Taps: 30 / Bottles: 200
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: N
Ratings: 99 | Reviews: 78 | Display Reviews Only:
3.33/5 rDev -24.7%
vibe: 1.5 | quality: 2.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3 | $$
Hamilton's is a neighborhood bar in the South Park area. The beer selection is pretty great with 24 taps, good variety and a large selection of bottles.
Also pool tables, shuffleboard, and foosball. The sound system usually blares hard rock/metal very loud so it gets hard to hold a conversation. The interior is fairly spacious, but it's not a real big space. There are flat panel TVs. They pull the shades down over the windows at all hours, so it is always dim inside. I've heard this is at the request of the clientele.
They also serve food. It is OK, but nothing special, I wouldn't go there just for the food.
As dogs have now become the trendy thing in the neighborhood, you'll see more and more people bringing their dogs with them, even holding them up on their laps at the bar. So watch out for dog hairs and be ready to hear a few yapping dogs.
10-09-2006 18:13:32 | More by stoner420
3.49/5 rDev -21%
vibe: 1 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | $$
I can't really add much to the many accurate descriptions of others, but every time I've been to Hamilton's I feel like a grumpy old fart. I hate this place.
Yes, the beer selection is among the best in San Diego. Just be warned, you have to be up for the mayhem. Besides the crowd and fragrant dogs tugging at leashes everywhere, the noise level is astounding. The sound system is like a bad muffler bolted to your skull. The seating and game tables seem to be designed for maximum confusion and elbow action.
Seems like the kind of place that should open at 6 a.m., but the bar stools would probably be full anyway. Between doing outdoor things and having to work sometimes, I haven't tried coming here in the early afternoon. So I've never been here when it wasn't filled with crowds yelling over the noise. Even on a rainy Monday night it was jammed, plus the gang of smokers lurching on the sidewalk. Enjoy!
03-22-2012 19:47:48 | More by mactrail
3.51/5 rDev -20.6%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | $$
This one of many stops while in San Diego last weekend. The waitress from one of the places we visited higly recommended this place, so a few of my buddies and I decided to go here to watch the USC/OhioSt. game on TV. Unofortantely, we didn't stay for very long...and its not because of the game...but because of the place. The atmosphere just wasn't my thing...extremely dark (like being trapped in a closet while playing hide-n-go-seek when you were a kid), but I did like seeing a younger crowd then I'm used to seeing in places like this. The quality and service was average to above-average...no problems here. The selection on the other hand was incredible...I was lucky enough to have Older Viscosity. Awesome!! Overall, I guess this place was okay and I probably won't visit it again.
09-18-2008 22:27:29 | More by OlieIPA
3.55/5 rDev -19.7%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 3 | selection: 5 | $$
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.
05-26-2008 04:17:13 | More by PeprSprYoFace
3.59/5 rDev -18.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5 | $$
A small neighborhood dive bar but with a really decent beer selection for IPA's and microbrews. A fun place to hang out with friends and to get rowdy in. Didn't order any food. Darts and other bar type games are around. Very local feel to the place, way off the tourist path. A little dark inside but not as bad as O'Briens. Bartender was friendly and knowledgable. Not a place to take a date or a girlfriend unless she is really into good beer. Worth a visit and located not too far from Toranado.
04-29-2009 22:14:48 | More by bigbelcher
3.68/5 rDev -16.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
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.
05-25-2008 03:35:10 | More by charlzm
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
3.93/5 rDev -11.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5 | $
Me and my friend headed to San Diego without making any plans visiting one of the cities famous beer bars. We came across a telephone book at a phone booth and happily found Hamilton's Tavern in the book. We wrote down the address and called the establishment to see if they could give us directions. We got our directions, and in 15 minutes, we were at Hamilton's.
The inside is very dark and pub-like despite the sun shining at the windows (thank you window shutters!). There are a few booths to one side, beer memorabilia all over the walls, two pool tables, a shuffle board, and a small window that takes food orders. Oh, and a bar. There were at least 20 people there when we were there around 6pm, and to our surprise, a few dogs.
The draft menu sits off to one side of the bar, with the names of the beer, the ABV, and price. Beers from Avery, New Belgium, Green Flash, Lightning, St. Bernardus, Russian River, Coronado, Alpine, Anchor, and Bear Republic were available from tap. I saw 4 cask engines at the bar, but it didn't look like any of them were in use. Towards the other end of the bar are several cooler with the bottled beers. Bottled offerings from Cantillon, Kiuchi, Deschutes, Hofbrau, Full Sail, and lots of other offerings. While the food and bottle prices were reasonable, we were surprised about the draft prices; most beers were $5 and below, including Pliny the Elder. Even better, the two Nelson's I got were priced at $4.50 a pop, but received for only $4 each (was there a happy Hour I wasn't aware of).
We munched on some fried mushrooms and chicken wings, a step above the usual bar food quality. How I liked those fried mushrooms while not being fond of mushrooms in the first place will remain a mystery.
The only glitch I found was the glassware/presentation. I only saw shaker pint glasses being used. I didn't see any fancy/correct glassware. Maybe if I decided to just go for the Cantillon, I would have found out. But you know, I'd rather have my Nelson, thankyouverymuch.
The beer selection was what prompted me to drive over to Hamilton's Tavern, and it didn't dissapoint. And as a bonus, draft prices were cheap. I'm definately coming back.
05-06-2010 03:11:05 | More by DoubleJ
Hamiltons Tavern in San Diego, CA
97 out of 100 based on 99 ratings.