SD County tap houses

Where San Diego’s beer culture really lives

Toronado San Diego, seen here during an orderly, attendance-capped beer brunch, is often quite crowded
  • Toronado San Diego, seen here during an orderly, attendance-capped beer brunch, is often quite crowded

Tap houses are where beer enthusiasts comingle to talk about the great ones and the weird ones, to compare notes and to show off their respective palates. In the best tasting rooms you may find the best and rarest beers, and everybody’s an expert.

O'Brien's Pub

4646 Convoy Street, Kearny Mesa

O’Brien’s Pub

The OG craft taproom that helped get many a San Diegan hooked on a better beer maintains longstanding relations with some of the nation’s finest brewers, meaning some of their finest beers pour through its doors.


4026 30th Street, North Park


This outpost of San Francisco’s seminal tap house gets some of the world’s best beer and serves it to the thirsty masses. Belgian styles get special consideration, but locals and top-shelf domestic brands also abound.

Hamilton's Tavern

1521 30th Street, South Park


Local bands looking to make their mark aspire to play the Casbah. Local breweries have something similar going on with Hamilton’s. Get on this tap list and you might not hit it big, but you know you’re playing to the right audience.

Barrel Republic

1261 Garnet Avenue, Pacific Beach

Barrel Republic

A trick of technology makes this place worthwhile to those looking to discover something new. You draw your own beer from electronic taps, and you pay by the ounce. So you may try a sip of every beer on tap before you settle on a pint.

The Project Bar & Grill

3683 Fifth Avenue, Hillcrest

(Has gone out of business since this article was published.)

The Brew Project

This converted house features a comfortable patio and upstairs lounge, but the carefully curated locals-only tap list is the real attraction. Suddenly Hillcrest is a place to explore San Diego beer without leaving your seat.

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