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Jan 28, 2009 12:34 PM

RIP Liars Club

Such a bummer.

"It closed this past weekend due to sky-high rents and smaller-than-hoped-for crowds" <sic>

SD City Beat

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  1. I have a feeling the restaurant graveyard is going to be pretty full this year.

    1. A definite shame. But I was in there a few times in the last couple of months and it's not hard to see why they closed. On a Friday night at 7pm the place was dead empty. And the staff and setup there was great. they even had one of the bartenders spinning records. But, to be honest, I only stopped in because I was already picking up some Growlers from Alpine Beer Co a few blocks down the road.

      Not to over-generalize, but I think that it goes to show that when it comes to popular spots, it seems that the location tends to be the most important thing. For craft beers, Liars Club was a beacon that Mission Beach was lucky to have. But 99% of the reason that place was so busy was because it was walking/biking distance for the people that frequented it. The craft beer aficionados did not make up the majority of that crowd. Sure, they were out in full force on Friday evenings and on brewer nights. But that doesn't compare to the constant presence of the beach goers and MB residents who made that place their local spot. So, when the place moved, none of those people who made up the bulk of the clientele were gonna follow the place.

      Sort of like moving one of those places in PB on Garnet that all of the College kids go to. They're all pretty dumpy places (save for the ones that are actually nice spots). But, it doesn't matter how good the place is. Just being on Garnet guarantees a good deal of business. But move it out of PB, and ain't none of those College kids gonna follow it, no matter how much they liked going there.

      It's the same with Hamilton's. That place is a hot spot right now not so much because of the beers on tap, but because it's a bar in a part of town that is really popular right now. Namely the South Park/North Park/Golden Hill crowd. Move that place to La Mesa and no one's gonna follow it. That place has already had to dump it's wonderful organic/prime-ingredients menu because none of the hipsters that regularly fill that place appreciated the quality. Or, at least, they weren't willing to pay for it.

      Seems that the only exception to this rule is a place like O'Briens. But that's because it caters primarily to a much older crowd who is actually going there strictly for the beer. So, they were commuting anyway. Doesn't hurt that O'Briens is pretty much in the center of the county, though.

      11 Replies
      1. re: cookieshoes

        being a craft beer aficionado, I generally agree with that haha.

        I can't believe the location in Alpine has "sky high rent" but I can agree it was usually near empty. Bummer, but it was a drive and I couldn't get out there very often.

        1. re: MrKrispy

          Is it just me, or is the beer selection at Hamilton's not all that it's cracked up to be? I prefer O'Brien's by far, and am looking forward to trying Toronado. I'm not sure what it is about Hamilton's that I don't get. It's like I'll go in craving a certain kind of beer, try one that should be close to it and leave disappointed.

          1. re: woodandfine

            it's just you. O'Brien's and Hamilton's usually have pretty comparable tap lists but I guess O'Brien's has a better bottle list. Toronado has the largest tap list (especially for Belgian stuff) but a lot of the offerings can be pretty uninspiring, and the place is kind of off-putting to me. Maybe it just shows how spoiled we are in San Diego.

            1. re: DougOLis

              If Toronado just put some damn acoustic panels in it would really help. Gonna take many years to get the characteristic grime of the SF location.

              I almost always love the tap list at Hamilton's but they need to back the friggin audio down sometimes, it is already hard to talk because of the crowd.

                1. re: Josh

                  They will never turn the jukebox down at Hamilton's I've been told. The owner will make concessions on just about everything else but the jukebox "is his thing".

                  But agreed on both points -- both places can get loud.

                  1. re: Ewilensky

                    If I never hear "Sweet Child O' Mine" again it'll be too soon.

                    1. re: Josh

                      Just a little Patience, Josh. Yeah...

        2. re: cookieshoes

          So true.

          Location is almost 99% of the battle in San Diego.

          Think about so many places that have been around in san diego for years: The pennant, PB Bar and grille, really any places near the beach in san diego.

          Are they successful because they are so "great"? No.

          Are casinos in Las Vegas courting San Diego Beach establishments to bring to Vegas? NO.

          its all location.

          1. re: stevewag23

            love a good dive bar and if the Pennant wasn't at its classic location in South Mission, I would be more apt to skip it..

        3. Sad.

          But honestly I was in the new location once, so for me, it was like the place was gone already.