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O'Brien's

Not Rated.
O'Brien'sO'Brien's
BA SCORE
97
world-class

148 Ratings
Ratings: 148
Reviews: 116
rAvg: 4.38
pDev: 9.13%
Taps: 20
Bottles: 85
Cask: Y
Beer-to-Go: Y
[ Bar, Eatery ]

4646 Convoy St
San Diego, California, 92111-2315
United States
phone: (858) 715-1745

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap @obrienspubsd

Notes:
None, yet.

(Place added by: xlperro)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 148 | Reviews: 116 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by slander:
Photo of slander
4.5/5  rDev +2.7%
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.

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When I look back at my 20's, I'm going to remember a number of things; college graduation, trips to Brazil, life on my own, a taste for beer. Not far off that list will be "Why did it take me more than seven years to visit O'Briens?" Although I've lived an hour north, I found time to make a few beer-related trips to San Diego each year, but each time bouncing pass O'Brien's.

But finally, that moment happened. Brazukas from overseas in town, and they're ready to drink the town dry of hops. In a strip mall filled with Asian eateries, O'Brien's look out of place. There was no parking inside the strip mall, so that meant parking on the street. I was worried that all the cars were driven by thirsty beer drinkers, but on a Thursday night, there was still ample space to crawl around and find our own seats at the bar. Somewhat darkly lit inside, lovely Belgian beer glassware visible behind the counter, beer signage pasted on the walls, a marker board posting special events, and even pimping its own special beer trip to Europe, you can tell there's a love for beer at O'Brien's.

Choosing a beer was another challenge, as two dozen fun beers were pouring from tap, two casks, and a bottle list filled with lovely Belgians. We were lucky to hit on the night of fresh hop ales, as it looked that one of my mates reached a hop orgasm before the night was through. Beers from Ballast Point, Bell's, Artifex, Nickel, Rochefort, Tripel Karmeliet, all available and (of the beer I tasted ) in excellent shape. Perhaps the one small flaw I can think of involves those boring shaker pint glasses

On par with the beer was the service, which was not only knowledgeable, but quick and enthusiastic to serve. I also snuck in time for some food. Food is simple but tasty (garlic fries, nachos, sausage & cheese plate), further putting O'Brien's into legendary status.

Can't decide which brewery to visit? Just visit O'Brien's instead. It's certainly better than feeling undecided to which brewery to visit next!

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O'Brien's in San Diego, CA
97 out of 100 based on 148 ratings.