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Wit's End Pub & Cafe, The

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Taps: / Bottles:
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: N
BA SCORE
-
no score

4 Ratings
Ratings: 4
Reviews: 4
rAvg: 3.75
pDev: 13.6%
$$$ - a bit pricey
[ Bar, Eatery ]

420 Robinson Ave
San Diego, California, 92103
United States
phone: (619) 294-4848
// CLOSED //



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(Place added by: BeerAdvocate)
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Ratings: 4 | Reviews: 4 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by mzwolinski:
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mzwolinski

California

4.36/5  rDev +16.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

A small, cozy establishment located within walking distance of many of Hillcrest's other attractions, Wit's End boasts what is almost certainly the best beer selecetion in the neighborhood, and one which holds its own against the majority of San Diego bars.

Eyechartbrew, MSEyechart, a few non-BA friends and I stopped in here on a Friday night after having eaten and had a few beers (Sierra Nevada was the best they had -- but that's not the reason to go there) at Hamburger Mary's just down the road. At around 9-10PM on a Friday night, the place was mostly empty, and we managed to grab a table in the back corner surrounded on all four sides by benches covered in comfy pillows. Apparently, this place used to be a Sushi bar, and much of the character of its former incarnation is still visible in the current design. Except the paintings. I hope. I was sitting under one rather gaudy work upon the whorehouse-red wall entitled "Grapes are Good," featuring a relaxed-looking woman wearing nothing but a tan-line in a position of repose and eating...you guessed it...grapes. Next to her was some sort of mixed-media painting of what appeared to be a rather low-end prostitute, with a Devil-may-care, solicitous look on her rather crudely painted face. Well, they're good for conversation pieces, anyway...

The owner was working and was quite friendly, alternating between watching one of the two TVs running behind the bar (showing re-runs of Saturday Night Live, on this occassion -- sometimes one of them is occupied by patrons playing one of the XBoxes the bar has available -- there are board games too, but we didn't try any) and visiting with the patrons. Just one waitress working, but that was enough for the crowd and she was attentive and knew a bit about the beer selection.

The draft selection was pretty small -- about 5 taps, if I recall, but all quality brews -- Ballast Point's Black Marlin Porter, Stone Pale Ale, and a few other locals. No macro swill to be found here. There's some food too, but I didn't try it.

The bottle list is where this place really makes its mark. Lots of US micros, though almost exclusively West-Coast fare, and nothing that you wouldn't find at your local BevMo. The selection of imports was quite impressive, featuring 8 or so selections from Belgium, 2 or so from France, a number of Germans, a couple of Brazilians, Japanese, etc etc. Most of the bases are covered pretty well here -- I would guess there were somewhere around 70+ bottles in all from which to choose.

A bit pricey, though. $8 for a 22 oz. domestic bomber of something like Arrogant Bastard. And the Belgians are *really* expensive. A 750 ml of Duvel, for instance, will run you $15. Looked to be close to a 100% markup from the local retail price. I can't imagine visiting this place too regularly with those prices.

All in all, though, it's a nice place to stop for some quality beer if you're in Hillcrest -- and there are lots of good reasons to visit that area. Great, sort of hipsterish atmosphere, but it accomplishes this while still being a very laid-back, inviting place.

02-27-2005 02:36:00 | More by mzwolinski
More User Reviews:
Photo of djaeon
djaeon

California

3.55/5  rDev -5.3%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3 | $$

I've stopped in here after work a few times for happy hour, and because I had time to kill. They don't have an obscene amount of taps or anything. I'm guessing around 8 (didn't count while I was there). They were all decent beers in my opinion. Various IPA's, some dark beers, Karl Strauss seasonals, Stone, Port, Ballast Point, to give you an idea. I had an Old Rasputin, which was great. The wall behind the bar has a lot of shelving where they store several bottles. With the amount of storage they have, the bottle selection isn't that great. The food also leaves something to be desired. They do a spaghetti night, which is not good. Their pulled pork BBQ sandwich is pretty tasty. The burger is OK. I've only been in the early evening with few people there, so I've had decent service every time I've gone. In short, it's a good place if it's convenient for you to go, but not somewhere I'd make a great effort to visit.

02-22-2011 22:10:22 | More by djaeon
Photo of dbalsock
dbalsock

Vermont

3.03/5  rDev -19.2%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 2.5 | selection: 3 | food: 3.5 | $$$

I decided to hit this place up after reading some of the near ancient reviews to see how things were going there. The selection is pretty limited actually, but what they do have is pretty good. Some Allagash, and common Belgian Imports were on the shelves and the taps were made up of 3 Alesmith brews, numerous Karl Straus brews and some swill. The service was ok, but considering nobody was there, it should have been a little better. It took 30 minutes to get a glass of water... The food was a mix of really good and ok, which seems to match the beer on the wall. The atmosphere could be nice at times, I imagine, but the music was terrible for the whole 2 hours I was there... playing mostly music like Queensryche (sp?)... which seemed to be what they had the juke box for. I won't go back, but it's a nice place to switch it up in San Diego if you're out and about in Hillcrest.

06-24-2007 02:47:59 | More by dbalsock
Photo of MrNuggets
MrNuggets

Oregon

4.05/5  rDev +8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5 | $$$$

I spend a week sleeping on the couch of a friend who lives directly across the street from the Wit’s End. I liked going there for happy hour; I liked drinking Stone IPA on tap. I loved eating their food, it is very good food. The soup selection seems to rotate daily, along with a menu filled with tasty sushi like things. At that Wit’s End, I finally found myself able to enjoy the fabled Russian River beers; albeit at a very high cost. Had my years of supplication to the mighty Goddess of ale finally paid off? Not so much, the cost was prohibitive in that, I could only drink one bottle. What bottle would I drink? They had three!

On what was about my third visit, watched a full case of La Fin Du Monde fall off the bar and shatter on the floor. Exciting, glass shards flew across the little café into people’s beers and soups. Thankfully, the nice man who owns the joint compensated us. After all, it is just a little glass; not the end of the world.

06-25-2006 20:04:53 | More by MrNuggets
Wit's End Pub & Cafe, The in San Diego, CA
- out of 100 based on 4 ratings.