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Apr 20, 2007 08:35 AM

Wit's End (San Diego)

Neal has sold Wit's End. What a tragedy. Supposedly the new owners are going to try to maintain the current atmosphere, but something tells me it won't be the same.

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    1. re: Josh

      Yeah, totally. I know Grace is staying on, but I'm not sure about the other servers. I'll let you know if I learn anything else.

      Btw, I tried Alpine's Pure Hoppiness last night at O'brien's. Great beer (it was a bit flat but it seemed like it was something other than the beer causing it). That was you that recommended it, right?

      1. re: mangiatore

        Hopefully, the new owners will have the same level of beer knowledge. You never know, sometimes change is good.

        Pure hoppiness is great. In fact, it's definitely in my top 5 IPA's, along with Alesmith IPA, Russian River Pliny the Elder and a couple others. Sounds like you got a bad one though. Definitely ask for a re-pour next time.

        1. re: naven

          I've seen the guys who bought it. They can't be much older than 30, but supposedly they own a couple other restaurants and/or bars. Word has it they're going to spruce up the decor, which I'm not so sure is a good thing. I'm worried doing so could attract the yuppie element, which would definitely change the scene in there. It could also alienate the bohemian types that currently frequent the place.

          Alesmith IPA is my current favorite, but I'll be damned if there are at least 5 world-class IPAs made in San Diego. I'll try to get my hands on a Russian River Pliny the Elder. Any idea where I can find it?

          1. re: mangiatore

            I may be in the minority here but I for one am glad they have changed owners. I tried to go there 3 times. The first two they were closed. They have the weirdest hours and were not there during their posted hours. The third time we walked in and were shouted at by a woman behind the counter regarding the fact that the kitchen was closed (6:30 on a weeknight?) and if we wanted food to go away. My very very mild mannered boyfriend who never gets upset (that is my job) was so offended he said we would never be back. Since there were so many positive reviews on this site I really wanted to go but now I can tell him--new ownership and we can hopefully try again.

            1. re: jturtle

              I agree with you. My one and only interaction with that place was walking in with my husband and being told they were closed and we had to leave. Very odd. There were people seated at several tables there and it wasn't very late on a weekend night. Guess it wasn't just us...

            2. re: mangiatore

              O'Brien's & Liars Club almost always have Pliny the Elder on tap.

              1. re: Hopgeek

                True, but, you never know. I subscribe to The Liars Club, O'briens and Hamiltons email lists. All three do a good job publishing what they have on tap for the week.

              2. re: mangiatore

                If it's who I'm thinking of the guys don't own their own restaurants or bars, they work at them (one working at a bar and the other a restaurant). I guess this is thier first experience owning their own place. It'll be interesting. I hope they don't change the place that much.

        2. Just found out that it will open under new ownership in about a month. Similar menu, more beers on tap. Maybe it'll be ok.

          4 Replies
          1. re: mangiatore

            Apparently, one of the Live Wire guys is buying the place, so there will be the same (if not better) level of beer.

            1. re: naven

              Neal had Russian River, Maredsous, AleSmith, and a ton of other great Belgians and micros. Not really sure how their beer selection could be improved upon.

                1. re: mangiatore

                  Exactly. I guess that is going to be the biggest plan in the works.

          2. One more tidbit -- they're planning on raising the bar to normal bar height, and apparently they're planning on showing lots of sports. The more info I get, the more I think it's going to have a drastically different vibe. Neal refused to show sports, and that was a big factor in the clientele the bar attracted.

            2 Replies
            1. re: mangiatore

              I can understand how some people would be afraid of change, but I guess we'll see how it all pans out. Personally, I think the set up at Wit's end is odd and uncomfortable.

              1. re: naven

                Two points of agreement:

                Mangiatore, I agree that sports would give Wit's End a whole new vibe. Last time I was there, they were showing "Best In Show," one of my favorite movies.

                Naven, I thought it was odd and uncomfortable, too. I was with a big group that liked to linger and we were sitting on the bench seats around the big table. I was dying to get out of there because I was so uncomfortable. The great selection of beer was little consolation for my aching back. ;)

            2. I ran into Neal yesterday. He's now managing the front-of-house stuff, including beer and wine, at Cafe 910 in La Jolla. Went to 910 for lunch and saw him. The beer list at 910 is now easily the best of any of San Diego's high-end restaurants. He has a great selection of really good food-friendly micros and imports.

              He's also injected a little Wit's End-style humor on the beer list. Budweiser and Bud Light are in their own section, titled "Hang Your Head In Shame".

              1 Reply
              1. re: Josh

                Just to add on, the new Wits End is just a crappy bar now. The new owners don't seem to have kept on a spec of the charm that made the Wits End a great nightly visit pub.