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Jun 15, 2007 02:52 PM

San Diego county brewpubs w/food, etc.?

I'm interested in checking out the beer scene in San Diego County -- we'll probably be near Coronado/Downtown San Diego for dinner but could stop in North County on the way down the 5 and back.
I don't know if we can get to Stone since it's kind of inland -- what are the best bets along the coast and in San Diego proper for great local beer selection and good food?

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  1. I really like the Pizza Port in Solana Beach.

    10 Replies
    1. re: jturtle

      Heading down the 5, I'd say Pizza Port is a good stop for good beer and food (pizza). The last time I was there, we had to skip the bacon cheeseburger pizza because we were with someone who didn't eat pork (and it's not the same without bacon!). The beer buddies (basically breadsticks with dipping sauce) are good while you're waiting for your food, too.

      1. re: jturtle

        As stated above, Pizza Port in Solana Beach is a must. While the pizza is good, it's pretty much all they make, so, hopefully you're not looking for "typical" brewpub food (Fish and chips, hamburgers, etc). BUT, the beer is some of the best in the world. Really.

        Coronado Brewing Company is constantly surprising me. Their food is always above average and the beer has come a long way the last year or so. If you're a hop head like me, you should try their new IPA called Idiot.

        While not really a "brewpub", everyone visiting San Diego should really check out O'briens and the Liars Club. Both have really good food and an amazing selection of beers, many of which are local.

        The chain brewpubs in San Diego are all actually pretty decent. I find the food and beer at BJ's and Oggis to be acceptable and generally good.

        If you can get up to Stone, I highly recommend it. People have mixed feelings on their food, but I think the overall experience is awesome.

        1. re: naven

          I third the Pizza Port, but the people at O'Briens were rude and obnoxious, I'd avoid it.

          1. re: sds

            While it is certainly true that at times there are meatheads in attendance at O'Brien's, show me one pub that doesn't occasionally have customers like this.

            Dissuading people from visiting what is one of San Diego's best beer locations because you and your friends couldn't find parking and got yelled at by some rowdy customers seems pretty strange to me.

            OK, so you had a bad experience on your one visit. Meanwhile the place has been open for over 10 years, and is consistently ranked the best pub for craft brews in San Diego.

            There are rude and obnoxious people at pretty much any place serving alcohol. At least at O'Brien's you can get some good beer to compensate.

            Another good place for beer is Hamilton's down in South Park. They have a good selection of exotic drafts, and a nice bottle list. Selection is different than O'Brien's, but just as impressive in its own right.


            1. re: Josh

              Thanks for saying what I was thinking Josh! We love O'Briens and the owners - Tom and Lindsay - are among the hardest working folks in town. Tom's widely regarded as one of SD's top beer authorities, I think Peter Rowe even named him one of the ten reasons SD is seen as such a beer mecca. Lindsay works her butt off keeping the menu fresh and is constantly mixing it up. They also either run or help run several huge local festivals that draw international audiences. Basically, if it's about beer in this town, you'll see them there.

              If you're truly into beer and a menu that's built around it, then O'Brien's is a must stop. To omit them from your itinerary because someone had a bad experience with their patrons and/or staff would be like going to DC and omitting the National Smithsonian because you had a bad experience with an American once.

              1. re: mimosa

                I think it's important to point out that O'Briens is kind of a scroungy little place. Don't expect a nice venue. But if you go in with the right expectations, you should have fun. They have a great beer list.

                1. re: mimosa

                  Great thoughts Mimosa, I whole heartedly agree.

              2. re: sds

                I go to Obriens almost weekly, and I don't recall ever seeing people being rude/obnoxious. The clientele is far different than most beach bars or Gaslamp locations, but it is still a pub - you are bound to see someone drunk eventually.

              3. re: naven

                Is the Pizza Port in San Clemente equal to the Solana Beach location?

                1. re: Wolfgang

                  They all brew different beers and have different beers available. Also, when they enter beer competitions they always specify locations, take that as you will.
                  The San Clemente Location is nice but there is nothing like the original, the Solana Beach location

            2. The San Diego brewing company in Mission Valley and Callahan's Irish Pub in Mira Mesa are both owned by the same company. They're good places to grab a pint and enjoy traditional pub fair.

              1. Went this week to Stone World Bistro for Tuesday Tapas and a couple of pints..Wow...what a place..its huge, great food and awesome beer with a lot of draft selection.
                I suggest you stop on the way down.


                4 Replies
                1. re: Beach Chick

                  We're going on Monday for lunch - and suggestions foodwise?

                  1. re: mimosa

                    The Spud Buds are good, IMO. I also like the burger. If you get the Spud Buds, make sure to ask for a side of the Smoked Porter BBQ sauce. That stuff is great, and much better IMO than the tomato sauce.

                    1. re: mimosa

                      Hi mimosa..
                      We did the Tapas at the Mac n Cheese is outstanding..didn't care for the onion rings..
                      Love the mussels & clams too..
                      The Arrogant Bastard on draft was outstanding!

                    2. re: Beach Chick

                      I've read that the Stone Bistro exec. chef recently bailed, so I am interested in seeing how the menu/food has been affected for better or worse. Now that it is warmer I want to check out the monster bar in the Gardens.

                    3. Of the beer-oriented places I've visitied in SD (I haven't been to Stone, SD Brewing Co., or Coronado Brewing Co.), I think Karl Strauss has the best food. There are three within close proximity to I-5 (Mira Mesa, La Jolla, Downtown). Their beer is decent, but it's not as good as other local brewers.

                      Pizza Port is a great place as well. Lots of great local brews, and I personally really like their pizza. Some people on this board dislike their pizza, but I think it's great for what it is (standard pizza parlor pizza).

                      Shakespeare's is a great British Pub with standard pub grub, although they don't serve any local beers.

                      I would not bother going to Callahan's. Nothing special.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: mangiatore

                        Must hits in order (my preference)
                        Liars Club
                        Tap Room
                        Pizza Port

                        Tap room is a kinda new joint in PB, 20+ Locals on tap good pie and service. Pizza Port is a San Diego institution, and you can get their beer at most of the places listed above, a real jem, I just wish I liked doughy pizza. However, they brew some of the best beer in the nation (Try the Hop 15).