Blind Lady Ale House & Automatic Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Blind Lady Ale House & Automatic Brewing Co.Blind Lady Ale House & Automatic Brewing Co.
BEER AVG
3.63/5
Based on:
21 Beers
44 Ratings
Place Score: 93
Ratings: 61
Reviews: 42
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: n/a
Taps: 20
Bottles: --
Cask: N
Beer-to-Go: N
[ Brewery, Bar, Eatery ]

3416 Adams Ave.
San Diego, California, 92116
United States
phone: (619) 555-1234

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

Notes:
Automatic Brewing Co. is a nano-brewery of sorts brewing in the back of Blind Lady Ale House.  http://automaticbrewingco.com 

(Place added by: BeerAdvocate on 01-30-2009)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 61 | Reviews: 42 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jonbonfon
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%

Photo of bcerv-ca
4/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of djaeon
4/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of JDJTEXAS
4.53/5  rDev +7.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.75

I cant praise this place enough and as I write this I am asking myself why I have not gone back in a couple of months. BLAH is a rockstar establishment and everytime I have dined here I have been Soooo Happy afterwards. This place is awesome for Pizza as well as Beer. I love both those things so I win every time! The only ding I got is parking can be hard. But they are kid friendly so I forget about parking after that first sip of beer!

Photo of GraduatedCashew
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4

The Blind Lady Alehouse was pretty fun. Its a pretty casual place where all the ordering is done at the bar. The atmosphere has a vintage feel lent mostly from the classic advertisements for beer and the antique beers can displays everywhere. The music is appropriate and usually at a decent level too.

As far as selection, there is a great one regarding both beer and pub fare. Despite being a brewery (Automatic Brewery), there are ample options for craft beer from across the country and imports.

The food looked good but more specifically, the pizza is what is recommended. Pretty incredible stuff.

Photo of vonnegut21
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.75

The Blind Lady Ale House was the hidden gem of my trip to San Diego. I wasn't staying anywhere near the place and ended up coming back three times.

A very nice dark wooden décor, located in a very cool, walkable area of town. Very laid back atmosphere, walk up to the bar and order your beer and food, take a number, grab a table and hang out until your food arrives. The service was friendly and informative. There was a nice beer selection with Pliny, 2 Societe beers, a couple of local saisons and a few of Automatic's own beers. The pizza here is simply amazing. The bacon and egg pizza is one of the best pizza's I've ever had. Coming from New York, I wasn't expecting that. The chef even came out and talked to us about how to recreate the dish at home. Overall, I really liked this place. I'd love to have a neighborhood bar like the Blind Lady Ale House.

Photo of claspada
4.24/5  rDev +1%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4.25

Went here for a beer but couldnt resist getting a pizza when I saw them on the menu/someone else get one.

Service was super helpful. I like the setup for ordering food and beer, one celtralized cashier.

Pizza was great, nice and flat and crispy crust, really quality for West Coast pizza.

Lots of the house (Automatic beers) and plenty of other locals on the menu (around 20 if my memory recalls).

Definitely worth a visit for lunch as I heard it gets crowded as the day/night progresses.

Much better than the sister location Tiger! Tiger! if you just have to pick one.

Photo of bradybeer
4/5  rDev -4.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Stopped by here because we were interested in seeing what the nano was up to. Walking in the bar is to the front. Beer on one side and food the other half. You order food and beer and they bring the food to you. Food looked good but didn't try any thing.

The atmosphere was nice and if we lived here we would be regulars. We could chill at a long table, play some board games, and drink very good beers.

On tap was a pale ale, IPA, DIPA, and a Saison, We enjoyed the pale ale, IPA, and DIPA. There was 20 plus guest taps but didn't try any.

Service was very good and quick.

Photo of FlyingBull
3.91/5  rDev -6.9%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4 | food: 4

We used to live 1 block from here and would enjoy walking down for a brew and some pizza. They have a nice selection of craft brews on tap, accompanied by some good gourmet pizzas and other snacks. The interior is kind of typical "beer bar...find a place to sit if you can" community tables. There is no table service; order at the counter and off you go.

Go early and you'll find a nice reasonable quiet place to enjoy a craft beer and some good food. Go after ~4 p.m. ish and the place can get real crowded real fast. Thursday, and especially Friday, and Saturday can be real crowded and difficult to find a seat until the kitchen closes and the hipster moms/dads/kiddies clear out.

While in general, I like this place, I find their beers and pizzas a little on the expensive side vs. what they are. While we still occasionally go there, I'd much rather go to Hamilton's or Small Bar.

Photo of jjboesen
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.25

SDBW12 Number Nine. Translation: the Blind Lady Ale House was the ninth stop of my San Diego Beer Week 2012 trip and the one that was the farthest to reach as it required more than one bus, one being the Number 2 that also passes by the front door of the beloved Toronado. (See Review.)

The home of Automatic Brewery, Blind Lady, or BLAH – do not take this as a critique, is on the north side of Adams Avenue, in a neighborhood known as Normal Heights. Walking through the front doors and into the rustic dining area, you face a small serving bar, where house beers (and local crafts) are poured for the thirsty patrons who have gathered with families and friends as well as locals and strangers enjoying their brews and bites at rows of communal tables. Incidentally, if you are ever curious as to where to find the noisiest brats in San Diego, then search no further than this particular room.

Much like other San Diego’s beer venues, there is no table service, so you will need to go to the aforementioned bar and order the aforementioned brews and bites, the latter including some tasty salami pizza along with some pricey charcuterie: this, a fancy word for sausage and cheese platter. I got a chance to quaff their very decent Equal Rye along with an interesting Humulus Lager from friendly competitor Bruery. The beers here are fresh, well crafted and well poured. Well, one problem here at BLAH was the generally long line that resulted from the one server who seemed to spend more time checking IDs of fat Mexican chicks than pouring beers for us “thirsty patrons.”

While I probably won’t return during a future visit, Blind Lady should probably be on the itinerary of any first timer here.

Photo of JupiterJesus
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5

From my Yelp review:

Heard about BLAH from The Brewing Network, so I stopped here for lunch while I was in SoCal. I'm glad I did - perhaps one of the best places in the city for food & beer.

I had a stout they brewed under the Automatic Brewing label (or was it a porter?), on nitro with cherry and vanilla. I thought it would turn out to be too sweet and girly, but the cherry and vanilla flavors were subtle and really improved the experience. Also, I love anything on nitro. I'd get it again... and again and again. The wife had an oak aged, smoked stout from Beachwood Brewing, also very very good.

The egg and bacon pizza was downright orgasmic. The egg was runny and the whole thing was doused in truffle oil. Best pizza I've had in ages. On the expensive side, but it is big enough for a couple to split, which makes the price reasonable.

Miscellaneous:
They don't have table service, which makes it sound like a dive, but it really isn't. It's also nice to not have to tip a waiter. Sometimes you just don't feel like being waited on hand and foot.
Some people complain about parking, but we parked literally in front of the door. I guess we just got lucky.
They have TVs, if you care about that sort of thing.
Definite hipster style/vibe, if that bothers you.
Felt very family friendly - I'd bring my kids here if I had any.

I will be returning to BLAH as often as I can, whenever I'm in the area.

Photo of Jodi215
4.2/5  rDev 0%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

This is our favorite pizza stop when we're in S.D. The atmosphere is comfortable rustic and family friendly. There is old oak flooring on the walls which I love. They have multiple vegan choices of pizzas which I really appreciate and they now offer a pretty good vegan cheese substitute. I usually have the vegan Pesto Pizza but this time tried the Margarita Pizza and found it to be delicious, almost as good as the Pesto. The guys had a Cauliflower pizza and the Quatro Fomage pizza and ate every bite and then polished off mine. The Beer selection is very good and they even had a Cismontane beer which is a small brewery from south OC. Although my son thought Tiger! Tiger! had more limited releases to choose from. The value is good here although the prices might seem a little high, you do get your money's worth.

Photo of slander
4.15/5  rDev -1.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Flight tonight, so tracks for the airport soon. Or later. No, actually this is the last stop on the this. 6 days of debauchery and now back in San Diego, looking in on the BLAH. Hard time on Adams...

Good open space, two tiered. 5 picnic tables up front along the wall of large windows over Adams, and the bar space to the rear, up the ramp to at it, and a pair of tables to each side adjacent. Walls of brick, plank wood vertical, slat wood horizontal, and painted pieces of brick red. Cement concrete floorings, and a painted black ceiling with blended ductwork and drop hairdryer lamps. And it seems they took over something next door to doublewide themselves. 8 tables there, 2 of which are looong ones up front , and a very goddamn cool sprawling vintage Hamm’s piece running half the length of the room.

Split bar, food here & drink there, or so it seems, but maybe not. To the left, 20 taps on an alternating up down up down up down stainless steel panel on barback center, and a dead handpump off the end. Stem glassware dangling above, and shelved .5 litre logo glassware and muggings down below. Boards above list beer selections, slight descriptions, ABV, serving size, price, and pitchers for $16 availability where applicable, indicated by a pink ‘P’. Random glassware boxed up there, too. On the other piece further down, seating for 7 on stools straight phat block wood bar. The barback lined with strung holiday lighting, its counter there holding 6 more taps, pitchers, glassware, and a kitchen peek-a-boo. Big bottles along the bar piece and a shelf over the kitchen look in on, with books, pieces, glassware, mugs, bottles, samplers, baby barrels, figurines. Vintage ‘coldspot’ fridge, a corner cooler for things, and a flatscreen above.

Food board on the far wall (there will be a pizza, it’s true), beer trays with strung, you know, a single logo piece for Automatic Brewing (their backyard nano), and a great expansive ‘the very many varieties of beer’ print, with styles and examples. Beer sample racks in the far corners, and a cool ‘Specials’ tour event poster I’m sure Opa would dig. Brewerania can display with bottles atop, around the bend to the rear. I can see Grant’s IPA & Weis beer bottles from where I’m sitting, and then got all nostalgic and sad, and tried to school youngblood in who Bert Grant was, like the father of the American brewpub I never had, all that. If they had had a Grant’s Perfect Porter bottle from the mid 90’s up there, I probs would have tried to pinch it.

So, 20 taps here, 6 taps there; 26 in all. 3/5 of them Cali craft (Green Flash Le Freak, Drakes IPA, Craftsman Heavenly Hefeweizen & Juniper Ale, Mission IPA, Trumer Pils, New English Explorer ESB & Brewers Special Brown Ale, AleSmith X & Speedway Stout, Russian River Blind Pig, Beachwood El Verano Saison, Port Brewing Hot Rocks, Sudwerk Marzen, Lost Abbey Devotion, Hangar 24 Orange Wheat). The other 2/5 are a mix of craft from beyond (Oskar Blues Old Chub, Avery White Rascal, Allagash Black, DogFishHead Tweason’ale), imports (DuPont Foret, La Chouffe, Van Steenberge Monks Café Flemish Sour Ale, Duvel Single, St Louis Framboise), and a local cider (Julian Hard Cider). I drank the New English Special Brown & Port Hot Rocks.

Ordered the spicy nuts (Ben claims them to be cuminy although clearly they have some heat). And pizzas, ‘cause that’s they’re primary fooding (pizza, slight saladings, cheese & meats, and a handful of starter type things). I did the Margarita with house chorizo. It’s a great pie (and if Ben will commit to just one more slice, we can leave. Otherwise, we will miss our flight). He got the specialty Swiss chard, goat & Fontina cheese, prosciutto, lemon zest, & chives pie. Mine was the kinder of the 2 pies, and Ben’s crying like a wee girl about it but it is what it is.

Ben spun around 4 times on his stool and is woozy. And the Bad News Bears (some uniformed team of ball playing kids) showed up. Where is Tatum O’Neil? Grumpy bar people today, but a very good beer & food thing happening here. I was expecting something not this.

Photo of colonelforbin
4.68/5  rDev +11.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

One of my favorite places in San Diego to eat and have some beers. The atmosphere is nice, lots of small and large tables throughout the restaurant. Order food at one spot, then take two steps to the left and order your beer from the bar.

Great selection of SD and other Southern CA beers. I have always been impressed by the selection here. Seems like they go out of their way to get unusual things that other pubs do not carry. I really like this. They have started brewing small batch house brews as well, which I've not tried but look forward to trying next time I am down there.

Service is great. Never had a problem. I really enjoy the food. Lots of great vegan options, including some very tasty vegan pizzas. Great to see this as far too few places like this have inclusive menus.

Crowd is always pretty lively and it can get crowded and maybe a tad loud, but never in an unenjoyable fashion.

Highly recommended if you are anywhere near downtown San Diego or the 30th St. corridor.

Photo of flexabull
4.13/5  rDev -1.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Stopped in here on Friday afternoon for lunch, it was my first stop while in San Diego for a family wedding.

Pretty cool atmosphere, lots of vintage beer stuff decorating the walls, dark wood, very open and easy to order both food and beers.

Service was very good, the order taker knew beer, was friendly too. We also chatted with one of the co-owners who was very cool.

Selection was good, about 2 dozen taps of excellent beer with a great variety. The only bummer was they had no Automatic beers on tap when I was there.

Food was good, I really enjoyed the pizza and salad we had.

Prices were a tad high, but not bad.

Overall, I liked this place. I'd have no problem going back again.

Photo of ThreeWiseMen
3.86/5  rDev -8.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4

Stopped in here with some friends on Friday night. We ended up staying for two or three rounds, before moving onto Toronado.

Blind Lady Ale House is a pretty comfortable drinking spot. Even with a good-sized crowd, we were able to move around pretty easily, and eventually landed a table near the bar. The mood felt local and relaxed; cheery conversation filled the air. Many of the walls are lined with old beer bottles, which I really enjoyed - I used to decorate my garage the same way. All that said, there wasn't anything exceptional about this bar, but I could certainly see it being a good regular hang-out.

The tap list was solid, but didn't match that of Toronado, Small Bar, Hamilton's, and the other top beer bars in the area. They offered a good variety of styles, including a few lambics and sours, and each selection was either a great representation of its style or something new and interesting (e.g. Mother Earth's agave saison). There were a few in-house beers that bore the name "New English", and the one I tried (an English IPA) was pretty satisfying.

We had to order all of our drinks at the bar, but the bartender was very attentive and speedy... though also terse. S'all good in my book.

If you're looking to add another bar to your North Park pub crawl, this is certainly a worthy stop. Otherwise, hit up Toronado, Hamilton's, or Small Bar. Also, last call is at 11:15pm - lame!

Photo of bcm119
3.94/5  rDev -6.2%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Fairly roomy place with many long tables, dark wood and sparse but tasteful decor. Nice selection of higher end beers, but a little less focused on local breweries than the SD Toronado. The clientele is pretty young; there are scattered hipsters but the crowd is not too homogenous, for SD at least. The acoustics are cavernous and it was pretty loud on the Saturday night I visited. Overall a stylish place with a vibrant young crowd and an upscale urban feel; not a neighborhood pub with a locals feel. Worth a visit.

Photo of AndyGz
4.53/5  rDev +7.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5

BLAH is my favorite place to have pizza and beer. I have been a regular patron since it opened and regularly crave their artisan pies paired with high quality and rare beers. They serve honest pints with headspace above the pint line and rinse their glasses with filtered water just pre-pour to get rid of the sanitizers mandated by CA law. The house-made chorizo pizza is my favorite and the quattro formaggio deserves honorable mention too. The salads are great too, especially the stone fruit salad that only appears seasonally. Lee Chase, former Head Brewer of Stone Brewing, is the owner and after an expansion of the location is now brewing amazing and unique beers on premises under the name Automatic Brewing. I know lots of people still love and respect Stone but when Lee left Stone so did my loyalty to them. Their best beers in my opinion are Lee's old recipes.

Photo of gerrick
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

BLAH is yet another fantastic San Diego beer spot. Lots of great beer on tap. Great food and a nano brewery in the back. Really? what else needs to be said. Lee Chase worked at stone and helped create arrogant bastard among many others. Most produce they use is certified organic and locally grown. Home of the honest pints. the Dessert specials must be had (Alesmith Speedway Stout Chocolate Mousse). Get there before the kitchens close. it can be a bummer to miss that. I also recommend the homemade ice cream sandwich if they have any. Cheers and enjoy.

Photo of GarthDanielson
3.86/5  rDev -8.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4

We got there after the kitchen had closed, so no words of wisdom on the food. The place has a cool vibe to it. Lots of art with beer and brewing as the subject, a glassed in wall of antique beer cans, and plenty of seating for a smaller sized establishment. We were there at night, and it at first appears to be too dark inside, but once you sit down the lighting is perfect. The bartender was very helpful when we were ordering. She informed us that their brews (Automatic Brewing Co) are in extremely short supply, and that they usually sell out within a day or two. That being said, they did not have any of their brews available while we were there. I remember briefly checking their website before we went, but don't recall if that was noted on there or not. On an interesting note, they were currently having their 2nd annual blind tasting contest that consisted of 7 BMC-type products, one of them being a 1yr old can of PBR...if you get all of them correct, you score a $100 gift card. Very interesting idea. Overall, their tap list was decent. I think there were about 15 available. The prices were very decent, too. We would absolutely make a return trip there the next time we are in the San Diego area.

Photo of womencantsail
3.56/5  rDev -15.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3

Stopped here with t0rin0 awhile back, but never got around to posting my review.

Don't really bother trying to park in their lot, just go down one of the side streets and find a place somewhere down there.

We walked in and looked at the beer list, and there wasn't really much going on. Perhaps we were led astray by the classification of this place as a "brewpub". There were no house beers on, but a few decent choices on-tap.

No food was ordered, but it looked like they made a fine pizza from the appearance and smell of them. But you definitely pay for them...

The people were nice and the service was quick, but I guess I was just overall let down due to the lack of house beers and the fairly high prices.

You're better off heading a few blocks down to someplace like Toronado.

Photo of Eriktheipaman
4.13/5  rDev -1.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

I lived in the area when it opened 2 years ago but never checked it out until I moved and came back to visit.

The beer selection is pretty good but not as good as some other beer bars in the area.

This is more of a resturant vibe with a family atmoshpere. The interior is very beautiful with wood work.

The food was a little pricey and the menu is almost impossible to read. But man was it GREAT the two pizzas, bread, and olives were all sooo tasty!

Ill be back again for sure when Im in the area next.

Photo of gregshead
4.58/5  rDev +9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

The atmosphere fits for a pizzeria/beer place. Not too loud but usually a pretty happening/busy place until about 10:30.

Quality of beer is awesome. I always feel like the bartenders are doing everything they can to serve me a good beer. I've seen them throw out beers they felt were too carbonated to serve the patron, etc

Service is where they really rock your socks off. They are super personal. The bartenders are very willing to talk about beers at great length but only if you want that. I've even had opportunities to chat with the owners and there are very knowledgeable and friendly. Makes it feel like your home bar where they know your name.

Selection is really well balanced. A little of a lot of different styles. Each of the selections are a good representations of those styles.

Photo of woodychandler
4.15/5  rDev -1.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Transcribed from extensive notes dated W, 22 July 2009.

Affectionately known as "The BLAH", it was on Adams Avenue, just up from the northwest corner of 34th Street and just a short walk from my cousin's pad. It was one of those long places that was probably two separate buildings at one point and then a wall was taken out. That would account for the Emergency Exit on the south end of the building and the main entry on the north end. The best way to think of the place was as a giant rectangle, oriented north/south for the long sides. The south wall was dominated by a large mosaic of a brown and white horse as well as a piece of vintage Hamms! advertising. The west wall had the inverted "L"-shaped, laminated wood bar with a break in its middle for staff access. The south end of the break was Standing Room Only and overlooked the bank of twenty-six rotating taps, overhung by two blackboards detailing the current selections. They also had one handpump, generally in use on Fridays. The north end of the bar overlooked the the hand-thrown pizza kitchen as well as the cooler which held the limited (eight) bottle selection. The north wall held a chalkboard listing food and wine as well as a mosaic of horses at the track leaving the starting gate. The seating area was an eclectic mix of long picnic-style tables, standard tables and chairs and some high tables and chairs, I dug the exposed brick north wall, the low-key lighting and the exposed ducting and I said so to the very enthusiastic owner when we spoke.

Food: Fourteen kinds of pizzas and I chose "Egg". Yum.

Photo of ZX6Chris
4.78/5  rDev +13.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

I attended a Sensory Evaluation and tasting with the San Diego Beer Club featuring Peter Zien and Lee Chase(Owner of Blind Lady Ale House).

They had a great tap list and it was very impressive listening to Lee Chase talk about his direct draw tap system(he seemed very proud and after his explanation I understood why). this guy really knows his beer and I think it shows at Blind Lady ale House. It was the best Craft Beer establishment I've been to and the beer tasted wonderful.

The atmosphere was great, the bathrooms were clean, the servers seemed nice to me and the food was good too. What more could you ask for?

Blind Lady Ale House & Automatic Brewing Co. in San Diego, CA
93 out of 100 based on 61 ratings.