San Diego’s best brewpubs
If tasting rooms exist to serve fresh beer to beer enthusiasts, brewpubs place a premium on serving fresh beer alongside good food. These spots foment a greater felling of community, attract more diverse crowds, and often become beloved neighborhood hubs.
1517 30th Street, South Park
South Park Brewing Company
Two years ago, I never thought I’d walk past Hamilton’s to drink next door instead. But this casual-seafood sister restaurant offers a more neighborly meeting spot, and some days sitting at a shared table drinking fresh, brewed-on-premises beer wins.
3416 Adams Avenue, Normal Heights
Blind Lady Alehouse
There are plenty of guest taps equipped to slake your thirst at this family-friendly pizza spot, but don’t skip the offerings of on-site Automatic Brewing. You’ll have to stand in separate lines to order beer and food, so order beer first and have something to drink while standing in line to order pie.
16990 Via Tazon #123, Rancho Bernardo
The Cork and Craft
Because it houses both Abnormal Beer Co. and Abnormal Wine Co., this earnestly artisan restaurant sits incongruously inside an industrial park. Don’t be fooled by the bland exterior — you will both eat and drink well within.
1956 Bacon Street, Ocean Beach
Pizza Port Ocean Beach
The award-winning brews churned out each year by this southern tip of the Pizza Port empire make up for the mediocre pizza. On the bright side, the thick doughy crust seems designed to absorb some suds so you may enjoy more of the always-worthy tap list.
110 N. Magnolia, El Cajon
(Has gone out of business since this article was published.)
URBN St. Brewing Co.
People find all kinds of reasons to go to URBN restaurants — the pizza’s always great and the North Park location can be quite a scene. Check this one for the beer. Peel through a small assortment of quality house brews, and when you find something you love, order a pitcher.
San Diego’s greatest gastropubs
Beer and food pair well together — we know this. And so do the restaurants on this list, that also know that great beer prefers quality cuisine.
1557 Columbia Street, Little Italy
Queenstown Public House
A funky converted craftsman setting and pub food by way of New Zealand afford this place plenty of atmosphere. A reliably good tap list gives you more than enough reason to enjoy it.
3000 Upas Street, North Park
Underbelly North Park
It’s still tough to tell whether you’re sitting inside or outside when you visit this uniquely designed ramen house. It might depend whether you’re sitting at one of the fire tables or the well-appointed beer bar.
887 W. San Marcos Boulevard, San Marcos
Churchill’s Pub & Grille
One of the OG craft beer spots in the county serves laudable food to go with a consistently excellent tap list, including special tap events and food-pairing dinners.
2218 Cable Street, Ocean Beach
OB Noodle House
Some may still prefer the original OB Noodle House location. Both offer great beers, but this one gets the nod thanks to patio seating with a people-watching view of lively O.B. sidewalks.
16761 Bernardo Center Drive, Rancho Bernardo
Most likely, there’s a subset of people who visit Urge strictly for the food. But given the impressive collection of beers that roll through, I suspect most come for the beer and wind up enjoying both.
Beautiful beer gardens
The best brew- and gastropubs let you sit outside in beautiful surroundings. This is San Diego, after all. We’re known for sunshine, not just craft beer. These spots offer both.
1999 Citracado Parkway, Escondido
Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens
Nearly a decade after construction, Stone’s paean to beer remains the best place to drink in the county. The gardens have grown to the point you may luck upon a moment of seclusion in the twisting greenery, while exploring a tap list rich with rare Stone releases and stellar guest beers.
1450 Plaza de Panama, Balboa Park
One visit’s enough to question why we haven’t always had a craft beer bar in the Museum of Art’s sculpture garden? Even if you don’t take your drinks to kick it on a blanket in the grass surrounded by eclectic artwork, you get to stroll along El Prado both coming and going.
9675 Scranton Road, Sorrento Valley
Karl Strauss Brewery Gardens
Koi ponds and waterfalls… 20 years ago, such a place may have been deemed necessary to lure people to a craft beer setting. Given the number of bare-bones tasting rooms that have popped up the past decade, we’ve clearly lowered our standards, which is fine. But this is still better.
1347 Tavern Road, Suite C23, Alpine
Alpine Company Pub
Alpine Beer Co. went from a small, overcrowded, and falling-apart dive bar in which to serve its fantastic beer to a stylish and spacious restaurant on the appropriately named Tavern Road. Its modestly landscaped outdoor bar rewards Alpine devotees for making the trek east.
1301 Market Street, East Village
Lay out artificial turf and plop down some shipping containers in an empty lot and you have yourself a park. Include a dog run and craft beer service, and you have something better.