Karl Strauss Brewing Company - Downtown San Diego
Taps: / Bottles:
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: N
Ratings: 36 | Reviews: 26 | Display Reviews Only:
3/5 rDev -23.3%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 3 | selection: 3 | food: 3 | $$
The atmosphere is is pretty much like any other brewpub and for a chain brewpub its even more cookie cutter. As you walk in you can see the brewery behind some glass walls. the resturant is pretty narrow as the building isn't all that big.
Quality and selection are pretty average they have eight beers on tap six of which are their year round beers and two seasonl or brewers choice beers. Their beers range from mediocre to pretty good so to me that makes their beers fairly average then.
Service is like just about every other restaurant around the Gas Lamp pretty shitty but for the area its average so if everyone elses service sucks then Karl Strauss has average service. I asked the bartender what special beer they have on tap while pointing to the brewers choice beer and he told me they're all special and I've must have never been to a Karl Strauss. What a douche I then tell him I've been to their other brewpubs and clarify that I wanted to know what the brewers choice was so he says there isn't one right now. So I order the DIPA only to hear the other bartender tell a guy a few seats down they have an ESB as the special.
The food was hit and miss on my plate here. I ordered the sausage plate one was very good the other was horrible so yet again that made my food average.
Overall I'd avoid this place everything is average at best and a few blocks a way you can go to Rock Bottom which has better beer and food.
04-23-2010 22:23:37 | More by armock
3.2/5 rDev -18.2%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 2.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3 | $$
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.
09-18-2008 22:36:12 | More by OlieIPA
New Brunswick (Canada)
3.25/5 rDev -16.9%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 2 | selection: 4 | food: 2 | $$
Dropped in for some food/beers after being at DJB's for a couple of hours...
A: What you'd expect. Lots of tables, big bar, high ceilings... not very many people there at 10 or so on a Monday night.
Q+Selection: Several of their beers on tap (about 10)... I only tried the IPA, but it was very fresh and tasty.
Service: Blech. We had one of those young, so-snarky-I'm-cool waitresses. I'm not your best friend, no need to be sarcastic with me from the very beginning. And when I showed my AHA card (website says it gets happy hour prices on beer all day), she takes it to the bartender, who tells her they only honor it during Beer Week... wtf?
F: Had some wings and garlic fries which were subpar.
O: The beer was good, the rest wasn't. I wouldn't return.
09-30-2011 19:23:27 | More by berley31
3.38/5 rDev -13.6%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3 | food: 3.5 | $$
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.
02-01-2009 02:32:37 | More by ndolover
3.4/5 rDev -13%
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.
08-28-2010 03:04:27 | More by theghost3
3.7/5 rDev -5.4%
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. BAs. 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 Blacks 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.
07-19-2003 23:52:20 | More by TheLongBeachBum
3.7/5 rDev -5.4%
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.
11-09-2003 23:35:46 | More by AtLagerHeads
3.75/5 rDev -4.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3 | food: 4 | $$
This is where it all started for me. Around 1990 domestic beer was just beginning to come out of the dark ages. This place was an oasis. They always had an excellent selection on hand listed from the light in color beer to the dark. The food was pretty good. At this time it was really happening. Some nights it was tough to fight through the crowd and get a beer. The people that worked there were great and more than happy to talk about beer. I loved the $1 beers on Tue nights. It doesn't look like they do that anymore. Sometime when I'm back in town I need to go back and re-rate it. This place rates high for what it gave us back then.
08-29-2008 03:37:47 | More by BigMcLargeHuge
3.75/5 rDev -4.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3 | food: 3.5 | $$$
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.
07-26-2012 15:14:23 | More by crossovert
Karl Strauss Brewing Company - Downtown San Diego in San Diego, CA
88 out of 100 based on 36 ratings.