O'Brien's

O'Brien'sO'Brien's
O'Brien'sO'Brien's
Bar, Eatery, Beer-to-go

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

(858) 715-1745 | map
obrienspub.net

Notes:
PLACE STATS
Average:
4.39
Reviews:
119
Ratings:
161
pDev:
8.88%
View: Place Reviews | Events
Reviews: 119 | Ratings: 161
Photo of chuckd123
4.4/5  rDev +0.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

Stopped in on a recent weekday afternoon after reading so many great reviews. Everything was great, including our fellow customers. Great service from the very attentive bartendresses (didn't get both names, but Micaela in particular was fantastic), great selection (i am a big IPA fan at the moment), and very reasonable prices. Started talking with the other people sitting at the bar, and each one of them took time to talk beer and show us other great spots in SD. Sadly we were on our last day in San Diego, and in a rented car to boot, so couldn't imbibe too long. This is a place you can go and hang out all afternoon or night I imagine. Other reviews are off base in terms of an unfriendly local crowd -- granted, it wasn't busy while we were there, but literally everyone at the bar was more than happy to help us out (as admitted non-locals) and show us around. Overall, the place has everything I look for in a beer bar and then some.

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Photo of Durge
4.4/5  rDev +0.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Stopped in for a burger and a few pints and was very pleased. Starting with a friendly and knowledgeable bartendress, a very good burger and fries, adequate television for your sports viewing pleasure, an outdoor/sidewalk venue to enjoy that San Diego climate, and just a wonderful selection of high quality brews. I didn't count the taps but I would estimate they had around 20 or so with a nice variety including DIPA's and IPA's, bocks and stouts, etc. Few if any macro stuff, a true beer bar, but nothing at all pretentious, nestled into the end space of a small strip mall plaza in a busy little industrial section of northern San Diego. The bar itself is pretty mid-sized to smallish with plenty of table space. I just regret I didn't have more time to stay and sample this excellent selection of brews with nice coverage of some of the wonderful local brewers like Green Flash and Alesmith. I enjoyed a couple Russian River beauties and was thoroughly pleased. I will definitely head back here the next time I am in San Diego.

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Photo of Deuane
4.51/5  rDev +2.7%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

Not called the Hoppiest Place on earth for nothing! This place is a hopheads paradise. The weakest thing they had on tap at the time of our visit was Sudwerk's Lager. This place didnt have a mass produced beer in sight. 19 taps with 2 beer engines to boot, nice!

A small place overall with limited outdoor seating. Ten bar seats about the same amount of tables and an overall laid back vibe. Not the most inspirational of places...but then take a look at the taps!

Our tender of for the night, Micaela, was very nice and attentive to us. We never sat with an empty beer. She was always on top of us when things started to get low in our pints!

Visited late in the eve so food was not on our radar, until we left. BUt, some local folk were nice enough to give us some suggestions about nearby Mexican take out places.

All in all a MUST stop if beercationing in the SD area. You better love the hops though as that is what O'Brien's is all about!

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Photo of HopHead84
4.28/5  rDev -2.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

O'brien's is one of the best beer bars in San Diego. They always have fantastic stuff on tap, including new releases and locals from alesmith, stone, ballast point, alpine, and port brewing. The also have a great bottle list, reasonable prices, and good food. The only downside of the bar is that it's a little small for its popularity and depending on the time it might be hard to find parking and a table. The patio has expanded and offers a great place to enjoy great beer, good food, and fine San Diego weather.

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

O'Brien's is a small pub on the end cap of a strip mall off Balboa avenue, pretty much between the 805 and CA-163. The parking lot is fairly large but it is difficult to find a spot during peak times.

The space is relatively small with the bar along the left side and seating on the right. There is also a small patio. O'Brien's has an impressive collection of coasters tacked to their support beams. They also have a pet fish in a Chimay glass.

The beer selection is impressive, especially considering how small the bar is. The draught list includes beers from Stone, Russian River, Craftsman, Alaskan, Alpine, New Belgium, and others. A couple of the beers seemed to be limited in nature too. The bottle list seemed impressive too, with at least 100 beers available.

Service was good on a weekday early dinner. The bartenders were efficient and knew their beers.

No complaints about the pub grub either. My burger was tasty and enjoyable.

Overall it took me a few trips to SD to get around to visiting something other than a brewpub but I am glad I had a chance to make it here. I would absolutely visit here on return trips just to see what interesting new beers are available.

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Photo of FenwaySquid
4.33/5  rDev -1.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Visiting San Diego on business for a few weeks so figured I'd give this place a try.

Atmosphere: Regular pub/beer bar. They've got a long bar, and tables with comfy chairs. The lights are dim, and there's a dartboard in the corner. Also tons of brewania around, including a gigantic Sierra Nevada mirror.

Service: I sat at the bar, and the bartender was attentive, and knew about beer. Visited a few days later (a Friday evening) and noticed the seating area inside wasn't served by a wait staff. I ordered food from the bartender and she brought it to the table, so really no complaints there.

Selection: Excellent. They've got tons of stuff. Locals, regional micros, Belgians from across the Atlantic. I think I saw about 20 taps, a good all around mix (didn't see any macros, so that was cool); and the bottle list contained about 100 different beers.

Food: Decent. I had a beer burger, (tasted great) and on the next visit tried the nachos (okay, nothing special though). The menu was mostly pub fare, burgers, sandwiches, and appetizers.

Prices were reasonable for both food and beer.

Overall: If you're in the San Diego area this is a place you have to go at least once. It's a little outside downtown, but lucky for me my hotel is only a mile away.

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Photo of dave12285
3.6/5  rDev -18%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 4 | service: 2 | selection: 5 | food: 4

Went to Obrien's on a few occasions including a pub crawl. The beer selection has always been amazing including some of the best Ipa's around consistently on draft. I've only ate there once and we chose a cheese and sausage platter which was very nice. The crackers were a little lacking the rest of the meal was great. Then one thing that is a mainstay, unfortunately, is poor service. The last time we went in the bartender saw us walk in and came out from behind the bar and disappeared for a while. Tom, the owner, was standing behind the bar while we waited to order and continued checking his mail for a while until he too left. After about 6-7 minutes waiting at the empty bar we were then greeted and served. The other thing that bothers me is it seems as though the customers are stand offish to new comers as well as the staff. Many "regulars that walked in were greeted with open arms and smiles. Could have just been an isolated situation and they do still have great beer. Definitely worth checking out.

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

Went here on a hot midday afternoon. As noted by others, parking can be tricky and it seems wayyyy out of place in the middle of what's basically a Korean/Asian part of town.

The day I went it was quite dark inside and they had front and back doors open, not sure if the A/C was out or what. Decent sized bar, some cool low-slung seats inside, LOTS of regulars. Took in a EURO 2008 soccer match while having two pints.

Beer selection is superb, about 20 taps. Appropriate glassware can be found, the regular appear to have their own dimpled mugs, nice touch.

Hops are their theme, so it was nice to be able to sip Alpine's Pure Hoppiness and Russian River's Pliny The Elder on this stop.

No real complaints, it's just out of place and sort of run down and old looking but if you're going for beer the atmosphere seems reasonable.

Definitely a recommended stop in inland San Diego.

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

Went here after the Alesmith release, on April 1, 2008 since it was only about 8 or so miles from the brewery down the 15 and the CA-52. Located in a cramped little strip mall, which I passed by once and had to make a U-turn. Once inside it's about an average size bar, about 10 stools, and a few tables. About 15 taps, no BMC there - ones I remember are Guinness, Murphy's, SNPA and Harvest Ale, Pliny the Elder, and Green Flash IPA, with the emphasis on hoppy San Diego and CA beers. Had an Alpine Pure Hoppiness, my first beer ever from Alpine, and a Ballast Point Fathom IPL, for $4.50 and $4 respectively, very good prices compared to Orange and LA Counties, though I'm not sure if they were on Happy Hour or not. Extensive bottled selection - some of the pricer Belgian's go upwards of $20-30, Angel's Share was $30, but not a bad price if you wanted to try it, the markups aren't outrageous here. A nice guy even purchased and opened up a 2003 Cantillon Lou Pepe Kriek and let about 5 of us at the bar try it. Overall, I had a pretty fun time, had a long converstation with fellow BA seaoflament over a couple pints. A very nice bar in San Diego, next time I'm down here I'll go back for sure.

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Photo of mithrascruor
4.9/5  rDev +11.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

I've wanted to come here for a while now, and finally made it. I'd been by there many times in the past, and always found it strange that it was located amongst the Korean restaurants and stores. Seems that there's a lot of regulars who come here.

There's nothing particularly exciting about the decor, but the place is clean and doesn't feel crowded. Very nice, friendly, and knowledgable employees.

Absolutely fantastic selection: both on tap and in the bottle (they have a beer menu too). Local beers, Belgian imports, and a wide range of other imports and domestic craft beers. All good quality stuff (some of which are hard to find), served at the appropriate temperature and in the proper glassware. Lots of nice looking things on the menu (starters, sandwiches, and burgers).

I had the turkey, brie & grilled onion sandwish (fantastic!) along with a Rochefort 10, and finished it off with a DFH Palo Santo. Totally reasonable prices too, for both the food and the beer. I look forward to coming back!

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Photo of Oxymoron
3.83/5  rDev -12.8%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 5 | service: 2.5 | selection: 5 | food: 2

We mad a trip to San Diego and thanks to Beerfly went to O'Briens. Easy enough to find but is hidden on the edge of a strip mall. A very small room with a decent sized bar and a few table. The chairs were rather funny, something you would in a 80's corporate office. Cushy, off green color that didn't quite fit under the table. They also had a few tv's on and seemed to be a great place for soccer nuts.

A great beer menu of west coast and mountain beers. To list a few, Russian River, Alesmith, Green Flash, Avery, Alaskan, Stone, Port & Lost Abbey, Lagunitas and Lightening. I tried both Pliny's from RR. Also Alesmith's Bloody Valentine (two days before the release), & Greenflash Saison. Didn't even try the bottle list but a great selection of beers both local and oversees (English and Belgium).

The staff was so-so. A few waitress standing around and not very helpful or knowledgeable. We sat at a table right away and no one really helped us or tell us to order at the bar. Eventually we got with the program. The food was rather limited mostly sticking to pub food, burgers and sandwiches etc. Tried the Rosemary Chicken Focaccia while my wife had the Turkey Bacon Havarti. Both low quality on hamburger buns. Noticed another patron order a burger and didn't look any better.

Overall not a great experience but for anyone planning a trip just sit at the bar and enjoy the beer. Everything else is a wash.

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Photo of 2LBrew
4.22/5  rDev -3.9%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

I had a pesto prosciutto sandwich that was excellent and a Russian River IPA for under 10 bucks!!! I was impressed with their selection of bottles and happy with their draft selections. You could but imported beers to take home, and they had some kind of rugby/ soccer match on the televisions when they first opened today. Seemed to be a lot of regulars in around noon. First time in, and was shocked to find it right next to (in) a dominant asian part of town. My buddy first brought me to this area for Ranch 99 and every car you either see asian imported cars or asians driving in the cars. But back to the beer. Really enjoyed the coasters all over the place (ceilings and walls) and the t-shirts/ other goodies for sale. Will definitely return to get some more beer. They even had one of my favs on tap that I haven't seen since living in Chico, Sierra Nevada Celebration.

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

If I lived close to this place it would be my nightly hangout. Seems like most of the patrons are regulars, bartenders know many people by first name and whatnot.

Atmosphere: A very tiny place, maybe 8-9 seats at the bar and a bunch of small tables behind it. Lots of tables outside to sit at. A few TV's with games on, and just all in all a bunch of people shooting the shit drinking some beer and having some pub grub. I was there at noon, but I couldn't see the place getting too unruly at night.

Service: Such a small place it'd be hard to get bad service, as long as you're inside... but the food comes pretty fast, bartenders are pretty aware of when someone needs a refill etc.

Selection: Amazing. Of course, being in SD helps, but they have rare stuff too like a Stone 9th Anniv. when I was there. Also some rare bottles like Stone VE 05-07. They list what's on tap on their website too that helps before you go.

Food: Had hamburger, garlic fries and grilled cheese. They were all standard pub grub sorta quality. Not bad by any means, but not the best you'll find in town.

Value: Pints were really cheap, I think like 3.50, and you can get food for really cheap as well.

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

Took a crazy-long cab ride in which the cabbie got lost. The place kind of made me homesick for Jersey--a corner joint in a non-descript strip mall.
It was well worth the trip to try the Pliny the Elder that they had on tap. Other taps leaned towards, and were advertised as, local. Also enjoyed a Lost Abbey 750 mL of a blonde, I think. Seventies dark wood vibe with comfortable captains' chairs (ahoy!) and sports on the big screen TVs. A great chill place with great beers on tap, it would be my local if I lived in SD county.

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Photo of dcough
4.34/5  rDev -1.1%
vibe: 3 | quality: 5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 5

This is not the most gorgeous place in the beer world but it sure has an excellent tap list. Mostly IPAs on tap since it was Wet Hop weekend. The service was decent enough, though you certainly don't get that Cheers feeling from the staff. Bottle selection was very good. The wife doesn't care for hoppy beer but she was very happy with the Dupont Saison. If you like soccer or other british sports this is the place to go and see them. They also have free darts. Overall a very good beer bar that I wished we had in Iowa.

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

Stopped here at the end of the night yesterday and one thing in my mind, having a Russian River IPA finally; I did and it was good, even though nothing compared to Pliny the Elder or Blind Pig

Located at the end of a shopping center next to a car dealership in a pretty industrial area

Had about twenty-five taps and an extensive bottle list

Really chill place where everyone is just relaxing and having a good time, not too crazy

Standouts on tap were Stone 11th, two Craftsman brews, a hard to find Ballast Point draft called Even Keel, a couple Russian Rivers, and some interesting Belgians

They had two casks: Alesmith X and the Ballast Point mentioned above

Great place, but I do not know whether I could say it is better than the PB Tap Room or Liars Club, I find them all to be about equal

Look forward to going back to this place in the future though to try some more hard to find brews and local San Diego draft-onlys

Highly recommended

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Photo of domtronzero
4.15/5  rDev -5.5%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Awesome place! I go here at least once a week for lunch. Always enjoy the extensive Belgian/Import bottle list. No crap on tap here. Only the best in local IPAs and DIPAs. Always have the Alpine Beer Co. Every Thursday is cask night and Alpine Beer Co. is a regular. The atmosphere is just your typical pub, but very bright and lively at lunch time. The food is excellent, except the birgers. The hamburgers are unseasoned and dry. Try the TBH (Turky/Bacon/Havarti cheese with roasted red bell pepper and balsamic vinaigrette - a colonoscopy waiting to happen) I work only 1/2 block from here, so I'm lucky enough to stumble back to my desk every other Friday with Rob.

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Photo of HardTarget
4.05/5  rDev -7.7%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 2.5

Located in what seems to be an Asian section of town, it's a basic corner of a strip mall bar, but a great porch and open windows to let in the horrible San Diego weather :). West coast laid back feel, almost Hawaiian. Serious beer cred in the decor, the Westy crate laying in the corner caught my eye.

All the beers were in good shape. Waitress was very pleasant and took good care of us. Tried the Garlic fries, (spoiler alert) which were just fries with garlic crushed over them. Prices were fair.

Worth a stop.

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Photo of sideshowrob
4.1/5  rDev -6.6%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 3

THE Tomme Arthur told me to visit this place during a beer tasting a few months ago in Washington DC. What else could I do when I found myself in San Diego last week?

The place seemed out of place for the neighborhood. It's in a non-descript strip mall, located far, far away from where I might have gone looking for a pint ordinarily. Thankfully my GPS knew exactly where to go, or I may never have found it.

My timing was pretty good, but not perfect. I got there a day or so after a giant DIPA tasting. Lots of "leftovers" still left, but a few rare jewels escaped me. Still, I managed to have a Bear Republic Racer X on tap, a beer that had eluded me many years. Yea!

The selection was rediculous! Ballast Point, Alesmith, Russian River, Stone, Hop Town, just to name a few. I guess if I had been there on a "regular" day the selection may have been merely incredible.

The food was a bit dissapointing, it was good, but it in no way matched the beer. The Garlic fries were the standout from my dinner.

Prices were fair for the quality of the food and the beer, actually the beer was a tad bit less expensive than I would have guessed, perhaps the low rent enables this? ;)

I will make it back here again some day,.

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Photo of Damian
3.99/5  rDev -9.1%
vibe: 1.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

Located in a strip mall in the northeast corner of San Diego, O'Brien's is far from the city center, yet well worth the drive. I stopped by on a weekday afternoon and the bar was filled with a middle-aged, after-work crowd. There were a bunch of tables on the patio out front, but I chose to sit at the bar. Just as the exterior of the bar was nothing notable, so too was the interior. I have been to "seedier" beer bars that have a bit of character, but this bar seemed even to lack that. The lighting was dark and mood was relaxed. This, along with the round drink tables and 70s-era green pleather arm chairs gave the place a somewhat loungey feel. A few items of brewerania dotted the walls. There was a dart board in the back in the back of the bar, along with a plasma screen television. While the decor could be improved, the beers and the service were both top-notch. With tap selections including Russian River's Pliny the Elder, Alpine Beer Company's Pure Hoppiness, Alesmith's Speedway Stout and a smattering of other highly acclaimed beers, it is no wonder why this place is a San Diego favorite. The bottle list was quite substantial as well. It included many limited release selections from Russian River and all three offerings from Westvleteran (at $38 and $40 a piece, I decided to pass on these however). My server was quite friendly and helpful and made my experience here all the better.

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Photo of Stoneman78
4.41/5  rDev +0.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

Is it a crime that I have been living in SD for over one year and only visited O'Brien's once? That's rhetorical of course (I am more ashamed about not yet getting to Liar's Club, that parking is daunting!). Anyway, my big break came when I was having my car serviced across the street a few months ago. The bar is in a strip mall mecca, and this particular strip mall is under significant construction unfortunately. The digs are large enough with a big bar and plenty of tables and a nice patio. The bartenders were knowledgeable and were quite friendly with regulars and newcomers alike. The selection was formidable with plenty of craft brews on draft. I believe they have the largest selection (?) in San Diego. Can't speak to the food, but it looked pretty decent for pubfare. I had a good, albeit brief, experience here and am looking forward to my next visit.

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Photo of SkinnyElvis
4.34/5  rDev -1.1%
vibe: 3 | quality: 5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 5

Our SoCal beer tour could not have missed a stop at O Brien's. It is located at a strip mall which was surprising. The inside was small and there were not a lot of tables since they use big comfy chairs instead of a typical bar set up. We sat outside with a scenic view of the strip mall and auto dealership across the street. Outside seating was a bunch of cheap plastic tables (ours was uneven) and chairs. The quality and selection of the beer was outstanding with a focus on West Coast hop bombs. Service was only a bit above average and the place was not overly busy. We did not try the food since this was stop one of the day's activities.

Cheers.

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

Atmosphere is a regular looking place with lots of big chairs all over and a handful of tvs (showing soccer matches when I went in). You can also sit at the bar or outside. About 10? taps that change all the time. Had a good selection when I was in there and I got to try Pizza Port Night Rider (which I LOVED), RR Pliny the Elder, RR IPA, and a few Belgians. They also have a pretty decent selection of bottled beer (which I got a Alpine Great...which was pretty great). Everything seemed pretty well priced, including their food, which is good bar food. There were 2 ladies working which always filled up the glasses and got us some tasters. They were always there when we needed them and seemed very nice.
All in all it's a great beer bar in a average bar setting. I would come back here in a flash.

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Photo of triggersd
4.9/5  rDev +11.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

I learned of O'Brien's at a Stone Brewing Company anniversary party a few years ago. One of the venders (O'bs) was serving up a great sandwich...and this napalm beer cheese. Big Mike's creation is what led me here back then, and today an ever changing selection of taps, extensive bottle list and friendly staff make O'Brien's a frequent destination. A destination that should not be passed over by any enthusiast of fine beer. Tom and Lindsey have crafted a menu with a variety of rotating items you can find in the dry erase board as you walk in. Don't forget to get some fresh garlic on your fries. If you're a home brewer, this is the place to go. You like soccer? So does O'Brien's. Catch the UEFA action and the world cup at O'Brien's. Huge bonus for the soccer fan!!! Time to rally the troops...I'm off to O'Brien's. See you there.

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Photo of
4.74/5  rDev +8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

Stopped in 4/12 & 13 while on business in San Diego.

Atmosphere is typical bar, but plenty of indications that good beer lives there. A couple of TV's, some comfortable chairs, and a bar that seats about twenty. Outside seating area available as well if you want to enjoy the San Diego weather.

Quality of the beers we sampled was outstanding. All were very fresh, served at the proper temperature and in the right glasses.

Service was prompt on both nights. Thursday, we were there with about 10 other people. Friday night, it was probably over 100. No problems either time.

Selection is fantastic, especially if you like hops. I enjoyed a Russian River IPA, Pliny the Elder and Younger, and Pizza Port's Swami IPA on cask. A white board behind the bar listed 20 or 30 other offerings on tap. If that doesn't do it for you, a menu on the bar has over 100 imported and local bottles. If you can't find something to drink, you must not like beer....

We didn't try the food, but it looked like pub fare with a California twist.

If you are in the area, I strongly recommend going. People are friendly and willing to talk beer, and, with the selection, you will have plenty to talk about!

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O'Brien's in San Diego, CA
Place rating: 4.39 out of 5 with 161 ratings