Karl Strauss Brewing Company - Downtown San Diego
Taps: / Bottles:
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: N
Ratings: 36 | Reviews: 26 | Display Reviews Only:
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
3.8/5 rDev -2.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$$
Stopped in here on a Sunday night about 6PM. It was somehwta bust but not to bad. We were seated almost immediatley. Atmosphere was tourists, locals and families. Not much beer geek talk going on here. Service was good, nice and prompt. Quality was average. I had an Oatmeal Stout on nitro which was weak and I hate nitro brews. The Abbery Red was good and the Hee was above average. Selection was about a dozen house beers with a wide range anyone would be happy with. Food was good and lots of food for the price but house beers were $6 a pint for average beer. No thanks!
05-26-2009 03:29:12 | More by barleywinefiend
3.7/5 rDev -5.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5
One of the fine Karl Strauss locations, this one being the major unit for downtown San Diego. A large and well appointed restaurant with a substantial bar area and large seating areas, this location ,as others, sports the Strauss line of fine lagers. Difficult parking in this area and the spot is fairly pricey as are the line of Strauss stores. Quality, comfort, and fine food are the obvious trademarks of the Strauss locations, each one quite different in look and feel, but clearly high end and upscale for the beer seeking diner.
11-09-2003 23:35:46 | More by AtLagerHeads
3.75/5 rDev -4.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3 | food: 3.5 | $$$
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
4.05/5 rDev +3.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5 | $$
Another fine brewpub in San Diego--just a little ways from the Gaslamp qtr--next to the W hotel. It is a little off the beaten path though. Not exactly a bustling neighborhood.
You walk in and the bar is good size immediately in front of you on the right side of the place. Very nice standard decor--woody and sunny lots of natural light coming in the place. Nice plasma TVs for watching the games.
The bartender was very nice and gave me samples of anything before buying a full pint. Beers were (and I could be forgetting a few) Woodys Gold (very solid) , Karl Strauss amber (another good one) , Oatmeal stout (excellent), Red Trolley ale (Avoid), Stargazer Ipa (decent) and the Windansea Hefeweisse which was also pretty nice. They had a few others too which I cant remember and I believe they also had guest taps which is really cool in a brewpub.
The food was excellent and reasonably priced just like the beers. We had some tuna 3 way combo thing and some spicy beef skewers (tremendous). San Diego seems to be quite a great beer city. Another impressive brewpub and there are 3 or 4 other locations of the Karl Strauss brewery I believe.
06-04-2006 13:17:12 | More by rousee
4.25/5 rDev +8.7%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4.25 | $$
Overwhelmed by choices during my recent San Diego Beer Week sojourn, I did not give much thought to Karl Strauss; however, an exhausting trip to the nearby Maritime Museum, as well as an overwhelming thirst, led me to this downtown venue. Located on a generic block, the building can be spotted immediately identified from the massive leaf drapery that festoons its’ façade. Thus began, my tenth stop of the trip.
Entering into the dimly lit interior, which has plenty of wood décor, can be found in any other restaurant in the city, I found a seat at the sparsely populated bar and was greeted by the cheerful and very exuberant 14-year old server (she was young, to say the least, but certainly not a pre-teen).
Karl Strauss offers a wide range of brews; during my lunchtime visit, I was proffered with their Red Trolley Ale, Tower 10 IPA, Pintail Ale, and yet-to-be-named amber taken directly from the fermenting tank. While the beers cannot be compared to many of the local hop bombs, the beers here were pleasing and good accompaniment to the big and juicy cheddar burger.
A pleasant experience nonetheless: decent beer, hearty chow, a friendly server who was liberal with samplers and another day in America’s favorite beer city.
03-25-2013 23:25:00 | More by jjboesen
4.03/5 rDev +3.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5 | $$
Went to this place pretty late at night, but were surprised how well and smooth our visit was. Some places seem to change within an hour of close.
The place was very relaxed. Great, open areas for seating and a nice, long open bar. Our bartender was great. She was very helpful describing the beers, as well as the rest of the pub's offering.
They have their standard flagship beers available on tap, plus 3-4 seasonal and limited brews. They also have bombers of some of their out of season beers, as well as some guest taps.
The food was decent. Desert was fantastic. They do a "Shake and Cake", where they make a milkshake with one of their beers, and pair it with a lovely, rich chocolate cake. That alone is worth a trip.
All in all, with the beers and the food, the pricing wasn't bad at all. I would definitely make a return visit.
12-31-2010 01:28:45 | More by GarthDanielson
4.13/5 rDev +5.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$
Stopped in here for a leisurely Tuesday lunch last week and was quite pleased on all counts. I was able to enjoy their IPA, DIPA, a bock & their Imperial Amber Lager, the first three being very enjoyable, the lager OK. I thought they all tasted like pretty good quality brews. I had their fish & chips as recommended by the bartendress, and that also was very satisfying, excellent cole slaw and a sizeable portion for lunch. The service was very friendly, helpful and reasonably quick. The bar itself is a somewhat dark, wooden old fashioned feel with some outdoor sidewalk tables surrounding the front entrance. It's located right in the heart of the down town, only 10 minutes from the airport or the ocean. Not much else to say, no complaints. I definitely recommend this location and imagine their other sites around San Diego must be decent as well.
10-14-2008 04:32:39 | More by Durge
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
Karl Strauss Brewing Company - Downtown San Diego in San Diego, CA
88 out of 100 based on 36 ratings.