O'Brien's

BA SCORE
97
world-class

158 Ratings
O'Brien'sO'Brien's
PLACE INFO

Type: Bar, Eatery

4646 Convoy St
San Diego, California, 92111-2315
United States

(858) 715-1745 | map
obrienspub.net

Notes:
No notes at this time.

Added by xlperro

PLACE STATS
Score:
97
Ratings:
158
Reviews:
119
Avg:
4.39
pDev:
6.38%
 
 
Taps:
20
Bottles/Cans:
85
Cask:
Y
Beer-to-Go:
Y
View: Place Reviews | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Ratings: 158 |  Reviews: 119
Reviews by Boilermaker88:
Photo of Boilermaker88
4.78/5  rDev +8.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

I finally made down to O'Brien's for the 24 July BA Gathering. Known locally as "the hoppiest place on Earth", O'Brien's is situated on the corner of a strip mall populated with Asian restaurants, vitamin stores and hair salons.
The interior is real laid back, with a good number of tables to the right and a nice long bar with seats for a dozen to the left. TV's are located in each corner with various sports events showing. Very comfortable. Then I noticed the taplist...wow! Yulesmith (2003), Russian River's IPA, Little White Lie and Pliny the Elder, Alesmith Speedway Stout, Anchor 2003 X-Mas Ale, Ballast Point's Bourbon Barrel Stout, Monk's Cafe Sour Brown, SN Harvest Ale, Ommegang Witte, Cantillon Lou Pepe Framboise, the list went on. THEN I saw the bottle list...jeeesus! Almost 100 beers including Stone Symposium Ale, a massive number of Belgian ales, and rare and/or obscure domestic brews.
Tom Nickle was a fine host for our BA event and graciously dipped into his stash of bottles and growlers to produce some Alesmith 2001 Old Numbskull, Oggi's Old Viscosity and a couple others that managed to elude me as the evening grew more hazy. Tom was easy to talk with and came over often to chat with the BA's. He also gave us a show on the fine art of packing and setting up Randall the Enamel Animal which was in turn hooked up to some Arrogant Bastard. Randallized Arrogant Bastard, anyone?
The food was quite good and the servings were plentiful. the nachos and garlic fries were excellent. The menu was pretty diverse and the prices were very good.
O'Brien's is a must-stop for anyone passing through San Diego. With the incredible selection of stellar brews available, O'Brien's is a BA heaven.

 1,715 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of hops_and_waves
4.7/5  rDev +7.1%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.75

One of San Diego's original craft brew bars. The tap list is usually awesome. Tap for tap, usually one of the best lists in town. Especially if you like hops. They also have a good bottle list. The service is great. The food is great and very reasonably priced by San Diego Standards. The parking isn't so great. They also have a bunch of TVs for sports fans. The craft beer scene owed a debt to places like this who helped create the craft beer bandwagon.

 457 characters

Photo of deniserat
5/5  rDev +13.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

Photo of Gobzilla
4.25/5  rDev -3.2%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4.25

Photo of mrcraft
4.25/5  rDev -3.2%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

I finally ventured out of my comfort zone of Downtown San Diego during a business trip and stayed at a hotel near O'Brien's. I'm glad I finally visited O'Brien's. I've always heard good things about it, here on BA and other places. It lived up to its reputation.

O'Brien's is located in a strip mall. Once you enter, the bar is on your left, but with somewhat limited bar seating. The do have lots of tables both inside and out. I saw guys playing darts in the back; this place is grungy in a good way.

The tap list was nice. I was specifically wanting to try the Alpine O'Brien IPA, but the keg kicked earlier in the day. Darn. Another trip! I ended up trying a maple porter brewed by a local brewery for full pint. It was solid.

I enjoyed my visit.

 766 characters

Photo of sunrats
4.88/5  rDev +11.2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Photo of billab914
4.34/5  rDev -1.1%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4.5

Photo of blockdude
4.79/5  rDev +9.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4.75

Photo of Thepleasantimbiber
4.39/5  rDev 0%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.25

Photo of the_encinitan
4/5  rDev -8.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Photo of MisterGone
4.73/5  rDev +7.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.75

I would first warn potential new patrons of the parking issue. The small lot that services this place is always completely full. No worries, plenty of street parking (not on Convoy!). Every time we've come we've had less than a block of walking. I now skip the lot and go straight to street. On reason for this is that it appears that this little strip mall holds 4 of the most popular eateries in all of Kearny Mesa (this being one of them).

Get in line and order at the corner of the bar closest to the front door. Take your brew and number (for food) an head for a seat. Myself, I prefer the green rolly-chairs, reboots from some 1970s law firm library. Take in the decor of brew banners and signs, and soccer on TV (our last visit was watching Tottenham thrash Chelsea).

As for the beer, this is a beer geeks place. Simple as that. They've got what you want. Full selection of San Diego, notable American, and Belgian offerings. So far the only place I've been that has Alpine without having to go up the hill to Alpine.

The menu is a bit deceptive. Looks like typical pub far of sandwiches, burgers, deep fried stuff. Bu the sandwiches are just fantastic. Great flavor combos. And who would think that a beer place with burgers and sandwiches would have stellar salads? Perfectly tart Caesar.

This is a must. Just go.

 1,328 characters

Photo of bigTmachine
3/5  rDev -31.7%

Photo of HunterSBeerson
4.75/5  rDev +8.2%

Photo of AmandaBT
5/5  rDev +13.9%

Photo of Coconuts
4.5/5  rDev +2.5%

Photo of wethorseblanket
4.35/5  rDev -0.9%

Photo of Halloran33
4.25/5  rDev -3.2%

Photo of DoubleJ
4.45/5  rDev +1.4%

When I look back at my 20's, I'm going to remember a number of things; college graduation, trips to Brazil, life on my own, a taste for beer. Not far off that list will be "Why did it take me more than seven years to visit O'Briens?" Although I've lived an hour north, I found time to make a few beer-related trips to San Diego each year, but each time bouncing pass O'Brien's.

But finally, that moment happened. Brazukas from overseas in town, and they're ready to drink the town dry of hops. In a strip mall filled with Asian eateries, O'Brien's look out of place. There was no parking inside the strip mall, so that meant parking on the street. I was worried that all the cars were driven by thirsty beer drinkers, but on a Thursday night, there was still ample space to crawl around and find our own seats at the bar. Somewhat darkly lit inside, lovely Belgian beer glassware visible behind the counter, beer signage pasted on the walls, a marker board posting special events, and even pimping its own special beer trip to Europe, you can tell there's a love for beer at O'Brien's.

Choosing a beer was another challenge, as two dozen fun beers were pouring from tap, two casks, and a bottle list filled with lovely Belgians. We were lucky to hit on the night of fresh hop ales, as it looked that one of my mates reached a hop orgasm before the night was through. Beers from Ballast Point, Bell's, Artifex, Nickel, Rochefort, Tripel Karmeliet, all available and (of the beer I tasted ) in excellent shape. Perhaps the one small flaw I can think of involves those boring shaker pint glasses

On par with the beer was the service, which was not only knowledgeable, but quick and enthusiastic to serve. I also snuck in time for some food. Food is simple but tasty (garlic fries, nachos, sausage & cheese plate), further putting O'Brien's into legendary status.

Can't decide which brewery to visit? Just visit O'Brien's instead. It's certainly better than feeling undecided to which brewery to visit next!

 2,011 characters

Photo of nebuchadnezzer
4.5/5  rDev +2.5%

Photo of AlexM
5/5  rDev +13.9%

Photo of Bubbawilly88
4.5/5  rDev +2.5%

Photo of aoampm
4.5/5  rDev +2.5%

Photo of SDRedDevil
4.5/5  rDev +2.5%

Photo of BreweryRun
4.25/5  rDev -3.2%

Photo of jcallover34
5/5  rDev +13.9%

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
O'Brien's in San Diego, CA
4.39 out of 5 based on 158 ratings.
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.

    Learn More
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.

    Learn More
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.

    Learn More