Taps: 20 / Bottles: 85
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: Y
Ratings: 126 | Reviews: 115 | Show All Ratings:
5/5 rDev +14.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5
I will be comming here more often for sure, but the one time I was there was quite the experience. The atmosphere was great with a few other BA's there and many other lovers of beer in attendance. The place is small and intimate and Tom always comes around and is very social. The selection is definantly leaned towards the hoppy side which is fine by me. And the night I was there we had many Russian River beers on tap and Cask. And as a bonus we had a bottle of Cantillion opened for xlperro's b-day. All in all it was quite and experience and I can't wait to get back!
07-08-2004 10:59:26 | More by Dmann
5/5 rDev +14.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5 | $
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!
10-20-2005 04:10:21 | More by SteveO1231
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
4.95/5 rDev +13.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5 | $
A much needed update to my original BeerFly which is nigh on 2½ years old now. In short, OBriens is *THE* place to be in SoCal, period.
My latest of many visits over the years was for the OBriens 2nd Wet Hop Festival, that speaks volumes for the place in itself. The set up was laid back but attention to detail was impressive. It was busy at times, but the Service was absolutely top-notch, from all the servers, we even had table service when the servers were passing by, always asking how we were doing, anything else? Could not knock the quality, attitude and informed service one bit.
Aside from the 2nd Wet Hop Festival treats, the bottled Beer List itself has expanded slightly, not the greatest of numbers but a well thought out varied selection that will appeal to all. You can also buy One (for now) bottle to take-out too. But Draft is where it is at though, loadsa Hoppy Specials and the Beer Engine is still going strong with interesting Cask Ales at all times.
Since July 03 and my prior Review I had upped the Food mark. Its not Cordon Bleu but the Pub Grub is stunningly attractive, wholesome, home made and takes some beating. The legendary Burgers often come with hot spicy beer cheeses now and the legendary Garlic Fries come with a beer-battered option, leave your cholesterol monitor at home! All this at very reasonable prices too.
Finally, working backwards, Atmosphere Its a 5.0, for me at least. Great Beer Bars so often suffer from high prices or attitude, you will find neither here, where else could you sit next to a table that had Vinnie Cirluzo of Russian River, Tomme Arthur and Jeff Bagby of Pizza Port, Tom Nickel (ex?) Oggis as well as the guy who owns/runs the Toronado in SF ..all relaxing and having a good laugh and drinking Wet Hopped beers and erm, well, playing Connect 4. Egos are left at the door here, I really like that, and the comfy Green Chairs of course. This is a real Down to Earth Gem thoroughly wholesome, incredibly relaxing and a genuine unique treat. It is so easy to spend 10 hours in here and not even know it, I know I have done it several times.
Original Review: 4 - 4.5 - 4.0 - 5.0 - 4.0 >> 4.45
Revised Review: 5.0 5.0 5.0 5.0 4.5 >>
<DO NOT> leave SoCal or SD without visiting OBriens!!
Last Visit: 22nd / 23rd October 2005
**** **** **** **** **** **** **** **** **** **** **** **** **** **** **** **** **** **** **** **** ****
Sat right in the corner unit of a strip mall, the unassuming exterior of this small bar hides a Cave à Bières gem.
When we arrived, there were some people sat outside behind a small fenced terrace area at the front. Inside it is rather small, quite cozy and was busy when we arrived*. The bar is to the left as you walk in, & runs all the way down the left handside with 20 Taps set against the back wall. Seating is available on the right hand side. All the seats are very comfy green swivel armchair affairs with castors, a unique touch & highly appreciated. Lots of coasters, & some Bar Towels, adorn the false beams & a small 45 degree false tiled-roof that runs all around the real ceiling, which helps to give a pub feel.
The range is excellent. There are two Beer Lists, one for draft, & one for bottled. Draft beers include many local offerings with a solid focus on hoppy beers. The bottled list has a great selection of Belgium Beers, all served in the correct Glassware which is a welcome refined touch, still quite rare I find. I started with an Oud Beersel Gueuze, & finished with a Rochefort 6 - the latter quite a rarity given its bigger brothers' dominance.
But the best was yet to come, a lone black-handled Beer Engine, with a homemade pump clip fashioned from a reversed coaster with the words Oak Aged Arrogant Bastard written on it. Could it really be that this legend was right here!? It was! I recall that we had at least two pitchers on our Table, before it ran off. I had 2 pints, & the effects of the oak aging were clearly evident, the beast had refined edges with a little more complexity.
We also ended up sharing some fine beery snacks, which were great, especially the Baked Potato covered in some fiery cheese. *We also happened to drop on a Mikes Beer Cheese Tasting. Our luck was limitless it seemed. A plate of 3 mixed cheeses & crackers was summarily ordered. It proved to be a huge hit with the group. The Double Napalm Bastard cheese was awesome.
Quite simply - we were spoiled from start to finish. The service was very pleasant from the waitresses, & even the workaholic Tom Nickels himself at one point.
All this, as well as BA friends; 'xlperro', EyeChartBrew, chuck,
mzwolinski, & we even had the company of the lovely BeerWench for a while. What more could you ask for?
A cracking Beer Bar and my favorite bar of the whole days SD Pub Crawl. It was a real shame to leave it.
Last Visit: 12 July 03.
11-05-2005 17:34:36 | More by TheLongBeachBum
4.9/5 rDev +12.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5
Visited during the July 24th BA Gathering
Located in a neighbhorhood of automalls and chinese herbalist shops, O'Briens stands in the corner of a strip mall as "O'Briens: An American Pub"
Armed with 20 taps full of all the best beers you can hope for. A bottle list of around 100 sits off to the side tempting the least virtuous ends of your nature. Combine this with a simple and effective menu of pub grubs and panini's and a hard working Tom Nickel behind the bar and you've got a great place to sit and have a brew.
This is a place worth a hunt out if you're around Miramar or heck anywhere in the San Diego area.
Tom's got a great place on his hands, but someone needs to get the man some time to take a nap!
07-26-2004 06:24:01 | More by drewbage
4.9/5 rDev +12.4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4
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
4.9/5 rDev +12.4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4 | $$
I learned of O'Brien's at a Stone Brewing Company anniversary party a few years ago. One of the venders (O'bs) was serving up a great sandwich...and this napalm beer cheese. Big Mike's creation is what led me here back then, and today an ever changing selection of taps, extensive bottle list and friendly staff make O'Brien's a frequent destination. A destination that should not be passed over by any enthusiast of fine beer. Tom and Lindsey have crafted a menu with a variety of rotating items you can find in the dry erase board as you walk in. Don't forget to get some fresh garlic on your fries. If you're a home brewer, this is the place to go. You like soccer? So does O'Brien's. Catch the UEFA action and the world cup at O'Brien's. Huge bonus for the soccer fan!!! Time to rally the troops...I'm off to O'Brien's. See you there.
04-24-2007 14:35:30 | More by triggersd
4.9/5 rDev +12.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5 | $$
I've wanted to come here for a while now, and finally made it. I'd been by there many times in the past, and always found it strange that it was located amongst the Korean restaurants and stores. Seems that there's a lot of regulars who come here.
There's nothing particularly exciting about the decor, but the place is clean and doesn't feel crowded. Very nice, friendly, and knowledgable employees.
Absolutely fantastic selection: both on tap and in the bottle (they have a beer menu too). Local beers, Belgian imports, and a wide range of other imports and domestic craft beers. All good quality stuff (some of which are hard to find), served at the appropriate temperature and in the proper glassware. Lots of nice looking things on the menu (starters, sandwiches, and burgers).
I had the turkey, brie & grilled onion sandwish (fantastic!) along with a Rochefort 10, and finished it off with a DFH Palo Santo. Totally reasonable prices too, for both the food and the beer. I look forward to coming back!
03-09-2008 01:44:14 | More by mithrascruor
4.86/5 rDev +11.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
I made my first visit here the night before Stone's 10th beerfest, so it was ridiculously crowded. First thing i did was walk in and look around. Plenty of taps, couple of tv's, and tons of people enjoying good beer. I liked the feel of this place a lot. Bathroom had a pretty decent sized line.
After that to the bar, place was packed and i still didnt have to spend more than a mintue at the bar. Great service. I started with a Sierra Nevada torpedo, and then an Alpine pure hoppiness. Didnt try the food, so i cant say anything about that.
I came alone, so i did the most interesting thing u can do, people watch. People around me where having some pretty inetresting conversations, so i joined here and there. Very nice crowd that hangs around here.
I highly suggest this place. Great service, great beer selection, great crowd. This place is a MUST if your in San Diego.
09-25-2006 01:29:25 | More by tonistruth
4.85/5 rDev +11.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4 | $$
Made my first stop at this famous place with about 30 other BAs on the July 24 BA nationwide festival. Had an excellent time, and a reasonable chunk of credit goes to Tom and his compatriats at O'Briens. This place is as unexpected as possible- by the name, it should be an old converted wood building with layers of paint and smoke stains, but it isn't. It's in a strip mall in an Asian section of northern San Diego where strip malls and used auto dealers reside.
Atmosphere was pleasant and friendly- the place was very hot, though (it was 90 outside and at least that inside). I had to walk outside in the breeze to cool off a couple of times. But the seats were comfy, the tables were movable, the TVs were large with sports, and they had a dart board to go with 20 some odd taps- what more do you need?
Quality and service was top notch- they kept a bunch of taps moving, kept lots of beer and food ordering straight and timely, whil ebeing pretty busy with a very small staff.
Selection was stellar. They had a lot of really good brews- and many of them I hadn't tried before, so I was a kid in a candy store. Monk's Cafe Brown Ale (Belgian), Yulesmith 2003, I can't remember them all- but almighty, what a list. But the killer was the bottle list- I wanted them all. Heavy on Belgians (the way I like it) but a bunch of other goodies too. But several of us worked oour way through the gueuze list, and had a wonderful time. Finsihed with Hanssen's which I hadn't had before (at Tom's suggestion)- a marvelous finish to the event.
Food- I tried both their garlic fries and the Blue Ribbon burger- both solid pub food, and good as such. No complaints- I've had much worse, but its not a 4 star restaurant (nor is it trying to be). Actually, the quality and quantity of garlic on the fries was pretty good- recommended.
07-27-2004 20:06:09 | More by Dukeofearl
O'Brien's in San Diego, CA
96 out of 100 based on 126 ratings.