Hamiltons Tavern

Hamiltons TavernHamiltons Tavern
Hamiltons TavernHamiltons Tavern
Bar, Eatery

1521 30th St
San Diego, California, 92102-1503
United States

(619) 238-5460 | map
hamiltonstavern.com

Notes:
PLACE STATS
Average:
4.46
Reviews:
91
Ratings:
142
pDev:
7.62%
View: Place Reviews | Events
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Reviews: 91 | Ratings: 142
Photo of BeanBump
4.1/5  rDev -8.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.75

The brother bar of the former Monkey Paw (RIP). Cool old school pub type atmosphere; dimly lit, not fancy. You can count on them for a good selection of beers on any given night. It can get crowded and take on sort of a locker room type of humidity in the summer but hey, welcome to San Diego.

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Photo of WillieThreebiers
4.31/5  rDev -3.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4.5

Lively pub with large bar on left that seats about 25, a few booths and small tables around room divider. Pool tables and shuffleboard. They had a great Black Friday special: all dark beer $5 a pour.... Sweet. The wings were excellent also.

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Photo of Rub_This_BBQ
4.74/5  rDev +6.3%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5

Super cool bar and glad I got to try it and while out and SD and not fall trap to all the gaslamp bars. Well worth the uber ride and check it out.. Only wish they did some flights or half pours so I could have had more to taste.

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Photo of mdfb79
4.61/5  rDev +3.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.25

Awesome bar; amazing selection, reasonably prices, and good food. Bartender was super cool; to be honest aside from if you want Pliny or Cable Car I much perferred this to even Tornado. One of my favorite bars while traveling.

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Photo of ONovoMexicano
4.04/5  rDev -9.4%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.25

Dark space and total dive bar feel, but the selection on tap and in bottles is pretty phenomenal. Lots of goodies on tap including some beers brewed just for the bar.

Reading through the bottle selection made me salivate and wish I had company to share a bottle. Very impressive.

Prices for pours weren't bad and the server was happy to let me taste a few before choosing a pour.

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Photo of biergeliebter
4.83/5  rDev +8.3%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Fortunate enough that Hammies is my neighborhood bar, a top-10 beer mecca, and within walking distance. Friendliest bunch of hop heads anywhere. A destination beer bar with nary a competitor in sight. Nice that Cosimo Sorrentino, brewer extraordinaire, is Brewing immediately nextdoor at South Park Brewing Co. Lucky me!

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Photo of mrcraft
4.25/5  rDev -4.7%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25

South Park was an interesting neighborhood. Some older quaint homes, restaurants, shops, and a tavern. This place had a grungy feel which probably added to a unique vibe of this place. They had tables, games, I think a few booths, and a long bar. They had lots of tap handles hanging from the ceiling.

The tap list was nice. Alpine, Pliny and the usual suspects. The server was friendly and quick to serve even though they were busy. I appreciated that.

It was crowded today, so I just ordered a goblet of flanders red and left.

I may try again when I'm in the neighborhood.

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Photo of MilwaukeeBeerMaker
4.58/5  rDev +2.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75

Yet another stop on my San Diego visit. Very friendly place with a pretty nice set of taps and a pretty robust bottle list. Ended up doing more bottles than taps since I found stuff that is hard to get in WI.

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Photo of Davepoolesque
4.24/5  rDev -4.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Hipster, dive bar atmosphere with a large selection of quality craft beers. Little food window in the back cranks out AWESOME tater tots, good grilled cheeses and delicious burgers. Also, if you love dogs, this is the place to go.

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Photo of blockdude
4.2/5  rDev -5.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

Avoid this place like the plague on friday/saturday unless you like standing with your beer awkwardly with no place to sit or move around.. Seriously no room to move at all during one of these peak nights and my other complaint is their diversity of beers. One any given night, 80% of their beers are IPA or IIPA's, with very few saisons, sours, or stouts. Other than that, lighting could be better but the service is very good and the pours are legit. In terms of wings, they are definitely hit and miss and sometimes have the consistency of microwaved wings. Do yourself a favor and get one of the burgers if you want a well prepared meal. From my experience, weekdays are a much more enjoyable time to hit up Hamiltons.

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Photo of Wowcoolman
4.43/5  rDev -0.7%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4

Relaxed neighborhood hangout in South Park. Pool tables, tap handles hanging from ceiling, and you can order burgers and wings from the back. Extensive bottle selection and choice taps. Don't expect to have a conversation here, the music is pretty loud. Fortunately the music is pretty good. This is the sort of place you can bring your dog if he/she likes noise and crowds.

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Photo of Taybeh
4.5/5  rDev +0.9%

Fairly small, dingy/divy, and when I was there on a Saturday night, it was a surprisingly mixed crowd by age, gender, ethnicity, level of hipster quality, etc. Good to very good tap lists...but they had Pliny, so....

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Photo of putonyourwalkingshoes
4.5/5  rDev +0.9%

Without a doubt my favorite bar in San Diego. Just great vibes all around. Respectful and attentive bartenders. The food choices/prices are reasonable being this is ass deep in hipsterville. The drink prices could be better and often times the beer selection is over the top IPAs or beers that are just plain St. Archer quality. Love the shuffleboard and pool tables. Bar is kind of small but cozy. Can get packed and for that matter real difficult to find a place to sit. Music quality is top notch and often times late at night the bartenders will throw cool movies on the tube. Kind of a pain to get to but worth it. Thumbs up also for doing a good job listing the tap lists online.

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Photo of sisterthelonious
4.48/5  rDev +0.4%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4

Don't even read my review. If you are close enough to Hamilton's and wondering whether you should go, then get your ass over there. You will not be disappointed. After you go and get drunk and eat some tot with beer cheese soup dipping sauce, then come back and read my review.

Atmosphere- Very good. Scot Blair did a great job organizing the bar. A long bar, booths, belly bars, a pool table, shuffle-puck table, jukebox... and it all fits. Tap handles on the ceiling, dog-friendly.

Quality- This place is all about the beer. Or at least it was until they opened Hamilton's Cafe next door. Now, it's all about the beer & food. You won't find a bad beer in the place. The food is occasionally greasy (this ain't health food) and belly-ache inducing. Other than one questionable bbq sandwich late on the 4th of July, everything has been good quality.

Service- Bartenders are friendly here, just be respectful of them. They'll pour tasters, but if the place is packed (as it is most nights after 8) know what you want to order before you step up to the bar. Food service is good. Before 5, you order next door and pick it up when its done. After 5, order from the little window and they'll buzz you when it's done.

Selection- One of the best beer bars in the country. Taps, bottles, you can't go wrong here. Food selection ranges from meaty to vegetarian, but few vegan options. Sandwiches/sausages/chili type place. No salads that I remember.

Food- Comfort bar food taken to the next level.

Value- One of the best values in San Diego. Food and beer are affordable, especially given the quality.

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Photo of BillRoth
4.64/5  rDev +4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 5

Son moves to san Diego. I get Beer Safari fever and start checking out all the top spots. Sunny San Diego right? Well I pull into Hamilton's , and find maybe the darkest bar around. Well, maybe a tie with Live Wire. This is a bar folks. Walk in and you might expect pool, darts, MNF and Bud light pitchers. But...Only fun loving serious beer heads need enter. Once in get ready for possibly the beer bar of your life. The selection is vast and is just special...gems, one offs, or one cellared treasure after another. With all the locals well featured from the classics... Alpine casks, LA, Alesmith, GF, and plenty of the great SD newbies. All matched up with North Cali esp RR, NW, Colorado,east coast, mid west, Europe, etc etc.
The crew are as friendly, helpful and knowledgeable as they come. Swapping stories, endless generous tastes, and plenty of new friends made up and down the bar.
There are so many great places in SD, but you need to check Hamilton's out. It just doesn't get any better than this.

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Photo of SAdams0192
4.58/5  rDev +2.7%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.25

Hamiltons is outstanding their only flaw is that so many people know it is outstanding that it is often packed. Getting a spot to sit, the bartenders attention or a clean bathroom can be difficult.

The tap list is always impressive.

A must visit for San Diego.

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Photo of sharkboy
4.39/5  rDev -1.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.75 | selection: 5 | food: 3.5

One of the first quality beer bars I've been to, and I keep coming back! It lies suburbs in what looks like a quiet suburb, with a few surrounding business.
The selection and menu are fantastic, but it does tend to get a little crowded, especially on the weekends, and not a lot of space.
As a bonus, the jukebox is worth a look, with a lot of selections from classics to staff picks.

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Photo of vonnegut21
3.88/5  rDev -13%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 2 | selection: 4.75

While visiting San Diego I was excited to have a chance to stop in and check out Hamilton's Tavern. It looks like a dive from the outside and that's exactly what it is. A fun dive with great atmosphere and amazing beer. Maybe a few more hipsters than I care for, but the beer was worth it. The selection was awesome. I drank my fill of Societe's The Pupil and Pliny the Elder, while also having a chance to drink a couple bottle of Silva Stout. I was really pleased with the beer selection. The only downfall to Hamilton's is the service. If one bartender sucks, I can generally deal with it. But here, every bartender I had seemed extremely displeased with me for wanting a beer. One guy actually gave me rushed, sloppy pours on two occasions, to the point where I actually complained about the three ounces missing from my pint. Other than the awful service, Hamilton's is definitely a worthwhile stop.

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Photo of claspada
4.38/5  rDev -1.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.75

At first glance it looks like a dive bar but then you see the draft list and you are set as ease.

Medium size bar, some tables behind. TVs with sports games on in the background.

They had a bunch of one-off stone barrel aged beers and special adjuncts added beers as well. Also plenty, mostly everything actually was from California which is pretty cool if you ask me. Enjoyed watching the hockey game and sipping some CA stuff I would never be able to try.

Service was more than helpful, prices were reasonable enough. I would definitely recommend if in the area.

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Photo of sholland119
4.49/5  rDev +0.7%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Probably our favorite place in San Diego. A neighborhood place owned by the same crew behind Small Bar, Monkey's Paw and others, Hamiltons is a dark local taproom that serves great craft beer.

One long bar on the left hand side as you enter, with tables behind and a walk up window to order food in the far corner. We got three seats at the bar and were quickly welcomed by the bartender. Very friendly guy, as was the night bartender/co-owner Dennis. We had some nice drafts (strong local presence with lots of Green Flash on our visit) from the strong tap list. The bottle list was similarly excellent.

Food was fine. We had sandwiches from their extensive grilled cheese menu. Nothing outstanding but on par for our food experience in SD.

We loved the gritty feel of the place and the welcoming environment. We would have spent more time and more visits there if not for the distance from our hotel downtown. This is a can't miss spot.

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Photo of FlyingBull
4.35/5  rDev -2.5%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Hamilton's is one of my most favorite places to go and enjoy a good beer, some good food, and friends and family. It's a dark, old school kind of place with a wide variety of people. All ages - all backgrounds. And...and! No kids!

They generally have a good rotation of craft beers on tap, a great bottle list, and 1-2 beers on cask starting Fridays. Their staff has always been helpful and knowledgeable. This is a must visit place when in San Diego.

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Photo of KidsDoc
4.49/5  rDev +0.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 3.5

Great hangout. Has become hugely more popular over the past 5-6 years since I first went there. The tap selection is outrageous! They keep pricing very reasonable. Food used to not even be offered but now has a great little short order joint connected that keeps a good menu.

Eclectic group of people make this place awesome. You see all walks of San Diego life at Hamilton's. Very cool environment.

Biggest down fall is the limited flow to the bar. When it's busy, it sucks getting to the bar to order a beer. There is only a narrow stretch of walkway. Limited seating area and standing room is limited if people are playing pool. But...it's still worth it!

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Photo of slander
4.44/5  rDev -0.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

Back down from up north, pondering what to do with our day before the flight tonight. Presently mulling around San Diego suspiciously, we have options, sure. I mean, we already looked in on daytime Toronado, so what else? Well, we bagged Hamilton’s the other day having seen the event madhouse that was on the drive by, but with time on our hands now, maybe a visit weekday midafternoonness is in order...

It’s a dark room and the blinds are drawn; a safe haven for vampires, no doubt. Your eyes adjust, and your nose knows of dank beerings. We drop to the bar; a long “L” to the left, wood top, slat wood base, foot box, and seating for 2 dozen on stools of leather. A row of 24 taps on the barback, plus a kegerator to the right with 2 more handles and a pair of handpumps up front for 2 ciders (Their regular use handpumps are further down the bar and are currently off), so 28 taps in all. A mounted flatscreen sits above the tap tower on center. To the left, a large horizontal board along side with tap selections printed in alt colored chalk; beer, style, ABV & price in 2 rows, and cider flights listed below, along with wines & sake, and to the right, a specials board listing cider flights (seems there’s something cidery going on, eventswise). Clutter countered and baby sampler glasses tucked below. On the front side below the bar are the ‘faces with the double set of eyes’ bottle openers shown on the front & back covers of the Pink Floyd ‘Relics’ Album (have never seen the female one before). Instant street cred.

A pair of phat tubes run from behind the bar overhead and to the rear; the lines a glycol system, need I say more? Further down the bar, a pair of 3 door coolers split by shelvings in between. On of one of them, empties of all sizes, mugs, glassware & growlers lining above, coasters plastering the top trim, and a flatscreen atop, and the other cooler holds shirts shelved above. Blackish walls, and the rafters above lined with tap handles past. Strung sprucings, white holiday lighting, blended ductisms, and another flat in the front corner.

A slat ½ wall divider off the bar with 4 bar counter spurs offshooting, and a pair upfront, 1 to each side of the door. Slight rampings down into the other room (Ben nearly wiped) beyond the divider. 4 more counter spur shortys on the inside wall and 3 booths up front. 2 pool tables in the center and a looong table bowling game. A large Guinness mirror on the far wall lined above with bottles not so random, and the walls and ceiling plastered with neons, placards, & flaggings otherwise.

We have decided to engage in table bowling; the pieces given to us in a box, handled. I talked some smack and then got smoked, badly. The table slants to the not where I can hit, apparently, and has nothing to do with my skills or drinking.

They’ve got a killer corner juke of put together mixes. Most are by group, but some are themed. I’m angry I didn’t scope out the tune scene first and then ply the juke with music to exceed the length of time we’d be here. Any juke with the Stone’s ‘Time waits for no one’ is instantly credible.

28 taps in all, 10 of them Bear Republic offerings on the heels of that maddening event they did the other day (Hop Rod Rye, Red Rocket Ale, Double Rocket, Ryevalry Belgian IPA, Big Bear Black Stout, Sour Black Mamba Wit, Cher Ami Belgian Pale Ale, Carburetor Doppelbock, Pete’s Tribute Brown, Rebellion Delta). The remainder is a mix of mostly west coast craft (Rubicon Monkey Knife Fight, Green Flash Palate Wrecker & Imperial IPA, Port Hop 15, Stone Old Guardian, Drake’s Dry Stout, Ballast Point Sculpin, Deschutes Black Butte Porter, Big Sky Heavy Horse), scattered imports (Unibroue Trois Pistoles, St Bernardus Tripel, Celis White, Guinness, Professor Fritz Briem Piwo Grodziskie – Grätzer Ale, Stiegl Paracelsus Zwickl, Staropramen Lager), and a pair of ciders (Wandering Aengus Anthem & Wanderlust). I drank the Ballast Point Sculpin & Deschuttes Black Butte Porter. Beer was clean and fresh.

Damn, it’s dark. I am writing by damn near neon light, they’re hiding something. Oh, this is the sister act to Monkey’s Paw; I see what you mean there. Some of the best bars are not so shiny, pretty, clean, neat, and new, and this is one of them. I mean that in the very very best of ways. I could do some good time here. And we stumbled back out into the light…

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Photo of crossovert
4.6/5  rDev +3.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4

This is a great stop in SD. It is near the big park. Inside it is dark, the music was super loud when I walked in on a crowded Saturday afternoon. They turned it down though, maybe someone else complained.

About 30 taps and they are all pretty high quality brews. The Avery white rascal is all over town and they had it as well, and they were probably wasting a line with guiness and anchor steam but w/e. Some of the cool stuff were 2 Schlenkerla beers, PtE, ballast point oatmeal stout on nitro, Samichlaus . Nothing over the top exciting but enough to keep it real interesting. Soe unique rarer beers in the cooler.

The service was good. 2 broski bartenders but they were chill, and good guys. The one lame thing they did though was chill every glass. For being such a respected bar that seems really out of place, but then again it is rampant in SD.

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Photo of mactrail
3.49/5  rDev -21.7%
vibe: 1 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5

I can't really add much to the many accurate descriptions of others, but every time I've been to Hamilton's I feel like a grumpy old fart. I hate this place.

Yes, the beer selection is among the best in San Diego. Just be warned, you have to be up for the mayhem. Besides the crowd and fragrant dogs tugging at leashes everywhere, the noise level is astounding. The sound system is like a bad muffler bolted to your skull. The seating and game tables seem to be designed for maximum confusion and elbow action.

Seems like the kind of place that should open at 6 a.m., but the bar stools would probably be full anyway. Between doing outdoor things and having to work sometimes, I haven't tried coming here in the early afternoon. So I've never been here when it wasn't filled with crowds yelling over the noise. Even on a rainy Monday night it was jammed, plus the gang of smokers lurching on the sidewalk. Enjoy!

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Hamiltons Tavern in San Diego, CA
Place rating: 4.46 out of 5 with 142 ratings