Spike's Pub

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Spike's PubSpike's Pub
22 Ratings
Spike's PubSpike's Pub

Type: Bar, Eatery

570 Higuera St
San Luis Obispo, California, 93401-3849
United States

(805) 544-7157 | map

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Ratings: 22 |  Reviews: 15
Photo of gelasin
4/5  rDev +8.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Photo of Bobraines
4.66/5  rDev +26.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 5 | food: 4.25

My son brought me here twice. Great place for pub food and an awesome beer selection

84 characters

Photo of MisterKilderkin
4.25/5  rDev +15.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4

Photo of Bubbawilly88
4/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of BreweryRun
4/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of boudeysbigbrew
4/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of GeorgeH
4/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of sj660
3.65/5  rDev -1.1%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 2

Spike's has changed a few times over the years. I used to go there weekly with some friends who have since moved away. Sometimes, the location at the Creamery on the south end of downtown SLO keeps the crowds thinner and less annoying, but sometimes it doesn't.

I've always had friendly, helpful, and efficient waitstaff when I was there.

I'm not a big fan of the food there. Some of it is good for drinking beer with, but to me, it tends towards the greasy side. Though the prices are reasonable for downtown SLO, which after so many years you sorta get used to.

But, this is a beer site. So, lest we forget, they hae had the best beer selection around for a while. I go there to drink beer, not to eat, not to go for an sweet time with my wife, and not to eat haute cuisine.

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Photo of ThreeWiseMen
2.73/5  rDev -26%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3 | service: 1.5 | selection: 3 | food: 3

We've lived in San Luis Obispo for four years and have been to Spike's many times. While Wiseman Justin frequents Spike's more often than me, Wiseman Nick, I've decided to rewrite our original review (which was posted a year and a half ago) because my feelings about Spike's have changed dramatically since then.

Spike's is the only true beer bar in town. They offer a decent selection of domestic and imported micro-brews, and occasionally host events that showcase individual breweries and/or rare beers. The mood sways from mellow to raucous, but but things never get out of control. It's typically a good place to hang out and chat. They generally serve beer in its proper glassware, too. These are qualities that have always been true of Spike's.

Spike's used to have a great selection of rotating draft beers, ranging from Bear Republic Apex and Racer X to Green Flash West Coast IPA and Imperial IPA to rare Sierra Nevada offerings (Tripel, Brown Saison, etc.). They would also put local beers on from time to time, from brewpubs such as Dunbar of Santa Margarita and Santa Maria Brewing Company of Nipomo. That's how it used to be. It was nice. Ownership changed hands over the summer of 2009, and now the specialty drafts aren't very special: SN Celebration and SN Anniversary are as good as it gets. Also, Mike-aritas and Wyder's Dry Pear Cider have found permanent homes on the specialty bottle list. To make things worse, some of the better craft beers on the "Around the World" list have been replaced with imported lagers like Singha and Phuket. All in all, the beer selection at Spike's has gone way downhill.

Spike's has always had notoriously bad service. Anyone who's been there more than once or twice knows that. With the new management, however, service seemed to be improving. Seemed to be - and maybe it is... slightly. Last night was terrible though. We sat at our table for 45 minutes, and left without ever being served. To the waitress's credit, she was the only server working. The ONLY server, and the place was packed. Still, she chose not to write down our order, and as a result forgot it. Many people around us got up and went to the bar to get their drinks (which we contemplated doing), but once the table next to us got served within five minutes of arriving, we bounced. We told her to cancel our order, which she couldn't find anyway, on our way out.

Before I wrap up this review, let me also say that Spike's charges $5.00-$11.00 per beer, and there are no drink deals. The food is mediocre, and also overpriced (~$10 for a burger and fries).

I'll probably be back to Spike's at some point just because it's the only craft beer bar in San Luis Obispo. However, episodes like last night make it very hard for me to return.

UPDATE (01-04-2010): Spike's remains the same. The selection is still mediocre, the service is awful, and the prices are continuing to rise. If you're looking for a solid craft beer bar in San Luis Obispo, hit up Creekside. The service is great, the prices are fair, and the selection almost equals Spike's.

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Photo of Floydster
3.28/5  rDev -11.1%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 3 | selection: 4

I went here on a Friday night around 9pm with some friends, walk in and the draft beers are immediately on your right, the bar is two sections and wraps around about half the place, good amount of taps and pretty much all craft, remember seeing Old Foghorn, Black Butte, Allagash White, and Old Rasputin to name a few, place was kind of run down and too busy, they had an average bottle selection but not great for being supposedly the best in town, I much rather go to one of the brewpubs myself, atmosphere is weak with a bunch of college kids being loud and yelling at the TV, I have heard they have some decent tastings once in a while, my main complaint is that they do not seem to support the local beer scene as I did not see anything from Cayucous, Dunbar, Santa Maria, Creekside, Downtown, etc., although there was a few Firestone brews which you can find at lots of different places these says, pints were expensive and like I said I would rather go somewhere else when I am in the area, decent for a bar on the central coast, but cannot say much more than that

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Photo of Swimsum
3.58/5  rDev -3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3

As stated with some of the other reviews, this one is based off multiple visits to Spikes, the good, the somewhat bad and the downright ridiculously bad.

The set up is you walk into the bar and face a L-shaped bar. Glassware wall is to your right and the taps are also to your right. The amount of glasses here is impressive and I've wondered many times if they even use the ones that are like 10' off the ground. The taps are all in a line on the wall with print outs of what tap is what posted above the tap. There are two main areas to the place. I'll just call them the bar room and the back room. I've never been in the back room, only looked so I can't comment too much on that. However, each time I visit I sit in the same place each time. There is a bunch of swag all over the walls. I've been there when the atmosphere is pretty chill and really enjoyable. However I've been there when it's a bit more crowded and it can get very noise very quickly. And I've been there when it's terrible, lots of people, noisy and just all around not that great of a place.

As far as the type of people go, you get all types. I've been in with college kids, locals who sit at the same place all the time (but I guess I do that too....), old, young, and all those in-between. Like I said, if there aren't a lot of people, the place is pretty chill and relaxing. As more and more people come however, it gets just a bit louder and louder and can get pretty annoyingly loud.

The beer selection is the best in SLO at any bar. They have an "Around The World" which consist of 40 beers in both bottles and on draft. The price ranges from $4 to $9 for the beers on the list. Most are in the $5 to $6 range. Their happy hour is from 5 to 6 pm and is a dollar off drafts. While it's not a lot, it does add up if you get all draft beers. As stated before, the beer selection is good but it's nothing that cannot be found around the area. They also have a Specialty draft and bottle board and while some of these are very good, again I've never seen/had anything too rare here.

The food here is standard pub grub and isn't have bad but can be a bit expensive. They do have specials for each day of the week but I can't say I've ordered any of these. They are decent deals based off their standard prices.

The service is what is always in debate about this place. As I said in the beginning, I've been in here with the good, the somewhat bad and the ridiculously bad service. The good service comes when there aren't a lot of people in and the waitresses can actually get to you in a timely fashion. I've had both a very informative waitress and one who wasn't too informative but was still very friendly. All the waitresses I've ever had are very friendly and nice. I've been waited on by what I believe is the owner and he was nice but wasn't too involved. The service really drops off as the place gets more crowded. Basically if you're sitting in Spikes and there are a lot of people in there, be prepared to wait for service.

I really like this place. That being said I have only been there a couple times where it's just been terrible. I usually go pretty early in the evening so service is good and it's fairly relaxing. If you're visiting and looking for a bar with a good beer selection, I suggest checking out Spikes. It is the best beer selection in SLO by far.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
3/5  rDev -18.7%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 3 | service: 3 | selection: 3 | food: 3.5

This review is based upon numerous visits on different days and times over a period of one year.
I was expecting the place to be a little larger. Crowd ranged from college students, local guys(younger and older) having a casual beer. The local table tends to be the grumpy, obnoxious, know it all, who are you type leaving the atmosphere pretty crummy. I have caught many snide remarks from the regulars on the center table. Its more relaxing when they are not there. Most people that visit are not craft beer guys and all they know is Cali beer. Beer mags to read. Parking is on street or behind place. Servers range from good to terrible. The female servers are the worst! Place is small upfront with overflow in the back. L shaped bar that does not have to much room. TVs on the walls. The selection is not that great. A few brews I like to see on tap that tend to be regular are Anchor Bwine and of course Firestone stuff. They are brining in more local stuff now like Einhorn and Santa Maria Brewing. The selection on tap is pretty standard with SN stuff, Anchor, and Anderson Valley. Bottle selection is pretty good but then again nothing I cant buy in a good beer store. Prices are usually ok but sometimes you have to watch it. Food is good. Overall a good bar for the Central Coast with a limited selection and distribution, anyhwre else this place would probably fail as a "beer bar"

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Photo of Grabbin2nd
2.6/5  rDev -29.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3 | service: 1 | selection: 3 | food: 3

I've been to Spike's on numerous occasions, so I will now review it.
First of all this is truly the place to go in town because there is nothing else. The beer selection on tap is average at best. With that being said, it's the only place in town with something other than Firestone, Shocktop, Nasty light, Widmer and Guiness. Out of all the beers on tap I would probably only drink 2-3 and none make me go "oh ah."
Food is good pub grub, nothing more, nothing less.
Service is where my problem is. The waitresses never come up and ask me what I want and god forbid I ask for a refill. So i have to go up to the bar and "wait it out."
Every time I have gone I have been treated less than expected by the "Owner." I was shocked to find out that this guy is actually the owner. He looks more like a Cal Poly grad that never left and inherited the business from his dad or something. He blatantly ignores me on most occasions while I wait patiently @ the bar for a beer. For example last night he brought a tray of clean glasses and put it away right in front of my face while I waited to order my beer. If he was one of the 7 dwarves I would call him "Grumpy/disinterested/not into his business dwarf." I find this very disheartening from the "owner."
I'm not going to trash the place but it would be nice to have someone that actually cared about the BEER and the service they provide to the "slocals." I'm not some punk college kid so don't treat me like one and I probably know more about beer than anyone in the place. I have plenty of cash to spend and don't mind doing so on a regular basis if I am treated with a little bit of kindness.
Going to a place like this makes me long to open a beer bar and actually do it right. Care about the beer, your customers and try to look like you are having a good time, otherwise don't get into the business. I don't go here except for BA gathering's and now I remember why. I'm out.


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Photo of N1CKOLAS
1.98/5  rDev -46.3%
vibe: 3 | quality: 2 | service: 1 | selection: 2.5 | food: 2

I feel like I have been cheated on by a loving girlfriend of many years. . Me and my friends have been coming here literally at least once a week for the last year. The servers know us, we are "locals" here. This place is practically the definition of my college years. I loved this place. Some of my fondest college memories happened here. This is why I feel absolutely betrayed. Why did you cheat on me Spike's?

Maybe I am sounding a bit harsh, but let me run you through the night:

When we got here, it was busy, but I had been here when it had been far busier. We sat down at our table. Literally 15 (FIFTEEN!) minutes later, the server FINALLY came to our table to ask for our drink order.

Here are the straight facts. SIX for us were at the table. FOUR of us were eating dinner. The other TWO were there just for a beer.

We ordered our drinks, and our food. The wait for drinks took an additional TEN MINUTES. Food took the normal time to receive., but after that, service was literally nonexistent. Once our server finally did come to check on us, she again took some drink orders. Another TEN MINUTES passed for her to return with our drinks, but she had messed up the order and forgotten one of the drinks. At this point, I start getting annoyed. Already, in the countless times I have visited this place, this was by far the worst service I had ever received at Spike's. Unfortunately though, it only got worse.

After the messed up drink order, service was completely nonexistent for the rest of the night. One of us actually had to get up and ask our amazing server for the bill. To our lovely surprise, there was an 18% gratuity added to our bill. Let me remind you that there were SIX of us, only FOUR that were eating, the other two only ordered ONE BEER each, and we had this BS 18% gratuity added to our tab. Brace yourself, it got worse.

At this point I would like to remind you all that I have visited Spike's COUNTLESS times, often with groups larger than six, and have NEVER had a gratuity added to our bill.

So basically, I am fuming now. By far the worst service I have ever had at this place, in fact, close to the worst service I have ever had at any restaurant EVER. We grudgingly pay our bill. On our way out, one of us overhears our server chatting to another server saying "I had to charge gratuity because I knew they weren't going to tip me."

Words cannot express my disappointment. One of my friends decides to speak to the owner, but the owner only seemed to defend our oh-so-amazing server of the night.

I really feel as if I have been cheated on. Why Spike's? Why? This was really one of my worst dining experiences ever. It really is tragic to have such a disgusting taste in my mouth after so many amazing times. I have seen you here server, I know you are not new, that is not the excuse. I've spent hundreds of dollars here, and unfortunately starting to feel it was all a waste now. I am utterly disgusted Spike's. I expected so much more.

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Photo of younger35
4.03/5  rDev +9.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5

This was the first bar a buddy and I visited on our little beer trip up from LA to Santa Rosa. I was a little bit hesitant about visiting this place after checking out their website but I'm glad we did. It's not overly huge but it's got a front part with like 4 booths and 5 or 6 tables. There was a back part that people kept coming in and out of but I never went back to check it out. They had a pretty nice beer selection with plenty of taps with a fantastic selection of different brews. Some Firestone Walker, Lost Coast, Lagunitas, Bear Republic - amongst others. The coolest part about the place was the entire wall filled with shelves of different glass wear that they pour there beer into.
When we got to the place it was filled with college students (which was okay, but we'd been driving 5 hours and had been up since 8 a.m., wanted a little quite but no biggy) that we noticed didn't tip the wait staff at ALL. We even heard some grumblings from the bartender. We basically stayed until the placed closed down and even after getting F'd on the tips the bartender and waitress were both really nice. They said they'd stay open as long as we were drinking and I think actually meant it. This would be one of those great places to go on a Saturday afternoon for a few beers and football.

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Photo of bradford
3.88/5  rDev +5.1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3

This is a frequent stop for me after a tough day in class. It is very hard to find a decent beer on tap in the college town-BMC drinking-beer wasteland of San Luis Obispo. But Spike's is one of the few places I can go in during happy hour and get a great beer while not having to surround myself with frat boys looking to get wasted for cheap. Every time I have been in, there is Old Foghorn on tap at the happy hour price of something like $2.50 a pint. A great deal and the beer tender is an attractive college aged girl who actually knows a little about beer. I actually comiserated with her this weekend about the dirth of beer knowledge of most people in town. That alone is worth the price of admission for me. If in town, I reccomend stopping in for a pint, then heading around the corner to Sandy's Liquor and Deli ( my former employer) and picking up a couple of rare bottles of import and craft domestic beers.

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Photo of Zorro
4/5  rDev +8.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

On the back of the menu it says this: "WELCOME to the WORLD OF BEER at the ORIGINAL SPIKE'S San Luis Obispo" And they do mean beer, no wine on the menu.

This is a quite small and cozy place with 5 bar stools, 3 booths and 6 tables. There are a few more tables in the patio out back.

23 bottled beers and 22 draft taps at the time of my visit.

This place has a very lived in look with nice wood bars that show some wear from use, this isn't any yuppie bar. You get the idea that this is a beer sort of place from the 9 liter St. Feuillien Triple bottle at the crook of the "L" shaped bar.

There is an extensive selection of beer glass for sale here, 40 varieties in all from Sam Adams Oktoberfest glasses to a Hacker-Pschorr boot.

Food is basic bar type food freshly prepared and reasonably priced.

Ultra clean bathrooms always a good indication about how clean a food server really is when you are not watching them.

A most relaxing and worthwhile place to visit.

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Photo of Callenak
3.85/5  rDev +4.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3

I went to college in SLO, so Spike's was a regular spot for me, and still is whenever I visit.

Spike's has a solid selection of beers in a central coast that's void of any beer bar. They've got the monopoly on that. Serve about a dozen or so beers on tap, plus another 30 or so bottle selection. All and all, about 50 beers to choose from. Anywhere else on the central coast you will be lucky to have 5 beers to choose from. Their beer selection is a solid and diverse selection of CA, US, and world beers. They don't get the limited and amazing beers that say Naja's, Obrien's or Toronado get, but look at where Spike's is at. They don't exactly have the same distribution channels. Whatever they have, I'm sure you'll find something to fit your mood. Last time I was there I had some Old Foghorn on tap. Delicious.

The food is normal pub grub. Nothing fancy but not bad either. If you are in the SLO area, definitely worth your stop. It's located conveniently downtown close to a ton of bars and shopping. Eat at Firestone (restaurant not brewery) drink at Spike's. You'll have a good time.

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Photo of dblinkhorn
3.83/5  rDev +3.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3 | food: 3.5

Since this is right down the street from my main beer store, I often stop in here and have a brew or two. They unfortunately only have about 10 beers on tap, and so they have to lose one to get another one. They change the beers around fairly regularly, thankfully. The service is very good and all of the bartenders I have met are very friendly, including the owner. They have a wide selection of bottled beers, both California local, US local, and several Belgian beers. I haven't had much of their food, but I did have some french fries and an avocado/bacon cheeseburger. It was pretty good, but definitely fast food-esque. You won't find any gourmet foods in here to pair with you fine ales, if you know what I mean--it's regular ol' pub.

I definitely recommend the bar if you're in the area, since they have a good craft selection for this county. I wouldn't make a special trip just to come here, though.

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Photo of Goldorak
3.86/5  rDev +4.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5

After a casual stroll through the lovely streets of downtown SLO, we weren’t quite ready to hit the hot tub at the hotel yet, so we ended our evening at Spike’s.

Fun college bar atmosphere, but did have a few older people mixed in. The place wasn’t too full, but the tables and chairs in the center are a little cramped so it looked more bustling than it actually was. Lots of breweryana and all kinds of unrelated clutter plastered on the walls, we sat in a booth in the corner opposite to the bar, underneath the TV so I couldn’t see it. Wall of fame filled with little brass plaques. The only real complaint I had was the single toilets, especially after a few pints my bladder shrinks the size of a walnut so I always had an eye on the potty door.

A friendly young waitress with pigtails came along quickly with Beer menus printed on colored paper. The list had some interesting stuff, but not too many that made my jaw drop. Compared to places like Toronado or O’Briens’ I guess this place is more second tier, but they did cover a lot of ground, they seemed to have something for everyone, even picky bastards like me. They had a few crappy imported lagers but not to the detriment of local brews. Our waitress gave us sound advice and even though we didn’t share the same tastes (she isn’t as fond of hops as I am), I was able to make good selections based on her opinions, and I think she brought me a free sample just to be sure. She came to check up on us every once and a while and chitchatted. I guess she doesn’t get a lot of French-Canadian tourists, she seemed to like our accent.

Beers tasted fine, so turnover and cleanliness of the tap lines doesn’t seem to be an issue here. Overall a good place to stop in the area, I’d hang out there often if I were a local.

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Photo of deathblosom
3.9/5  rDev +5.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3

This place recently got new owners and the menu and beers changed slightly. There are about 20 taps and about 20 bottled beers, used to be closer to 40 bottles. They reopened on Feb 2, 2006 but the same wait staff is there. The food is typcial pub grub and not overly priced. This place has a big local following, not many outsiders or people just passing by. There is a back room and think they do have a couple crap lagers on tap. Some belgians, and seem to always have Pranqster on draft. They had Bigfoot on and normally always have Anchor Porter.

If is very close to 101, and is not more than 1/4 mile from the Marsh St exit.

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Photo of Rumrunner
4.08/5  rDev +10.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

We stopped in here for lunch. A great place for a quick bite and a pint or two.

This place is small and is made up of two rooms. The back room is somewhat dark and has large windows. The windows would be great if there was something eye catching to look at outside. The main room has the small bar which seats about five people and a few tables and chairs. Plenty of beer swag on the walls and the decor is a bit dingy. Still a warm vibe is felt upon entering this place.

At lunch time the bartender serves as the waitress or waiter. We had very good service. The bartender was doing a fine job of keeping peoples glasses full and taking food orders. She was very pleasant and helpful.

The food was good. The fish in the fish and chips were lightly breaded and the spices were nice. The chips were good as well. The menu is made up of burgers, salads, soups and a few other items. No spirits are served. A small wine list is available.

Spike's has twenty plus taps. They have a good bottle selection and magunums of Chimay. A good selection but nothing too obscure. Micros, imports and macros. Check the website for beers as the taps do rotate. A short list. Anchor, Lost Coast, Anderson Valley, North Coast, Chimay, Kostritcher and plenty of others. Everyone should be able to find a beer or two to their liking here.

Give this place a try. This is a gem in SLO. Good vibes all around. Especially if one is road tripping from SoCal to NoCal or vice versa on the 101 freeway.

A side note: Like the SLO Brewery, there are plenty of limricks, cheesy poems and lame comments written on the bathroom walls. Sadly there is nothing of noteworthy prominence. SLO Collage better up their standards for acceptance. It is just sad. Can't any of these people come up with anything creative? Paint the walls and start over.

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Spike's Pub in San Luis Obispo, CA
Place rating: 3.69 out of 5 with 22 ratings
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