Log in or Sign up
Extreme Beer Fest
returns to Boston on March 21 & 22, 2014.
Tickets are on sale now
BeerAdvocate mobile beta: Testers Wanted
. Give it a try and let us know what you think.
Android or Google Chrome user? Get a
14 day free trial to BeerAdvocate magazine on Google Play Newsstand
today! (AU, CA, UK, US only).
Extreme Beer Fest
Google Play Newsstand
Downtown Johnny Brown's
Taps: 16 / Bottles: -
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: N
$$ - reasonable
[ Bar, Eatery ]
1220 3rd Ave
phone: (619) 232-8414
(Place added by: xlperro on 04-07-2006)
Ratings & Reviews
| Reviews: 41 | Show All Ratings:
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$
Stopped in for some pool and shuffleboard during a recent trip to SD. The place is kind of hard to find, it's actually on the far corner of a square and there's no street entrance (at least that I saw).
Atmosphere is interesting. It's close to being a dive but it retains some semblance of class. You have to order your food at the counter, where there's a large chalkboard listing all the beers on-tap. A few TV's dot the dining room along with a shuffleboard table and a pool table in the back. Outside are about 6-10 tables.
Quality is good. The pint glasses in which the beers were served weren't beer-specific but they were all served at the proper temperature and with a good amount of head.
Service is very good. We received our food shortly after ordering and the bartenders/servers are more than happy to answer questions about beer.
Selection is very good. I remember about 12 different and solid taps on the board, almost all from CA breweries. Breweries included Alpine, the Bruery, Ballast Point, Russian River, and Marin County. Be sure to ask about any special beers not on the list as Temptation wasn't listed when I was there.
Food is solid if not great.
Value is very good. I had quite a few drinks with some friends there along with lunch and was surprised at how cheap my bill came out to be.
Overall I think this was my favorite place I went while in SD due to the laid-back atmosphere and the bar games available. The tap list certainly didn't hurt either. Worth a stop if you're in downtown SD.
06-28-2010 19:40:23 |
More by glid02
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | $$
Went to this place on a recent trip to Southern California after a Padres game. For a Saturday night the place was dead, but the bartender was very friendly and helpful. The taplist was diverse even coming off a special Allagash event. I had the Alpine Nelson, very tasty. We sat outside and looked out at the strange location in the midst of a bunch of office buildings. There were tons of TV tuned to sports and it seemed like the kind of place you'd hit if you wanted a good beer and were in the area, but maybe not a destination itself.
06-16-2010 21:42:13 |
More by squaremile
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | $$
Tough to find this place that is located on the west side of a tall building at the address you'll find yourself if using GPS navigation. Small, cute and tucked aside that building - cool.
Extremely slow night and the lone server was pouring for my wife and I, as well as just one other patron. Nelson IPA was the tap of choice and it was amazing, and the bartender was gracious to "buy" us a beer as well as chat about BA and the local bar scene. We didn't make it to Small Bar later that night where he was going to enjoy a few pints, but it was a good recommendation that we enjoyed on a later day.
Good rotating list of taps and bottle selection. This is a great place for a QUIET pint on a Sunday evening.
04-02-2010 02:57:54 |
More by yemenmocha
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | $$
We had a really fun time here. The place has a lot of room and a nice sized patio, but there were hardly any people there on a Friday night, so after we stopped into max capacity Hamilton's on Saturday night, we left to come back here knowing we'd have room to breathe. The main reason we came back was because the tap list was excellent. Around 15 taps with Abyss, Two Turtle Doves, Life & Limb, Yulesmith, etc. The second reason was because the bartenders were really fun to talk to. They were very eager to help us plan out our trip and talk about good beer. Next time we're back in town, we'll definitely be stopping by again.
As for finding it, be sure to look at google maps satellite view, the address alone gets you close but requires some searching.
02-15-2010 04:06:18 |
More by redbird
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
Both Cuz Colby and Wanda Grim told me that this place would be nearly impossible to find. There was a black granite signage for 1200 3rd Street and since theirs was 1220, I figured that would be a good place to start. An inquiry at the courtesy desk advised me to go outside, to the end of the building, and take a button-hook right. Now them's directions. Also, if you can see the live theatre at the end of the Downtown Civic Center complex, if you do a right-face, you'll be okay.
A wide patio area with a low fence had an opening at the far left onto a sea of restaurant tables and chairs. The left facing wall had a couple of booths, a glass cabinet of logo items, and a shelf, under a color chalkboard listing available drafts, that held the Friday Free Appetizers.
All of the way aft was the blonde-wood, snaking bar with the most angular bar that I have ever seen. Behind the back bar was the kitchen. Along the right wall of the bar area was a really long shuffleboard table, and a combination snug/booth seating at which the stunning waitstaff was camped out. A word about this. My brother was to meet me, coming down from Orange County and when he got there, I was chatting with "Shoulders", a young woman with Chicago-sized shoulders who was not a swimmer, plus she was uptight about them. Naturally, they were the focus of our conversation and she was laughing about my allusions when Geoff arrived, shaking his head.
On the other side of the dividing wall was a seating area of a few booths, mostly tables and chairs, a green-felt pool table and an alternate access to the patio.
12-22-2009 22:47:22 |
More by woodychandler
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | $$
Ok, I went in on a Wednesday night. Bad idea. I was literally the only person in the place that could hold probably 150-200+. In fact the bartender/manager was sending the other two people working home. It was 7:30 on a Wednesday, not late night. But in the middle of a City building and everybody had gone home, middle of the week. Place was D E A D, dead. Oh, and a little stagnant since it was a little hot/muggy that night and there wasn't much airflow in the place, and no A/C.
Quality was pretty good, but I didn't think it was that great for San Diego. Maybe I caught them at a bad time. I was on a hop bomb quest and there was only 1 to be found here. Some good craft beers, some mass produced beers. A pretty good quality
Service: Good, but again I was the ONLY one in the bar.
Selection: pretty good selection of draft and bottled beers
Value: good pricing.
11-12-2009 23:15:14 |
More by Loki
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4 | $$
I visited at lunch the day after their big anniversary party the last reviewer attended. With regards to his complaints: In general, I go to such beer events to drink good beer, not for the dining experience. Next time, eat somewhere else first, then show up ready to drink at the bar.
The selection was ridiculously good with about 20 taps. Many exotic, belgian style and big beers from the anniversary fest remained.
This is a laid back, casual place that offers a nice downtown alternative to the Shipyard.
My chicken chile sandwhich was excellent and the burgers that went past me looked great too.
Adam at the bar (SD brewer's guild member) was the perfect guide for the memorable, though all too brief tasting. I'll always remember my first Pure Hoppiness experience.
10-07-2009 03:28:48 |
More by aevarela
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4 | food: 2 | $$
went in for their 22nd anniversary party and were told to take a seat at a table. after waiting no less than 15 - 20 minutes we finally had a waitress come up and take our order. after maybe another 10 - 15 minutes we finally got our first round. this is sort of what happened the entire night, PLUS she forgot to get one of my friends her beer. i don't normally like to bash a place, but this doesn't make me want to come back here at all.
the food? TERRIBLE! i think i might have had the WORST chicken and french fries i've ever had there. the fries tasted like the oil was a week old and the chicken tasted like it was suctioned out of middle school chicken patties. a bar doesn't need amazing food, but the basics are easy and they couldn't even do that.
the beer selection wasn't the best i've ever seen, but it was pretty damn good. they had a case of '07 ichabod, which was sublime. the white zin was pretty excellent as well! they had plenty of stuff on tap that is fairly difficult to get a hold of, and that definitely makes it worth stopping by every now and then.
will i come back here? yes, but only for the beer!
After putting up this review I was contacted by someone I believe was the owner telling me that he was going to send me a gift certificate and that he apologized for the bad service. That was almost right after their anniversary, which was months ago, and I still haven't gotten anything from him.
Knowing that I went in again against my better judgement to find out that half of their taps were broken. However, their service was actually good this time. Their bartender seemed knowledgeable about the product and very friendly. Had a few drinks with friends and really enjoyed myself.
I guess if I only come in for the drinks and just skip the food I'll have a pretty good time.
10-07-2009 02:58:32 |
More by radshoesbro
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5 | $$
Of all of the places I've visited in San Diego, only two really stand out in my memory. Downtown Johnny Brown's and Toronado. I'm not sure why. At least DJB's has a lot of character, but that's also a kind of love/hate thing for me. I like that it's kind of dark, dirty, and run-down with its linoleum floor and green panels on the walls, and the vinyl booths and the beat-up oak bar and everything. But it's also kind of college-like, and I guess that bugs me. Lunk-heads talking about how much of some good beer they drank one night bothers me. Drink piss beer! On the other hand I also like the cheap food (soup/chili $4-6, burgers $8.25-9.75, platters $13.25-13.75) so how can I complain?
But forget about all of that. If you can handle a grungy, low-key place with a great beer selection, then this is the place for you. If not, the very polished Yard House is not far away. Here's the difference, in reviewing the beer list at DJB's I couldn't fault one single beer. It may be a smaller list, but it's damned good. I found stuff here that I didn't see anywhere else, including Toronado. Let's hope that's still the case.
07-28-2009 02:39:51 |
More by NeroFiddled
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
Went here for a "Bitter and Sour" beer tasting while on vacation and it was a very nice find. They offer several microbrews from Southern California like Lost Abbey, AleSmith, and Russian River on tap plus they have a pretty decent selection of bombers and 750ml bottles for purchase also. It's not a very large restaurant, probably seats around 60 people, but it's a great place to go and get some really good beer. It's only a few blocks from the major part of downtown so it's a great place to start the evening or night!
05-23-2009 16:05:37 |
More by VaTechHopHead
Downtown Johnny Brown's in San Diego, CA
Your name or email address:
Do you already have an account?
No, create an account now.
Yes, my password is:
Forgot your password?
Stay logged in
Top 250 Beers
Change of Address