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!

Small Bar

Not Rated.
   No picture uploaded.
   Have one? Upload it now.
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

29 Ratings
Ratings: 29
Reviews: 20
rAvg: 4.3
pDev: 5.58%
Taps: 42
Bottles: 0
Cask: Y
Beer-to-Go: N
[ Bar, Eatery ]

4628 Park Blvd
San Diego, California, 92116-2629
United States
phone: (619) 795-7998

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

Notes:
None, yet.

(Place added by: hophead4173 on 12-08-2009)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | next › last »
Ratings: 29 | Reviews: 20 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Ambiorix
4.5/5  rDev +4.7%

This is really quite a place. Cool atmosphere, excellent quality, fantastic service. Both bartenders that waited on me were really friendly and attentive, especially Arlette. The 42 taps are all the highest quality from both American and European craft brewers. I had a glass of Russian River Consecration and a glass of Deschutes Abyss. Prices are very reasonable. I only had the fried pickle appetizer, but if it's an indication of how good their main menu is, I'd guess that the food was awesome. A definite "must stop."

Ambiorix, Jan 11, 2011
Photo of DeanMoriarty
4.14/5  rDev -3.7%

This was the last of 5 bars me and my buddy hit last week, so my memory of this place is somewhat fragmented and foggy, but I know I really enjoyed this spot a lot and ran into a friend who happened to be bartending that night - thanks for the hooks!

The atmosphere in this place is quality - nice and dark, lit with only red lights, good juke box with a lot of classic rock, big wood bar (i think it was wood), a board displaying beer selections and a menu of old fashioned cocktails like - mint juleps, sazeracs, old-fashioneds, metropolitans and some of their own weird but tasty signature cocktails, which is what separates this place from the other beer bars out there - a very unique twist. The beer selection is ridiculous, which we should expect no less from the owner of Hamilton's. The service was on point, but the place gets packed after 10pm and if you don't have a seat at the bar, I could see it becoming an issue to try and stay up on your buzz.

All in all really cool bar with a great atmosphere, selection and service. They didn't name it the Small Bar for nuthin though, and I would try to get their early and get yourself a spot at the bar if you want to post up and drink all night.

DeanMoriarty, Dec 08, 2010
Photo of Eriktheipaman
4.15/5  rDev -3.5%

Went here for the first time yesterday although I spent over a year living down off Adams. Its a shame I finally got around to it just now.

Its a cool little set up and I enjoyed the bench tables in the middle. The beer selection was outstanding with some rare brews for sure. Big Belgium slection.

We ordered the mac and cheese and it was pretty good but not out of the ball park. I think it was about $7.50?

The one downside to this place besides the seze but come on even the name says its small, is that its a full bar. It took awhile to order some beers because the staff was taking forever making gnarly looking bloody marys.

Eriktheipaman, Nov 29, 2010
Photo of Norsebrew
4.26/5  rDev -0.9%

We were on our way to Hamilton's Tavern, but we were told that Small Bar was closer to walk from our hotel. I'm glad we went to the Small Bar. It was the finale of my beerbar tour, and it did not disappoint. Great tap selection. There were some taps that were not at Toronado or Blind Lady. The atmosphere was dark and mysterious with great signs and very attractive servers. The place was hopping and the vibe was very relaxed and enjoyable. I had some great Belgium sour beers to end the night. We stayed at the Lafayette Hotel which is a very easy walk from Small Bar. Great choice to visit if you're in the area!

Norsebrew, May 12, 2010
Photo of radshoesbro
4.47/5  rDev +4%

Craft beer and a poster of Roky Erickson...what more do you want?

The beers they have vary from your typical San Diegan AleSmith/Stone/Ballast Point/etc to classic Belgians (St Feullien, Chimay, etc). They also offer mixed beverages, which I have not had.

I've been to Small Bar twice now, both times for brunch, which they do very well. $15 gets you a big plate of good food and a drink. Their Bloody Mary's are impressive! I haven't had more than a sip of one, but what I had I liked. Their Biscuits and Gravy are outstanding, and the Green Eggs and Ham was also quite good.

My only problem is the fact that it is SO small. I think only 70 people would fill them up to capacity. It's cool if it's slow and the middle of the day, but if you're planning on going there at night be prepared to feel like a sardine.

radshoesbro, May 03, 2010
Photo of yemenmocha
4.6/5  rDev +7%

Ballast Point Dorado Double IPA was on tap and I enjoyed this narrow bar, including the cool hallway-entry. Unisex bathroom isn't so cool though, well, according to the ladies.

Great tap selection that is comparable (but a notch short) of the best beer bars in town. Loud music, trendy crowd with money, and very colorful decor make this a nice little place. Nice, mellow neighborhood overall though parking was a challenge.

Food is not rated but the adjacent patrons were eating and it all looked very appetizing with generous portions, including the Belgian-like frites. Bartenders were alright.

yemenmocha, Apr 02, 2010
Photo of ocmpoma
4.45/5  rDev +3.5%

visited on 27 Feb 10:

A not-large bar located a few blocks away from the big bar scene over on 30th. Looks like a standard dive bar from the street. Inside keeps the theme up, but appearances can be deceiving.

One of the reasons my fiancee and I went was the mention of whiskey in the recommendation we were given. We were not disappointed -- a good selection.

The other reason we went was the food. We had the charcuterie plate, which was great, to start. We split a Hamilton's burger and some fried pickles for the meal. The burger was awesome -- we had them put their Satan slaw on it. We were warned that it was hot, including a mention of ghost chilis. Delicious and extremely spicy.

The beer selection was great -- several selections from Anchor and DFH, PtE, some Avery, and a mix of other brews, including some Belgians. Service, selection, and quality were all well above average. Definitely a place I'd go back to.

I'd also be remiss if I didn't mention the elephants.

ocmpoma, Mar 01, 2010
Photo of djaeon
4.3/5  rDev 0%

I swung by this place after work yesterday. It definitely stands out on the road. Black and red building with their logo red elephant heads lining the roof (some painted with KISS make-up). You have to walk through a gate on the side of the building to get in (or hop over the patio rail in front of the building if you're feeling rebellious).

The service was great. But then, I got there just after 4pm, and there were only a few other people there.

They have an awesome selection of beers on tap. Something like 40+. I had the Rogue John John Dead Guy Ale. The glass looked a little smaller than a whole pint, but it was poured all the way to the rim. Excellent beer by the way.

The food menu all looked great. I tried the beer mac n' cheese. It had Guiness mixed in with the cheese & some sort of glazed bacon. Super tasty. The only think that could make it better was if they used better macaroni, but still excellent for bar food.

It also looked like they had an excellent scotch selection. The back of the bar looked like it was about 50% scotch.

I would gladly recommend this place if you're in the area, and look forward to going back.

djaeon, Feb 23, 2010
Photo of d0ggnate
4.16/5  rDev -3.3%

I jaunted over to Small Bar shortly a few months ago. The buzz about the place, both here on BA and offline, had been brewing for a few weeks. I drove down and easily found the red and black painted building. I guess they kept the color theme from the last business at this location, but it works.

First thing I noticed was that the name is fitting, this is a small bar. However small, there is plenty of room for quite a few people to pack into this place. Nice seating options, bar, booth and tables. We grabbed a spot and I jockeyed at the bar for a few drinks.

I found quite a long list of beers to chose from. I don't remember anything about bottles, and honestly I didn't even look, because there were 42 draft beers to chose from. A very Hamilton's-esque selection. Some usual favorites were present. A nice grouping of Anchor beers, also.

There were so many options and so little time. I only had the chance to have a few beers, but can't wait to get back and try some of their cocktails and food, as well. The menu looks great. I also saw they have a brunch menu and that food looks great, too.

Overall, this place was well put together food menu and far reaching options for drinks, including scotch, beer and cocktails. I can't wait to make it back and back again.

d0ggnate, Jan 03, 2010
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | next › last »
Small Bar in San Diego, CA
94 out of 100 based on 29 ratings.