O'Brien's

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

153 Ratings
Ratings: 153
Reviews: 117
rAvg: 4.39
pDev: n/a
Taps: 20
Bottles: 85
Cask: 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:
Place added by: xlperro

No notes at this time.
Place: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Ratings: 153 | Reviews: 117
Photo of rousee
3.48/5  rDev -20.7%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 2.5

O'Briens was a good ways off the beaten path for me in my recent trip to San Diego but I was somwhat disappointed. Its a neighborhood bar in a strip mall that had this very interesting looking Korean restaurant next door to it. I may have to check that out the next time I am there.

When you enter, there is a bar immediately in front of you and the room opens to the right. It definitely has a sports bar feel to it as I believe they have darts and there were at least 4 TVs playing various sports.

There are small round tables with leather swivel chairs in the dining area and thats where we met our local BA hosts. We all had a good time chatting and knocking back a few beers.

They had some great CA beers on draft like Pizza port, Alesmith, Alpine, Ballast Point, as well as Russian River. The prices on the beers were extremly reasonable. All were $4 or less for a pint. Since I generally prefer draught beer over bottled, I didnt try any of the bottled beers but they have over 200 different ones.

Service was friendly and quick. I would recommend this place but it is definitely a pain in the ass drive from downtown San Diego.

Photo of dave12285
3.6/5  rDev -18%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 4 | service: 2 | selection: 5 | food: 4

Went to Obrien's on a few occasions including a pub crawl. The beer selection has always been amazing including some of the best Ipa's around consistently on draft. I've only ate there once and we chose a cheese and sausage platter which was very nice. The crackers were a little lacking the rest of the meal was great. Then one thing that is a mainstay, unfortunately, is poor service. The last time we went in the bartender saw us walk in and came out from behind the bar and disappeared for a while. Tom, the owner, was standing behind the bar while we waited to order and continued checking his mail for a while until he too left. After about 6-7 minutes waiting at the empty bar we were then greeted and served. The other thing that bothers me is it seems as though the customers are stand offish to new comers as well as the staff. Many "regulars that walked in were greeted with open arms and smiles. Could have just been an isolated situation and they do still have great beer. Definitely worth checking out.

Photo of nanobrew
3.7/5  rDev -15.7%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

The atmosphere of this place is not that great. The arrangement makes it seem crowded with few people in the place. It is dark and fairly simple. The upside is they do have dart board. They definitely specialize in IPAs, that makes up most of their tap list, and they usually have some great ones on tap. They do have a pretty good bottle list. Their prices were really good, especially if you catch a special (I have gone on nights for discount bottles). The food is pretty good for bar food. I enjoyed it and thought it went well with the beer. The staff is nothing special. I am sure if I was a regular they would be more willing to chat. But I have been during slow nights and they seem uninterested in any conversation aside from what my order is. I most likely won't be a regular, but I have no problem stopping by here every once in a while.

After being here a few more times I feel the same about the space, way to crowded, however, their service has been great, so I increased that from 3 to 4.

Photo of Weedchugger
3.73/5  rDev -15%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4

Many great things have been said here about O'Brien's, and I would agree with them. I think this review will be helpful to people going there for the first time because I will remind you to find out the hours they are open!

On Saturday I drove down to San Diego from LA with my friend for his 43rd birthday. His brother came too. Traffic was terrible, so we didn't get to O'Brien's until just before 8pm. On the menu it said the kitchen closes at 8:30, so we were lucky we made it a half hour early.

However, we weren't so lucky because the bartender said the kitchen had already closed. We were starving, so we found a nearby Islands and grabbed some burgers. But we still wanted our hop fix, so we got back to O'Brien's at about 9:10. It was then we were told that last call on a Saturday night is 9:30! Long story short, we drove for four and a half hours for one pint of beer.

Is this O'Brien's fault? Hell no. They can close anytime they feel like. I just made an ass out of myself by not checking their hours before I drove all that way. So, don't make that mistake fellow travellers!

(Sidenote, they only had three DIPA's on tap. Ruination, Pure Hoppiness and Pliny the Elder. I thought there would be more. Hmm.)

Photo of olympuszymurgus
3.74/5  rDev -14.8%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4

one of the more confusing spots on the journey. first off, i understand that even the suburbs, perhaps, especially the suburbs, need a place like this. its an irish sports bar with tremendous beer on tap and bottles? playing rugby on giant screens? sure! comfortable chairs (very comfortable, play that up) and decent, if slightly short, service. they did have ddgooze for takeout, but the $45 we didn't spend on it did come in handy at the tail end of the trip. see, americans can be fiscally responsible. apparently we just missed a north coast tasting, which would have been a happy funtime. regardless, a nice 20+ tap selection and comfortable chairs. we sank into them like a stripper into a lap.

Photo of jneiswender
3.78/5  rDev -13.9%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3 | food: 4.5

Very busy place that is in a shopping plaza in North San Diego. Seems like there is good parking there. I was there at 5pm on a Thursday and the place was packed. You have to go to the bar to order the beer as the waitresses that night were busy. Nice selection of Belgian and Germans as well as Cali-brews as well. Food menu is very beer friendly. I had the beer burger made with Russian River IPA. Drank Pliny the Elder. Very nice service, very local feel but maybe hard to find a seat at times if you want to eat.

Photo of jcalabre
3.78/5  rDev -13.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3

Drove down to O'Briens (60+ miles) for the vertical tasting of Stone Old Guardian (99 thru 03) a few months back. It's a very small place at the end of a strip mall. I got there early & was able to get a place @ the bar. I don't envy anyone trying to get a beer there when it's crowded. They also have a nice outside area, if you smoke. The food is average, pub grub.
They have a great selection of taps. The atmosphere is nice and the staff was very friendly. I'd highly recommend this place.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.83/5  rDev -12.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4

Bar at the end of a strip mall type setting. Arrangement inside is kinda cluttered for what it is. Lots of soccer shit and pub stuff on the walls, seemed like a TGIFridays that went through an English vibe. Some horrible tuffman contest stuff (i.e. fat guys with boxing gloves on) on the television, I may have enjoyed some malnutritioned futbol instead.

Bar service occurs only at the corner of the bar, which can be beneficial, but creates kind of a cluster at the entrance. Selection was kinda lacking I thought for what they had on tap. Decent bottle list, leans Euro more than the tap list that leans ipa heavy. Was hoping for more Alpine beers on tap, ended up having the only one available, O'Brien's ipa, which was good, but not the equal of other Alpine ipas.

Draft prices are great.

Photo of Oxymoron
3.83/5  rDev -12.8%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 5 | service: 2.5 | selection: 5 | food: 2

We mad a trip to San Diego and thanks to Beerfly went to O'Briens. Easy enough to find but is hidden on the edge of a strip mall. A very small room with a decent sized bar and a few table. The chairs were rather funny, something you would in a 80's corporate office. Cushy, off green color that didn't quite fit under the table. They also had a few tv's on and seemed to be a great place for soccer nuts.

A great beer menu of west coast and mountain beers. To list a few, Russian River, Alesmith, Green Flash, Avery, Alaskan, Stone, Port & Lost Abbey, Lagunitas and Lightening. I tried both Pliny's from RR. Also Alesmith's Bloody Valentine (two days before the release), & Greenflash Saison. Didn't even try the bottle list but a great selection of beers both local and oversees (English and Belgium).

The staff was so-so. A few waitress standing around and not very helpful or knowledgeable. We sat at a table right away and no one really helped us or tell us to order at the bar. Eventually we got with the program. The food was rather limited mostly sticking to pub food, burgers and sandwiches etc. Tried the Rosemary Chicken Focaccia while my wife had the Turkey Bacon Havarti. Both low quality on hamburger buns. Noticed another patron order a burger and didn't look any better.

Overall not a great experience but for anyone planning a trip just sit at the bar and enjoy the beer. Everything else is a wash.

Photo of bigbelcher
3.9/5  rDev -11.2%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

Located in an asian strip mall. Very dark inside. Rather small but they did have some outdoor seating which was nice. A great selection of IPA's on tap and a good Belgian selection of bottles. Some of the bottled beer was very overpriced in my opinion but the drafts were reasonable. Food was mostly greasy pub food, fulfilling but nothing spectacular to write home about. From the signage it looks like they show a lot of European soccor matches on their television. A good place and worth a visit but slightly overrated in my opinion.

Photo of ArrogantB
3.9/5  rDev -11.2%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

First off, I don't like goddamn cigar smoke and there were way too many cigar smokers drinking beer outside on the patio. To be fair it is like that sometimes at the Falling Rock but fuck that. This place has an unbelievable tap and bottle list, I had Russian River IPA (not Blind Pig) and Alpine Duet which was delicious. The fried cordon bleu nuggets were amazing and a first for me. The cigar smoke on the patio was tough to stomach but if I was local I would probably stop by on a regular basis.

Photo of largadeer
3.93/5  rDev -10.5%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

I usually make a stop at O'Brien's when I'm down in San Diego. The selection is top-notch, with a lean toward local craft breweries. The fact that Alpine brews a beer for them (and an excellent one at that) is a testament to their great beer selection. The only real detraction is the vibe; it's got a dingy sports bar atmosphere, and if there's a game on you can count on there being a slew of loud obnoxious drunks at the bar. That aside, I've generally had a good time here. The food is solid as well, standard pub fare but enjoyable enough and reasonably priced.

Photo of Shouzen
3.95/5  rDev -10%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 5 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

Checked this place out in a quest for good beer bars close to where we live. Excellent selection of beers on tap and in bottles, and the staff seem fairly knowledgeable. I wish there was a bit more diversity with the beers though, as everything tends towards IPAs and other super-hoppy beers (but I guess this is San Diego, so...).

Food was very standard bar food fare - burgers, salads etc. Not really a place to come specifically for food, but it does its job. I did really enjoy the ample outdoor seating though. Overall, we will definitely be back, but I will have to order more stuff off their bottle list the next time...

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.98/5  rDev -9.3%
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.

Photo of Damian
3.99/5  rDev -9.1%
vibe: 1.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

Located in a strip mall in the northeast corner of San Diego, O'Brien's is far from the city center, yet well worth the drive. I stopped by on a weekday afternoon and the bar was filled with a middle-aged, after-work crowd. There were a bunch of tables on the patio out front, but I chose to sit at the bar. Just as the exterior of the bar was nothing notable, so too was the interior. I have been to "seedier" beer bars that have a bit of character, but this bar seemed even to lack that. The lighting was dark and mood was relaxed. This, along with the round drink tables and 70s-era green pleather arm chairs gave the place a somewhat loungey feel. A few items of brewerania dotted the walls. There was a dart board in the back in the back of the bar, along with a plasma screen television. While the decor could be improved, the beers and the service were both top-notch. With tap selections including Russian River's Pliny the Elder, Alpine Beer Company's Pure Hoppiness, Alesmith's Speedway Stout and a smattering of other highly acclaimed beers, it is no wonder why this place is a San Diego favorite. The bottle list was quite substantial as well. It included many limited release selections from Russian River and all three offerings from Westvleteran (at $38 and $40 a piece, I decided to pass on these however). My server was quite friendly and helpful and made my experience here all the better.

Photo of ChowHound
4/5  rDev -8.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

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.

Photo of csmiley
4/5  rDev -8.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

This is a pub located at the end of a small shopping center. Stopped by on a Friday afternoon and parking was minimal. It could take a while to get a space around the pub. Once you walk in, all directions point to the bar. All food and beer orders are handled in that vicinity. Table service is pretty scarce for the most part. Food was good based on the cheeseburger I had. Selection is very nice for a place this size. Taps included: Russian River, Ballast Point, Avery, Bear Republic, among others. Bottled selections were around 100 - 150 and also impressed. I noticed selections from: Cantillon, Achel, Fantome, Russian River, Lost Abbey, Dansk, and Hair of the Dog. Atmosphere is pretty laid back but it was still really busy given the fact that I stopped by early in the afternoon. Overall I could see this place being a great place to have a beer. Food would be something I might shy away from given the atmosphere of the place. If a busy pub is what you're looking for then this is the place for you.

Photo of ocmpoma
4.04/5  rDev -8%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5

visited on 24 Feb 2010:

Stopped by here in the middle of the afternoon. Not really my kind of place; but at least the game they had on was soccer. Tables with green office-style lounge chairs inside were arranged on the right as I entered, the bar was on the left. Overall, the atmosphere was pretty standard for a bar, nothing to complain about.

I sat outside, and the service was decent, mostly I went here for the selection and I was not disappointed. They had some Ballast Point, Avery, a handful of others on tap, and of course absolutely no big name breweries -- all craft. I had a Racer 5, but only after having my first Pliny the Younger.

Overall, while the establishment didn't wow me, their selection was wonderful and the service and prices were more than adequate.

Photo of HardTarget
4.05/5  rDev -7.7%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 2.5

Located in what seems to be an Asian section of town, it's a basic corner of a strip mall bar, but a great porch and open windows to let in the horrible San Diego weather :). West coast laid back feel, almost Hawaiian. Serious beer cred in the decor, the Westy crate laying in the corner caught my eye.

All the beers were in good shape. Waitress was very pleasant and took good care of us. Tried the Garlic fries, (spoiler alert) which were just fries with garlic crushed over them. Prices were fair.

Worth a stop.

Photo of buzbuzzer
4.1/5  rDev -6.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

This bar is one of my favorites in San Diego. It really is where the old school and new school beer community can hang out for good beer. If you ever wanted Pliny on tap or a fresh alpine beer, chances are you'll find it here.

The overall service is good, prompt and to the point. Sometimes I've seen even the most frequent patrons get a snappy attitude occasionally but that recently has slowed.

Beer events can get crowded but then again I have never seen so many Russian River rarities on tap anywhere else all at once.

For the most part, the taps are very active, but there are rare occasions they hit a lull and the beer list isn't what it normally is, so like the surf, check before you go!

Photo of radshoesbro
4.1/5  rDev -6.6%
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.

Photo of sideshowrob
4.1/5  rDev -6.6%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 3

THE Tomme Arthur told me to visit this place during a beer tasting a few months ago in Washington DC. What else could I do when I found myself in San Diego last week?

The place seemed out of place for the neighborhood. It's in a non-descript strip mall, located far, far away from where I might have gone looking for a pint ordinarily. Thankfully my GPS knew exactly where to go, or I may never have found it.

My timing was pretty good, but not perfect. I got there a day or so after a giant DIPA tasting. Lots of "leftovers" still left, but a few rare jewels escaped me. Still, I managed to have a Bear Republic Racer X on tap, a beer that had eluded me many years. Yea!

The selection was rediculous! Ballast Point, Alesmith, Russian River, Stone, Hop Town, just to name a few. I guess if I had been there on a "regular" day the selection may have been merely incredible.

The food was a bit dissapointing, it was good, but it in no way matched the beer. The Garlic fries were the standout from my dinner.

Prices were fair for the quality of the food and the beer, actually the beer was a tad bit less expensive than I would have guessed, perhaps the low rent enables this? ;)

I will make it back here again some day,.

Photo of Morris729
4.13/5  rDev -5.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

Unusual location, but they seem to pull it off very well. Love the chairs in this place—some of the most comfortable I’ve ever seen in a bar. Tap selection is very good and the bottle selection is even more impressive (if a bit more expensive). The food was nothing special except for the fact that the garlic fries are a must-try. I wish the big screen TV at the front of the bar would be used for something other than soccer and rugby, but at least the smaller TV in the back had college football. Staff was very friendly—just be careful with the 3L Duvel glass (the Chalice of Doom) unless you have a taxi coming.

Photo of John_M
4.13/5  rDev -5.9%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

Another exceptional beer bar in San Diego.

O'brien's pub struck me as a particularly odd looking establishment, located in an even odder location. It's located in the burbs, in a strip mall with quite a few other hole in the wall restaurants and shops. Like some of its peers in the strip mall, O'brien's is a very small establisment... surprisingly small in my mind. As one walks in, there is a straight bar running to the back and left side of the dininig room, seating maybe 10 patrons. The rest of the beer bar is a crowded mish-mash of tables and chairs, holding I would guess another 30 customers. The place has a cramped, crowded vibe, and atmosphere is clearly not what one goes looking for at O'brien's. As for the quality and selection at O'brien's, it's clearly top notch, and undoubtedly explains the place's popularity. I'd guess there was close to 30 beers on tap, with the selectoin first rate. Not surprisingly, the inside and outside tables were packed on an early Friday evening, with folks sucking down the likes of Pliny, Blind Pig, Bernardus x-mas, gouden carolus noel, etc. To say the least, the line-up here is nothing short of exceptional. Service is pretty good considering the crowd and cramped quarters. The 3 women tending bar and waiting tables were for the most part friendly and efficient, which was difficult given the size of the crowd. Food is so-so, but at least it's cheap and the portions good size. Don't expect a gourmet dining experience here and you'll probably be satisfied with the food at O'brien's. Prices are very reasonable; so much so that I was concerned the waitress had forgotten to charge me for part of my order.

This is a very good, solid place. Despite its shortcomings, I quite liked O'brien's, and wouldn't hesitate to come here again. As others have mentioned, I just wish finding parking wasn't such a complete pain in the ass in the smallish parking lot.

Photo of tastyales
4.14/5  rDev -5.7%
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.

« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
O'Brien's in San Diego, CA
97 out of 100 based on 153 ratings.