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One Beer dinner

I'd love a recommendation for one beer dinner in San Diego. Visiting from SF and NY.

Priorities are beer first, food second (but would like to eat well).

We had been leaning toward Ballast Point (love the Sculpin and widely available brews) but it seems like Stone might offer more variety with some other local craft beers. Good ambiance / atmosphere as well.

Stone a good choice or would we better off at a non-brewery affiliated spot like Blind Lady or Tiger Tiger.

Staying at Pacific Beach but proximity is not a high priority.

I recognize that this is beyond a first world problem and we really cannot go wrong.

Thanks in advance!

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  1. Are you looking for a place that does beer-pairing dinners, or just somewhere with good food and an outstanding tap list? San Diego beers mainly?

    Besides dinner, since you are staying in PB you should check out California Kebab [Amplified Aleworks] down in the Promenade area. Excellent beers and lunch with an ocean view patio. PB Tap Room (on Garnet Ave near Trader Joes) has a massive taplist that is SD-centric...not a big fan of the food personally but they have a pizza slices if you need some chow with some beers.

    2 Replies
    1. re: MrKrispy

      Seconded. For everything above. Also the service at the Tap Room is always atrocious. Puts Cali Kebab at the top of the list from my point of view.

      1. re: CampySD

        Just an extra 2c - will you have a designated driver? If not, count on a $20-$30 cab ride (each way), assuming you are by the ocean, and not the freeway. Or, you can lazily saunter down the boardwalk, pre- and post-dinner/drinks, all the while spending your gas/cab money on more beer!

    2. Stone Brewery in Escondido wins for the ambiance. Otherwise, with SD microbreweries the food is, well, expected. Trust me, you already know the menu before you step foot in any of them.

      Since the food is an afterthought, I'd go for the beer. Ballast Point is terrific, and I'd definitely recommend the drive to Alpine Brewery. Heck you could spend the day visiting breweries off 76.

      Also as you've already learned, all local gastro pubs carry a terrific selection of SD Beers -- it's a source of local pride. Hence the Tap Room in the heart of Pacific Beach might be the best option as you can take a cab.

      1. I think the food at Ballast Point in Little Italy is very good. Alpine Brew has fairly decent food. BBQish.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Saabiar

          I agree with the Ballast Point in Little Italy....also, Stone Brewing has a much closer facility with food in Liberty Station (Pt. Loma) that you might enjoy (even though I prefer the location in Escondido).

          Closer to 'home' and right in Pacific Beach, the Patio on Lamont has a pretty good selection of craft beer including the aforementioned Ballast Point, Stone, as well as Coronado Brewing, Lagunitas, Ale Smith, and others:


        2. I would recommend the Blind Lady Ale House for the best combination of beer and food, IMHO. The beer quality and selection are legend at BLAH. They also have charcuterie and cheese plates that are some of the best I've had anywhere. They make their own pates and terrines in house as well as the accompaniments (pickled vegetables and chutneys) with nicely grilled bread. And excellent salads. Pizza is good there though not the best in SD. Atmosphere/ambiance is nice in a laid back, communal table kind of way. Though can get a bit loud.

          2 Replies
          1. re: steveprez

            I would also say BLAH for food and beer. However, its been a while since i've been. The last time i was there it was just my wife and I, we had half a pizza left and full beers. One of the workers there continuously asked us if we were going to be much longer because there was a line for food & beer. And at BLAH there is always a line for food & beer. We left and i wont be returning. If you can deal with that, the food and beer is good. I just dont like being rushed out.

            Hamilton;s and monkey paw have food as well.

            1. re: kriot

              yeah we get that a lot on the weekends at Blind Lady, extremely irritating bordering on flat-out rude. If the workers are devoting that much effort to getting people in line seated, why not just have a sign-up board or something?

          2. Alpine Brew Pub in Alpine or Salt and Cleaver in Hillcrest.

            1. Never liked the food at Stone. Sorry. Lovely ambience. I would go with BLAH or Waypoint Public - both have good food, excellent beer. Both are also in proximity to 30th St. so one could in theory hit up the Toronado afterwards for some additional drinking.

              Also with decent tap lists good food:

              Jayne's Gastropub and Urban Solace.

              3 Replies
              1. re: zmirzlina

                Add Ritual Tavern, which has the best tap list of the three.

                1. re: JRSD

                  I keep on forgetting about Ritual. They were good for a while then went downhill. I need to give them a visit again because I'm hearing good things about them again.

                  1. re: zmirzlina

                    They have pretty good chow items and their beer list is decent. They also offer beer flights.

              2. Ballast Point Little Italy just posted on FB about a beer dinner 2/6

                1. Great question. Probably my favorite beer dinner location is the Ritual. Great beer on tap, good food, and a quiet restaurant setting. I really like that place.

                  Now, you could also go with the Waypoint Tavern. I haven't been yet, but it is owned by one of the owners of Bottlecraft (a local bottle shop), so you know the beer will be good. I've heard good things.

                  Another option would be Alchemy, which has great food, and pretty good beer. You could eat there then then walk next door to Hamilton's, and have amazing beer (though Hamilton's is noisy).

                  I've been to Ballast Point's Little Italy restaurant, and that would also be a solid choice. As would Tiger!Tiger! and BLAH. Atmosphere-wise, they're definitely more bar than restaurant, but they're all solid on the food, and have great beer.

                  1. I would hit up Sessions Public in OB/Point Loma and you can take Mission all the way to OB to Voltaire..
                    Great beer and food.

                    Stone has fab beer but the food blows..hit up the Liberty Station new location..Esco has a great vibe but a long haul from PB.