Bar, Eatery, Beer-to-go

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

(858) 715-1745 | map

View: Place Reviews
Reviews: 120 | Ratings: 163 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by DrJay:
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DrJay from Texas

4.38/5  rDev -0.2%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

We showed up here just after opening on a Sunday and located it easily using the descriptions from other BA's barfly reviews. There were a few people on the patio, which looked to seat about 40 people, enjoying the weather or watching TV. There were several more TVs inside showing a variety of sports programs and seating for about 45 more. The interior was dark green and there was a dartboard in the back. There was a bunch of beer swag on the walls and tons of coasters pinned up everywhere, plus pub gear for sale behind the bar. The clientele seemed quite eclectic, with a combination of regulars at the bar and families at the tables. The bartenders were very familiar and friendly with their regular patrons as well as newcomers. They had roughly 20 taps going during our visit and were stocked with a great variety of beers from Alpine, RR, Port Brewing, Alesmith, and even New Belgium La Folie. The tap list was separated out into locals vs. craft vs. imports, with pricing broken out into the same groups. Pints ranged from $4 for locals to $7.50 for Belgians. There were a lot of bottled selections as well, but these were a bit pricier and it was difficult to justify bottle purchases when the tap list was this good. The food was solid too. My wife had a soup and salad that were decent and my brewer's plate (cheese, sausage and fruit) was good. The burgers looked tasty too, but we didn't stick around long enough to try them. Overall, I was satisfied with my visit. I could see this being a regular stop if I lived nearby and would definitely come here again when I next visit the San Diego area.

Jan 03, 2010
More User Reviews:
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Gatch from Rhode Island

4.35/5  rDev -0.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4.25

Accidentally stumbled upon this as I was looking for a good Asian spot to eat on Convoy. I saw this place and its name sounded familiar from years ago. Lo and behold, it’s THE O’Brien’s. Probably not as legendary these days as it was back in the 2000s when it was one of those truly special places to find truly special beers. The Pliny, fried chicken sandwich, and tots were all delicious. And as an bonus, this is a Liverpool FC fan club/bar!

Jul 04, 2020
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slasich from Pennsylvania

4.15/5  rDev -5.5%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

May 17, 2020
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psumjl269 from Virginia

4.66/5  rDev +6.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 5 | food: 4

May 16, 2019
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chrisjws from California

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

Mar 11, 2019
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brycevolk from Ohio

4.19/5  rDev -4.6%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Jul 24, 2017
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hops_and_waves from California

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.

May 20, 2017
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deniserat from California

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

Jun 16, 2016
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Gobzilla from California

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

Nov 15, 2015
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mrcraft from California

4.28/5  rDev -2.5%
vibe: 4.5 | 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.

Oct 22, 2015
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sunrats from Arizona

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

Sep 14, 2015
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billab914 from Virginia

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

May 21, 2015
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blockdude from California

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

May 15, 2015
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Thepleasantimbiber from California

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

Mar 10, 2015
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the_encinitan from California

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

Feb 18, 2015
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MisterGone from California

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.

Jan 08, 2015
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bigTmachine from New Jersey

3/5  rDev -31.7%

Dec 12, 2014
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HunterSBeerson from California

4.75/5  rDev +8.2%

Dec 08, 2014
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AmandaBT from California

5/5  rDev +13.9%

Nov 09, 2014
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Coconuts from Arizona

4.5/5  rDev +2.5%

Oct 20, 2014
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wethorseblanket from California

4.35/5  rDev -0.9%

Oct 18, 2014
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Halloran33 from California

4.25/5  rDev -3.2%

Oct 15, 2014
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DoubleJ from Wisconsin

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!

Oct 13, 2014
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nebuchadnezzer from California

4.5/5  rDev +2.5%

Oct 10, 2014
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AlexM from California

5/5  rDev +13.9%

Sep 10, 2014
O'Brien's in San Diego, CA
Place rating: 4.39 out of 5 with 163 ratings