1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

O'Brien's

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

136 Ratings
Ratings: 136
Reviews: 115
rAvg: 4.37
pDev: 8.92%
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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 136 | Reviews: 115 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of SwillinBrew
SwillinBrew

California

4.66/5  rDev +6.6%

I finally got to go here when came down for the weekend to watch a Charger game.

This place is phenomenol! The inside is quaint, cozy and just the place to hang out with good friends and drink good beer. It reminded me of a cross between Hollingshead-Orange and Heroes-Fullerton.

I came right after the Wet Hop fest they had so there were some gems still on tap along with many of the local favorites that you cannot get elsewhere... actually, it seemed everything i drank i couldnt find much elsewhere ie the Alpine pure hoppiness and some of the wethop brews. It was very hard to make a decision... in a good way.

I unfortunately didnt get to try any of the food. I was looking forward to those garlic fries. I also saw the chalice of doom on the shelf and just bowed "i'm not worthy". Oh, I also picked up a bottle of Hansens Oude Geuze to go.

I need to come back here with some friends and get a hotel for the evening so I could just sample everything.

11-03-2005 00:13:02 | More by SwillinBrew
Photo of SteveO1231
SteveO1231

Connecticut

5/5  rDev +14.4%

I've been wanting to visit O'Brien's for a long time now. I figured I'd check it out before the wet hop festival. Finally checked out OB's for the first time tonight.

It was little bit hard to find amongst all the asian shops and plazas down convoy st.

Place was great. Awesome relaxed atmosphere. I loved the big seats and the big screen TV, I felt like I was kicking it in my livingroom.

Great local beer selection and a huge import bottle selection.

I enjoyed some IPA's Alpine's Pure Hoppiness, Russian River's Pliney the Elder and Alpine's Whale.

Food was pretty good, good sandwiches, great prices. I had the Cordon Bleu chicken sandwich, pretty tastey.

The help was friendly, and the place had a nice mature, relaxed atmosphere.

Since I live only 5 miles away, I'll be going back!
Great Pub

Cheers!

10-20-2005 04:10:21 | More by SteveO1231
Photo of BrewMaster
BrewMaster

California

4.5/5  rDev +3%

I visited O'Briens for the first time on 9/2/05 to sample the cask-conditioned Alesmith Decadence. The place was not what I expected. I had seen pictures before and expected a huge place for some reasion. O'Briens is a small joint. Including the outside seating there are probably seats for 30 people at most, plus the bar that seats about 10 people. Still, it's a great place to have a pint. The staff is knowledgable and friendly with prompt and courteous service.

They have about 15 or so taps there with mostly local brews, some of which are hard to find. Also, they have an extensive bottled beer list with probably around 100 beers available for purchase. They also are selling bottles to go (max 1 per customer) which is a nice feature. Pints we around $4 which I consider reasonable. The food looked and smelled good, but I had already eaten by then.

The office-like chairs are nice if you're sitting at a table inside. The selection is what would bring me back to O'Briens though. The place itself isn't amazing, but the beer is and the people are good to be with. If I was local this would be my regular watering hole. Nice joint and worth the stop.

09-14-2005 00:02:28 | More by BrewMaster
Photo of tavernjef
tavernjef

Minnesota

4.58/5  rDev +4.8%

After a long day, how else could you end it without a stop at this place. Man the locals have one hell of a place to get use to. Its small, quaint place with room for about 60 or so. Patio outside seats maybe over a dozen. The interior has old German style wood beams crossing the ceiling with all sorts of beer coasters stuck on em. Wish I knew that, I could have brought a whole bunch of midwest ones to add to the collection.

Service is stellar. Of course it helps to know the regulars like the BA boys who frequent here. They frequent here enough that Tom the owner digs into his own private stash to share with them. On this night, we were given a Russian River Supplication to split. Nice. Great hosting.

Selection is also stellar! 20 something taps and all killer CA APA's, IPA's, Dbl. IPA's, and much more. Stone, Bear Republic, Alesmith, Alpine, Ballast Point, and Russian River all in full hop mode are dripping from the taps awaiting your order. I enjoyed the hell out of the Russian River IPA, and then enjoyed the hell out of the Oak-aged Arrogant Bastard, which put me out for the rest of the evening - thats a big beer if there ever was one. Then there's a two page bottled beer menu that has 100 more offerings. Various Belgians, a few imports from the UK and Germany, and a ton more local stuff. You could easily come here twice a day for 3 months and never have the same beer. They change the tap line up frequently enough to always keep ya on your taste bud toes.

Food...ummm again I have to revert back to my Liar's Club review to state that, I, I am a whimp when it comes to spicy food. I had simple quesadillas but the salsa had some bite to it for me and I was made fun of as I found out it was their mildest salsa. Yikes? I was told to try the garlic fries which are supposibly so full of garlic that you can still taste em a day and a half later. Um. No thanks. A few of the BA fellas grabbed the spicy beer cheese burger. On this night the burger was a bit out of the norm as the burger turned into a fest of name calling once the first bite was taken by AleOha. A couple lucky BA's also decided to give their mouths a work out and ordered it. Let's just say it was probably hot. I, of course, did not try it. Once all was done, it was given the name of 'Nuclear Fuckin' Spicy Beer Cheese Burger'. I'm definately glad I steered away from that whole part of the evening. The smell alone made my eyes water.

Unfortunately, the night ended odd with a couple drunken Icelandic fellas making themselves welcome at our table then getting out of hand with unproper etiquette and ham fisted attemts to raise anger. Very weird. People do some strange things when drunk, and they fit the bill.
Beyond that though, this place rocked my world and was a absolute treat to have been given the chance to experience it. Thanks fellas!

08-23-2005 22:08:51 | More by tavernjef
Photo of ChowHound
ChowHound

New York

4/5  rDev -8.5%

This is a weird little store-front thats part of a bitty strip mall in an Asian dominated area south of San Diego. I drove out here to see what it was all about. The answer is hops. The atmosphere is a little plain, with some used office desks for chairs and some tables. A cool bar, not much in the way of signs or anything, but all made up for with great and hoppy local beers on tap. Big hops is the theme here, and I wasn't at all disappointed. Didn't try the food, although I hear it is good. Nothing out of the ordinary, but give it a go, it may just suit you.

06-27-2005 21:12:53 | More by ChowHound
Photo of OStrungT
OStrungT

California

4.72/5  rDev +8%

This place is great. It is located in an area of San Diego that is not too overcrowded. It is relatively small, without much parking. If you get there in the evening on any day, it gets sort of crowded. They have about 10 or 15 tables out side, and maybe double that inside. They also have a bar area. The tap list is impressive. They usually have about 20 beers on tap. The selection is always changing. Sometimes they have a lot of beers that I like, sometimes they only have one or two. But they always have at least one. They tend to have more IPA's than anything else. They also have an outstanding bottle list. It is one sheet of paper, both sides. They have many hard to get beers. Last time I was there, they had 2003 Double Bastard and 2004 Stone Symposium Ale. That is quite rare. The service is good. It is usually the same two people working. It is run like a bar, and they have a cook in the back. The menu is not very large, but I have liked everything I have had there. The garlic fries are great. I think they use a whole clove. The garlic is just sliced and put on top. If you get them, you better bring a toothbrush and some mouth wash. Usually I see the same people there. Everyone drinking is friendly. The whole place has the feeling of friend hanging out and having a good time. It is very reasonably priced. I go with my wife, and we both eat and have a few beers and it never costs more than $30. I can see why it is on the BA best places to have a pint. If you ever get to San Diego, you need to try this place. If you live here, and have not tried it, you need to. Now.

06-21-2005 02:44:52 | More by OStrungT
Photo of Todd
Todd

Colorado

4.74/5  rDev +8.5%

O'Briens. What an unusual place. It's located in a strip mall, next to some hippy shop, looks like a German deli with its guts ripped out, and is completely no frills. But holy shit is this a must stop! It's gets really comfortable as soon as the sun goes down, the lights are dimmed, and your being a lazy ass in those awesome, comfy, office chairs.

Beers?
Plenty of amazing craft beers on-tap. Lots of locals, which was exciting for me, guest brews and lingering offerings from previous in-house fests. At least 20 on-tap and a fairly extensive bottle list. Every beer I had was in pristine shape.

Food?
Didn't really have any food, but all I can say is: GARLIC FRIES! Get them. I munched on an order, and paid the price for days after.

Word of warning: if Tom Nickel breaks out the infamous Chimay chalice ... run! Damn you Tom Nickel! Damn you!

04-03-2005 12:59:52 | More by Todd
Photo of damjadi
damjadi

Oregon

4.9/5  rDev +12.1%

Every night, before I go to sleep, I pray that I will wake up in O'Brien's, struggling to select from the huge selection of MONSTEROUSLY hopped beer. I feel like Adam, banished from the garden of beer Eden, after spending most of my 2 years (and approximately 20% of my take-home income) at OBs. While some bars may have more taps, the quality and quantity of the beers at OBs have few rivals.
Add to that the friendly, homey atmosphere, the friendly staff, and Tom Nichols, and you have a slice of Beervana in San Diego.

03-29-2005 19:41:54 | More by damjadi
Photo of rowew
rowew

Colorado

4.45/5  rDev +1.8%

With a nickname like "The Hoppiest Place on Earth," how could I pass it up? On the menu they say - 20 taps, tons of hops. I definitely found this to be true. Located in a small strip mall in an Asian district just off the highway, this isn't the kind of place you stumble across. Not much from the outside, but inside they have a decent sized bar, and a deecnt number of tables, all with cushy office type chairs. Also have a wraparound patio that seats quite a few people. On the wall behind the bar are twenty taps - mostly focusing on IPAs and the like. Also a pretty good bottled selection, but with a rotating selection of quality beers on tap including many hard to find locals I didn't care about the bottles. Food was fantastic .. we were there on Mardi Gras and they had Gumbo on special that was very good. Definitely a gem that should be part of any San Diego visit.

02-09-2005 04:43:50 | More by rowew
Photo of bultrey
bultrey

New York

4.75/5  rDev +8.7%

Took my first trip ever to San Diego last week, so I got in touch with the SD BA crew (mzwolinski, EyeChartBrew and BeerPatriot), who were kind enough to pick me up on a Tuesday night from my isolated hotel and take me out to O' Briens, "their little secret," as the group told me. It's a good thing I was able to hitch a ride (special props to EyeChartBrew), because O'Briens is in such a wierd place, on the corner of a highway strip mall. I mean, it's doubtful one would stumble upon this place without someone telling them about it.
Arrived around 5:00 Pacific to watch the sixth game of the ALCS (Go Sox! Rather, Go not Yankees!), and the place had a moderate crowd, but we scored the BA's usual table underneath the O'Brien's crest in the middle of the bar. This place isn't huge, but it isn't cramped. It would have more room if every table didn't have these cushy, office-style chairs, which I have to say, were awesome. All in all, it makes for a very strange but welcoming atmosphere, and I felt right at home.
There are, I don't know, about 15 or so taps on the wall, almost exclusively dedicated to local, high-octane brews. There was a Saison Dupont on draft, and a few other stragglers, but the story here was the hops. Hell, their nickname is "The Hoppiest Place on Earth," and I beleive it. I started with the Saison, and it was fresh, fresh, fresh and delicious. I knew it would happen, but I didn't bring a notepad, so I can't recall the next few beers I had. They were IPA's and the like, though. I'm not a raging hophead, so these all fell under the category of really good, but I couldn't really distinguish one from the other.
Next had an Arrogant Bastard, which was the freshest I've ever tasted it, and boy, did it make a difference. Just a different beer than I've had on the East coast.
The bottle list here is the real surprise. I'm not joking when I say that it rivaled, if not bettered, Spuyten Duyvil in NYC. Lots of Belgians, including a wide assortment of lambics, gueuze, etc., and a bunch of rare and hard-to-find beers from all parts of the world. We were going to split a bomber of Barrel-Aged AleSmith Speedway Stout, but alas, they were out. I settled on an Oud Beersel Oude Kriek Vieille to finish the night out, and it was bloody fantastic. All beers were served in appropriate glassware, many of which bore the brewery logo.
The prices were very fair, if not relatively inexpensive. The night I went had $4.00 pints, which you could knock down to $3 by playing and winning a fun little "highest roll" dice game with the bartender.
The food is average pub-grub, and works to stave off inebriation. I had the (in)famous garlic fries, and my palate, nor digestive system, was quite the same for two days.
Overall, I had a fantastic time, and want to give a shout out to my SD BA bros. Your little secret will not be a secret much longer. I suspect that if this place were in New York or Boston, it would be right at the top of the beerfly list, too.

10-25-2004 17:41:58 | More by bultrey
O'Brien's in San Diego, CA
97 out of 100 based on 136 ratings.