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Hi All-

Please help me with suggestions for good food in San Diego! We are headed there next week, and will be staying just outside of the downtown area (Mission Beach, Paradise Point), but will have a car. Open to all types of food for all meals, but extremely fancy places are out as we will have our kids (4 and 9 years old) with us. We also are microbrew lovers, and welcome suggestions of brewpubs or restaurants with good selection of local taps. THANKS!


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  1. You'll be near Pacific Beach, which has the Tap Room. Personally, I'm not wild about that place, but they do have a good beer selection. The atmosphere is kind of frat boy though, and pretty young with loud music. If you drive to Ocean Beach, you have a couple of good choices - one is Newport Pizza and Ale House, which has a great selection of local craft brews and a bit more of a mellow atmosphere, and the other is The Vine. The Vine is a wine bar, but also has a lot of great local craft bottled beer. Their food is good, too.

    Up the hill from the area where you are, in Kearny Mesa, is O'Brien's Pub. One of the best beer selections in town, and relatively kid friendly.

    Pizza Port, either Carlsbad or Solana Beach, are even more kid-friendly, because they have video games and homemade ice cream (and sometimes sodas), plus a great local beer selection. They are not close, though, about a 30-40 minute drive. Alternately you can take the Coaster to either, as both locations are a short walk from the train station.

    11 Replies
    1. re: Josh

      Thanks for the great suggestions! Which Pizza Port if closer to downtown? I love your idea of taking the Coaster!

      1. re: beerlovingmom

        The Solana Beach location is the closer one.

        1. re: beerlovingmom

          Solana Beach is closer, but if you take the coaster the time difference is not huge. The Carlsbad location is much bigger and has a bottle shop next door if you want to get some excellent beer to take away with you.

          The Coaster's hours are somewhat limited, so make sure to check the schedule.

          1. re: JRSD

            JRSD is right. Carlsbad is better, plus it's in a cool, quaint location that is also more kid-friendly. Solana Beach is on Highway 101, which is not exactly scenic. It's only another couple of stops. I'd go up early, because the return train to downtown I think leaves there around 6pm. Definitely check the Coaster website for times.

            1. re: Josh

              Thanks for the Coaster tips. I checked the website, and it turns out there are later trains on Friday and Saturday. Which Carlsbad stop for Pizza Port -- Carlsbad Poinsettia or Carlsbad Village??

                1. re: beerlovingmom

                  It is the Carlsbad Village stop and a very short walk from there. Forgot to mention that if you are going this weekend, they are having a Belgian Beer Festival at the bottle shop next door to the Carlsbad location, so it might be more crowded than usual.

                  Pizza Port-Solana Beach Brwry
                  135 N Highway 101, Solana Beach, CA 92075

                  Pizza Port-Carlsbad Brewery
                  571 Carlsbad Village Dr, Carlsbad, CA 92008

                  1. re: JRSD

                    The beer festivals are held in the outdoor space between the bottle shop and the restaurant, so they'll probably be OK. I remember during Strong Ale, the restaurant was relatively uncrowded.

                    1. re: Josh

                      Good to know. I wonder if people will go to the restaurant after the first session or before the second?

                      1. re: Josh

                        When I was at the last two fests (Strong Ale and Real Ale), the restaurant was packed during the mid-afternoon.

                  2. re: Josh

                    I am going to disagree with Josh and JRSD. I am not a beer guy so I really can't comment on that, but at both places the beer tastes great to me. However, I find the pizza to be much superior at the SB location than up in Carlsbad. The SB location is also funkier while up in Carlsbad the ambience is a bit more upscale.

            2. If you love the Micro Brews the very best place to try a variety of them is probably O'briens on Convoy. Tons of SD brews on tap for cheap (3.50 a pint) and a giant bottle selection.

              so i agree with josh =P

              1. San Diego Brewing Company (at the intersection of Friars and Mission Gorge) has excellent microbrews and food. Happy hour daily from 3 or 4 until 6-half price appetizers, which you can make a meal out of. It has the same owner/menu and prices as Callaghans on Mira Mesa.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Cathy

                  Stone World Bistro and Gardens is pretty nice for kids (and good beer and decent food). A bit of a drive however. Might want to pair this up with a trip to the Wild Animal Park

                2. We love our local, the wits end for a good selection of beers on tap. Its just tucked in a strip mall on robinson ave, hillcrest. We've not really tried the food there, but there are lots of excellent restaurants nearby.

                  1. In my opinion, Hamilton's in South Park and Liar's Club in Alpine have the best beer selections around. Tons of local brews, imported microbrews on draft, and a large selection of Belgian bottles. Liar's Club has good food too (love the fried artichoke and the huge sweet potato fries w/ maple syrup); Hamilton's didn't have much for food but they've recently opened up a cafe that's getting good reviews on here.

                    O'Brien's would be my 3rd choice. They don't have quite as much on draft, not nearly as many bottles, and the food isn't as good.

                    If you want to make a compromise of great food with a smaller beer list (but still excellent quality), you should try The Linkery in North Park.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: DougOLis

                      Interesting perspective. I love all three venues, but I'm not sure I could really pick a favorite among them. I think Hamilton's might have a slightly larger bottle list, not certain on that, but O'Brien's gets some seriously rare and hard-to-find stuff. I believe that's the only place in town where you can get Westvleteren, plus all the saisons, lambics, and complete line of Trappist ales.

                      Hamilton's has a much bigger selection of American and English craft bottles, but for Belgian beer O'Brien's is a definite standout.

                      Another couple of great places missing from your list are Churchill's in San Marcos, and Ritual Tavern in North Park. Churchill's has a really impressive bottle selection, at least as good as either Hamilton's or O'Brien's. Ritual is akin to Linkery, albeit with a more conventional pub-style menu, though still with sustainable produce/meat, and their beer selection is really impressive.

                    2. O’Brien’s Pub is hands down the best beer bar in San Diego. I know they allow kids in as well. You can see its bottle list and tap list on their website. www.obrienspub.net

                      I am some what a beer geek myself and in San Diego we have some great breweries. My favorites are The Lost Abbey, Alesmith and Ballast Point.

                      Ballast Point has a Home Brew Mart off Linda Vista (close to Mission Beach) where you can try and buy some of their beer.

                      If you don’t want to go out to the Alesmith Brewery you can go to Tap Room, Liars Club or O’Brien’s to try it. I would try their Speedway stout, which is amazing. (They are releasing a barrel aged next Tuesday


                      Lastly is the sought after Lost Abbey beers. Their brewery is out of the way as well, but I believe you can go to Pizza Port and purchase their beers along with some good pizza. Pizza Port is your best bet because it is kid friendly. On a side note, Pizza Port owns Lost Abbey and the beer is just as good. The Lost Abbey has some unique beers and is the Mecca for beer geeks in San Diego. It is a must try in my opinion.

                      If you search CH, you can find a lot of information on beers in San Diego.

                      Ballast Point Brewing Company Port Brewing/ The Lost Abbey
                      Home Brew Mart 155 Mata Way #104
                      5401 Linda Vista Rd. San Marcos 760-720-7012
                      San Diego 760-298-2337 www.lostabbey.com

                      Pizza Port- Solana Beach Alesmith Brewing Company
                      135 N Highway 101 9368 Cabot Dr.
                      Solana Beach 858-450-9277 San Diego 858-549-9888
                      www.pizzaport.com www.alesmith.com

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: JonDough

                        Thanks for all the fabulous suggestions fellow beer geek! What is "CH", where i can get more info on beers in San Diego?

                          1. re: beerlovingmom

                            You also might want to check out BeerAdvocate's "BeerFly" page on San Diego. It lists the top-rated breweries and bars in the area:


                        1. Sorry here are the addresses again:

                          Ballast Point Brewing Company
                          Home Brew Mart
                          5401 Linda Vista Rd.
                          San Diego 760-298-2337

                          Port Brewing/ The Lost Abbey
                          155 Mata Way #104
                          San Marcos 760-720-7012

                          Alesmith Brewing Company
                          9368 Cabot Dr.
                          San Diego 858-549-9888

                          Pizza Port- Solana Beach
                          135 N Highway 101
                          Solana Beach 858-450-9277

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: JonDough

                            at ballast point you can try 4oz samples of beers for $1 each. And they recently dropped their prices of their Growlers from $15 refills to $13!