Monkey Paw Pub & Brewery

Monkey Paw Pub & BreweryMonkey Paw Pub & Brewery
Monkey Paw Pub & BreweryMonkey Paw Pub & Brewery
Brewery, Bar, Eatery

805 16th St
San Diego, California, 92101
United States

// CLOSED //

Notes: Closed 8/27/18
BEER STATS
Average:
3.83
Beers:
45
Reviews:
76
Ratings:
299
PLACE STATS
Average:
4.24
Reviews:
27
Ratings:
75
pDev:
8.96%
View: Beers | Place Reviews
Reviews: 27 | Ratings: 75 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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BeanBump from California

4.19/5  rDev -1.2%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4 | food: 4.25

One of my go-to's in SD. In recent months, theyve revamped their menu to carry about 80% of their own beers but in the past it was closer to 50%. Not a bad thing at all, as they make quite the variety in-house. In addition to about 30 beers on tap, they also have a full bar and a kitchen that serves up a variety of bar-friendly, mostly fried fare.

They make a ton of beers and theyre all top notch. If I had to pick some favorites, Id go with Ashes from the Grave, Coffe w/ Cream or Monkey Gose Bananas. Can get crowded on Padres game nights and it can also get pretty loud.

May 30, 2018
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chrisjws from California

4.44/5  rDev +4.7%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.25

Vibe is very dive bar. Dark, wood paneling and the like. Large open windows looking out into the street. Several TVs playing the typical sports and... do my eyes spot college hockey? Okay, they get an extra point in my book for that.

Don't let the dive bar appearance fool you, they have a top notch beer selection of in-house and mostly local brews on tap. In bottles/cans they have dozens more. Wide range of in-house beer styles is much appreciated, add to that stuff from Pizza Port, Burgeon, Beachwood, New English and a lot more.

Food is cheesesteaks that are tasty but a lot smaller than I was hoping for.

In a city with a plethora of beer options, this is quietly a very strong option that could easily be overlooked.

Mar 26, 2018
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WestCoastLibations from China

4.7/5  rDev +10.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

I come to San Diego once a year and each time, try to visit a new brewery. Although Stone and Ballast Point are, of course, delicious, I aim to find something on the smaller side, and here, Monkey Paw delivered. An incredible selection of their own taps (15!) plus an equally great offering from other local breweries both on draft and in bottles. If you want good, small-batch beer, this is clearly the place to get it.

The day I went they were releasing a Triple IPA, "Muriqui", which I sampled, along with all of their other (in-house) offerings, ranging from dark to light, and from 5% to 10%+. Each beer was different than the other; complex with obvious thought put into the brewing process. As far back as 2013 I could get bottles of Ballast Point on sale in Korea(?!), while at Monkey Paw, I couldn't even get a bottle to go out the door. Although I would have loved to sip on one of their beers after having left San Diego, there is something to be said for their small-operation production, as Monkey Paw really does "stay true to the craft"...

Sep 30, 2016
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TheKlevin from Michigan

5/5  rDev +17.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

Awesome beers on tap, cheap greasy food. An awesome hidden gem in SD! Definitely smaller than what you might expect, but they more than make up for that with an awesome draft selection and awesome bottles beers too!

Jan 31, 2016
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mrcraft from California

4.25/5  rDev +0.2%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25

Monkey Paw is located on the outer fringe of the Gaslamp District. This place had a nice edge to it. They had a bar area with tables and seating on the other side. There were tables along an open window to the street. It was packed when I went, so it took a few minutes for a bartender to grab my order. She was nice and apologetic though for my wait. They had some monitors with sports and a movie on. They serve food, I believe you order in the back around the kitchen window. I didn't order any food but it looked pretty good.

The tap list was better than I was expecting. As you would imagine, they have their house beers, but the guest list was pretty good. I had an Alpine SD Surprise since I never had it before. It was alright. I was surprised they had Founders KBS on tap.

Once I hit the other San Diego area breweries, I'll be back. Nice visit. Cool place.

Jan 22, 2016
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jjboesen from Maryland

3.98/5  rDev -6.1%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 3.75 | selection: 3.75 | food: 4

After a long day of East Village beer drinking, it was time to end the day with more beer drinking. What better place to end it than at this unpretentious little "dive," a term used with much endearment. It is rather small, rather dark and tightly packed, but it is well worth the trip. In addition to providing thirsty patrons with local SD crafts, they also brew their own beer. I quaffed pints of Diabolic, New English Bine and a delicious brew from Alpine called "Bad Boy." Yes, it was. Great bar food - I went for a pork roll. A wonderful place to have a few (but then, this IS America's "Greatest Beer City." ) This monkey cannot wait to return!

Jan 03, 2016
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thepenguin from Massachusetts

4.3/5  rDev +1.4%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4

Had a layover in SD and chose to visit Monkey Paw after a haul in the area. Nice selection of proprietary beers and collaborations as well as some other good local options, pretty good food, and not overly crowded or pretentious in any way. Great prices on their beer flights!

Dec 28, 2015
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NateDyk47 from Michigan

4.41/5  rDev +4%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4

Stopped here while visiting San Diego. Great atmosphere at this place, good food, and a huge selection of their own beers along with guest beers. Beer and service were both great too.

Dec 13, 2015
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MilwaukeeBeerMaker from Wisconsin

4.21/5  rDev -0.7%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

Another stop on my tour of San Diego. This place had a nice vibe with good taps and some pretty nice bottles. Heard the food was good but did not get a chance to try it out.

Oct 27, 2015
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RLM15 from California

4.68/5  rDev +10.4%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4

One of my favorite places in San Diego to drink a beer. Super dark, divey vibes which are right up my alley. They will usually have about 5-10 of their own beers on tap along with another 20 or so beers from all over. Every time I come to Monkey Paw I see at least 5 beers on the tap list I am super stoked to try. Of the Monkey Paw beers I would recommend the i-5 with coconut and pink salt and the big smoke. great bar tenders as well. If you are visiting san diego this is a must hit, local spot.

Aug 24, 2015
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Pawoto from New Hampshire

4.78/5  rDev +12.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Stopped here during a 14-brewery San Diego visit after getting a tip from a local. The Taplist was incredible - Vietnamese Speedway, two versions of Angel's Share, Cuvee de Tomme, Red Poppy, lots of other great stuff. The Monkey Paw beers I tried were solid - Cornelius (the DIPA) the most memorable.

The Bartender had a shirt that said "Eat Pussy. Chug Whiskey. Hail Satan!" So I was a little worried, but he was super polite and attentive. So I probably shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but that was a pretty aggressive shirt!

Great spot - really glad we stopped!

Jun 16, 2015
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Gavage from New Jersey

4.85/5  rDev +14.4%

This is a definite dive bar with a cool vibe. 30 beers on draft, with about 10 or so Monkey Paw beers. Big wooden bar, dark walls, several TVs, and a bunch of tables are surrounded with nic nacs and creative blackboard art.

I only had a few Monkey Paw beers, and each one was very good and represented the styles well. Service was friendly with a bit of attitude which fit the place. If you are here, have the cheesesteaks - they actually have Amoroso bread from Philly to add to the authenticity, along with the cheeze wiz. The cheesesteak was the best I ever had outside of Philly - and they could rival some of Philly's best.

Bottom line - a must stop for any serious beer and cheesesteak lover.

Sep 09, 2014
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sillyhed8 from California

4.75/5  rDev +12%

Looks more like a rock n roll bar than a brewery, but staff was very helpful and knowledgeable on the beers available. Great collaborations and tasty food as well.

Jul 13, 2014
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MoorBeerPlz from California

3.56/5  rDev -16%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3 | selection: 3.75 | food: 4

We walked here from the Mission Brewery (about 8 blocks) to get some food on our stomach after a two-hour tasting at Mission. It's not in the best part of SD but there are worse places to be in a big city. The place was welcoming and there was plenty of seating, both at the bar and the eating area.

Getting fast service here meant going up to the bar to order which was fine with me. The staff was friendly, helpful and the food arrived quickly. We had pulled pork sammiches and their piggyback fries, which are criss-cut and topped with shredded BBQ pork, cheese and something else I can't remember. All the food was very good, appealing to look at and good quantity. We a chose a few of their Monkey Paw brews to go with lunch and we were not disappointed. The Howler IPA was great as was the Chinook (APA) my wife had.

Overall a very good experience and we will definitely go back.

Cheers!

Oct 19, 2013
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EyePeeAyBryan from Arizona

3.76/5  rDev -11.3%
vibe: 3.25 | quality: 3.75 | service: 4.25 | selection: 3.5

I wanted to like this place so bad because my GF and I love their Kong Barleywine and like the vibe we get overall from the brewery.

Sadly, this wasn't the case and we both left a little disappointed. Her and I may have had are expectations set high but I still think this could have potential. We walked from our hotel from Downtown and that was a treat! We were given the opportunity to dodge tweakers running by, weave around the homeless and navigate through closed streets. YAY, we won!

Inside was kind of like the outside; hot and nothing to get excited about. Selection of brew consisted of lots of pales and IPAs, a few guests taps that skewed to the "beginner" drinkers but nothing to even want to keep me to stay. I had their XPA and the Mint saison and actually really enjoyed the XPA! Good stuff. While the AMOUNT of beers available were good, the variety kind of sucked. Prices were great and that's about the best part, but they better be for all the work it took to get there!

Also, A for service! While the two bartenders were busy and it took a bit to grab their attention, they made time for light chatting and always had big smiles.

Sep 10, 2013
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JDJTEXAS from California

4.24/5  rDev 0%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

I went here a few weeks ago and was really impressed with everything from the decor to the beer selection to the food! This is a place I would go on a game day to get loud and rowdy with my buds. The beer is great and after a few dont hesitate to enjoy some bar food. I had some kinda greasy mess of goodness on fries and washed it down with a Bonobos! I dig the names of the beers this place comes up with!

Sep 10, 2013
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Hotrod88 from California

4.39/5  rDev +3.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.5

Here is the sister bar/brewery/brewpub of Small Bar and Hamiltons. Nestled on the edge of East Village this place used to be the old Jewel Box. Transforming from its classic dive bar days to a modern brewpub you are left amazed. If you had ever been the The Jewel Box then you will be very happy how this new place turned out. They took over the old t-shirt shop next to it and installed a small brewing operation. The Head Brewer is also the Bar Manager so he will most likely be there every day and he has always been more than happy to answer any questions I have. The tap list rivals that of Hamiltons and Small Bar with their liquors being mostly the same that you'd find at Small Bar. The Kitchen specializes in Cheeze Steaks and Sliders, with the option of Waffle frys. I mean when was th elast time you got waffle fries. They have pulled pork that is so delicious you'll find yourself ordering more. Actually what you'll likely want to do is just get an order of their waffle fries with their special BBQ pulled pork on top. Only thing some people might not liek is the parking situation which is nonexistent, other than that I would recomend this Brewpub to anyone I meet.

Aug 28, 2013
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bradybeer from California

3.61/5  rDev -14.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3 | service: 4 | selection: 3.75

Located in downtown SD. Kind of a dive atmosphere, but filled with beer geeks.

Walking in the bar is to the right and sitting at the bar and elsewhere.

We wanted to visit here after having a brew of theirs at another bar. We tried the Peanut Butter Potter, a brown ale, and an IPA. Not really impressed with these beers. We did like the selection of guest bottles and taps. Had a Petrus aged Pale Ale that was on tap ad crazy good.

We like the atmosphere and the service and could see us hanging out here, but I hope that the beers we would have next from there would impress us more.

Jun 19, 2013
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rikatine from New York

4.48/5  rDev +5.7%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Our goal while visiting SD was to try as many local beers as possible. Of the many places we went to while visiting SD, Monkey Paw was one of our favorites. We couldn't get enough of the Cornelius DIPA and their Howler IPA was great as well. You know a place is good when you just stop in for one and end up staying a few hours.

Interestingly we went here towards the end of our trip partially because we had not gotten an opportunity to try their IPA elsewhere during the week. The bartender said that was because they couldn't really keep up with supply so they keep it in house.

We ended up ordering a cheese steak and fries from the menu, and it was delicious.

If your looking for a local SD beer experience, this should fit the bill. We would go back on a future trip.

Nov 03, 2012
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slander from New York

4.15/5  rDev -2.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Because there’s a line out the door at Hamilton’s, that’s why; something about a couple of Bear Republic casks. Whatever, we reshuffled quickly to here, on the corner of something and something in closer to San Diego than I’ve been yet. Okay, so the neighborhood is in, ahem, ‘transition’, and probably not doing so quickly enough. I suppose we could shake that dried up shriveled paw, and fix that with one of our 3 wishes, but at what cost, what cost...

An ‘L’ish shaped shiny wood topped bar, with a brick base and seating for 20 on stools to the left. Matching bar counter adjacent seating another 20 perhaps, and then 2 matching pic-a-nic tables for 8 apiece and 4 hightop wall tabling extensions and bar counter running an ‘L’ off the side and along the kitchen wall to the rear.

Tap row alternating upper lower upper lower upper lower on barback center, some specialty booze above, and magnum bottles of Chimay & Samichlaus atop to both sides of a flatscreen there. 4X8 horizontal board forward of the bar, listing the Monkey Paw house beers brewed on the other side of that wall, + on decks and cask offerings current listed, as well as the rest of the tap; beer, style, ABV & price. Bottle cooler to the left, I believe there to be some 4 dozen + selections. Looks to be a pretty well thought out collection of import & craft, with a good many styles covered. I can see Orval in there; I wonder how much it would cost to spend some time with her.

I thought the walls were a blueish but they seem steel gray now. Matching blue gray ceiling and plank wood away from the bar. Drop spinnys with a center lamp and track baby spot trios. Windows with, well, it’s not stained glass, but papered maybe with beery pieces of stained glass in appearance narrow vertical accordion over out front. Brewery logo pieces and housemade, um, paintings (I think they be), riddled about. Events blackboard to the rear, and a straight to the point down and dirty food menu.

30 beers on tap, of which 6 are house beers (Mandrill IPA, Rich Man’s Double IPA, Low & Slow Rauchbier, Sweet Georgia Brown, The Downs Family Irish Stout, Oatmeal Pale Ale), and 2 dozen more, ¼ of which are imports meh (Guinness, Jever, Chimay White, Delirium Tremens, St Feuillien Tripel, Paulaner Hefe), and the remainder a mix of mostly west coast craft beer selections (Anchor Steam & Zymaster California Lager, Bear Republic Racer 5, Sierra Nevada Stout, Craftsman Juniper Ale, Coronado Mermaid’s Red Ale & Idiot IPA, Karl Strauss Tripel & Queen of Tarts American Wild Ale, Firestone Walker Reserve Porter, Ballast Point Sculpin, Green Flash West Coast IPA, Lagunitas IPA, Avery White Rascal, Flying Dog Raging Bitch, Ommegang BPA), save a single mead (IQhilika African Birds Eye Chili Mead) and cider (Blackthorn Cider). Lest I forget the pair of handpumps (only 1 live just now), pouring Karl Strauss Wreck Alley Imperial Stout.

We’re having at the Monkey Paw beers ‘cause it is, you know, a brewpub. I must say, the 2 IPA’s don’t suck, the Rich Man’s double IPA being not too over the top, but I’m really diggin’ the Mandrill IPA. And then I moved onto the Karl Strauss Queen of Tarts American Wild Ale, which was Rodenbach-ish, in a meh way.

It has gotten to the point at which a bit of food is going to help the cause. As such, I opted for a round of ‘beer candy naked wings’, while Ben went with the ‘spicy monkey sliders’ (I wonder how many of those will come to an order, as I would like to scarf no less than 3 of those from him). The food arrived all wrong, or I don’t know what. The ‘drunken monkey bones’ did not suck, and tasted better ‘cause I didn’t order them. And then the ‘beer candy naked wings’ I did order but had been seemingly denied showed up, while Ben remained sans sliders still (for his sins). Clearly, the whole ‘order through a window and point to the table you’re sitting at’ system is flawed major, ‘cause they just end up delivering whatever wherever. His ‘spicy monkey sliders’ finally arrived, but condensed to a single burger. It will be hard to move on that (Fuckers!) Correction; the slider is supposed to be a single full on burger (?), which Ben offered the ‘thumbs up’ on having quickly consumed.

A bit gritty but it’s a comfortable enough house overall. Good food if you can get it, I suppose. Solid bottle list, and taps, too, although the latter is seemingly a little odd to me; I can’t remember having seen a brewpub before with a guest tap to house beer 4 to 1 ratio. Just seems they’d be overshadowing their own wares, you know? Beer here!

Aug 07, 2012
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crossovert from Illinois

4.28/5  rDev +0.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

This is a brewpub that doubles as a craft beer bar. They had 9 house taps, all of which I tried, and plenty of guest taps as well.

The beers being produced here are pretty good. The double IPA was a bit weak but for the most part the others were solid. They sell flights of 4. The guest taps included highlighs such as Weihenstephaner Pils ad several local ipas. There were some rare bottles in the fridge.

They also served food. I ordered the Naughty Monkey and payed for it the day after.

Service was good, only 1 girl at the bar for the whole place but she managed. (The place isn't huge and it was about 1/3 full).

Jul 28, 2012
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ChulaVistaBarista from California

4.23/5  rDev -0.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

I drove here on a Friday afternoon two weeks ago. Monkey Paw has to be one of the easiest places to get in and out of parking-wise. It's a straight shot down the 94 West and right on the corner as you enter downtown. Parked on the street for a couple quarters, had a couple outstanding beers, and then got on the I-5 (the on ramp is literally a stone's throw away). That the beer and food here is top-notch makes this place a worthy destination, but factor in how amazingly accessible it is and you have one of the best P&Bs in San Diego. Accessibility is a make or break deal for me. If I know parking sucks, it's in a heavily trafficked area, and is overall just a hassle to get to I probably wouldn't frequent the location. Monkey Paw is somewhere I'd go "all the time". I really would.

They've got cheese steaks, wings, a pulled pork sandwich, ribs, and ridonculous portions of waffle fries. Fantastic waffle fries, dude. I had the pulled pork sandwich which was outstanding. Would I drive here to eat if they didn't have a sweet beer list? Probably not, but I'd drive here to drink and that the food is great makes it that much more awesome.

The bartender (a girl during my visit) was knowledgeable about the beers and more than happy to provide tastes if I was so inclined. Courteous and friendly. The place has huge windows which really lightens up the bar. I had the "Richman's DIPA" and the Monkey Paw/Stone collab, "Monkey Stones". Both were stand-outs for sure.

Overall: Fantastic lunch excursion. The accessibility, food, and beer make this place a definite "must visit". Another knock out bar by Scot Blair.

Jul 07, 2012
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HopHead84 from California

4.33/5  rDev +2.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

I stopped by yesterday (12/12/11) to try their first run of beers. I'd heard good things about the brewer's homebrew offerings so I was cautiously optimistic. As it turns out, the beer was damn good. Everything I tried was very good, but the Brown was probably their best beer per the style, and the Pineapple X-Press was a delicious hoppy Pale Ale. I had a couple pints of that.

The neighborhood contains no small number of homeless encampments, but once you make it to Monkey Paw you're greeted by a warm environment. Dark stained wood tables and a long bar are observable. The bottle and tap selections were both good, but I was only interested in trying the house beers.

The service was prompt and friendly. I was lucky to visit on 50 cent wing night, and the wings are very good. I recommend, as always, to get whatever sauce you desire on the side so that the wings stay crispy rather than soak in sauce and become soggy.

My main gripe about this place, as with Hamilton's, is that they only offer pints and no other sizes. This nonsense flies at Hamilton's, but if you're brewing your own beers you need to offer for purchase 4-5oz sample pours in the case that the patron wants to try all the beers. I don't really want to order full pints of all your house beers when I want to try them all. I don't live in the neighborhood, and I'm not looking to get a DUI on my drive home. I also don't just want a one ounce splash for free. I want to purchase a reasonably sized sample of the beer. _Please_ offer a sampler tray or an option of half pint pours.

My other gripe is the music playing on the jukebox. Nonstop nineties garbage played by the employees, like the shit they play on 91X. Is it too much to ask that you play some progressive death metal or maybe some funeral doom?

This concludes my discursive review of Monkey Paw.

Dec 13, 2011
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sholland119 from Pennsylvania

4.3/5  rDev +1.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Another place owned by the Hamilton's Tavern folks, which is all the endorsement you should need to stop by. After making the pilgrimage to Alpine, we stopped in here on our way back downtown. Monkey Paw is located in a residential area a few blocks east of downtown. We easily found street parking for our mid-afternoon visit.

Inside the place bears a strong resemblance to Hamilton's, except that the windows were open to let in some nice daylight. A long curved bar holds about 20. There are also plenty of high top and low tables with benches. A bit gritty but in a good way.

We visited during SDBW. The tap list for this day consisted of a bunch of Sierra Nevada beers, very heavy on the Beer Camp series. This was a very cool change from a lot of other tap lists in town that week. The Beer Camp beers were a mixed bag, as they have typically been in my experience but still this was fun.

The bartender was quite outgoing and friendly, made us feel at home.

No house brews yet, though we did see a small brew house in a garage next door so maybe soon. I liked Monkey Paw a lot.

HV

Nov 28, 2011
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brewandbbq from New Hampshire

3.39/5  rDev -20%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 2 | selection: 4

Smallish place downtown, with easy on-street parking. Black walls, burnished wooden bar-back and ceilings, and quite loud. About 30 taps, with a strangley large amount from Montana. Other than that a decent mix of hoppy beers, dark beers and a few Belgians mixed in. Lot's of Chimay bottles prominently displayed with a "Duvel prohibited" insignia on the chaulkboard. Curious.

This place was not our favorite of our 2011 SoCal trip. Two bartenders more interested in each other than customers, and apparently you have to ask for the happy hour pricing during happy hour, otherwise you pay full price. If there was a bottle list it was not offered.
One and done for Monkey Paw.

Oct 12, 2011
Monkey Paw Pub & Brewery in San Diego, CA
Brewery rating: 3.83 out of 5 with 299 ratings