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Hamiltons Tavern

Not Rated.
Hamiltons TavernHamiltons Tavern
BA SCORE
98
world-class

107 Ratings
Ratings: 107
Reviews: 80
rAvg: 4.44
pDev: 8.11%
Taps: 30
Bottles: 200
Cask: Y
Beer-to-Go: N
[ 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: 107 | Reviews: 80 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of adamparker05
4.6/5  rDev +3.6%

Can't believe I haven't been to this place sooner (I love 1 block from Wit's End so I don't stray too far).
Loc is great- totally tucked away. You go in and it's seedy and dark. Not as seedy as Liar's Club used to be at Mission Beach (Aaaahhh the glory days... sigh)
So althought I was certain the quiet, forlorn dodger fan with his hobo jacket and "I'm gonna rape your face" glare, was going to do just that, I marveled at their selection between bottle and tap; a whole string of rarities.
What's probably most impressive were the advertisements for their special events! A boner-inspiring line-up of cask beers, aged beers, special releases and then some.

I love Wit's End and all, but these guys have some awesome connections dialed in.

The food doesn't even need to be good!

adamparker05, Oct 19, 2008
Photo of OlieIPA
3.51/5  rDev -20.9%

This one of many stops while in San Diego last weekend. The waitress from one of the places we visited higly recommended this place, so a few of my buddies and I decided to go here to watch the USC/OhioSt. game on TV. Unofortantely, we didn't stay for very long...and its not because of the game...but because of the place. The atmosphere just wasn't my thing...extremely dark (like being trapped in a closet while playing hide-n-go-seek when you were a kid), but I did like seeing a younger crowd then I'm used to seeing in places like this. The quality and service was average to above-average...no problems here. The selection on the other hand was incredible...I was lucky enough to have Older Viscosity. Awesome!! Overall, I guess this place was okay and I probably won't visit it again.

OlieIPA, Sep 18, 2008
Photo of dave12285
4.59/5  rDev +3.4%

Hamilton's is a very unique place in the sense of both location and layout. The Tavern is tucked away in a neat little residential area where it seems more bars should open. The beer selections are displayed via a chalkboard above the left hand side of the bar. There are two pool tables accompanied by a large shuffleboard table. The jukebox is always loud and playing good music. Most of the locals are very welcoming which makes the location even more proper. The selection is always wonderful and paired with the atmosphere, this is a must visit when in the San Diego area.

dave12285, Jul 04, 2008
Photo of PeprSprYoFace
3.55/5  rDev -20%

wow where do I start... Went there for the first time on their 2nd Saturday celebration and it was packed. Pretty sure fire code was being broken. Any way it is in the weirdest place too. Its like in the middle of a neighbourhood on the outskirts of downtown San diego. Their selection is top notch. Had an abyss. Bottle of jolly pumpkin. And a couple other hard to find local brews. The place was so packed it took a while to try and get your beer and it was hard to find a place to even stand and drink. And it was only like 4pm. Happy hour I guess on top of the celebration. Any way I would go again but the place is kinda dumpy looking and I would not make this my regular hang out if I lived down there.

PeprSprYoFace, May 26, 2008
Photo of charlzm
3.68/5  rDev -17.1%

Visited in the mid-afternoon on Sunday, May 18th.

Kind of a divey joint, somewhere between seedy bar and Irish pub. On the plus side, there was an utter lack of pretention from both the patrons and the staff.

Excellent tap list.

My friend and I grabbed the only two seats left and decided on our beers. Both of mine were awful; the first, a cask ale, tasted infected to me. The bartender did let me exchange the first one after admonishing me that I should have tried a taster first. The second had a flavor profile far, far off from what other reviewers on BA have noted.

Sorry, but I don't think I should have to try a taster of everything before I order it to see if it's in good enough condition to drink.

There were some older folks there, including a bearded pool hustler clutching a bottle of Bud who never, ever missed a shot. I'm so glad I didn't take him up on his offer of a game. I think a couple of the owner/brewmaster guys from Lightning Brewery were there also. There were lots of barely-drinking-age kids of both sexes who actually seemed to be enjoying camraderie and drinking beer. I'm more used to seeing similarly aged folks sitting all together at one table, texting people who weren't actually in front of them and ordering either bottled water or foofy mixed drinks.

So... despite Hamilton's having good atmosphere and a great tap list (as many other places in the San Diego area do), I am seriously concerned about the condition of the beer. However, the friend I was with had two or three pints, all of which he deemed to be in good condition.

Also, I was contacted by someone from the establishment and assured that the beer lines were properly maintained, so I have upped the score for "quality" from a 1.5 to a 3.

I still doubt I'll be going back there based on this experience.

charlzm, May 25, 2008
Photo of Floydster
4.54/5  rDev +2.3%

Beerfly review #100, too many cool places to visit in California, would never expect this place to be in this neighborhood while driving through in on the way there, had a friend drive me here yesterday so I can try the Frankenwine from Drake's, which did not disappoint and I will post my review for that shortly, atomsphere was awesome and laid pack with some pool tables and dart boards, mellow people who seemed like regulars at the place, four different people brought in their dogs, huge fridge with over one hundred bottles with Angel's Share 750 mls just jumping out at your eye from the bottom prices from the tap ranged from four to six dollars, bottles go from four all the way up to thirty for the rare stuff, place was very clean and felt like a quality estalbishment, food looked really good but I had eaten right before going there, I will have to order a hamburger during my next visit, you order in the back at their own little cafe, pretty neat idea, only one bartender but he was really helpful and quick, he even gave a few tastes before I ordered things, poor guy was being badgered by one of the visitors about how he looked like somebody from American Idol, the place had about twenty to twenty-five taps, some of the standouts were Coronado Hoppy Daze Belgian IPA, Karl Strauss Uncle Touchy Imperial IPA, Alesmith Speedway Stout, Speakeasy Hunters Porter, and Pizza Port Carlsbad Polapa Pale Ale on cask for only four dollars, got there during happy hour and all local stuff was one dollar off, think it was between 5 and 8 p.m. but not sure, wish I can be there on the 18th of this month when they have a Drake's barrel aged cask night to along with a couple different versions of their imperial stout to go along with much hyped rye wine, will try to come back here as much as possible when in San Diego, favorite place I went to during my short stay in the area, you need to check this place out if you have not been yet, thanks to KingG for recommending me to go yesterday, going out on a limb here but this place rivals Liars Club and O'Briens in my opinion and they definitely have a better bottle list

Floydster, Apr 03, 2008
Photo of dougnboston
4.3/5  rDev -3.2%

Terrific bar. Great beery crowd. I was there on a Sunday night so ... I guess it's normal ... lots of the taps had kicked. There was still lots to choose from. My last brew was a cask conditioned Port Palapa Pale Ale hand pumped, very good.

KS Saison was very good.
CBC IPA was hoppy and wonderful.

You order food next door, take a buzzer with you and when the food is ready there is a pass through window where your food will be waiting.

Pool tables, flat screen tv's and a good crowd. You'll enjoy it.

Edit: Went back two nights later ... that says something in itself. All taps were flowing, grabed more pub grub (consistantly good, but pub grub) and dipped into a solid offering including Belgians.

dougnboston, Mar 31, 2008
Photo of WeeObese
4.78/5  rDev +7.7%

I have been going to Hamilton's since the second week they opened. Met the owner that first night and was made to feel extremely welcome. I go every week with a group of friends and always get to try two or three new beers (usually on draught).

I always have great service and the staff has become very knowledgable, and at a minimum will give you a honest opinion and a tatser if on draught. The atmosphere is fun and there is lots to do for the non-beer geeks as well. The only knocks I have is the music is often too loud, and it gets crowded now, just being selfish.

The selection is great, always a ton of local crafts, a few belgians, or other rares on tap. I rarely have to order the same beer. The bottle list is great as well, and always getting better. The price is pretty fair for what you get, and happy hour on locals is always nice.

Second Saturday cellebrations to highlight a craft brewery with complemtary food/cheese pairingfs is a great monthly event.

Have eaten three times at the cafe and the food has really been dialed in in the last week or so. The mussels were awesome,
burger and chicken sandwich very good, and the beer cheese soup as well.

I really love this place, a great beer bar and I am moving within three blocks of the bar. Lucky me.

WeeObese, Mar 28, 2008
Photo of m1ked
5/5  rDev +12.6%

I would have to say this is my favorite beer joint of all time. The location is southpark, which to me, means near the disc golf course. I love playing a round, and swinging by for some oft rotated brews. The inside is dark, with eternal white x-mas lights on the rafters. Bubble hockey, Foozball, pool tables, and shuffleboard. The bar is dog friendly, usually with friendly dogs. Normally the crowd is full of familiar faces, frequently with local brewers. The owners are cool, and set up beer functions (bus set-ups for Stone Anniversary, Alpine grand openings, 2nd saturdays). The staff is cool and laid back. Not really a "sports bar", but definetly has sports playing on their flat screens. Their beer rotation is frequently rotated, and thoughtfully chosen. Casks every thursday, and a vast bottle selection. This is my "Cheers".

m1ked, Jan 21, 2008
Photo of schubrews
4.36/5  rDev -1.8%

I read an article about this place in Celebrator while I was living and brewing up in Seattle for a year, and I couldn't wait to check it out as soon as I came back to San Diego... and I wasn't disappointed.

It has a great atmosphere with a great mix of people. It's not too swanky or too divey; it's just a good, all-around neighborhood kind of place that fits right into the South Park neighborhood of San Diego that it's in.

Service can leave a little to be desired on a busy Friday or Saturday night, because they usually only have one person tending the bar. But even then it isn't unreasonable. Plus, the laid back attitude of the staff and clientele make the wait seem less bad.

The beer selection is awesome. While Hamilton's doesn't have the staggering choice of 100+ taps that some places like to boast, they make up for it by always having a great sample of local and imported beers on their 24 taps, and in the wide array of bottles they also offer.

The prices are very reasonable. Actually, the prices may be outstanding if you consider how great the beers they carry tend to be.

I don't think they serve food, but I can say that I was there for a Monday night game once, and they ordered in stack of pizzas for the patrons to enjoy free during the game.

I definitely recommend checking this place out for a mellow evening of drinking exceptionally good beer.

schubrews, Jan 08, 2008
Photo of jmalex
4.43/5  rDev -0.2%

From everything I heard, the 2 places to go in San Diego are O'Brien's and Liars Club. All the advice seems to indicate this. That is, until I found out about Hamilton's. This place is absolutely a third gem in San Diego and is, in my opinion, a must stop.

ATMOSPHERE: This is exactly what I want in a beer bar. It has very inviting dim lighting and has a definite old "corner bar" charm to it. I've never seen so much beer paraphernalia, and it was all from really awesome breweries. All of their tap handles line the ceiling down the center and make for an incredible display. There are 2 pool tables, an air hockey table, a knob hockey table, and the piece de resistance... shuffleboard! And all are free to play.

QUALITY: Excellent beers and they seem like they are constantly rotated. A large chalkboard above the bar lists the tap menu, and each beer is clearly marked with a price. The chalkboard also seems to change as soon as the kegs do. Beer is, for the most part, served in proper glassware and at the right temperature. There's also a 5-7 Happy Hour every day.

SERVICE: There did not appear to be any table service, so all ordering had to take place at the bar. The bartender was excellent though, and got us our beers in a hasty fashion. Certainly no complaints.

SELECTION: An amazing array of local west coast brews including my all time favorite, AleSmith Speedway Stout. There were a few other AleSmiths, Port Brewing, Bear Republic, and some other great California breweries represented. The bottle fridge seemed equally as impressive with a more diverse selection featured. My only gripe is that I would have like to see the rest of the US represented a bit in the tap list, but being from the east coast, a tap list of west coast stuff was exactly what I wanted.

FOOD: They do not serve food at Hamilton's, but you CAN order food from the place next door and bring it over. The food is standard bar grub.

All in all, this place pretty much has everything you'd want. I can't stress enough that Hamilton's should be mentioned in the same breath as the other 2 popular San Diego beer destinations. Make sure you plan time to stop in.

jmalex, Nov 14, 2007
Photo of Stoneman78
4.7/5  rDev +5.9%

Well, I finally made it out to Hamilton's in the South Park neighborhood of San Diego. Today was their 2nd anniversary party, so it definitely was a treat. Funnily enough, there was only about a dozen people when we got there at 4:15, but this quickly ballooned to well over 100 by the time we left and hour later. The atmosphere was surprisingly open and clean, with a nice bar section, several tables, two pool tables and a 'slider' table. This bar in a fairly residential area and doesn't look like much from the outside, so I was really surprised how nice (and dark) the interior was. The bartenders were very friendly and I talked to them quite a bit before the rush, and they were still very accommodating and friendly after the rush hit. The big highlight without a doubt was the tap selection. Granted this was a bit skewed for their anniversary party, but I heard that this isn't too far from their typical offerings. I was able to try their anniversary cedar pale, a drake's triple IPA, and a cask of the Hop-pa-Potamus SD Brewing Triple IPA in the hour we were there. There were so many other great choices (cask of GF Le Freak and Moonlight Wheat among others), I wish I could have stayed longer. Hamilton's is a bit far from me, but other local beer fans say they rival O'Brien's and Liar's Club in terms of their unique tap selection. They have special celebrations every 2nd Saturday of the month which I may have to make a regular event in my schedule. Their website is also very well-done and regularly updated, definitely check out Hamilton's if you are in the SD area!!!

Stoneman78, Oct 14, 2007
Photo of kleffman
4.03/5  rDev -9.2%

Went to Hamiltons for one reason and one reason only: Cask of Alesmith Decadence 2006. I'd drive 200 miles for a cask of that beer, but luckily it was only about 10 miles this time. Interesting area for a nice beer bar, but we found it easily and immediately grabbed a couple seats at the bar, right by the beer engine. I found this to be quite a nice place, and on this certain Saturday they happened to have free food/beer pairing going on which went quite well with a cask of such a fine imperial red ale. Their tap and bottle selection is very nice, well above average. Couple pool tables, shuffleboard etc. round this out as a great spot if you live nearby. Prices seemed decent, and I would definitely go back, especially if there was another crazy beer special goin on. Go grab yourself a special belgian out of the bottle and enjoy your Saturday afternoon here.

kleffman, Oct 07, 2007
Photo of MoBitter
4.26/5  rDev -4.1%

I heard about this place through this site and decided to try it out. Had dinner nearby (Hamilton's doesn't serve food) and convinced my wife and friends to stop by this place for a beer. It was a Friday night, and there were many guys/gals hanging around outside smoking, which we didn't like. Upon entering, it was wall-to-wall people (mostly 21-30) and VERY LOUD rock music. Seating was very limited. I had to wait a few minutes at the bar to be served, which suited me fine since I had to decide from ~20 draft beers. I selected a local IIPA and tried to enjoy it while ducking pool players and trying to converse over the VERY LOUD music with my party. My wife kinda gave me the bum's rush, this wasn't her kind of place, but I still enjoyed the IIPA. I'd like to return there sometime when the place isn't overrun with young punks. Next time I'll check out the bottle list, which I hear is extensive.

Cheers!

MoBitter, Aug 31, 2007
Photo of DirtyBird
4.78/5  rDev +7.7%

Love this place! Great selection of locals and west coast beers, nice bottle list, too!


Both bartenders were attentive and knew the beer pretty well. it was slamming on a Saturday night, so we didn't expect to get into any long conversations, but they kept our glasses full and answered all of our questions.

Nice beer list. We had:

Monk's Flemish Sour (on tap!)
Russian River Dead Green Leaf English Ale
Moonlight Death & Taxes Black Lager
Green Flash Trippel
Dupont Saison (btl)
AleSmith Wee Heavy

We saw over a dozen local beers on tap and damn near no swill, only PBR.

This place is kind of out of the way. We got the impression of a neighborhod pub with locals that like good beer. It's very encouraging to see that.

DirtyBird, Mar 02, 2007
Photo of mnavarre
4.36/5  rDev -1.8%

Nice place. I'm glad there's finally a beer bar in the area

They have 24 taps, all but four of which are micros and an extensive bottle selection. Prices are reasonable, with most drafts being $4.25 and the bottle prices ranging from $2.75 for industrial swill to $11 for a 750ml of some of the Belgian beers with the average price about $4 dollars. Most of the selection is from the west coast, with a good representation of local beers.

I didn't really look at the wine list, but the Wife seemed fine with the (limited) selection they had.

I didn't check out the jukebox, but what was playing was fine. Lots of Who and 70's glam.

There's two pool tables, shuffleboard, fusball and bubble hockey. I wish they had a pinball machine, but you can't have everything. I'm just jazzed they have bubble hockey and Genesse Cream Ale.

I'll definatelty be going back. Often

mnavarre, Oct 14, 2006
Photo of stoner420
3.33/5  rDev -25%

Hamilton's is a neighborhood bar in the South Park area. The beer selection is pretty great with 24 taps, good variety and a large selection of bottles.

Also pool tables, shuffleboard, and foosball. The sound system usually blares hard rock/metal very loud so it gets hard to hold a conversation. The interior is fairly spacious, but it's not a real big space. There are flat panel TVs. They pull the shades down over the windows at all hours, so it is always dim inside. I've heard this is at the request of the clientele.

They also serve food. It is OK, but nothing special, I wouldn't go there just for the food.

As dogs have now become the trendy thing in the neighborhood, you'll see more and more people bringing their dogs with them, even holding them up on their laps at the bar. So watch out for dog hairs and be ready to hear a few yapping dogs.

stoner420, Oct 09, 2006
Hamiltons Tavern in San Diego, CA
98 out of 100 based on 107 ratings.