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Blind Lady Ale House & Automatic Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Blind Lady Ale House & Automatic Brewing Co.Blind Lady Ale House & Automatic Brewing Co.
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

57 Ratings
Ratings: 57
Reviews: 42
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 7.38%
Active Beers: 21
Beer Ratings: 44
Beer Avg: 3.63
Taps: 20
Bottles: 0
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: 57 | Reviews: 42 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of slander
4.15/5  rDev -1.2%

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.

slander, Oct 21, 2012
Photo of woodychandler
4.15/5  rDev -1.2%

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.

woodychandler, Jun 23, 2010
Photo of yemenmocha
4.13/5  rDev -1.7%

Cool pizza place that had an odd smell, but had a very good selection of craft beer. We found several high abv dessert beers that were great with our dessert (pizza looked good but did not try it).

Server was very friendly and assisted us politely with our beer choices (sat at the bar). Nice, spacious seating area with high ceilings. So many of the San Diego beer bars make you feel cramped or Clausterphobic but not this place.

Good location not too far of a drive from Toronado so I'll probably hit them again on my next visit, most likely for the pizza of course. Parking was a challenge.

yemenmocha, Apr 02, 2010
Photo of jjboesen
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%

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.

jjboesen, Mar 25, 2013
Photo of Floydster
3.59/5  rDev -14.5%

We stopped here on an early Saturday afternoon, located on the east side of the 805 Freeway, surprised a place like this was in this neighborhood, walked in and saw a bistro-like atmosphere, bar directly in front of me, saw they used proper glassware immediately, clean and brand new, liked the way this place was set up although it was quite small, heard the pizza was good but was not hungry since we went right after lunch, took a while to get a bartender's attention, not many people were working but that was expected since business was slow, I ordered Automatic, their only house made beer at the moment but they were out, seemed like they had not had it for a long time too, I got a Dogfish Head Punkin instead and paid close to what I would get a four pack for at the store, not much interesting stuff on tap but it is all craft or Belgian, probably will only go back to this place once they start brewing, which is based on a pending license I believe, or when they have special events because I have heard some cool local beers show up at those, would definitely stop by if I was down there this weekend for San Diego Beer Week, still worth checking out regardless

Floydster, Nov 11, 2009
Photo of claspada
4.24/5  rDev +1%

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.

claspada, Jun 20, 2013
Photo of ThreeWiseMen
3.86/5  rDev -8.1%

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!

ThreeWiseMen, Aug 08, 2011
Photo of bradybeer
4/5  rDev -4.8%

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.

bradybeer, Jun 19, 2013
Photo of GarthDanielson
3.86/5  rDev -8.1%

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.

GarthDanielson, Apr 11, 2011
Photo of flexabull
4.13/5  rDev -1.7%

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.

flexabull, Aug 09, 2011
Photo of womencantsail
3.56/5  rDev -15.2%

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.

womencantsail, Feb 07, 2011
Photo of botham
4.14/5  rDev -1.4%

Blind Lady is a solid beer bar. dark wood and worn-in metal make up the basic aesthetics, along the line of an old warehouse. the place works off of a storefront strategy with the kitchen and bar at the back end and various seating out front. a supergraphic for Hamm's is on the left wall, placed over a wooden plank surface. the other walls were somewhat bare, with hand-written menus around the bar and kitchen and some random signage around as well. the bar itself doesn't have much seating at it, it is just used to order.

the quality and selection are great. though the focus is on pales and IPAs mostly, a couple malt gems do exist. beers are served in the proper glassware, clean, with very fresh taps (at least the four types that this BA had were fresh).

service was informative, knowledgeable, and excited about craft beer. the local beer scene seems to be an interest for the bar staff.

food was available, mainly pizza and some appetier-esque options.

overall this is a good place to enjoy a brew, although one can see it getting crazy on the weekend, due to the open nature of the design and the somwhat cramped layout of seating. the beers are fresh, the barkeeps are easy to talk to, and the overall mellow aura was excellent. cheers!

botham, Aug 14, 2009
Photo of chinchill
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%

Visited on 4th of July a/m/ when the BLAH nicely opened early to allow viewing of the World Cup match. About 24 beers on tap, including one cask from Stone. Good variety with the selection favoring Calif. beers (including Alesmith's Speedway and Horny Devil as well as RR Pliny [Elder]) but also including a number of internationals. Food has a very good reputation but the kitchen was closed due to the holiday.

chinchill, Jul 04, 2014
Photo of _morandi_
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

_morandi_, Jul 15, 2014
Photo of vonnegut21
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%

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.

vonnegut21, Jun 26, 2013
Photo of djaeon
4/5  rDev -4.8%

djaeon, Oct 08, 2013
Photo of colonelforbin
4.68/5  rDev +11.4%

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.

colonelforbin, Nov 05, 2011
Photo of tpd975
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%

WeeHeavySD took me here on my trip to San Diego.

Cool little bar with open seating. The place was packed but we did find a seat. You order first and seat yourself.

I ordered a pizza which was very good. Lots of flavor and toppings for a more than fair price. The beer is all on a chalk board with a nice number of selections.

Lots of San Diego gems along with some from elsewhere. Not the best beer selection in the world, but not one I would turn my nose up at.

Overall a cool bar with great food.... there is a pretty nice beer selection to boot.

tpd975, Apr 24, 2009
Photo of Jodi215
4.2/5  rDev 0%

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.

Jodi215, Dec 17, 2012
Photo of nickd717
3.98/5  rDev -5.2%

Went here during SD Beer Week '09. Lots of great stuff on tap, although it was a bummer that a lot of the better kegs kicked before I got there (around 10pm). The place is also ridiculously small, but they keep it from getting too packed by not letting too many people in. The downside of that is that you might have to wait in line outside. I had to wait, and even my "Don't you know who I am???" trick didn't work on the guy at the door.

Finally I got in and liked what I saw. Solid atmosphere and decor. Great beers on tap: AleSmith, Port/Lost Abbey, Alpine, Russian River, etc. I ordered an AleSmith Nautical Nut Brown and a Lost Abbey Devotion Ale, which were only about $4 apiece if I remember correctly. Also had a pizza, which was above average but not great. Service is decent, but be prepared to wait in fairly long lines sometimes to order.

The crowd is a fun one. Next to us was a pack of cougs in their mid-30's, who my buddy once removed (i.e. a buddy of my buddy who is not necessarily a buddy of mine) spent most of the night hitting on. Having a serious girlfriend myself, I wasn't able to partake in this cougar hunt. Bummer.

I see now that this place is brewing their own beer, and the one listed has an A-. Nice. I'll have to come back sometime and try it.

nickd717, Feb 03, 2010
Photo of fitius5150
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%

fitius5150, Dec 02, 2013
Photo of trytoketchup
4/5  rDev -4.8%

trytoketchup, Dec 10, 2013
Photo of the_encinitan
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

the_encinitan, Jul 04, 2014
Photo of magictrokini
3.15/5  rDev -25%

Love the vibe, very mellow, brick-and-wood interior. Cozy in terms of personal space. Had a video screen playing skateboarding at the time. Loud, don't expect to have a quiet conversation. Beer selection was small for an "Ale House." Sadly, it was dominated by Oktoberfest and other lagers at the time, and the Stone 13th was out. The pizza was weak. However, in the interests of full disclosure, I am a pizza snob. Prices were unimpressive, probably $2 more than anywhere else; well anywhere but Toronado SD. In short, this is not Pizza Port, so don't go there thinking it is a suitable alternative.

magictrokini, Sep 10, 2009
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Blind Lady Ale House & Automatic Brewing Co. in San Diego, CA
94 out of 100 based on 57 ratings.