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Small Bar

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BA SCORE
95
world-class

31 Ratings
Ratings: 31
Reviews: 21
rAvg: 4.32
pDev: 5.79%
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
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Ratings: 31 | Reviews: 21 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jose_alehouseSD
4.75/5  rDev +10%

jose_alehouseSD, Sep 01, 2014
Photo of _morandi_
4.75/5  rDev +10%

_morandi_, Oct 02, 2014
Photo of FARGO619
4.72/5  rDev +9.3%

Have been in here a couple of times. It's a laid back kinda' atmosphere. Very urban. Didn't really care too much for their stout variety, but they did have a few good beers on tap. It was fun sitting at the bar, especially when someone would come in and ask for a Bud, Coors, or Miller. They didn't serve those beers their and that made it seem like my kind of bar to be at. Had a Belgian Imperial Stout that was a little bitter and sweet. Had two as their variety to choose from was small. I'll be back. It was a cool place to visit.

FARGO619, Jun 18, 2011
Photo of Hotrod88
4.66/5  rDev +7.9%

I love this bar. I have been going to this bar for over three years now and it keeps on getting better. Whats not to love about over 40 craft brews on tap and a damn fine liquor selection. All of their wells are top of the line none of that plastic bottle crap. Anchor Steam, Anchor Liberty & Anchor Small Beer are residents at this bar always on tap. They regularily have upwards of 10-15 variations of IPA's on tap. With a fresh Cask tapped every Thursday at 5pm whats not to like. Lest I forget to mention the food, lets just say that they don't dissapoint. I eat here atleast 2-3 times a week and that not including their Saturday & Sunday Brunch Specials. Once a month they have an event called Beer for Breakfast where they will host an awesome Craft Brewery and have anywhere from 4-9 beers from said brewery on tap and always have a fresh Cask from the same brewery. They pair a special food item to go along with the beers and it will typically be made with one of them as an ingredient. Overall this is in my top three bars.

Hotrod88, Aug 28, 2013
Photo of yemenmocha
4.6/5  rDev +6.5%

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 FlyingBull
4.51/5  rDev +4.4%

I love Small Bar! That's exactly what it is; a small bar located on Park Blvd in the University Hts neighborhood. The staff has always been very friendly and helpful; knowledgeable on the beers...and mixed drinks too. The food is good pub food. The tap craft beer selection is also very good. We love to go there early and enjoy sitting outside. We also enjoy going late. It can be crowded but always friendly and fun. Good people watching too. LOL

FlyingBull, Apr 06, 2013
Photo of emboo
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%

emboo, May 23, 2014
Photo of Halloran33
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%

My former home away from home. It is extremely crowded and violently loud during peak hours. I recommend going when it isn't crazy in there. Great food and amazing beers and cocktails. Sunday Brunch is a nice weekend treat worth leaving the house for... even though you'll have to put on pants to do so.

Halloran33, Oct 08, 2014
Photo of Ambiorix
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%

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 radshoesbro
4.47/5  rDev +3.5%

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 berley31
4.45/5  rDev +3%

Dropped by (for what ended up to be 3 hours) on a Tuesday night around 7 pm...

A: Yep, it's small, but as the reviewer below noted, not TINY. Long bar, tables scatted along the side, and a small deck. The place was completely packed, but had a great vibe when I was there. Not douchey at all, everyone into great beers. Awesome jukebox.

Q + Selection: Lots of awesome taps; I had four in all, and they all tasted fantastic. Looks like they rotate very often (I can see why with a crowd like this).

Service: Pretty fine. Sat at the bar for two beers and then moved to a table. The first bartender passed us off to someone else, who ended up being friendly enough, if not overly chatty (they were very busy). One guy chewed out my brother for accidentally walking into the keg room.

Value: Seemed pretty good to me.

O: One of my favorite bars in SD, and easily one of the top ones in terms of atmosphere.

berley31, Sep 27, 2011
Photo of ocmpoma
4.45/5  rDev +3%

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 sholland119
4.38/5  rDev +1.4%

This place is owned by the Hamilton's Tavern crew. We went to three of their places during our visit, of which three were totally awesome.

Small Bar is aptly named, a little dark even at mid day despite the opening to outdoor seating. There is a long L-shaped bar, a smallish area with high tops and tables and some outdoor seating. We opted for stools at the bar. Service was quick and personable.

The tap list was deep in excellent West Coast beers. The challenge was choosing the couple we would have before moving on. I could easily have spent the whole day, and part of the next.

Food was among the best we had in San Diego. Fried pickles (sliced, then battered and fried; usually they don't slice them around here), small tacos, chicken sliders, all delicious.

A great local bar, and a place I'd love to visit again.

HV

sholland119, Nov 18, 2011
Photo of flexabull
4.36/5  rDev +0.9%

Second stop on my recent trip to San Diego, this came as a recommendation from BAs on the forums.

Great atmosphere, Small Bar is indeed small, but it's not tiny. There are a few tables outside for sipping a beer while soaking up San Diego's dang near perfect weather, and seating for about 30 people inside. It's dark, with quirky decor, and a great jukebox. The only problem, they have only one bathroom.

Quality is very good, all the taps were full of excellent beers.

Service was good, I was quickly acknowledged and served.

Selection was impressive for such a small place, they had everything from locals to Belgians, strong beers to lighter lagers.

I didn't have any food, but someone sitting next to me did, and it looked wonderful.

Prices were fair, I had a pint of Sculpin for $5, about what I'd pay for a comparable beer at home.

Overall this is a fantastic place. If I had more time on this trip, I would have made a return visit, maybe 3.

flexabull, Aug 09, 2011
Photo of ThreeWiseMen
4.34/5  rDev +0.5%

Stopped in here for the first time on Friday night with a few friends. According to my roommate, Small Bar and Hamilton's are under the same ownership.

Small Bar is my kind of joint. Though crowded, our group was easily able to carry on conversations; no blaring music or obnoxious drunks. High ceilings and open windows kept the indoor temperature relatively cool. Beer and liquor memorabilia hung from the walls. The bartenders were very attentive and polite. And, oh yeah, the beer selection was phenomenal!

About that beer selection: expect to wide variety of beer styles, with a strong focus on hoppy ales and sours (perfect for a warm, San Diego night). On draft, I saw several Flanders red ales, a few wild ales (including Consecration), a Berlinner Weisse, and a host of local IPAs, imperial IPAs, etc. I stared at the list for quite awhile, eventually settling on a Hop Rod Rye. While I didn't examine the bottle list, there was really no need to; the tap list had everything I could possibly want.

As a new San Diego resident (I've only been here for a week at this point), I know I'll be cruising back to Small Bar many times in the future. This bar probably suits younger people (under thirty) more than older, but if you've never been, make sure to give Small Bar a try!

ThreeWiseMen, Jul 18, 2011
Photo of djaeon
4.3/5  rDev -0.5%

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 Norsebrew
4.26/5  rDev -1.4%

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 DreTheProphet
4.25/5  rDev -1.6%

DreTheProphet, Dec 12, 2013
Photo of Drink_LocalSD
4.25/5  rDev -1.6%

Drink_LocalSD, Oct 24, 2013
Photo of notchucknorris
4.25/5  rDev -1.6%

notchucknorris, Aug 20, 2014
Photo of corby112
4.22/5  rDev -2.3%

This place was recommended by a bunch of local BAs so I decided to stop by during a recent trip to San Diego. This place is located in a really nice neighborhood on what seemed like a pretty busy street with other shops and restaurants.

As the name implies, this place is kind of small but they have a few tables outside with additional seating. Small L shaped bar with high tops and regular tables lining the perimeter. A slightly younger crowd that is slightly hipster but there is a really cool vibe here and they play very good music. We stopped in for a quick drink after dinner and ended up staying for a few hours.

We didn't order any food here but the service at the bar was pretty good. Both bartenders were friendly and knowledgeable and even the dude checking IDs out front was surprisingly pleasant.

The selection was good but not amazing. I was expecting to get a bunch of new ticks but I ignored most of those beers for uber fresh, local IPAs. Options included Sculpin, Speedway, AleSmith IPA, Iron Fist, Mission, Anderson Valley Mokeef Saison, SN Ruthless Rye, Telegraph and many more. Nothing too rare but a wide variety and lots of the classics. A really fun place to enjoy good beers with friends.

corby112, Jan 19, 2012
Photo of d0ggnate
4.16/5  rDev -3.7%

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
Photo of Eriktheipaman
4.15/5  rDev -3.9%

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 brewandbbq
4.14/5  rDev -4.2%

"Smallish" bar in University heights, the room is about the same size as Monkey paw.

Easy on-street parking, a few tables out front, and you enter from a side door/hallway, past the demonic-looking elephant logo on the door.

The standard chaulkboard held what I counted to be about 40 taps, a bit hard to read unless directly in front of you. A mix of communal and bar-height tables, and of course some room at the bar. Nice bar staff at this place, at least two of them asked a couple of times what we would like or if we would like another. Just the basics, but hell it counts for a lot when other places treat you like a lepper.
A good mix on the taps, nothing mind-blowing on our visit though. Plenty of hop-forwards as expected in SoCal, with some stouts, porters, and Belgians mixed in.
Black and red decor, and there was a serious mix coming out of the jukebox. Quite loud fairly crowded.
This one would be a repeat, good peeps and a very good selection.

brewandbbq, Oct 12, 2011
Photo of DeanMoriarty
4.14/5  rDev -4.2%

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
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Small Bar in San Diego, CA
95 out of 100 based on 31 ratings.