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Taps: 30 / Bottles: 200
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: N
$$ - reasonable
[ Bar, Eatery ]
1521 30th St
phone: (619) 238-5460
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5 | $
I moved to San Diego about four months ago, and Hamilton's quickly became my favorite watering hole. I've been in here close to ten times now (including last night) and feel I can now write a complete review.
While there are many excellent beer bars in San Diego, Hamilton's stands above the rest for its deep and ever-changing selection and discounted bar tabs. The bottle list must have close to 300 entries, many of which are sour, bourbon barrel-aged, and the like. You'll still find lighter ales and lagers, but you won't see any crap. The tap list seems to evolve nightly, which forces patrons to try beers they may not order otherwise - I really like this. The tap offerings are always diverse, and you should expect to find at least one sour, two barrel-aged stouts, and multiple IIPAs, imperial reds, and barley wines on any given night.
As for those discounted bar tabs, I've received a light check on almost every visit (last night may be the lone exception). All of the bartenders are friendly, conversational, and beer-savvy, and if you chat with them for a bit, you'll usually get a beer on the house. The bartenders are also very attentive, so those that complain about slow bartenders were either there on an off night of they were doing something wrong. Ordering food, on the other hand, takes some patience, but it's always well worth the wait.
Last night I ordered the Jamilton, and it was sublime. All of the burgers, grilled cheeses, and sausages I've had were top notch, but if you're feeling adventurous (especially if it may be your only time here) order the Jamilton. Menu here: http://hamiltonstavern.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/menu.pdf
This is a must stop if you live in the United States. Make the pilgrimage to Hamilton's ASAP!
10-26-2011 04:44:31 |
More by ThreeWiseMen
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
Hamilton's is located in an area that seems like it is purely residential and on the approach you would think you are in the wrong place.
30 or so taps, all high quality and local heavy. A fairly small place and can get pretty crowded at times. If there was a bottle list I would have like to have seen it. Lots of tap handles hanging from the ceiling, really a lot actually, and a longish bar. Tables off to the side. Plenty of hop-bombs on tap and otherwise a good mix of locals and imports. One of the barkeeps ruptured a can of beer and I got sprayed, so he comped me a draft of choice. Now that's great customer service.
I can see why it's consistantly rated as the best in SD.
10-12-2011 00:50:13 |
More by brewandbbq
New Brunswick (Canada)
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | $$
Dropped by last Wednesday afternoon...
A: Very dark. Nice bar, lots of tables, and a couple of pool tables. Lots of taps on the ceiling. Quite busy for a Wed. afternoon. Overall, a very neighborhood-bar-feeling type of place; cozy.
Q + Selection: A very decent selection of taps; lots of great beers I wanted to try. Had a couple drafts (SN Schwarzbier, Drake's Denogginizer), both of which were great quality. Very impressive bottle selection as well; there were a ton there I wanted to try.
Service: Sat at a table as the bar was full, so we went to the bar to order. The bartender was very helpful with a suggestion of which IPA to try.
V: Very reasonably priced.
O: A really great homey spot that I would love to check in on again. Two beers there was not enough.
09-27-2011 21:36:05 |
More by berley31
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | $$
This place has got 28 taps and a fairly decent bottle list. They didn't have anything great on tap when I was there, but they have had some pretty good ones in the past. We went in on a Wednesday night and the place was completely packed. They've got several pool tables that make for a fun diversion. There are tons of tap handles hanging from the ceiling showing you all the beers they've served over the years. Didn't try the food. Great energy at this place and it's pet friendly; I almost stepped on someone's dogs and didn't realize.
06-17-2011 07:11:10 |
More by mrkun
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5 | $$
Hamilton's is without a doubt my favorite bar. 28 taps and the possibility of 2 casks means you're bound to find something you want. They also have a great selection of bottled beers. Prices are about what you would expect with the selection that they have, with the rarer beers they get being a bit expensive but worth it. They put on great events (Second Saturdays, Beer buses, etc...) and the staff is amazing. Coolest bartenders around. Food is great. Very good grilled cheese sandwiches and burgers, and beer cheese soup! YOU MUST GO HERE!
06-15-2011 22:03:31 |
More by ExplosivoSR
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5 | $
Absolutely love Hamilton's. A long time ago the location was called Sparky's and offered nothing but BMC beer, so we only went there for the foosball and Pool tables. I had to drive up to O'Briens or the Liars Club for good beer back in those days. Now, it is the best beer bar I know of, and is only blocks away from my home. Hamilton's 28 taps are always filled with a mouth-watering selection of brews and I love their special events with great cask ales flowing from their 2 beer engines. They also serve awesome burgers and other good eats. It gets crowded sometimes, which really sucks, but during off-peak times the bartenders are very cool and knowledgeable.
06-02-2011 17:46:03 |
More by AndyGz
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4 | $$
I first came to Hamilton's for a friends birthday party.. We all decided to buy some of the Eclipse series and share them...What a bad idea...not due to the quality of the beer but the mayhem that ensued....$100.00 dollars later I am stubling out of the bar and finding myself at the strip club up the street..a dinner, not the dance club..lol
Hamilton's offers some of the best beers on tap around San Diego, besides O'brizzie's....They have 2 beer engines and can handle any style of beer you may be looking for. They also offer an extensive selection of bottles, vintage and non alike.
One of the beers I do remember from that fateful night was the 05 Gueuze...what an incredible chance to try a rare beer like that.
The food is average and the lines are long, but if you have the time, would recommended this place to anyone visiting or just in need of a health brew...
05-05-2011 04:04:27 |
More by Dankbeers619
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
Had a two day, one night trip to SD from LA. Many a people (including reviews on BA) told me to hit up Hamilton's Tavern. I am very glad I did.
I walked in with a friend and was greeted by a great looking chalk board of all the beers on tap. They had a great selection of rare, tap only Alpine beers. They had some other great beers including JP, PtE, etc. I saw on their website before coming they had Imperial Eclipse Stout - Four Roses Bourbon. This was one of the FiftyFifty stouts I was not able to obtain (have three others) and was tempted to try it. Well, I gave in. After having a few other amazing beers I had the bartender open this sucker up. The friend I was with did not drink much beer. She preferred the hard cider on tap. Anyway, I went up to a guy I was BS'ing with at the bar (about the beer while it was being opened) and asked the girl bartender for another glass because I wanted to share some with him since I didn't want hoard the whole bottle to myself. Later on when I was closing out my tab (and the beer cost a bit but honestly not as much as you'd think since I paid $35 for some of the other FiftyFifty's in LA) the girl bartender said she saw what I had done and said it was good beer advocating. She gave me the employee discount (which I immitigably made up the price difference in a tip). The whole experience was amazing. The bartenders were great, saw what I did and "rewarded" me. They most certainly did not have to do that but they did. A GREAT experience there and I will go back time and time again. Cheers!
03-19-2011 04:08:20 |
More by SpdKilz
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5 | $$
Love this place. Personally I think they have the most diverse selection in San Diego on a consistent basis. The food is good bar food, I like the Hamiltons burger usually but have had many things along the way. Their Sat shindigs are awesome and shoud not be missed. If you live here or are visiting here and you like a nice selection and friendly atmosphere make a point to stop by. The service is always timely and friendly and I rarely get bad info or referrals and don't hesitate to let them serve me there favorite beer, never disappointed with what I get . It is a great neighborhood pub, have had many a great conversation there.
01-24-2011 06:56:42 |
More by abcentfishing
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
Hamilton's was one of a few spots I wanted to check out while in San Diego for the day, and it did not disappoint.
This place has a little bit of a dive bar look and feel, with no natural light and slightly small, dingy appearance. A long bar runs all the way along the left wall starting where you walk in, with a jukebox in the back. A chalkboard on top of the bar has the taplist, and many sheets of paper in a binder represent the massive bottle list. Behind the bar are numerous coolers with bottles in them. A shuffleboard table is on the right, and some pool tables. The ceiling is lined with tap handles.
The crowd seems pretty mixed, and this place is dog friendly, because numerous dogs are hanging around and coming in and out. The bartenders have a hipster look and are polite and moderately friendly, but not in a hurry to start a conversation. When I ordered a sour off of the list that had recently sold out, the tender did suggest a few alternatives to me (which were good recommendations, but nothing new for a big sour fan).
Deciding to pass on the Firestone Anniversary beers, I ordered an Avery Sui Generis from the bottle list. This list is huge and well-stocked. Bottle specials are great prices, cheaper than I can get at bottle shops. The bottle list is on the website, so take a look if you're interested.
The tap list is awesome too. A ton of Big Sky offerings on-tap, including many barrel aged beers I've never even heard of, 2010 Ivan the terrible, 2008 Ivan the terrible for 4 bucks a tulip. 3 specials that are each 4 bucks, all sweet beer. Locals and some other interesting beers in addition to all of the Big Sky stuff.
Outstanding selection here, at a great price point. I was thrilled to see Ivan and vintage Ivan on-tap; they rocked. Overall, this is a great bar and I think it was my favorite place in San Diego.
01-20-2011 02:34:04 |
More by Hojaminbag
Hamiltons Tavern in San Diego, CA