Taps: 30 / Bottles: 200
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: N
Ratings: 99 | Reviews: 78 | Display Reviews Only:
3.59/5 rDev -18.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5 | $$
A small neighborhood dive bar but with a really decent beer selection for IPA's and microbrews. A fun place to hang out with friends and to get rowdy in. Didn't order any food. Darts and other bar type games are around. Very local feel to the place, way off the tourist path. A little dark inside but not as bad as O'Briens. Bartender was friendly and knowledgable. Not a place to take a date or a girlfriend unless she is really into good beer. Worth a visit and located not too far from Toranado.
04-29-2009 22:14:48 | More by bigbelcher
4.56/5 rDev +3.2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
Great vibe! A little pub in what looks like a nice neighborhood. You walk in, it's very dark, with a nice bar, a lineup of awesome taps, fridges full of excellent beer, plus a few tvs showing sports. And then to the side, are some booths, a couple of pool tables, and an awesome full sized (and free) shuffleboard.
There were also a couple of dogs hanging out inside too. I am a dog person, so thumbs up from me on this aspect too.
Quality was great, lot of San Diego brews, some Belgians, and Pliney the Elder. Nice to see a good friend miles from home...
Service was prompt. And that's usually all I ever ask for.
This ended up being my favorite place that I visited in San Diego. Beats Stone by a nose, just felt right, really comfy little spot with a great beer list, and fun things to do while drinking said great beers.
This would be my regular haunt if I lived in San Diego.
04-23-2009 03:43:19 | More by flexabull
4.65/5 rDev +5.2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4 | $$
Top notch atmosphere here. Seems to always be crowded, but for some reason, the more crowded the better at this place. Tons of great local beer flowing, TV's with games on, pool tables, a pretty extensive beer fridge and cask options make this place a must stop when in the San Diego area. You can also bring you dog in. Usually there are 2-3 dogs in the place at any given time. Hundreds of tap handles hang from the ceiling with strands of light. Old fashioned chalkboard beer menu. Top quality in terms of the beers served.
Most popular food option seems to be the hop sausages. On the 2nd saturday of each month they also offer free food, and the spread when I was there was awesome.
02-16-2009 17:59:05 | More by MiScusi
4/5 rDev -9.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | $$$
I have heard about Hamilton's for quite a while and missed them on my last trip to San Diego, as time only allowed for a lunch stop and I guess that they are not open for lunch. This time we did get there and had reviewed the website and decided this was going to be our dinner stop.
First of all, if you go to their website (www.hamiltonstavern.com), it is a very polished layout and we even thought that this might be an upscale place. Boy, were we wrong. Also, it isn't a place that is very accomidating for a dinner. There is hardly any seating and the general atmosphere even by 7:00 is already sloppy drunk. They also seem to allow everybody to bring their dogs in here, so there were several dogs walking around and two even got into a fight. So picture all of this happening while the crowd was swaying and beers were spilling.
Now given that we went expecting a more polished place to eat dinner, you might think that I didn't like the experience going by my last paragraph, but that is not so. We imediately judged the place for what it was and decided to have two beers each and move on to another place for dinner.
It was crowded, yet the two bartenders seemed very good at catching my order each time that I approached the bar, even if the crowd was two deep. The dogs made me think that I was at a more rural bar of Alaska or some such place and not within the city limits of San Diego. The selection was incredible, if maybe a little high priced on some offerings. The crowd is friendly and the atmosphere is super casual. It is out of the way of just about everything and is buried into some neighborhood, but is well worth seeking out.
01-13-2009 09:19:29 | More by opwog
4.53/5 rDev +2.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5 | $$
Perhaps it's just as well Hamilton's is not my neighborhood beer bar. Otherwise, there's little doubt I'd be over there just about every night, which would not be good for my health or my wallet.
The location of Hamilton's is pretty interesting. It's located in a cozy neighborhood over on the NE side of San Diego, and is one of the most unpretentious beer bars I've ever seen. It looks like it will be just some typical neighborhood bar, where old timers can walk in for a can of macro swill and a shot on the side. On the contrary, Hamilton's is anything but...
As one walks in from the street, Hamilton's is a dark, cool looking, informal looking restaurant with high ceilings and almost a warehouse feel to it. There's nothing fancy about the furnishings and decor here, though the vibe is certainly comfortable enough. As you walk in the door, there is a long bar running straight back in front of you, on the left side of the large room. To the right is the dining area, with a number of booths and table and chairs. As I got there promptly at opening bell, I grabbed a seat at the bar (the better to watch some sports on TV and ponder over the draft list board). While the place never got crowded on the early Saturday afternoon I was there, by the time I left (close to 2:00) the place was already starting to get pretty full. Given the quality of the beer selection, that's no surprise. On this particular day, there were close to 30 beers on tap and the selection was first rate. It seemed like just about every place in town had Pliny on tap, and of course Hamilton's did as well. Otherwise, they had a great selection of beers from Ballast Point, Alesmith, the Bruery and Green Flash (a lot of Green Flash), just to name a few. They also had on 4 or 5 different Belgian beers this day, I guess for those who might be a bit bored with the local stuff (not me!). As was typical of pretty much every place I visited in San Diego, service was quick, friendly and extremely knowledgable. The level of beer geekdom at Hamilton's is off the charts, with the staff obviously knowledgable and clearly big fans of good brew (several of the staff were a bit under the weather the afternoon I was there from the previous evening's festivities).
I should mention that Hamilton's also has a pretty good selection of bottled beers, which they keep in two large cold boxes near the end of the bar in the back. However, given the quality of the draft selection, I barely gave the bottle selection more then a passing glance.
The bartender mentioned that they also own the cafe next door, and there is a service window located in the back of the pub, where one can order food. I got the fast nachos, which in retrospect was probably not the best thing to order. It was bit on the salty side, and I didn't realize that it came with french fries in place of chips. Nevertheless, the menu otherwise looked pretty interesting, and I'll definitely give the food another shot the next time I visit.
What can I say? Despite it's unpretentious trappings, this place is clearly world class. It's also pretty obvious the place has a loyal group of regulars who come by all the time, of which I have no doubt I'd be one more if I lived in the area. This place is highly recommended.
12-22-2008 13:41:30 | More by John_M
4.45/5 rDev +0.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$
Hamilton's is one of those places I can't 'not go' to if I'm in the neighborhood. And that's OK as I'm not in the hood too often. If I were this place might take my entire paycheck. But still, a round at Balboa or some disc golf at Morley Field and I'm there. I'll even adjust my midweek tee/start times to make sure they're open. Is that wrong? I don't think so, but then I don't golf very much.
Offers a nice dark and woody pub style feel nestled into a primarily residential neighborhood. Just a block away from a much more travelled road, it's 30th Street address can be a bit confusing as the street has a couple bypass sections within a mile or two.
Service is good, bartenders are knowledgable and they offer a very good selection. Website is kept up to date as well as for tap and bottle options. Nothing like travelling for a brew that isn't there, so that's not too likely to happen here.
Lots of foodie options next door; burgers, sandwiches, some salads and some comfort foods with a touch of pizazz. A little better intermingling of the food/bar areas would be beneficial though I assume there are some legal loopholes there. The bar could at least stock some utensils/napkins/condiments as I assume that is within their right. Hint, hint.
All in all a very good experience and likely the best beer bar in town as for my view. Not a harried sports bar, nor a pretentious wine bar. Just a bar, and one with some really good beer and a good mix of locals. Throw in a pool table and a shuffleboard table and draw me a pint.
12-17-2008 06:17:08 | More by HalfFull
4.58/5 rDev +3.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $
THE best place in San Diego, for me. In South Park, very locals-friendly. Dive atmosphere, but cozy and dickhead-free. Bartenders are awesome. Quick with advice, full of knowledge as they drink what they sling. Great selection of micros and Belgians. I've had beers here that I have never seen elsewhere. Big bottle selection, only place I found the Brooklyner-Schenider. Cafe attached serves good food. TJ Dogs, Monte Cristo, Burger are all great. And its CHEAP. I've gone with my wife, had about 6-7 beers plus dinner for under $35.
12-16-2008 22:15:15 | More by magictrokini
4.85/5 rDev +9.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4 | $$
Living so close to Hamilton's has spoiled me. However, I am still excited to see the quality, and quantity, of great beer that makes through the doors here. The tap list always hosts crowd favorites, but also keeps beer geek's interest with new and unique offerings from many different breweries. I was excited to see the addition of the second bottle cooler, because I know Blair has many great bottles stashed away for later release. Hamilton's continues to be one of the best beer destinations in this saturated city.
I've been back, and back, and back about 20+ times. I might give them 7 out of 5 stars if I could. I've been there on every night of the week, at every time you could imagine. 3 plasmas and a beer in my hand keep my eyes glazed over and a smile on my face. The expansive selection of beer never fails to impress me. A new bottle awaits me upon each return. Second Saturday's have been permanently etched into my calendar. I couldn't ask for anymore out of any bar in SD County. If you get the chance, you have to give them a shot.
12-15-2008 04:35:23 | More by d0ggnate
4.8/5 rDev +8.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | $$
I was in San Diego recently and was lucky to be directed to this neighborhood bar that just happens to only have extremely good beer at good prices (and lots of it). It is definitely a neighborhood bar, with low key decor and a pool table. Nothing fancy. I was there twice, once was on Halloween, and it can get a bit loud, but I found the patrons and other staff there very friendly. Before my first visit I had been at the Toronado just down the street a mile or two. Without realizing it initially, I was sitting next to a brewer from Green Flash and the manager (forgetting his name) of Hamilton's. They were happy to indulge me in beer geeky conversation. When I first got to Hamilton's the manager recognized me and had a couple of brews with me (on him, even). We started with Green Flash's Hamilton's Palate Wrecker, a huge IPA. Next we moved on to Pliny the Elder, with the manager stating that there aren't too many brews where you back off a bit to Pliny. The Palate Wrecker was appropriately named, but very good if you are a hop head. On my next visit another staff (again I forget his name), who had also been at Toronado when I was there, recognized me and knocked a buck fifty off the already reasonable prices for my selections. On both visits the other patrons were very friendly and easy to talk to. The staff were more than welcoming, and the comped and discounted beers, for the out of state beer geek, were above and beyond the call of duty, though appreciated. I strongly recommend budgeting some time for this place. It was absolutely be my bar if I lived there. One night when I stayed later than the busses ran, and was too cheap for a taxi, I walked back downtown in a bout half an hour or so.
12-13-2008 00:09:12 | More by sprucetip
3.98/5 rDev -10%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3 | $$
Visited on a Friday night a few months back.
Hamilton's feels like a cross between a premiere beer bar and a hipster dive bar. Located in South Park, it gets _extremely_ crowded at times with the hipster locals, people playing pool, etc. Not exactly the type of atmosphere I'm looking for at a place like this. But the decor is nice and makes up for it a bit: dark wood, tap handles on the ceiling, etc.
It was too crowded to get a good feel for the service, but it seemed like everyone was nice. Lots of great beers on tap (like Gulden Draak, yay!) and in the bottle too. The food is a bit weird... walk next door, place your order, go back, and wait to get it through a window in the wall. Not very efficient... Food isn't that spectacular either, and it is mostly just sandwiches and such.
If you live in the area, definitely the place to be. Otherwise, I still definitley recommend this place -- just make sure to hit it on an off night!
11-27-2008 23:15:39 | More by mithrascruor
Hamiltons Tavern in San Diego, CA
97 out of 100 based on 99 ratings.