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Hamiltons Tavern

Hamiltons TavernHamiltons Tavern

Taps: 30 / Bottles: 200
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: N
BA SCORE
97
world-class

92 Ratings
Ratings: 92
Reviews: 78
rAvg: 4.42
pDev: 8.37%
$$ - reasonable


[ Bar, Eatery ]

1521 30th St
San Diego, California, 92102-1503
United States
phone: (619) 238-5460

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

Notes:
None, yet.

(Place added by: stoner420 on 10-09-2006)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 92 | Reviews: 78 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of sisterthelonious
sisterthelonious

Wisconsin

4.48/5  rDev +1.4%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4 | $

Don't even read my review. If you are close enough to Hamilton's and wondering whether you should go, then get your ass over there. You will not be disappointed. After you go and get drunk and eat some tot with beer cheese soup dipping sauce, then come back and read my review.

Atmosphere- Very good. Scot Blair did a great job organizing the bar. A long bar, booths, belly bars, a pool table, shuffle-puck table, jukebox... and it all fits. Tap handles on the ceiling, dog-friendly.

Quality- This place is all about the beer. Or at least it was until they opened Hamilton's Cafe next door. Now, it's all about the beer & food. You won't find a bad beer in the place. The food is occasionally greasy (this ain't health food) and belly-ache inducing. Other than one questionable bbq sandwich late on the 4th of July, everything has been good quality.

Service- Bartenders are friendly here, just be respectful of them. They'll pour tasters, but if the place is packed (as it is most nights after 8) know what you want to order before you step up to the bar. Food service is good. Before 5, you order next door and pick it up when its done. After 5, order from the little window and they'll buzz you when it's done.

Selection- One of the best beer bars in the country. Taps, bottles, you can't go wrong here. Food selection ranges from meaty to vegetarian, but few vegan options. Sandwiches/sausages/chili type place. No salads that I remember.

Food- Comfort bar food taken to the next level.

Value- One of the best values in San Diego. Food and beer are affordable, especially given the quality.

11-06-2013 20:42:20 | More by sisterthelonious
Photo of BillRoth
BillRoth

Maryland

4.64/5  rDev +5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 5 | $$

Son moves to san Diego. I get Beer Safari fever and start checking out all the top spots. Sunny San Diego right? Well I pull into Hamilton's , and find maybe the darkest bar around. Well, maybe a tie with Live Wire. This is a bar folks. Walk in and you might expect pool, darts, MNF and Bud light pitchers. But...Only fun loving serious beer heads need enter. Once in get ready for possibly the beer bar of your life. The selection is vast and is just special...gems, one offs, or one cellared treasure after another. With all the locals well featured from the classics... Alpine casks, LA, Alesmith, GF, and plenty of the great SD newbies. All matched up with North Cali esp RR, NW, Colorado,east coast, mid west, Europe, etc etc.
The crew are as friendly, helpful and knowledgeable as they come. Swapping stories, endless generous tastes, and plenty of new friends made up and down the bar.
There are so many great places in SD, but you need to check Hamilton's out. It just doesn't get any better than this.

10-04-2013 02:28:34 | More by BillRoth
Photo of SAdams0192
SAdams0192

California

4.58/5  rDev +3.6%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.25 | $$

Hamiltons is outstanding their only flaw is that so many people know it is outstanding that it is often packed. Getting a spot to sit, the bartenders attention or a clean bathroom can be difficult.

The tap list is always impressive.

A must visit for San Diego.

07-20-2013 04:23:32 | More by SAdams0192
Photo of sharkboy
sharkboy

California

4.39/5  rDev -0.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.75 | selection: 5 | food: 3.5 | $$$

One of the first quality beer bars I've been to, and I keep coming back! It lies suburbs in what looks like a quiet suburb, with a few surrounding business.
The selection and menu are fantastic, but it does tend to get a little crowded, especially on the weekends, and not a lot of space.
As a bonus, the jukebox is worth a look, with a lot of selections from classics to staff picks.

07-19-2013 06:20:37 | More by sharkboy
Photo of vonnegut21
vonnegut21

New York

3.88/5  rDev -12.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 2 | selection: 4.75 | $$

While visiting San Diego I was excited to have a chance to stop in and check out Hamilton's Tavern. It looks like a dive from the outside and that's exactly what it is. A fun dive with great atmosphere and amazing beer. Maybe a few more hipsters than I care for, but the beer was worth it. The selection was awesome. I drank my fill of Societe's The Pupil and Pliny the Elder, while also having a chance to drink a couple bottle of Silva Stout. I was really pleased with the beer selection. The only downfall to Hamilton's is the service. If one bartender sucks, I can generally deal with it. But here, every bartender I had seemed extremely displeased with me for wanting a beer. One guy actually gave me rushed, sloppy pours on two occasions, to the point where I actually complained about the three ounces missing from my pint. Other than the awful service, Hamilton's is definitely a worthwhile stop.

06-26-2013 18:05:16 | More by vonnegut21
Photo of claspada
claspada

New Jersey

4.38/5  rDev -0.9%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.75 | $$

At first glance it looks like a dive bar but then you see the draft list and you are set as ease.

Medium size bar, some tables behind. TVs with sports games on in the background.

They had a bunch of one-off stone barrel aged beers and special adjuncts added beers as well. Also plenty, mostly everything actually was from California which is pretty cool if you ask me. Enjoyed watching the hockey game and sipping some CA stuff I would never be able to try.

Service was more than helpful, prices were reasonable enough. I would definitely recommend if in the area.

06-19-2013 00:41:02 | More by claspada
Photo of sholland119
sholland119

Pennsylvania

4.49/5  rDev +1.6%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$

Probably our favorite place in San Diego. A neighborhood place owned by the same crew behind Small Bar, Monkey's Paw and others, Hamiltons is a dark local taproom that serves great craft beer.

One long bar on the left hand side as you enter, with tables behind and a walk up window to order food in the far corner. We got three seats at the bar and were quickly welcomed by the bartender. Very friendly guy, as was the night bartender/co-owner Dennis. We had some nice drafts (strong local presence with lots of Green Flash on our visit) from the strong tap list. The bottle list was similarly excellent.

Food was fine. We had sandwiches from their extensive grilled cheese menu. Nothing outstanding but on par for our food experience in SD.

We loved the gritty feel of the place and the welcoming environment. We would have spent more time and more visits there if not for the distance from our hotel downtown. This is a can't miss spot.

05-08-2013 14:29:54 | More by sholland119
Photo of FlyingBull
FlyingBull

California

4.35/5  rDev -1.6%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$

Hamilton's is one of my most favorite places to go and enjoy a good beer, some good food, and friends and family. It's a dark, old school kind of place with a wide variety of people. All ages - all backgrounds. And...and! No kids!

They generally have a good rotation of craft beers on tap, a great bottle list, and 1-2 beers on cask starting Fridays. Their staff has always been helpful and knowledgeable. This is a must visit place when in San Diego.

04-06-2013 05:45:25 | More by FlyingBull
Photo of KidsDoc
KidsDoc

California

4.49/5  rDev +1.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 3.5 | $$

Great hangout. Has become hugely more popular over the past 5-6 years since I first went there. The tap selection is outrageous! They keep pricing very reasonable. Food used to not even be offered but now has a great little short order joint connected that keeps a good menu.

Eclectic group of people make this place awesome. You see all walks of San Diego life at Hamilton's. Very cool environment.

Biggest down fall is the limited flow to the bar. When it's busy, it sucks getting to the bar to order a beer. There is only a narrow stretch of walkway. Limited seating area and standing room is limited if people are playing pool. But...it's still worth it!

03-12-2013 05:22:28 | More by KidsDoc
Photo of slander
slander

New York

4.44/5  rDev +0.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$

Back down from up north, pondering what to do with our day before the flight tonight. Presently mulling around San Diego suspiciously, we have options, sure. I mean, we already looked in on daytime Toronado, so what else? Well, we bagged Hamilton’s the other day having seen the event madhouse that was on the drive by, but with time on our hands now, maybe a visit weekday midafternoonness is in order...

It’s a dark room and the blinds are drawn; a safe haven for vampires, no doubt. Your eyes adjust, and your nose knows of dank beerings. We drop to the bar; a long “L” to the left, wood top, slat wood base, foot box, and seating for 2 dozen on stools of leather. A row of 24 taps on the barback, plus a kegerator to the right with 2 more handles and a pair of handpumps up front for 2 ciders (Their regular use handpumps are further down the bar and are currently off), so 28 taps in all. A mounted flatscreen sits above the tap tower on center. To the left, a large horizontal board along side with tap selections printed in alt colored chalk; beer, style, ABV & price in 2 rows, and cider flights listed below, along with wines & sake, and to the right, a specials board listing cider flights (seems there’s something cidery going on, eventswise). Clutter countered and baby sampler glasses tucked below. On the front side below the bar are the ‘faces with the double set of eyes’ bottle openers shown on the front & back covers of the Pink Floyd ‘Relics’ Album (have never seen the female one before). Instant street cred.

A pair of phat tubes run from behind the bar overhead and to the rear; the lines a glycol system, need I say more? Further down the bar, a pair of 3 door coolers split by shelvings in between. On of one of them, empties of all sizes, mugs, glassware & growlers lining above, coasters plastering the top trim, and a flatscreen atop, and the other cooler holds shirts shelved above. Blackish walls, and the rafters above lined with tap handles past. Strung sprucings, white holiday lighting, blended ductisms, and another flat in the front corner.

A slat ½ wall divider off the bar with 4 bar counter spurs offshooting, and a pair upfront, 1 to each side of the door. Slight rampings down into the other room (Ben nearly wiped) beyond the divider. 4 more counter spur shortys on the inside wall and 3 booths up front. 2 pool tables in the center and a looong table bowling game. A large Guinness mirror on the far wall lined above with bottles not so random, and the walls and ceiling plastered with neons, placards, & flaggings otherwise.

We have decided to engage in table bowling; the pieces given to us in a box, handled. I talked some smack and then got smoked, badly. The table slants to the not where I can hit, apparently, and has nothing to do with my skills or drinking.

They’ve got a killer corner juke of put together mixes. Most are by group, but some are themed. I’m angry I didn’t scope out the tune scene first and then ply the juke with music to exceed the length of time we’d be here. Any juke with the Stone’s ‘Time waits for no one’ is instantly credible.

28 taps in all, 10 of them Bear Republic offerings on the heels of that maddening event they did the other day (Hop Rod Rye, Red Rocket Ale, Double Rocket, Ryevalry Belgian IPA, Big Bear Black Stout, Sour Black Mamba Wit, Cher Ami Belgian Pale Ale, Carburetor Doppelbock, Pete’s Tribute Brown, Rebellion Delta). The remainder is a mix of mostly west coast craft (Rubicon Monkey Knife Fight, Green Flash Palate Wrecker & Imperial IPA, Port Hop 15, Stone Old Guardian, Drake’s Dry Stout, Ballast Point Sculpin, Deschutes Black Butte Porter, Big Sky Heavy Horse), scattered imports (Unibroue Trois Pistoles, St Bernardus Tripel, Celis White, Guinness, Professor Fritz Briem Piwo Grodziskie – Grätzer Ale, Stiegl Paracelsus Zwickl, Staropramen Lager), and a pair of ciders (Wandering Aengus Anthem & Wanderlust). I drank the Ballast Point Sculpin & Deschuttes Black Butte Porter. Beer was clean and fresh.

Damn, it’s dark. I am writing by damn near neon light, they’re hiding something. Oh, this is the sister act to Monkey’s Paw; I see what you mean there. Some of the best bars are not so shiny, pretty, clean, neat, and new, and this is one of them. I mean that in the very very best of ways. I could do some good time here. And we stumbled back out into the light…

10-18-2012 15:06:24 | More by slander
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Hamiltons Tavern in San Diego, CA
97 out of 100 based on 92 ratings.