157 Ratings

Type: Bar, Eatery

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

(858) 715-1745 | map

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Reviews: 118 | Ratings: 157
Photo of sholland119
4.22/5  rDev -3.9%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Well, you'd never stumble upon this place, unless you were buying a car across the street or something. Fortunately we were seeking it out. O'Brien's is located in a nondescript strip center north of town. We stopped on our way back to town after stopping in at Green Flash.

There is a long bar inside the door on the left, with a bunch of table crammed in on the right. The oversized leather office chairs appear to have been reclaimed from the set of Glengarry Glen Ross. Comfortable enough but between the oversized chairs and wheels, moving around with a beer in hand can be an adventurous proposition. There is also an enclosed porch with some PVC tables and chairs.

Once you get a post though, this is a cool place to be. About 20 taps with great stuff. We were there during SDBW and the event of the day was Kern River. About 6 KR taps were flowing, and a bunch of other local delicious craft beers.

Service is very pleasant. As is true of so many places here, counter service only, with exactly one line for food, beer or food and beer. It can slow things down but the people are quite nice. I enjoyed our stop here.


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Photo of tastyales
4.14/5  rDev -5.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Let me tell ya this place has got it all. Soccer great staff and best of all awesome freakin beer. Alpine on tap amazing the place is kind of tiny but im cool with that good bottle selection and awesome atmosphere. The place was pretty busy when i was there. With the beer selection they have i am impressed! Highly recommend. It was out of the way but the cab ride was well worth it . If you go check out the bottle list there are some hard to find unusual beers on the menu. Service was good staff new there beer and were on top of the service.

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Photo of DarthKostrizer
4.22/5  rDev -3.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5

Visited this place specifically for Night of a Million Zillion speedways. The place is a bit out of the way from where I was staying and is in a strip mall and incredibly tiny inside. It looks like your typical dive bar all that is missing is the pool table. The place was packed just like I expected it to be and everyone there really appreciated beer so it made for a great atmosphere. The service was a tad bit lacking and everyone seemed to have a bit of an attitude until it died down a bit which I guess is understandable but nevertheless it's still their job. I would like to visit this place when it is not as busy to really get a better feel for the place. With that being said highly recommended place to stop in for a pint

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Photo of coolparrot
4.7/5  rDev +7.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Great spot to hang for a few pints and eat some Grub! The burger menu is the best and the garlic fries, BOMB! Love the different Beer events these guys host. I just recently found out about this place through an acquaintance who is regular. Now I'm quickly becoming a regular! Tom and Tyson are great guys and the vibe is really cool here. The only and I mean only Con is the Bar itself is a little small (I'm one of those guys that loves to sit AT the bar). But, if I get there early, no problemo! Highley recommended and I'll be back in the future for sure! This place ROCKS!

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Photo of pmarlowe
4.72/5  rDev +7.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

Love this place. They always have lots of good San Diego locals on tap, as well as a solid bottle list. Definitely leans toward the hoppy bears, as their motto would indicate.

Prices for taps and bottles are eminently reasonable. Check their website or Facebook page for regular updates of the tap list.

Food is good but not out of this world. The tortas (like paninis) are tasty, and the sausages that come with the Brewer's Plate are out of this world good. The garlic fries are pretty heavy on the garlic, and the hamburgers are pretty standard. The good thing is, if you like Asian food, there are dozens of Asian restaurants nearby (like Tajima, which is across the street).

My only complaint is that they allow smoking on the outdoor patio. This would be more tolerable if they didn't allow cigar smoking as well.

Pet friendly, there are usually a dog or two roaming around outdoors. Overall, the staff are very friendly and O'Brien's has a great atmosphere. One of my favorite San Diego bars.

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Photo of ThreeWiseMen
4.3/5  rDev -2.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4

I moved to the San Diego area (La Jolla-UTC to be exact) about two months ago, and since then I've visited O'Brien's Pub on at least three different occasions. I've been very happy with my experiences there so far, and I plan on visiting much more in the coming years, especially given how close it is to my house.

While it doesn't offer many TV's, O'Brien's is known locally as one of the city's finest soccer pubs. When I first arrived in San Diego, local news stories about the US women's World Cup run were being broadcast from O'Brien's. While I haven't watched any soccer matches there yet, it seems like it'd be a fun thing to do in the near future. The interior of O'Brien's is decorated to look like an English sports pub: dim lighting, long wooden bar, firkin handles, a somewhat dungeon-like atmosphere, and walls coated in flags and pennants. They also have a large outdoor area (where I've sat each time thus far) that doesn't offer anything besides plastic patio furniture, which is all you need when it's 70 degrees and sunny outside. I love it!

When it comes to service, don't expect to be waited on. The waitresses deliver food dishes and bus tables, but don't take orders. Patrons must place their food and beer orders at the bar. The bartenders and waitresses are very friendly though, when my friend accidentally spilled her freshly ordered beer, a waitress replaced it free of charge.

And now for the most important part: the beer. Of the dozen or so beer bars I've visited since moving here, this may have the best local selection. You can almost always find two Alpine beers on-tap, and I've spotted one-off releases from Green Flash, Stone, and Ballast Point (e.g. HabaƱero Sculpin on cask). The beer selection also offers a wide variety of styles, including imperial stouts, barleywines, and sours (typically Flanders red or oud bruin). The bottle list is also very impressive and reasonably priced. Whatever your mood, you'll find the beer(s) you want.

The food menu consists of standard pub grub: burgers, sandwiches, wings, fries, etc. Everything I've had is very tasty and goes great a beer or two.

This may not make the itinerary for first-time visitors, but it's an absolute must if you're staying in San Diego for more than a few days.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.83/5  rDev -12.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4

Bar at the end of a strip mall type setting. Arrangement inside is kinda cluttered for what it is. Lots of soccer shit and pub stuff on the walls, seemed like a TGIFridays that went through an English vibe. Some horrible tuffman contest stuff (i.e. fat guys with boxing gloves on) on the television, I may have enjoyed some malnutritioned futbol instead.

Bar service occurs only at the corner of the bar, which can be beneficial, but creates kind of a cluster at the entrance. Selection was kinda lacking I thought for what they had on tap. Decent bottle list, leans Euro more than the tap list that leans ipa heavy. Was hoping for more Alpine beers on tap, ended up having the only one available, O'Brien's ipa, which was good, but not the equal of other Alpine ipas.

Draft prices are great.

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Photo of gerrick
4.58/5  rDev +4.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5

This place has it all. Great beer, great food, and a master brewer as the owner. Tom has really made this place great. The pub seems to get all the great beer releases. It also happens to be the official American Outlaws Pub and soccer plays nearly all the time on the many TV's. The food is outstanding. I'm constantly amazed with the flavors. It seems like a shame to call it bar food. The beer week events are amazing at the pub. The group trips to soccer events are outstanding. Say hi to Michelle (My personal Fav).

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Photo of Dankbeers619
4.55/5  rDev +3.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 3.5

My overall impression of O'Brien's is that they are one of the few establishments in San Diego that can actually keep up with the ever changing beer market and pace of the beer industry. I have been here numerous times, and only a very few times have I ever been disappointed in the selection of beer or the wait.

One time was the Russian River night were, no joke, the line was around the block and down the street to get a beer...No Thanks..!!!
The other was meeting a mutual friend for lunch and O'Brien's had just opened and I was a few minutes late to join him in line and I ended up not even ordering and just joining him outside.

My recommendation to you is if you are in San Diego for a business meeting or just looking for a good beer joint, then, O'Briens is your spot.. Plus they are the few people in town that cater to the soccer crowd..!


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Photo of notchucknorris
4.24/5  rDev -3.4%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Yes, the atmosphere of this place could be better. However, this place has some great events and usually has a pretty solid (albeit not huge) lineup on tap. I've been lucky enough to try a few amazing beers here that I've never seen anywhere else. They tend to get a ton of great stuff from Alpine, which is a huge plus for me. I was also able to try some offerings from Russian River that I've never seen anywhere else in town. It's worth a trip just to see what they have on an average day. And don't be afraid to try some of the surrounding restaurants. Tofu House next door is bomb. I'm definitely a fan of this place. Just try not to go when it's too crowded. Yikes.

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Photo of nanobrew
3.7/5  rDev -15.7%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

The atmosphere of this place is not that great. The arrangement makes it seem crowded with few people in the place. It is dark and fairly simple. The upside is they do have dart board. They definitely specialize in IPAs, that makes up most of their tap list, and they usually have some great ones on tap. They do have a pretty good bottle list. Their prices were really good, especially if you catch a special (I have gone on nights for discount bottles). The food is pretty good for bar food. I enjoyed it and thought it went well with the beer. The staff is nothing special. I am sure if I was a regular they would be more willing to chat. But I have been during slow nights and they seem uninterested in any conversation aside from what my order is. I most likely won't be a regular, but I have no problem stopping by here every once in a while.

After being here a few more times I feel the same about the space, way to crowded, however, their service has been great, so I increased that from 3 to 4.

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Photo of arizcards
4.28/5  rDev -2.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Visited today while spending the week in the LaJolla area.

Atmoshere was good, smallish place with a capacity of around 60-75. Beer signs decorated the one wall, coasters from around the world on the ceiling. Sports Bar feel with 3 TV's tuned into ESPN channels on a early Thursday afternoon.

Quality was very good in the beer department and the food was good as well.

Service was friendly. It is self serve for food and beer, two ladies did it all manning the taps, serving the food, etc. They were friendly.

Selection was good, approximately 20 taps of mostly Cali beers. Huge bottle selection available if you checked the web site ahead of time.

Food was good, I had a burger that was tasty and Da Boss had a chicken sandwich. We shared fries that were nice and crispy.

Overall value was good. Prices of beer were reasonable and the food was inexpensive.

Nice place to visit, glad we stopped!

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Photo of DeanMoriarty
4.3/5  rDev -2.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

I'm born and raised in San Diego and have somehow overlooked this little gem (it is a bit off the beaten path). After filling up some growlers at Alpine Brewery (they brew an exclusive IPA for the bar) we were essentially scolded by the crew for not stopping in and giving the place a try. I checked their website later in the week to see what they had on tap and they had Sierra's "Estate Harvest" on cask, so it was easy bait for me to go and check the place out.

Upon walking into this place, you get a low-key, localized, European pub feel with a mixture of average Joe's and business men/women (it's located in a large business district area of San Diego) - definitely not a hipster joint (which is a major bonus in my book). Also, i'm not sure if we were fortunate to stop in during their shifts, but there were two gorgeous women working the bar complete with short shorts and striped knee-high socks (both hot as hell and good barmaids to boot).

Excellent selection of beer overall (properly listed on a chalk board over the bar), and the Sierra cask was absolutely fresh, delicious and served properly for the fairest price in town (it was $4.99 for a full pour into a pint, not the typical short pour into a tulip - this type of ale should be served into a pint anyways, let's be real here!). We didn't try any food, but it looked and smelled better than average. This place is located in the heart of some of the best Asian cuisine that San Diego has to offer and the Tofu House next door was a perfect topper for all the beer we drank at Obrien's.

Any bar that the boys of Alpine Brewery back to the point where they brew an exclusive IPA for them, is one that shouldn't be overlooked and i'm sure glad I finally stopped in and gave this place a shot. I'll definitely be going back again - just wish it wasn't so far from Ocean Beach!

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Photo of largadeer
3.93/5  rDev -10.5%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

I usually make a stop at O'Brien's when I'm down in San Diego. The selection is top-notch, with a lean toward local craft breweries. The fact that Alpine brews a beer for them (and an excellent one at that) is a testament to their great beer selection. The only real detraction is the vibe; it's got a dingy sports bar atmosphere, and if there's a game on you can count on there being a slew of loud obnoxious drunks at the bar. That aside, I've generally had a good time here. The food is solid as well, standard pub fare but enjoyable enough and reasonably priced.

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Photo of Yetiman420
4.44/5  rDev +1.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

I did a three day brewery, brewpub, beer bar tour of San Diego which included a Saturday early afternoon stop at O'Brien's.

As a person who has absolutely no use for Irish bars, I was glad to see O'Brien's had nothing in common with the pedestrian beer selections of Irish American pubs.

The interior is small with comfy leather office chairs that I felt take up more room than necessary given the small size of the corner location with plenty of window and outdoor seating.

I sat at the bar and while I didn't chat anyone up, one could easily become friends with the other patrons.

It was Saturday and I was hoping to catch some college footall but instead they were showing a soccer match and there were mostly soccer fans inside. I had to hold myself to one beer because I accidentaly ordered a IIPA, Alpine Pure Hopiness, and wanted to limit myself because I was driving.
They had Russian River sours and plenty of beers on their bottle list.

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Photo of buzbuzzer
4.1/5  rDev -6.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

This bar is one of my favorites in San Diego. It really is where the old school and new school beer community can hang out for good beer. If you ever wanted Pliny on tap or a fresh alpine beer, chances are you'll find it here.

The overall service is good, prompt and to the point. Sometimes I've seen even the most frequent patrons get a snappy attitude occasionally but that recently has slowed.

Beer events can get crowded but then again I have never seen so many Russian River rarities on tap anywhere else all at once.

For the most part, the taps are very active, but there are rare occasions they hit a lull and the beer list isn't what it normally is, so like the surf, check before you go!

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Photo of Shouzen
3.95/5  rDev -10%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 5 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

Checked this place out in a quest for good beer bars close to where we live. Excellent selection of beers on tap and in bottles, and the staff seem fairly knowledgeable. I wish there was a bit more diversity with the beers though, as everything tends towards IPAs and other super-hoppy beers (but I guess this is San Diego, so...).

Food was very standard bar food fare - burgers, salads etc. Not really a place to come specifically for food, but it does its job. I did really enjoy the ample outdoor seating though. Overall, we will definitely be back, but I will have to order more stuff off their bottle list the next time...

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Photo of yemenmocha
4.43/5  rDev +0.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 5 | food: 3

I loved the atmosphere and demographics here. I fit in just fine - mid life, beer gut, out of style clothes, and a hoppy beer in my hand. Finally a great beer bar where most of the patrons are not Millennials!

Comfy chairs looked like they were right out of a bowling alley tavern, with a small dartboard area at the back. Seating area was tiny, but, well this is a tiny bar.

Service and food were rather average. No frills, no smiles, just sort of a "yeah what do you want?".

However, the tap list was among the best in San Diego. Over one HALF of the taps were IPA's or DIPA's. Unbelievable! Almost nothing for the person who likes reduced-flavor beers (maybe Duvel Green). No macros, no American wheats... just real beer.

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Photo of olympuszymurgus
3.74/5  rDev -14.8%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4

one of the more confusing spots on the journey. first off, i understand that even the suburbs, perhaps, especially the suburbs, need a place like this. its an irish sports bar with tremendous beer on tap and bottles? playing rugby on giant screens? sure! comfortable chairs (very comfortable, play that up) and decent, if slightly short, service. they did have ddgooze for takeout, but the $45 we didn't spend on it did come in handy at the tail end of the trip. see, americans can be fiscally responsible. apparently we just missed a north coast tasting, which would have been a happy funtime. regardless, a nice 20+ tap selection and comfortable chairs. we sank into them like a stripper into a lap.

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Photo of jneiswender
3.78/5  rDev -13.9%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3 | food: 4.5

Very busy place that is in a shopping plaza in North San Diego. Seems like there is good parking there. I was there at 5pm on a Thursday and the place was packed. You have to go to the bar to order the beer as the waitresses that night were busy. Nice selection of Belgian and Germans as well as Cali-brews as well. Food menu is very beer friendly. I had the beer burger made with Russian River IPA. Drank Pliny the Elder. Very nice service, very local feel but maybe hard to find a seat at times if you want to eat.

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Photo of ocmpoma
4.04/5  rDev -8%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5

visited on 24 Feb 2010:

Stopped by here in the middle of the afternoon. Not really my kind of place; but at least the game they had on was soccer. Tables with green office-style lounge chairs inside were arranged on the right as I entered, the bar was on the left. Overall, the atmosphere was pretty standard for a bar, nothing to complain about.

I sat outside, and the service was decent, mostly I went here for the selection and I was not disappointed. They had some Ballast Point, Avery, a handful of others on tap, and of course absolutely no big name breweries -- all craft. I had a Racer 5, but only after having my first Pliny the Younger.

Overall, while the establishment didn't wow me, their selection was wonderful and the service and prices were more than adequate.

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Photo of ArrogantB
3.9/5  rDev -11.2%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

First off, I don't like goddamn cigar smoke and there were way too many cigar smokers drinking beer outside on the patio. To be fair it is like that sometimes at the Falling Rock but fuck that. This place has an unbelievable tap and bottle list, I had Russian River IPA (not Blind Pig) and Alpine Duet which was delicious. The fried cordon bleu nuggets were amazing and a first for me. The cigar smoke on the patio was tough to stomach but if I was local I would probably stop by on a regular basis.

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Photo of steadydose
4.78/5  rDev +8.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

I have been going to Obriens pretty regularly, atleast more than any other place I go, and it has become a favorite place for me and my friends to go. If you want to go somewhere to get quality brews, especially hoppy ones then this is the place for you. Obrien's has an extensive bottle list, where I usually get my sour fix after a long night of drinking stouts or IPA's. The food is good, I usually get the beer battered fries or there sandwiches. What I love about this place is the outdoor patio. I rarely sit inside. It's good place to hang out with friends and be able to enjoy my beers w/ a cigar if I choose to. All the bartenders are great and the patrons are really friendly. Highly recommended, maybe the only down side is sometimes its hard to find parking inside the main lot.

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Photo of DrJay
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.

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

Finally getting around to my long overdue review.

Great beer place in the middle of a strip mall. (I knew I was in SoCal when I saw the restaurant four doors down called ToFu World)

Atmosphere: Part local dive bar, part beer geek bar. Mostly local bar vibe from what I gathered. With that comes with putting up with the local drunk, but hey I'm sure I've been that guy before.

Quality: I think all the drafts were local beers when I was there. Oh and SD has a ton of good local beers. Later that week they were going to tap two Sculpin dry hopped casks.

Service: Pretty good, no complaints, quick, and attentive.

Selection: lots of quality draft choices, I do think I even bothered to look for a bottle list.

Food: Food was ok, nothing great, but certainly not bad. I would have no problems eating there again.

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O'Brien's in San Diego, CA
4.39 out of 5 based on 157 ratings.
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