Karl Strauss Brewing Company - Downtown San Diego

Not Rated.
Karl Strauss Brewing Company - Downtown San DiegoKarl Strauss Brewing Company - Downtown San Diego
BA SCORE
88
very good

44 Ratings
Ratings: 44
Reviews: 29
rAvg: 3.9
pDev: n/a
Taps: --
Bottles: --
Cask: N
Beer-to-Go: N
[ Bar, Eatery ]

1157 Columbia St
San Diego, California, 92101
United States
phone: (619) 234-2739

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

Notes:
None, yet.

(Place added by: BeerAdvocate)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 44 | Reviews: 29 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mattmarka1
2.5/5  rDev -35.9%

Photo of armock
3/5  rDev -23.1%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 3 | selection: 3 | food: 3

The atmosphere is is pretty much like any other brewpub and for a chain brewpub its even more cookie cutter. As you walk in you can see the brewery behind some glass walls. the resturant is pretty narrow as the building isn't all that big.

Quality and selection are pretty average they have eight beers on tap six of which are their year round beers and two seasonl or brewers choice beers. Their beers range from mediocre to pretty good so to me that makes their beers fairly average then.

Service is like just about every other restaurant around the Gas Lamp pretty shitty but for the area its average so if everyone elses service sucks then Karl Strauss has average service. I asked the bartender what special beer they have on tap while pointing to the brewers choice beer and he told me they're all special and I've must have never been to a Karl Strauss. What a douche I then tell him I've been to their other brewpubs and clarify that I wanted to know what the brewers choice was so he says there isn't one right now. So I order the DIPA only to hear the other bartender tell a guy a few seats down they have an ESB as the special.

The food was hit and miss on my plate here. I ordered the sausage plate one was very good the other was horrible so yet again that made my food average.

Overall I'd avoid this place everything is average at best and a few blocks a way you can go to Rock Bottom which has better beer and food.

Photo of OlieIPA
3.2/5  rDev -17.9%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 2.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3

After a long day of visiting several breweries, a whole bunch of my friends decided to grab some grub and beers to end our day. We went on a Saturday night and I was expecting a wait, but I was suprised to see that the restaurant was half empty. The atmosphere was nice and the game was on...so most of my attention was focused on that. The quality was pretty good as well as the selection of beer. The food was also good, but nothing special. My overall impression...a nice place to hang out, but again...nothing too extrodinary. Worth a visit if your in town and are looking for a place to chill.

Photo of berley31
3.25/5  rDev -16.7%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 2 | selection: 4 | food: 2

Dropped in for some food/beers after being at DJB's for a couple of hours...

A: What you'd expect. Lots of tables, big bar, high ceilings... not very many people there at 10 or so on a Monday night.

Q+Selection: Several of their beers on tap (about 10)... I only tried the IPA, but it was very fresh and tasty.

Service: Blech. We had one of those young, so-snarky-I'm-cool waitresses. I'm not your best friend, no need to be sarcastic with me from the very beginning. And when I showed my AHA card (website says it gets happy hour prices on beer all day), she takes it to the bartender, who tells her they only honor it during Beer Week... wtf?

F: Had some wings and garlic fries which were subpar.

O: The beer was good, the rest wasn't. I wouldn't return.

Photo of ndolover
3.38/5  rDev -13.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3 | food: 3.5

The Karl Strauss brand is a good one. This particular location is near the marina area. I was there on business and walked from the nearby tourist area to this unassuming storfront. It had the typical wood, brass, and stone. I made 2 visits to this location and I found the food to be classic bar food that had a nice twist on occasion. However, nothing stands out on the food side.

The beer was above average as it was fresh. I had a pale ale, IPA, hefe weizen, and belgian ale, and a barley wine during my visits. Sadly the barley wine stands out as it was poorly done. I believe they were going for more or an Eglish style Barley wine...but it missed.

This region has many good eating establishments with better beer. While I certainly like the Strauss franchise, there are just too many better places to go for food and drink in the area for me to reccomend this place. However, if you like fresh beer, by all means hit it.

Photo of theghost3
3.4/5  rDev -12.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 2.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

This place is located downtown. There was some seating outside, which in hindsight, I should've gone for since the weather was so nice. However, there were few people outside, there wasn't much of a view, and I was alone, so I took a place at the bar.

As you walk in, there are tables and booths in the front and to the left. The brewery is behind glass on the right and the bar is also to the right a little farther back. Lots of wood, fairly dark inside, and a long bar--typical brewpub.

The place had a decent amount of business for a Monday during the summer. This was probably explained by all of the TVs showing a Monday night preseason NFL game as well as a Padres game.

Happy hour was still going on when I was there, and I was imprssed with the low prices on some of the food at that time. There were 8 taps with a couple of there seasonals/specials. I had the Oktoberfest. I also had the spicy sweet potato fries. Warning--very spicy. Outside of that, a ceviche and a couple of other fish dishes, the food is just standard bar food. They sell growlers, and they advertise a cask night on Thursdays. They also had several bombers available to take home.

The service is the worst part of this place. The bartender was nice enough and attentive at first, but she slacked off because she just had too much going on. The bar area was full when I got there, and she was the only bartender working. Not only was she working a large bar (which had full taps at both ends), but she was the only one pouring beers for all of the waitstaff who were taking care of the customers sitting at the tables. They should either have another bartender or allow the servers to pour their own beers. There was also a fair amount of chit chat between the bartender and the other employees; all the while ignoring customers.

I might come back here to try some of their other beers or food, but I definitely wouldn't go out of my way to make it back.

Photo of anthony23cippy
3.5/5  rDev -10.3%

Photo of stumac
3.5/5  rDev -10.3%

Photo of Bung
3.65/5  rDev -6.4%

Photo of TheLongBeachBum
3.7/5  rDev -5.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5

The 5th of the stops on a recent San Diego Pub-Crawl by a small, but highly select (even if I say so myself), bunch of So. Cal. BA’s. As we headed downtown from the Princess Pub & Grill, we hit this place. I had actually been here many, many years ago, and the memories flooded back. I stayed in San Diego for a weekend in 1995, whilst I spent 10 weeks working in the States. I quite enjoyed this place when I was last here, and although the surroundings have changed considerably (there seems to be construction work and new buildings everywhere these days it seems); the Karl Strauss appears to have changed little.

An imposing frontage, which is hard to miss, quality fittings abound inside. The Bar is to your right as you enter, with some tall seating in front of the bar, and more expansive restaurant seating on a various raised levels taking up the rest of the floor space. I get the impression, as I did in 1995, that this place is really orientated around the food crowd. However, it was rather quiet on our visit, so we were quiet lucky and enjoyed a few beers.

A small group of us elected to sit at the Bar, and the Bartender was very friendly and even helped to explain each of the offerings that they had on Tap. Service was good and attentive.

The beer range on tap was varied, but served a little too cold for my liking, but it soon warmed so it was no big deal really. I tried a couple of the beers, the most memorable of which was the Black’s Beach Extra Dark, an above average offering that was rather drinkable and a bit of a quaffer at just 4.4%ABV.

We gave the food a miss and basically elected to stay sat at the Bar and enjoy our Beer as well as each others company, which was becoming rather hilarious as time and the effects of the several pitchers of the Oak-Aged Stone Arrogant Bastard that we had sampled earlier in the day started to take hold.

I rather like the Karl Strauss for some reason, not sure why, it is not a bad place at all. Sure, it has the Karl Strauss corporate lines akin to those of the Rock Bottom, but I felt as though this place had a little more character and individuality about it. It most certainly had a more adventurous beer range in both style and flavor than the RB and out of the two downtown chains, I much preferred Karl Strauss.

It was quite expensive from memory, but certainly worth a visit if you are in the area.

Last Visit: 12th July 2003.

Photo of AtLagerHeads
3.7/5  rDev -5.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5

One of the fine Karl Strauss locations, this one being the major unit for downtown San Diego. A large and well appointed restaurant with a substantial bar area and large seating areas, this location ,as others, sports the Strauss line of fine lagers. Difficult parking in this area and the spot is fairly pricey as are the line of Strauss stores. Quality, comfort, and fine food are the obvious trademarks of the Strauss locations, each one quite different in look and feel, but clearly high end and upscale for the beer seeking diner.

Photo of BigMcLargeHuge
3.75/5  rDev -3.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3 | food: 4

This is where it all started for me. Around 1990 domestic beer was just beginning to come out of the dark ages. This place was an oasis. They always had an excellent selection on hand listed from the light in color beer to the dark. The food was pretty good. At this time it was really happening. Some nights it was tough to fight through the crowd and get a beer. The people that worked there were great and more than happy to talk about beer. I loved the $1 beers on Tue nights. It doesn't look like they do that anymore. Sometime when I'm back in town I need to go back and re-rate it. This place rates high for what it gave us back then.

Photo of crossovert
3.75/5  rDev -3.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3 | food: 3.5

This is a cozy little place kind of away from a lot of the action. Still right downtown though. It is on a quiet corner. I went in the evening it was happy hour so the bartender convinced me to get boneless wings, they were nothing special but good. The bed of spicy as fuck mustard and cabbage was the best part about it. I had a sampler of a few of the beers. They were decent. Nothing stuck out, I think this brewery has more beers to offer but they run a pretty limited selection at the pub. Only about 5 taps total. Overall a god stop in SD.

Photo of cherche
3.75/5  rDev -3.8%

Photo of kristougher
3.75/5  rDev -3.8%

Photo of BubalooBrewMaster
3.75/5  rDev -3.8%

Photo of johnhkelm
3.75/5  rDev -3.8%

Photo of barleywinefiend
3.8/5  rDev -2.6%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Stopped in here on a Sunday night about 6PM. It was somehwta bust but not to bad. We were seated almost immediatley. Atmosphere was tourists, locals and families. Not much beer geek talk going on here. Service was good, nice and prompt. Quality was average. I had an Oatmeal Stout on nitro which was weak and I hate nitro brews. The Abbery Red was good and the Hee was above average. Selection was about a dozen house beers with a wide range anyone would be happy with. Food was good and lots of food for the price but house beers were $6 a pint for average beer. No thanks!

Photo of m1ked
3.83/5  rDev -1.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

It is interesting to me that there haven't been any reviews from any San Diegans of a SD classic. While Karl Strauss has not historically been much to brag about, or go out of your way for, I do think that they have made improvements. I think that I really appreciated this at the most recent Karlfest. Anyways, the downtown restaurant is not somewhere I frequent, but I will go midday on a weekend to fill my 1 gallon growler for about $12...that is pretty awesome. They have scheduled rotationals, and their classics. Food is pretty decent, I have had their burgers and other meat sandwiches which were very good. I persoanlly go there for the growler fills, and occasionally get some food. Good place to check if you are from out of town, have guests from out of time, or you like their beer (I do). While they are not the best in the SD area, they are good, and add to the variety of the SD beer scene. If you haven't been there, or haven't been there in a while, check it out.

Photo of italianstallion
3.86/5  rDev -1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.75 | service: 4 | selection: 3.75 | food: 4

Photo of drpimento
3.86/5  rDev -1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5

I came here based upon last year when I was out here and had a really tasty bottle a their brew. And that it was just off the trolley route which for a lazy fuck like me adds a lot of charisma. They have a smallish patio in front which had an employee enjoying whilst he did some sort of arcane paperwork. Got a spot at the far end of the bar by the tap tower and immediiate service. Easy going bartenders and customers. Bartenders went from very accomodating to work a day. There’s a view of the brewery behind the back bar and a wide range of beers to look at from my spot. Great garlicy aromas in the air. Just got a very polite sniff an sample of an obscure tequila plata from the gracious bartender. Nice large oak bar, overhead is old school commercial, good lighting, sports on TV, growlers to go. I think my score should be better. But there you go.

Photo of Gavage
3.9/5  rDev 0%

Upon entering you first notice the lighter shades of woods, yellow walls, and plenty of tables and 1/2 booths. There are a few tables outside too. The bar overlooks some of the brewing tanks. Big open wood ceiling give this a bit of an airy feel.

There were about 10 house beers on draft with some beers available in bombers. I had numerous beers over a few stops here and the ranged from OK to really good. One of the older places in San Diego, and it is worthy of a stop.

Photo of LethargicAvenger
3.95/5  rDev +1.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

Was here on a tuesday night, not too crowded but enough for the waiters to piss off the barkeep. Seemed like a place for trendy 20-something groups but there were a few regulars watching the game. The food was good but very typical for Socal and even breweries in general: a sampling of burgers, sandwiches, steaks and fish -- nothing too daring. Tried an octoberfest which seemed a bit too bitter for me, their DAD ale which was good but it didn't really fit my mood. The IPA however was delicious and surprisingly not recommeded by the bartender. Very light and citrus-y, it fit the bill after the previous darker beers.
All in all, a solid brewery with good beer and good food - nothing to stand out though. One thing, becareful when ordering beer, I though I was loaded until I realized my pint glass really was bigger than usual. They have a 16oz and a 22oz "pint" glass and I was never offered a choice. Maybe I look like a drunk?

Photo of mrcraft
3.95/5  rDev +1.3%

I forgot this place was only a few blocks from the Sante Fe Depot. It was perfect to grab a few tasters before jumping on the train back home.

It was a Friday evening, so it was packed, a good sign. The atmosphere was inviting. Bartenders and servers were all friendly. I sat at the bar to grab a series of tasters. I had a nice chat with a fellow from back East visiting San Diego to watch the Patriots/Chargers game with buddies he hasn't seen in over 20 years. That was cool.

I didn't order any food, but it looked pretty good. The beers were good, nothing earth-shattering but solid. My favorite of the night was Five Wee, a scotch ale. Very nice.

I'll surely return in the future, and make my rotation of places to hit before hopping on the train.

Photo of GatorCoop
3.98/5  rDev +2.1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

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Karl Strauss Brewing Company - Downtown San Diego in San Diego, CA
88 out of 100 based on 44 ratings.