Taps: 20 / Bottles: 85
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: Y
Ratings: 126 | Reviews: 115 | Show All Ratings:
4.1/5 rDev -6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$
O'Brien's is a staple of the San Diego beer community. If you haven't experienced a night here you really haven't experienced what it means to drink craft beer in San Diego. It's got a divey semi-sports bar kind of vibe, with an awesome beer selection. There are big comfortable chairs sitting at tables, a bar and a ton of plastic tables on the patio. They've got a few TV's inside and one on the outside. If you want to watch Monday Night Football, this is a great place to do it. The beer selection is always good, and they have the ability to get the harder to attain special releases. Unfortunately their service is never top notch. I can't count the number of times I've been there for a big to semi-big event and they've only got two people working the bar. That seems pretty ridiculous if you've got a line of 20+ people spilling out towards the parking lot. So, if you're there for a special event just order two pints and you'll be good. On a normal night it's nowhere near as bad.
11-05-2013 17:17:24 | More by radshoesbro
4.15/5 rDev -4.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.25 | $$
This little place has a special place in many a Beer Geek's heart in San Diego. This is the first place I tried Pliny the Younger, This is the place that was the hangout for a birthday party or two, This is the place you go for amazing selections and sweet taps from local breweries. I love the food, the service rocks and theres so much diversity you are guaranteed to meet a person with a crazy story to tell. Keep it up!
09-09-2013 23:40:20 | More by JDJTEXAS
4.41/5 rDev +1.1%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.5 | $$
Looking at the plastic chairs and tables outside, or the 70's lounge vibe inside, you might think that this is some crappy dive bar....You would be very, very wrong.
One look at the tap or bottle list immediately lets you know that this place is something special. They have great brewery features, they get some of the rarest beers (PtY anyone?)
The food is unbelievable, and I'm constantly amazed at what comes out of the kitchen. I haven't been there for a brewer's dinner, but they often do those to.
The employees all love working there and it shows in the quality of service and the knowledge of the servers.
I cannot complete this review without mentioning the proprietor, Tom. He is the driving force behind the awesomeness that is O'Brien's. He is connected with the brewing community, he puts bus trips together for beer events, he even organizes a group tour of breweries in Belgium annually.
This is a special place, and if you happen to be a soccer fan, they usually have a game on.
05-16-2013 14:33:21 | More by SSEngelbrecht
4.65/5 rDev +6.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.5 | $$
Love this place. The Girls and Tyson treat me like family' the beer selection is always yummy and the food is always to my liking. Especially the Lava cake during a stout event. They always seem to get beers that you don't see elsewhere but above all is the service. You take care of them and they take care of you and its nice to sit outside and have a nice cigar with you beer and beer chili..
02-19-2013 06:44:56 | More by abcentfishing
3.98/5 rDev -8.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.25 | $$
I made my way to O'Brien's for the Russian River -tion night with some other BAs. The place was super packed so we sat on the patio and had to fight for chairs from other tables one by one. The beers are listed on a whiteboard right near the register as well as a printed bottle list that is quite extensive. Service was pretty average but due to the event it made sense. The selection of beers was great, especially for the Russian River event. They also had O'Brien's anniversary beers on tap from Alpine and Societe. I got a burger to soak up some of the beer and that was quite good. Prices are pretty reasonable in my opinion. Worth a stop for sure.
01-27-2013 07:42:14 | More by UCLABrewN84
5/5 rDev +14.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5 | $$
San Diego is blessed to have at least one pub dedicated to one of life's most precious endeavors - serving phenomenal and quality craft brew. The selection of beer changes daily and there are routinely surprise casks on tap that will make you salivate long after you have left the pub. This is the place beer lovers dream of. There are few places like this on the planet and if you have any plans to visit San Diego make sure O'brien's is at the top of the list. Going to a brewery is one thing but being able to sample 10 different local brewery in one stop is truly a gift from the beer gods! Great Beer, Great People, Great Food!
08-03-2012 19:12:39 | More by jdheckman54
4.5/5 rDev +3.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
Oh, that’s what he meant by ‘green cushy chairs’, but I digress. Stupid, badly hungover mornfternoon, but feeling better with a little Ballast Point tasting room time in me (and breakfast didn’t hurt). Back in town, this strip mall of crazy, and parking, more so, hunted out (Thought we might scrap for that little piece of real estate where we dropped the car). And up there in the corner, the this...
Small small surprisingly small place. Straight wood bar to the left seating 8 on green leather stools, and a service corner up front. A center logo mirror on barback center over a row of 20 taps, and glassware shelved to the left with some giant chalice & tulip pieces, with more down below. Belgian Independence Day flaggings line above, and mug club mugs hooked running the length from a bar overhang in roofing shingle wood exterior. A collection of O’B shirts displayed up there, with an American flag on one end and a Houblon Chouffe banner on the other.
Crappy drop ceiling above chateauesque crossbeams lined with coasters, angled from the walls up (left over from the days of the old german deli once occupying this space), and holding baby spots and a few spinnys, too. Brackish flooring tiles, and green walls bar back, rear & side, pasted with brewery tins, signage, & mirrorage. Flats in 3 corners, and on the rear wall, too. Hey, the Yankees are on this early afternoon Saturday (‘cause they’re playing the dirty Angels). Light bar counter space to the rear with a few jerobaums on the end next to the dartboard, below drop wand single bulbs overhead. Seating riddle adbout, nearly a dozen tables in all. Recs along the perimeter and roundies in a row off the bar, nicely green cushy chaired up; I can nap here. Large windows up front and the forward side over the wraparound porch, with plastic tables & chairs, a dozen or so, offering views of more street parking. I’d rather chill inside.
Horizontal board over a kitchen peek-a-boo opening to the left of the bar listing taps and a few bottle specials, and pricing, by style color coded (local/craft, specialty, strong, Belgian, Euro), by pint & pitcher, so you don’t go in color blind for what’s what. 20 taps, nearly all of it regional California craft beer (Port Hop 15, Green Flash West Coast IPA, Ballast Point Sculpin, Firestone Walker Double Jack, Bear Republic Racer 5, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Sudwerk Pilsner, Alpine Nelson IPA & McIlhenney’s Irish Red, Russian River Blind Pig & Redemption, Monkey Paw Oatmeal Pale Ale, Low & Slow Rauchbier, Downs Family Irish Stout, Sweet Georgia Brown, Mandrill IPA, & Rich Man’s IIPA), save the 2 random imports (Aecht Schlenkerla Fest Bier, Smithwick’s Kilkenny Irish Red). I drank an Alpine Nelson IPA, having missed it kicked at the Real Ale Festival, Carlsbad, just yesterday.
And a bottled list of 50+. Oh wait, it’s a front page and there is another. And more. The list runs from 1-251+ (1-60 Belgian ales, 61-75 Belgian fruit beer, 76-90 sours, 91-140 non Belgian imports, 141-250 domestic ales, 251+ mead), and includes large format, magnums, etc. (another 31+ more). Benchmark Orval runs a cool $8, but the Russian River & Lost Abbey selections; you know, some of this is quite pricey.
Killer goddamn tap list, and the food does look reeeally good but we’re in between those hours. Good house, fun, playful ‘tenders, and lots of regulars. And babies. I could do a lot of time here if I had a lot of time here. Very much so do dig.
07-12-2012 20:32:22 | More by slander
4.22/5 rDev -3.2%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$
Well, you'd never stumble upon this place, unless you were buying a car across the street or something. Fortunately we were seeking it out. O'Brien's is located in a nondescript strip center north of town. We stopped on our way back to town after stopping in at Green Flash.
There is a long bar inside the door on the left, with a bunch of table crammed in on the right. The oversized leather office chairs appear to have been reclaimed from the set of Glengarry Glen Ross. Comfortable enough but between the oversized chairs and wheels, moving around with a beer in hand can be an adventurous proposition. There is also an enclosed porch with some PVC tables and chairs.
Once you get a post though, this is a cool place to be. About 20 taps with great stuff. We were there during SDBW and the event of the day was Kern River. About 6 KR taps were flowing, and a bunch of other local delicious craft beers.
Service is very pleasant. As is true of so many places here, counter service only, with exactly one line for food, beer or food and beer. It can slow things down but the people are quite nice. I enjoyed our stop here.
01-20-2012 17:32:53 | More by sholland119
4.14/5 rDev -5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | $$
Let me tell ya this place has got it all. Soccer great staff and best of all awesome freakin beer. Alpine on tap amazing the place is kind of tiny but im cool with that good bottle selection and awesome atmosphere. The place was pretty busy when i was there. With the beer selection they have i am impressed! Highly recommend. It was out of the way but the cab ride was well worth it . If you go check out the bottle list there are some hard to find unusual beers on the menu. Service was good staff new there beer and were on top of the service.
12-19-2011 08:23:57 | More by tastyales
4.22/5 rDev -3.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
Visited this place specifically for Night of a Million Zillion speedways. The place is a bit out of the way from where I was staying and is in a strip mall and incredibly tiny inside. It looks like your typical dive bar all that is missing is the pool table. The place was packed just like I expected it to be and everyone there really appreciated beer so it made for a great atmosphere. The service was a tad bit lacking and everyone seemed to have a bit of an attitude until it died down a bit which I guess is understandable but nevertheless it's still their job. I would like to visit this place when it is not as busy to really get a better feel for the place. With that being said highly recommended place to stop in for a pint
11-15-2011 01:39:31 | More by DarthKostrizer
O'Brien's in San Diego, CA
96 out of 100 based on 126 ratings.