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Sep 17, 2009 10:28 PM

Small Bar San Diego

Has anyone been to the new Small Bar in San Diego yet? It's in the old Bistro d'Asia spot in University Heights and was opened by the owner of Hamilton's Tavern. From what I've heard it's supposed to have a larger menu, a full bar, and more taps. I think it might still be in the soft opening stages, but I'm going to try and check it out in the next few days.

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  1. Wow, I hadn't heard of that. I tell ya, with as many places that have been opening up, it's getting harder and harder to get excited about new beer bars in this town!

    Just five years ago, bars in this town that had an emphasis on great beers outside of Pacific Beach and the Gaslamp were practically non-existent. Even then, the ones that did exist were pretty standard Bud Light/Sierra Nevada establishments, with the occasional popular micro on tap.

    For drinking good beer, there was just Downtown Johnny Brown's, the Live Wire, and some of those seedy El Cajon Blvd joints being the only places to go. Karl Strauss of course had a few locations throughout town. Then you had the Liar's Club, and Tom Nickel made something wonderful out of O'Brien's up on Convoy. But that didn't start really happening until about 5 years ago. Wit's End was a nice spot too. Of course, up in Solana Beach and Carlsbad there were the Pizza Ports locations, and Oggi's, of which those guys had been going since the late 90's. A few years ago Stone Brewing shifted from it's old spot and opened up that massive brewery up north.

    But within just the past 3-5 years alone there's been Hamilton's, the Whistle Stop, Toronado, the Tap Room, Neighborhood, the Linkery, Starlite, Station Tavern, and Blind Lady Ale House, among others I'm almost certainly forgetting. Pizza Port is set to take over Ocean Beach with another location, and Huntington Beach Brewing is still doing construction on what will be the San Diego Beer Company, on the corner of Broadway and 6th downtown. And of course there's a place like the Yardhouse and the Local. Alpine Pat will soon be getting into the game by opening some sort of brewpub up there.

    Believe me, I'm not complaining. The time has come. If anything, the more beer bars there are in town, the less crowded they'll all end up being when I want to go to one!

    1. I liked it. I predict it's gonna be very successful. They're doing Tallgrass burgers, which is awesome, and they have an amazing single malt scotch and bourbon selection. The speciality cocktails were tasty, too.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Josh

        "they have an amazing single malt scotch and bourbon selection." That's good to hear. I couldn't get close enough to really check it out, and all I saw was the standard Glenlivet/Glenfiddich stuff. Perhaps this afternoon...

      2. Went last night, liked it a lot. I like the decor much better than Hamilton's, noise seems to be at a lower level too, even though it was packed.

        Only had the Waygu sliders and wedge salad. The burgers were cooked perfectly to my request (*cough* rare *cough*). Wedge salad was....wedge salad except covered with bacon so that makes it an automatic A.

        Small bar is closer to me than Hamilton's so I will be there a lot.

        1. Yeah this place is great. I used to go to Hamilton's, then Toronado bc it was closer to home and now Small Bar is around the corner, so that's even better. I was there on Sat night around 11 and it was packed, but not terribly uncomfortable.

          I think happy hour is from like 5-8? and it's $1 off of everything.