks menu, Evil Eye makes the most of it by also having a terrific bottle shop at the front. Just as the bar specialises in gin cocktails, it is only right that the shop specialises in gin – and they’ve gone all out in doing so. For this Stonegate store has held the world record for the amount of gins sold here, totalling over 1000 different bottles! Surely, from all of that, you’ve got to buy at least one.


This wine shop and tasting lounge opened in Fulford towards the end of last year and immediately brings a touch of class. Owners Kris Cattaneo and Jess Hall created a relaxed and refined space, where they stock over 500 wines, including rare and vintage bottles. It’s great for the connoisseur, and equally welcoming for wine novices, as the couple will offer advice or let you browse. Either way, you’re sure to leave with a bottle of something special.

Images: York Gin, 2 Many Wines, Hop O’Clock, House of the Trembling Madness