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Taps: 42 / Bottles:
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: N
Ratings: 25 | Reviews: 20 | Display Reviews Only:
4/5 rDev -7.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$
It lives up to the name for sure. This place is quaint to say the least. Very dark inside. The beer selection is great especially considering the size. The food is also really good and of high quality. This is one of the few full bars I can think of with a beer selection you can't believe. 42 taps is quite a bit by any standard. This is a nice place to hang out with a few friends. It does get crowded So I would arrive a bit early. Lunch is my favorite time to visit. Very low key and roomy. cheers and enjoy the beer.
05-27-2011 21:37:26 | More by gerrick
4.03/5 rDev -6.5%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5 | $$
This is literally a small bar in the University Heights area of San Diego. The exterior is aesthetically pleasing with it's black color and accents of red. It distinguishes itself from adjacent bars with it's sinister appearance. Looking up from the street seating, one will note a series of red, three dimensional elephant head designs that create a horizontal border. Once inside the bar, it gets cozy. The dim lighting combined with the black with red accents creates a soothing atmosphere. One that dovetails with the collective spirit of the staff and patrons and physical closeness of everyone present. The staff are friendly and accommodating. Even the doorman was pleasant. I had requested that one of the beers I was trying be served in an 11 oz. tulip because I wanted to try several without ruining tomorrow (an epic San Diego brewery tour) with a hangover. He honored my request even though it is sold only in pints. He also discounted the already cheap price of $4.50. All the beers are, at worst, reasonably priced. There was a pretty impressive variety of taps ranging from brews like Allagash to local offerings from Monkey Paw. Food was of average quality, reasonably priced, and served quickly. We enjoyed our time spent here.
11-02-2012 14:38:43 | More by DocJitsu
4.14/5 rDev -3.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | $$
"Smallish" bar in University heights, the room is about the same size as Monkey paw.
Easy on-street parking, a few tables out front, and you enter from a side door/hallway, past the demonic-looking elephant logo on the door.
The standard chaulkboard held what I counted to be about 40 taps, a bit hard to read unless directly in front of you. A mix of communal and bar-height tables, and of course some room at the bar. Nice bar staff at this place, at least two of them asked a couple of times what we would like or if we would like another. Just the basics, but hell it counts for a lot when other places treat you like a lepper.
A good mix on the taps, nothing mind-blowing on our visit though. Plenty of hop-forwards as expected in SoCal, with some stouts, porters, and Belgians mixed in.
Black and red decor, and there was a serious mix coming out of the jukebox. Quite loud fairly crowded.
This one would be a repeat, good peeps and a very good selection.
10-12-2011 00:31:23 | More by brewandbbq
4.14/5 rDev -3.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | $$
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.
12-08-2010 18:55:45 | More by DeanMoriarty
4.15/5 rDev -3.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$
Went here for the first time yesterday although I spent over a year living down off Adams. Its a shame I finally got around to it just now.
Its a cool little set up and I enjoyed the bench tables in the middle. The beer selection was outstanding with some rare brews for sure. Big Belgium slection.
We ordered the mac and cheese and it was pretty good but not out of the ball park. I think it was about $7.50?
The one downside to this place besides the seze but come on even the name says its small, is that its a full bar. It took awhile to order some beers because the staff was taking forever making gnarly looking bloody marys.
11-29-2010 17:33:26 | More by Eriktheipaman
4.16/5 rDev -3.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
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.
01-03-2010 17:08:15 | More by d0ggnate
4.22/5 rDev -2.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | $$
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.
01-19-2012 02:10:33 | More by corby112
Small Bar in San Diego, CA
94 out of 100 based on 25 ratings.