Lap up the Dog's Brew

From Moondoggies to premier beer destination

The Dog’s daily specials throw neighborhood drinkers a juicy bone.
  • The Dog’s daily specials throw neighborhood drinkers a juicy bone.

The Dog

4479 Everts Street, Pacific Beach

When 22-year-old college student Brett Miller and partner Dean Marchant bought the bar at 4479 Everts Street in 1989, it was hemorrhaging money due to poor and often absent management. While pursuing his degree to become a property developer, Miller and his partner fired the whole staff and decided to run the place themselves. The historic beer bar, Moondoggies, quickly turned around. Their five-year loan was paid off by 1991, when Miller would buy out Marchant’s share. A year later, Miller expanded Moondoggies to Prospect Street in La Jolla followed by another Moondoggies in Pacific Beach in 1995, when he would rename the original location the Dog. Together, the three establishments were grossing $5–$6 million a year.

Now a prominent hotel developer and restaurant entrepreneur, Miller’s résumé is impressive: founder of Miller Enterprises and CEO of Eat.Drink.Sleep, touting projects such as Tower23 Hotel, Heat Hotel in Lake Havasu, Padre Hotel in Bakersfield, Lakehouse Hotel and Resort in San Marcos, Gringos, Jordan, Cendio, and a number of concession outlets at Belmont Park, among others. Despite these mostly upscale developments, the Dog has retained its classic dive feel and gives zero indication of sharing pedigree with the modern luxury hotel overlooking the boardwalk down the street.

Until recently, the Dog was famed for its ridiculous daily specials that more or less felt like Miller tossing neighborhood drinkers a nice, juicy, sudsy, cut-rate bone. I’m talking two-dollar pints, two-for-one bottles, dollar mugs. Real specials. Around summer of 2015, Brian Jensen, owner and founder of Bottlecraft Beer Shop & Tasting Room, grabbed the leash long enough to reinvent the Dog as a premier beer destination that endures to this day. Current manager Nathan Dinius, former GM at Cafe 976, came onboard in October 2015. “It’d be a shame to waste the taps,” he told me on a recent evening as a few patrons tossed a football outside the bar, “so I kept it going.”

These days, the Dog’s 18 taps are so well curated that a friend and I stood at the bar somewhat dumbstruck with mouths agape as we muttered things like: “Dude, Family Tart, I could go for a sour. Oh, but Refuge Blood Orange Wit. Man, look at all those local pilsners. Oh shit, I love Elysian. Schillinger Grapefruit & Chill, though.” And so on, much longer than felt appropriate.

Of course, it goes without saying, the place is dog-friendly.

The Dog

4479 Everts Street, Pacific Beach

Prices: Pints, $6–$8; pitchers, $22–$30; bottles, $3–$5; tall cans, $5

Food: Order sushi, burgers, Mexican, and more from nearby spots

Hours: 6pm–2am, SUN–THURS; 5pm–2am, FRI–SAT

Happy: 6pm–9pm daily; $4 pints, $16 pitchers

Parking: Street — be prepared to walk on weekends

Capacity: 49

Events: Open mic nights possibly soon; free pool

The Deal: Featured beers for $4.50

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