Probably the definition of the craft beer dive bar, Hamiltonís has neighborhood bar written all over it. Itís 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 weíre the clientele. It seemed fairly busy for a Tuesday night though I overheard several people comment that this was the least busy theyíd ever seen the place. The service was prompt and the people were incredibly friendly. I didnít want to leave. If we had places like this when I was in college I would have never graduated.
Oakes (816) Vancouver, British Columbia | April 27, 2008
Nice taverny sort of place with a solid draft list and helpful customers. Well worth a visit.
Hamiltonís 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 Iíve ever seen. The old school CD jukebox has some bitchiní 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.
Similar ambiance to kickbacks in Jacksonville, FL. Major dive bar with almost a biker feel. Pool tables. Menís 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. Iíd come back to raid the bottle list. A large bar food menu is available with sausages, burgers, etc. Didnít eat here. Iíd expect decent pub grub. Service is exceptionally attentive and nice.
Fun place...great character...must stop when in SD. They obviously have a great beer selection...but youíre 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 everyoneís place...but obviously a lot of people love it. If youíre alone...come early...with 4 or more...perfect when itís crowded. Love the tap handles on the ceiling with the small white lights like stars! A must visit in SD!
chibuck (557) Chicago, Illinois | July 2, 2014| Updated July 3, 2014
You donít 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 Beligumís 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. Iíd like to see a few more about 25% but I canít 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 Iíd frequent and call home. A must visit.
Very characterful dark beer bar. Guess Hamilton has best beer selection in San Diego with a strong focus on local brews.
JoeMcPhee (535) Toronto, ON, Ontario | April 14, 2007| Updated July 28, 2010
This place was awesome. I always know that Iím 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 didnít get a chance to attack any of them. Maybe next time.
Iíll preface this by saying I am not trying to be a hater but damn, this place was not worth my adventure to get there. Very dark (to save money on energy?), definitely a dive bar (I love dive bars, btw) but had that annoying "we are also so fucking high end you should feel honored to be here" attitude. Ugh. The bartender couldnít have cared less about my presence- barely listening to my order. My pint of beer was promptly delivered, though. But, what? Ice cubes? The fuck? I get you are trying to cool the glass- but with your shitty beer bro attitude, get the ice outta the glass, dip wad. I originally gave them a pass because the place was packed but the bartender was more than enough after being there a while. I was going to try a burger but I didnít feel like supporting that dude any more.
After a deep breath I decided to give them a second chance next time I am in town. RB is usually pretty good when recommending a place this highly so it must have been a one off occurrence. It does have a lot of potential; I just didnít get to see it on my visit. Will re-rate.