Do not fear the pseudo-sports bar exterior and the ’’Ladies Welcome’’ damp and dark hole-in-the-wall interior. These guys concentrate on having the hoppiest beer selection of the region and they are doing extremely well at it. The tap list was 90% hop monsters with a scotch ale and a Flemish Sour lost amidst the bitter pints. The bottle list is also very impressive and one could peruse through it and decide one of each very easily if our brains were not so puny. What I preferred about this place was the focus on hard to get regionals, something which I do not see very often (sadly) in our beer world. I would spend the whole evening with the guys here and never lack ideas because of their excellent selection. I would not bring the wife again though, this is really not a welcoming atmosphere, unless you are ready for a loud, sweaty and testeronefull evening.
I have only had the opportunity to visit O’Brien’s once: and it was worth the trip. It’s a bit far from where I live, but 70+ miles later, I found myself in a friendly pub with an excellent selection of beers. A must see, if you’re in SD.
I had to get here from my hotel in a taxi and it seemed to be in the middle of nowhere, near some car showrooms! Unfortunately once we arrived it became apparent that it would be a truncated visit due to early closing... :( I enjoyed the very comfortable leather chairs, and big telly. The two pints I had were amongst my favourite ones during the holiday, especially the Russain River. The snacks were tasty and the people seemed friendly enough, but it was understandably quiet. I just wish I could visit again...
This place is excellent for San Diego style IPA’s and Double IPA’s. The food is getting better everyday and is almost where it should be (big props to Lindsay). I recently attended a 7-Year Anchor Verical Tasting there, so there are special nights almost everyday. Get on their mailing list to stay on top of it. The whole staff work their asses off and it shows. No pool tables but a few dart boards to test your drunk ass. The people are locals and friendly as hell. A GREAT place so DO NOT MISS IT.
O Briens has always been a pleasure to go to. The seating is probably the largest problem...if you arent there by 7pm on an event night, forget it! Tom Nickel though runs a great shop and knows how to treat his customers. There have been many a fine event held here.
Sickboy282 (10) San Diego, California | February 7, 2004| Updated May 16, 2006
this place is the place to get specialty beer in san diego.... they get the brew on tap and in bottle that now that you can buy import bottles to-go..... Man...I am in trouble. The best bar for rare beer in san diego. They always have something new on tap so you can’t get board. If you want a loud place to dance and shake your rump, go elsewhere. Otherwise, if you want a calm relaxing place to sit and have a meal and beers, this is the place for you.
I met up with ScottVacula here while I did my whirlwind tour of San Diego. The food was no great shakes, but what was on tap was amazing. And as part of their MNF special, almost every beer was available as an $8 pitcher. Double Bastard pitcher for $8! Maybe it's better for my marriage and my health that there's nearly 3000 miles between me and this place.
21iceman40 (19) Grafton, Wisconsin | January 12, 2004| Updated February 7, 2004
Yes, well they do seem to have quite the selection here. And i must say that they had forties of st ides here for 3 dolla until i drank the entire stock out, and they served them to me with a paper bag too. Now they just need to go and stock up again. The beer is pretty damn cold, especially on the stouts. An excellent reading selection at the bar. Never really had the food there. Its very old, very old, the people that is and they only have decent music on when travis is working. So, great beer, with a like a moose/elks club atmosphere. A word to the wise, don't fuck with the pepper shaker, apparently some folk don't take to kindly to that. I swear I saw harry potter on crack there.
In theory they have a great draft selection, however the night I went they were out of 3 or 4 of the beers that I tried to order. Ambiance is that of a down-trodden family run bar. The service was helpful. All beer appears to be served in shakers that are only marginally clean, so if proper glassware is your thing you might be disappointed. The bottle selection was impressive but I did not try anything from it while I was there. Worth the visit just for the potential of the tap list and hey, bring your own glass.
Rerate #3: This place is so hit or miss it’s not even funny. My wife and I went on a Friday and felt like we entered the Elks Lodge and we weren’t on the guest list. The service was HORRIBLE and the waitress acted like I was a HUGE inconvience when I asked for some ice for my wife’s soda cup. It was like being in a low rent gentleman’s club with a bunch of middle-aged, married men flirting and touching the female staff, who were visibly uncomfortable with the touching, but going along with the abuse for the big tips. They were out of three beers that I wanted to try. Basically, don’t enter this place unless Tom Nickel is personally waiting on you (which he was on my second visit “Rerate #2”) Rerate #2: I was finally able to re-try O’Briens and was pleasantly surprised. The beer temps were correct, glassware was correct and clean and the tap list was exceptional. It really pays to get on the O’Briens mailing list...there are some awesome events that take place on weekends and weeknights. Original Rating: After hearing all the positive talk about O’Briens I was excited to check it out. Maybe I hit it one an off night but I really thought it was just OK. Although we were practically the only patrons, the service was a bit slow. I will try to attend one of the brewer’s events they occasionally have to retry.