If you know anything about Harry Potter, you won’t be surprised that the Harry Potter Butterbeer bar is hidden in plain sight right in the middle of London’s Covent Garden – but you might be surprised at how adorable it is!
Okay, that’s not how you order a butterbeer at the Harry Potter Bar in London, but it should be as, as you sit in here, Hogsmeade could be just steps outside the door.
What’s actually outside the door is Covent Garden piazza, as you find the Harry Potter bar – officially known as the Bottled Butterbeer Bar, hidden underneath the Harry Potter photographic experience on Wellington Street, WC2.
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Is There Beer at the Harry Potter Bar?
No, despite the word bar in the name, there’s not actually any real alcohol on sale (if that’s non negotiable, click here to go straight to the section on the other wizard-inspired bar in London).
But who needs booze when you can can buy Butterbeer instead?
As you probably know, this butterscotchy fizzy drink is the tipple of wizards in the Potterverse – and, while you might not be able to snaffle the glasses at the Leaky Cauldron, here in London, buying a bottle of butterbeer comes with a souvenir tankard that’s yours to take home.
Is There an Entry Fee?
No. While entrance to the bar comes along with your ticket to the photographic exhibition it’s attached to, what many people don’t realise is that you can also just head along to the Butterbeer bar without having to also visit the exhibition – and there’s no entrance fee or booking required to do so.
The Seats to Snag if You Can
The bar itself looks like an old English pub. There’s lots of wood, stained glass effects and bottles lined up behind the bar – and while some of the seating is plain tables and chairs, or bench and booths, there are two more coveted seating areas you’re going to want to try and snag if you’re also looking for the perfect photo op.
The first is the enclosed booth located just opposite the bar which comes with a special ‘butterbeer’ bubble tube in the middle. It’s perfect for a small group or family.
Then off the the left are the barrel seats which leave you looking as if you’re sitting in a beer barrel – or hobbit hole if you don’t mind mixing up your mystical sagas.
We visited at 12am on a a weekday and it was easy to swap around the areas.
Is there Food at the Harry Potter Bar?
Because we were going for lunch straight afterwards, we didn’t need to eat but if you’re peckish the bar also offers a selection of sandwiches – exactly what type depends on the time of day you visit.
And, at lunch, you can buy Leaky Cauldron soup – and maybe add a side of Ministry of Magic Popcorn.
You can also get an afternoon tea for two which contains scones topped with jam and Butterbeer-flavoured cream (not sure which is supposed to go on first in Wizard-world though), tea coffee and of course butterbeer.
You don’t need to book this in advance, you can just order during the day – and even though it’s described as ‘afternoon tea’, there was a couple eating it when we visited so, it does seem to be an all day thing.
And if you don’t want butterbeer, you can also buy water, Coke and other soft drinks from the fridge or shakes from the bar.
When you’ve finished your Butterbeer you can use the onsite tankard wash before you take it away so it’s not all sticky in your bag. You might also want to keep the bottle as they have a label designed by graphic artists MinaLima, who worked on the films (see below)
If that’s not enough goodies to take home, the bar is located right next to the gift shop for the photo exhibition, so, if you do want to pick up some other HP merchandise everything you need in on site.
How to Get to the Butterbeer Bar?
The bar is located at the back entrance to the Harry Potter Photographic exhibition – but it’s underground.
To find it, head toward the entrance of the Transport Museum at the south end of Covent Garden Piazza, and you’ll find the steps that take you down into the bar entrance on your left just past Tuttons and Dirty Martini.
It’s open seven days a week – but does close early in the evening (last entry is 5-5.30 depending which day it is), so you need to make it a day event.
You Mentioned Another Wizard Bar?
Yes. As I said, the Butterbeer bar doesn’t serve alcoholic potions, but, there is a place nearby that, while it’s not officially associated with Harry Potter, will fulfill all your wizarding drink needs with an added kick.
Known as The Wands and Wizards Exploratorium, you’ll find this on Greek Street, next to the French House, in Soho in what used to be the old House of MinaLima building.
The ground floor of this three-storey shop offers the chance to order take-away cocktails served with a whisk of your magic wand, from the snout of a unicorn.
Or, if you want to spend more time, book in for one of their afternoon tea or potion/cocktail-making sessions.
While you’re in Soho, you might want to check out some of our other fun things to do in Soho – you’ll find everything from riding beer bikes to musical walking tours.
The same team also have a bar in Dalston called The Cauldron.
Again, you can find a unicorn bartender, and can book in for potion-making classes, but this also lets you just come in for drinks.
Make a booking or see more information here.
Are There Any Other Harry Potter Sites Near The Butterbeer Bar?
It’s a short walk from the bar to both Godwin’s Court and Cecil Court, one of which, it’s often said, was the inspiration for Diagon Alley. Which do you think looks most like how you imagined it?
Head to Leicester Square and you’ll find a statue of Harry on his broom.
Take a Harry Potter Walking Tour
Leicester Square is also the starting point for this Harry Potter Walking Tour which shows you all the HP inspired sights in town.
You can also check availability for it here
If you prefer to go it alone, have a look at this site which offers a huge self-guided Harry Potter walking tour including sites in and related to the movies – plus some other magical sights around London.
Harry Potter and The Cursed Child
This plays at the Palace Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue, London, which is a short walk from the Butterbeer bar – making the bar a great place to start your experience.
If you haven’t yet got your tickets, you can check prices and availability here.
The House of MinaLima
This duo are the graphic designers behind many of the props in the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts films – and you’ll find their new shop at 157 Wardour Street.
Platform 9 3/4
From Covent Garden, or Leicester Square, its also just a short hop on the tube to Kings Cross where you’ll find Platform 9 3/4.
From Covent Garden its also just a short hop on the tube to Kings Cross where you’ll find Platform 9 and 34
Can you Visit The Butterbeer Bar and Harry Potter Studios in One Day?
You could – but you might be a bit rushed.
If you are going to do this – head to the Studios first booking a slot for early in the morning. They’re in Watford which is about a 30-minute train ride from Euston (and then 10-15 minutes in a taxi from Watford Junction).
You’ll need to finish your visit at the Studios by about 2.30pm to make sure you get back to the Butterbeer bar before last entry at 5pm (5.30 on Friday or Saturday).
You can taste butterbeer at the Studios though so you might find you don’t need to head to the bar as well if you do it this way round.
So, there you have it – our guide to the Harry Potter Butterbeer bar in London – with a bonus mention of where to get cocktails served by a unicorn! If you have any more questions, or comments, please drop them below.
Who Writes Differentville?
My name is Helen Foster and I’m a journalist and author living in Sydney.
My travel articles have been published in titles include The Australian, Body & Soul at the Sunday Telegraph, RAC Horizons, Jetstar magazine and more.
I like the weird, the wonderful and anything that makes me jump and down with glee like I’m about three. That’s what you’ll find here.