Probably the definition of the craft beer dive bar, Hamilton’s has neighborhood bar written all over it. It’s located in a mostly residential area which means street parking. The interior is well worn and unglamorous with hundreds of tap handles suspended from the ceiling like tombstones. The taps were nearly all locals as we’re the clientele. It seemed fairly busy for a Tuesday night though I overheard several people comment that this was the least busy they’d ever seen the place. The service was prompt and the people were incredibly friendly. I didn’t want to leave. If we had places like this when I was in college I would have never graduated.
EXCELLENT beer bar in San Diego. A top-notch establishment with the right vibe: young, casual, friendly, and good service with a very good beer selection that includes many from local small breweries. The kind of place that you can spend hours in.
Oakes (833) Vancouver, British Columbia | April 27, 2008
Nice taverny sort of place with a solid draft list and helpful customers. Well worth a visit.
Hamilton’s has a dive bar kind of feel and is located in the middle of a small block of businesses in the a neighborhood. The interior is very dim and adorned with more decorative tap handles than I’ve ever seen. The old school CD jukebox has some bitchin’ tunes on it. The bartender was super friendly and knowledgable. I got perhaps the best service I had of my trip to CA. The beer list is serious. No messing around here. Loads of CA taps including Pliny the Elder and many other desireable rarities. The bottle list is extensive with a specific intent to get things that beer geeks salivate over.
Fun place...great character...must stop when in SD. They obviously have a great beer selection...but you’re here as much for the selection as the atmosphere and the vibe...which seems to change by the minute as it gets more crowded. If you just want to enjoy the beer...come early. Later it becomes a really loud, crowded, and fun beer bar. Not everyone’s place...but obviously a lot of people love it. If you’re alone...come early...with 4 or more...perfect when it’s crowded. Love the tap handles on the ceiling with the small white lights like stars! A must visit in SD!
Similar ambiance to kickbacks in Jacksonville, FL. Major dive bar with almost a biker feel. Pool tables. Men’s restroom has no lock and is a one person stall. So if you have to take a dump- have fun. Tap list when I was there was impressive with a focus on new local breweries with some Sculpin and Alesmith Yukesmith favorites. Nothing eye catching. Bottle list is huge with a lot of good stuff like many Avery sours, Cantillon Mamouche, Ruination 10th Anniversary, Dugges Idjit. Cool place. I’d come back to raid the bottle list. A large bar food menu is available with sausages, burgers, etc. Didn’t eat here. I’d expect decent pub grub. Service is exceptionally attentive and nice.
Very characterful dark beer bar. Guess Hamilton has best beer selection in San Diego with a strong focus on local brews.
chibuck (589) Chicago, Illinois | July 2, 2014| Updated July 3, 2014
You don’t expect much when walking in, it looks old and beat up with cracked vinyl stools. After a couple minutes you feel right at home and glad you stayed. A chalk board with about 20 taps of mostly locals with a couple Beligum’s adds to the charm. The focus is on local beers, but more renowned beers. There was roughly 4 beers that I would consider new, from a small brewery or not known. I’d like to see a few more about 25% but I can’t complain too much. They offer cheap full pours but will give you a couple tastes to find what you like. The bottle list is quite impressive with not only rarer beers like plenty of Cantillon, but vintage American beers like 2012 Parabola and Framboise de Amarosa among plenty others. They offer food, ignore the sticky gross menus and try some hush puppies. The service was top notch. Usually bartenders are a bit stand offish, but our server was not only nice but knew a ton about beer. This is a place I’d frequent and call home. A must visit.
JoeMcPhee (536) Toronto, ON, Ontario | April 14, 2007| Updated July 28, 2010
This place was awesome. I always know that I’m going to enjoy a place based on whether or not my wife hates it. This place is dark and dank and seedy... with virtually no reason to go into unless you are looking for killer beer.
I had a quick session here of three west coast hop bombs from Green Flash brewing followed by a Speedway Stout. All that and the bill was less than 20 bones. I could have probably spent another four-five hours here easily. All the beer I had was very fresh and in great form. Lots of bottles as well, although I didn’t get a chance to attack any of them. Maybe next time.