San Diego beer notes: O’Brien’s Beer Bar

On Saturday during our trip to San Diego, my brother and I (along with a friend of his and two kids) made it down to O’Brien’s Beer Bar. O’Brien’s is my brother’s favorite bar in San Diego—I believe he even said “the best”—because of their incredible beer list and atmosphere. I shall defer to his judgment on this issue; I was suitably impressed.

Dispel any images of a chic, uptown type of place when you hear “beer bar”—you’re really thinking “wine bar” if that’s what you picture. O’Brien’s is more like an old-school tavern, and that’s the beauty of it. Laid back, with tables jammed together both inside and on the patio, a menu full of pub food (served up in plastic baskets, no less), maybe even a jukebox somewhere.

The difference is the beer. They stock some 20 taps with amazing beer, often rare and one-off type stuff, and they have a bottle list as equally impressive as Stone’s. While there, I had a Russian River IPA, and Aecht Schlenkerla Marzen, both on tap, both delicious—in fact, I’ve never even seen the Aecht Schlenkerla on tap anywhere.

The pastrami on marbled rye was fine, too—like I said, pub food.

Kids are allowed, as long as they’re not at the bar, and with adults. Though they might get bored—no kids’ menus or activities (unless you bring your own).

Definitely a place I need to revisit next time I get to San Diego. And I recommend you go, too.

4646 Convoy St.
San Diego, CA 92111
(858) 715-1745

One comment

  1. Hamilton’s Tavern ( is definitely in the conversation with O’Brien’s for best beer bar in SD, but my love of hoppy beers (O’Brien’s–self proclaimed “Hoppiest Place on Earth”!) and the fact I like good, friendly service will make O’Brien’s a winner every time. The few times I’ve been to Hamilton’s, it’s been a less-than-memorable experience!

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