Located in a nondescript strip mall, this restaurant/beer bar boasts a staggering list of beers to drink or take out - perhaps the best selection in Southern California. They specialize in Belgian beers, but carry offerings from 40 countries, including a great selection of U.S. microbrews (mostly West coast), and even some nicely aged beers. There is a decent food menu that includes sandwiches, salads, pasta and pizza. Their license requires that you purchase food before you can drink beer. Be sure to bring your own glass or buy one from their extensive selection of beer glasses. The owners will happily talk beer with you.
We visited this unbelievable place the first time 1st of May 2014. We were so sorry to hear that the owner Sam passed away this January. He can be very proud of his achievements ! The Stuffed Sandwich was founded almost 40 years ago in 1976 and was one of the first places in LA to focus on good beer. You feel the history when entering the restaurant. The beer selection is amazing, many Belgium beers, but also beers from all over Europe and the US. They even had Granit Bock from Hofstettner and Rieder Pils (both from Austria and of course they had two different Samichlaus)! No mainstream, a very distinctive sortiment. We were very welcome in this place. The sandwiches were so tasty. The interior and the collection of beer souvenirs has grown over the years, you just feel the history and the beer enthusiasm. What else should I say, absolute MUST visit when you are in LA.
Came here on a random Tuesday? night with Bobby (t0rin0) I’ve been meaning to drop by this place for years, but every time I’m in SoCal it seems to slip through my fingers. Not this time. We showed up in the late afternoon/evening and there were just a couple people in the place… Bobby said that this was highly unusual. We chatted up the owner (Marlene) for a few minutes and then got our beers. The tap list was good, but the real impressive thing was the bottle list. Holy crap…. tons of crazy stuff that was way past it’s prime, but still exciting to see and drink. I got a bottle of 1995 Bigfoot for $8… a great deal considering most places around me would’ve charged at least $20 for the rarity of the vintage, even if it was flat and horribly oxidized, but what the heck, it was my high school graduation year…. good times. Lots of other vintage stuff like Old Stock that was +10 years old yada yada… Lots of space inside with a nice patio to boot. Inside, was a veritable craft beer museum with all kinds of old bottles, beer glasses, etc. I had a great time just marveling at all the old memorabilia. Obviously, this is a place that has had a long standing relationship with craft breweries that goes back 30+ years. Rare to see that nowadays. I got a chance to chat with Marlene for a minute about Sam. I only wish I had made the effort to visit this place while he was still alive. He sounds like a great, memorable person. His legacy lives with his place. Stuffed Sandwich FTW!
> The progenitor of craft beer bars in LA finds itself outdated but still dearly loved
>> It is an assuming strip mall place with an outdoor closed off, small patio along with inside long table bench type seating. The menu is mostly sandwiches and the quality isn’t really up to par, but the portions are large and people seem to really like the spaghetti and meatball sandwich. I can’t recommend getting the BLT. For beer, it is a very bizarre concept that could spell disaster for someone not ’in the know.’ First, you need to bring your own beer glass. Any shape seems to be okay as long as it is about 12oz I guess. If you fail to do this, you must buy a glass on premise, though they are $4 and up and you get to keep them. Plus, they aren’t just pint glasses but proper tulips. So it isn’t so bad if you forget. Then you can choose from bottles in their fridges or beers on tap. However, there are usually only 8 beers on tap and they keep with a theme. I’ve been here twice and it was barleywines in February and pumpkin beers in April. A little bit off season, but okay. So not much variety on tap as they are all so similar. For the bottles in the fridge, there isn’t a list that I know of and thus no price list either. So it is sort of shoot and miss asking to look at bottles and checking vintages and price. The process is a bit frustrating for patron and staff. Prices are not super cheap with markup you would expect at a nice gastropub or restaurant. With that said, some bottles here you won’t find elsewhere such as 1991 Pope Elridge Thomas Hardy’s Ale, $31. A quick glance through the fridge shows about 60% Belgian beers, 30% American, 10% German. Breweries to expect: De Dolle, Scaldis/Bush, Dupont, Fantome, Rochefort, Aecht Schenkerla, Lost Abbey... Most of the selection is similar to what you might find in Total Wine or a decent bottle shop, though the older retired English barleywines are quite the find. Ambiance is definitely outdated, could use new decoration, ceilings are very low, carpet is old. So from an outsiders perspective it isn’t much, but from an insider’s perspective it is a local treasure having been around for so long and put LA on the craft beer map. That puts me at odds on how to view this place. I can say the staff and the people here are what make it tick rather than location, selection, food, or decor.
Although I knew about this place beforehand, I have to thank Bobby for introducing me to the "real" Stuffed Sandwich and the crew. Awesome selection, got to try a lot of stuff here that I’d never heard of. My favorite part of the selection is the back vintage stuff; it may not taste the greatest but it’s cool nonetheless. I do enjoy the Polish sandwich, and the fact that the taps change every month is great. I also like bringing my own glassware, it gives it a member’s club feel.
Been coming in almost every Wednesday since the summer of 2007.
Some people get turned off by the rules and by Sam’s attitude and I can understand that but they are really nice people. Sam is all talk, he’s actually very friendly. And the rule about having to buy food is well, that’s their rule. It’s a restaurant not a bar. And yes, you should bring your own glass or else buy one from them if you dont want to use a paper cup.
Beer wise it’s hard to really stand out these days with so many restuarants and bars competing for the same beer but these guys always have an ecclectic collection and they go way back with a number of California brewers (Sierra Nevada, Moylans, North Coast, Stone, Hair of the Dog, the list goes on) and still have some really old stuff; Marlene sold me a bottles of batch 2 and batch 5 Adam in 2012 and a week later pulled out a 1996 Cantillon Kriek. They have Bigfoot back to the 90s and Anchor Our Special Ale back to the 80s.
The food is pretty good over all. Its mostly sandwiches but you can also get full entres as well as soup, fries, chili, and a few other things.
They put on a new set of kegs every month and occasionally organize tastings. I’ll continue to come back whenever I can.
Amazing selection of bottles and a good rotation on tap as well. Staff is very knowledgeable, sadly Sam was not there during my visit due to his illness. They have a great variety of aged beers as well. Bring your own glass if you go or else you will be stuck drinking from plastic cups.
One word, awesome! Sam and Marlene are LA’s craft beer spot and original. Sam has been ill for a while so call before you drive there. Food is great, owners are the friendliest people you’ll ever meet. Every beer imaginable, I mean everything plus some vintage stuff.
It’s sort of one of the quintessential beer places in LA County, and we don’t really have too many of those.
Everyone knows about Sam and Marlene and their rule about food. The beer selection is hard to top, though some of it is kept in less than stellar conditions.
Don’t eat the polish unless you like to crap yourself.
Small spot in san gabriel and they have been around for a while. They usually have around 8 taps going and this year they are doing different styles of beer each month. Sam knows his beer and it shows. Amazing bottle selection with some rare stuff. Food is mediocre but the beer is the reason to go here. Owner jokes alot so be ready. Another great SGV spot.