Best Craft Beer Bars

Favorite spots to toss one back

Hamilton’s Tavern
1521 30th Street, South Park
Simple yet thoughtful, with an exceptional selection and raucous Second Saturday parties.

Live Wire
2103 El Cajon Boulevard, University Heights
This 20-year-old live music lair offered some of S.D.’s beer lovers their first taste of America’s earliest craft brews.

O’Brien’s Pub
4646 Convoy Street, Kearny Mesa
Pale ales, double and (God help us) triple IPAs have made “the hoppiest place on Earth” a standout for nearly two decades.

Small Bar
4628 Park Boulevard, University Heights
This dark nook on Park is a bright spot for weekend brunches bolstered by an eye-opening array of craft beers.

4026 30th Street, North Park
A laid-back take on a San Francisco institution complete with rare beers and a recently revamped bar menu.

Blind Lady Ale House
3416 Adams Avenue, Normal Heights
Lesser-seen ale and lager styles from around the world in a family-friendly pizzeria.

Churchill’s Pub & Grille
887 West San Marcos Boulevard, San Marcos
Ivan Derezin and his magnificent 50-tap tower bring volume and variety to North County.

Downtown Johnny Brown’s
1220 Third Avenue, downtown
A fave among the Civic Center set, this brew haven has everything from sours to stouts.

High Dive
1801 Morena Boulevard, Bay Park
This lovably kitschy neighborhood hang hosts women’s beer education events, called “Chicks For Beer.”

The Linkery
3794 30th Street, North Park
Round out a meal made entirely of sustainable, local food with beers siphoned from San Diego breweries.

Sublime Alehouse
1020 West San Marcos Blvd., San Marcos
It’s all about the yeast with the moist-inside, crispy-outside pizza crust and a 50-tap inventory of fine craft beers.

Main Tap Tavern
518 East Main Street, El Cajon
A location far from the coast and urban core keeps this well-stocked taproom a best-kept secret.

777 G Street, East Village
With so many taps, choosing the right brew can be challenging—thank goodness for four-beer flights.

OB Noodle House
2218 Cable Street, Ocean Beach
Slurp up some pho while drinking in a half-priced array of 30 killer craft brews from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. daily.

Tap Room
1269 Garnet Avenue, Pacific Beach
This party pad is the antidote to PB’s craft-starved coastal expanses.

Sessions Public
4204 Voltaire Street, Point Loma
A neighborhood hideaway worthy for its highly local selection, especially during “Beer and a Brat” Mondays.

Slater’s 50/50
2750 Dewey Road, Liberty Station
One hundred and eleven beers on tap and the half-ground beef, half-ground bacon 50/50 burger. Enough said.

Tiger! Tiger! Tavern
3025 El Cajon Boulevard, North Park
Hungry diners, oyster shuckers, and vegans alike can get something great from the wood-burning oven.

Urge Gastropub
16761 Bernardo Center Drive, Rancho Bernardo
Beer meets the ’burbs at this sleekly outfitted den with decadent dishes and a bottle list more than 100 strong.


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Restaurant reviews, food trends, top cocktails, wine, beer and generally the best eats and drinks in San Diego, with reporting (read: eating) lead by food editor Troy Johnson. Looking for the Erins? Erin Chambers Smith and Erin Meanley? Find their most recent musings over at the Around Town blog. And yes, we know that one needs a new name. We're working on it. 



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