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An Austin, TX chowhound needs suggestions in Gaslamp district

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Thanks in advance, guys!

I will be in San Diego for a work function for most of next week, cloistered in a hotel in the Gaslamp district without a car. I will have two unscheduled evenings that I would like to sample some good food and some good local beers. I am being taken at one point to In-n-Out, since we don't have those in TX yet.

Any other suggestions? I'd like to keep from taking cabs, but from searching around, it seems like The Gaslamp is a little more touristy, and might not have the best that San Diego has to offer.

A brew pub with good food would be perfect, a good restaurant with local beer would be great, or... well, pretty much anything a proud local would like a visitor to enjoy.

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  1. Gaslamp's like the 6th Street area of Austin, but without the live music. Clubs, bars, and lots of fabulous people watching.

    Neighborhood should fit your bill nicely. Great burgers (I love In-N-Out's, but these are little more gourmet) and lots of local beer. Or go to Cafe Chloe a block away, have a great meal, then go to Neighborhood for the beer at the bar. It's a long-ish walk from the Gaslamp, but doable. The area's a little dodgy at night, but there should be lots of people around and I've never felt unsafe.

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    Cafe Chloe
    721 9th Ave, San Diego, CA 92101

    1 Reply
    1. re: geekyfoodie

      Definite second for Neighborhood. Downtown Johnny Brown's also has a really good beer lineup - atmosphere isn't much, though.

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      Downtown Johnny Brown's
      1220 3rd Ave, San Diego, CA 92101

    2. Downtown and the Gaslamp can be pretty easily negotiated by using the trolley lines. You can ride the blue or orange lines downtown all day for $1. http://www.sdmts.com/Trolley/Trolley.asp

      You shouldn't really need to cab it downtown

      3 Replies
      1. re: DiningDiva

        All day trolley pass for $1? Shouldn't that be $5?

        1. re: nileg

          No, not downtown. It's a $5 pass for access to the entire trolley system, but if you're just going to be moving around the downtown area, it's only a buck. Tansit police do check. It's one of the ticket options, look on the machine next time you buy a ticket. A friend who rides the trolley daily pointed it out to me or I would have missed it.

          1. re: DiningDiva

            Ah, unfortunately, the Trolley "downtown zone" was eliminated last year. You now have the option of purchasing either a one-way fare of $2.50 or a day pass for $5 (which is definitely what you'd want to purchase if you're riding the Trolley more than once in a day) regardless of area.

      2. Check out Basic Urban Kitchen + Bar. Great pizzas (really great), next to Petco Park and an easy walk from anywhere in the Gaslamp. Tin Fish, also next to Petco, serves good--not great, but good--fish, tacos and sandwiches. For more upscale, but not fancy, a cab ride to Cucina Urbana (get a reservation) is worthwhile. It's really not bad walk, and it'll be downhill coming home, but most people would say you need a cab. (My morning constitutional is downtown to Hillcrest and back, six miles, so I'm not the best guide on distances to walk.) Cafe Chloe is very popular on this board. Not my favorite, but fine and lots of people like it. Bareback Grill is an Aussie-themed bar with very loud music and "a cut above" bar food. Finally, there is Candelas for Mexican fine dining.

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        Cafe Chloe
        721 9th Ave, San Diego, CA 92101

        Bareback Grill
        4640 Mission Blvd, San Diego, CA 92109

        Basic Urban Kitchen & Bar
        , San Diego, CA 92101

        The Tin Fish
        2750 Dewey Rd, San Diego, CA 92106

        1 Reply
        1. re: lawyerbriefs

          It's been a few years, but I'd rate Tin Fish as very good. The seafood was dependably fresh and they stuck with doing a very good job with simple, straightforward preparations.

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          The Tin Fish
          2750 Dewey Rd, San Diego, CA 92106

        2. Definitely utilize the trolley and also see if you can take the ferry/water taxi over to Coronado.

          8 Replies
          1. re: Barbara76137

            I was just in San Diego for a short trip and also stayed in the Gaslamp. Friends of mine brought me to Yard House, which might not have the best food, but had a great selection of beers and seemed like a nice place to watch sports.

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            Yard House Restaurant
            1023 4th Ave, San Diego, CA 92101

            1. re: spectra21

              Yardhouse isn't terrible, but it is a corporate chain - probably not the best place to get the flavor of the local scene.

              1. re: spectra21

                Yard House's beer selection is good if you're not that into beer. :-)

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                Yard House Restaurant
                1023 4th Ave, San Diego, CA 92101

                1. re: Josh

                  ouch! i guess i'll let the locals take the floor then. :)

                  1. re: Josh

                    So Oaked Arrogant Bastard isn't a very good beer, Josh? :)

                    It seems that their tap list is slightly more interesting than I remember it being when they first opened. They've added a few local offerings that were not there before:

                    http://www.yardhouse.com/files/beer_m...

                    1. re: RB Hound

                      I remember going there many years ago and them serving my friend a yard of Arrogant Bastard. Very unnecessary.

                      1. re: RB Hound

                        Oaked AB isn't bad, but it's not exactly hard to find. Look over that list, and the vast majority of those beers are your basic imported beers, with a few craft options (more than I remember, which is an improvement, but not enough to recommend the place over Neighborhood and Johnny Brown's, and also wtf with all the Lost Coast beers?).

                        The other problem is with that many taps, you have to wonder a) how fresh the beer is, and b) how often the tap lines are cleaned - especially given their length (if you check the layout of the place and where the beer is stored you'll see what I mean).

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                        Johnny Brown's
                        1220 3rd Ave, San Diego, CA 92101

                        1. re: Josh

                          I concur with what you said. All I was saying is that they seemed to have improved *slightly*. :)

                2. Cafe Chloe and Basic are good if you want to walk. If you decide to hop in a cab, I'd recommend Blind Lady Ale House, on Adams Avenue - it's a short ride & they have great beers, pizza, nice starters in a fun, casual atmosphere. Also Starlite - on India street is a very short cab ride away. Has kind of a nightclub atmosphere but great cocktails and good food. Check out the back patio.

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                  Cafe Chloe
                  721 9th Ave, San Diego, CA 92101

                  Blind Lady Ale House
                  3416 Adams Ave, San Diego, CA

                  Starlite
                  3175 India Street, San Diego, CA 92103

                  1. Dobson's next to Horton Plaza for the best mussel bisque en croute..
                    Basic for pizza is really good..
                    Take the water taxi over from the Gaslamp to Coronado Island and have some local beer and food at the Coronado Brewery on Orange a short walk from the dock.
                    It would be a fun thing to do.
                    Fish Market downtown next to the USS Midway has a great bayfront patio for drinks and app's and the oyster and sushi bar are solid.
                    Have fun and report back!

                    www.sdhe.com
                    www.coronadobrewingcompany.com