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Taps: 30 / Bottles: 200
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: N
$$ - reasonable
[ Bar, Eatery ]
1521 30th St
phone: (619) 238-5460
(Place added by: stoner420 on 10-09-2006)
Ratings & Reviews
| Reviews: 78 | Show All Ratings:
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: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | $$
Stopped by here after having dinner at Toronado.
Atmosphere is very nice. A surly looking bouncer checked my ID at the door however while stepping outside for a cigarette it turned out he was a lot less surly than he looked. The inside is dimly lit but the selection behind the bar is really all that needs a lot of light. The ceiling above the bar on the left side is covered with hundreds of tap handles. On the right side of the place there are a few tables and a shuffleboard table.
Quality is par for the course - proper temperature, head, and glassware.
Service is good. I never had to wait terribly long to order a drink and it also never took terribly long to get it to me. A friend and I also spoke to one of the bartenders on his way off his shift and he knew his beer.
Selection is very good. I remember there being a few standards along with a few beers that were a bit more on the rare side. All told I'd say it was somewhere between 18-24 taps.
Value is good, about average for what I saw during my stay.
Overall this was one of the more interesting places I visited while in SD and I'm sorry to say I didn't get to see it when less people were present. Be careful if you venture over here on a weekend night and don't like crowds, but if that's not a problem be sure to stop in.
06-28-2010 19:57:07 |
More by glid02
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
Great vibe! A little pub in what looks like a nice neighborhood. You walk in, it's very dark, with a nice bar, a lineup of awesome taps, fridges full of excellent beer, plus a few tvs showing sports. And then to the side, are some booths, a couple of pool tables, and an awesome full sized (and free) shuffleboard.
There were also a couple of dogs hanging out inside too. I am a dog person, so thumbs up from me on this aspect too.
Quality was great, lot of San Diego brews, some Belgians, and Pliney the Elder. Nice to see a good friend miles from home...
Service was prompt. And that's usually all I ever ask for.
This ended up being my favorite place that I visited in San Diego. Beats Stone by a nose, just felt right, really comfy little spot with a great beer list, and fun things to do while drinking said great beers.
This would be my regular haunt if I lived in San Diego.
04-23-2009 03:43:19 |
More by flexabull
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | $
Hamilton's is very worn in and towny with a wonderful beer lineup and great barkeeps. the place contains two spaces; you enter into one where the bar and seating are, and to the right there is a side space with pool, and a couple other games along with some more seating. the bar area ceiling is full of tap handles hanging from the rafters. the beer list is not printed; there is a chalk written lineup above the bar because the taps change so often.
quality and service are both great. correct glassware, great pours and friendly bar staff that are easy to talk to. the bar staff knows beer to some extent, but the friendly aura more than makes up for it.
selection is great. twenty to thirty taps with a great variety and fresh lines. this BA had two Cuvees, an IPA, a Black Lager, and a Russian Imperial Stout.
overall, this is a great beer bar in San Diego with a good variety of taps and a good atmosphere. fresh lines and friendly barkeeps; cheers!
08-17-2009 23:49:38 |
More by botham
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
vibe: 4 | quality: 3 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
Visited in the mid-afternoon on Sunday, May 18th.
Kind of a divey joint, somewhere between seedy bar and Irish pub. On the plus side, there was an utter lack of pretention from both the patrons and the staff.
Excellent tap list.
My friend and I grabbed the only two seats left and decided on our beers. Both of mine were awful; the first, a cask ale, tasted infected to me. The bartender did let me exchange the first one after admonishing me that I should have tried a taster first. The second had a flavor profile far, far off from what other reviewers on BA have noted.
Sorry, but I don't think I should have to try a taster of everything before I order it to see if it's in good enough condition to drink.
There were some older folks there, including a bearded pool hustler clutching a bottle of Bud who never, ever missed a shot. I'm so glad I didn't take him up on his offer of a game. I think a couple of the owner/brewmaster guys from Lightning Brewery were there also. There were lots of barely-drinking-age kids of both sexes who actually seemed to be enjoying camraderie and drinking beer. I'm more used to seeing similarly aged folks sitting all together at one table, texting people who weren't actually in front of them and ordering either bottled water or foofy mixed drinks.
So... despite Hamilton's having good atmosphere and a great tap list (as many other places in the San Diego area do), I am seriously concerned about the condition of the beer. However, the friend I was with had two or three pints, all of which he deemed to be in good condition.
Also, I was contacted by someone from the establishment and assured that the beer lines were properly maintained, so I have upped the score for "quality" from a 1.5 to a 3.
I still doubt I'll be going back there based on this experience.
05-25-2008 03:35:10 |
More by charlzm
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.75 | $$
At first glance it looks like a dive bar but then you see the draft list and you are set as ease.
Medium size bar, some tables behind. TVs with sports games on in the background.
They had a bunch of one-off stone barrel aged beers and special adjuncts added beers as well. Also plenty, mostly everything actually was from California which is pretty cool if you ask me. Enjoyed watching the hockey game and sipping some CA stuff I would never be able to try.
Service was more than helpful, prices were reasonable enough. I would definitely recommend if in the area.
06-19-2013 00:41:02 |
More by claspada
vibe: 1 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | $$
I can't really add much to the many accurate descriptions of others, but every time I've been to Hamilton's I feel like a grumpy old fart. I hate this place.
Yes, the beer selection is among the best in San Diego. Just be warned, you have to be up for the mayhem. Besides the crowd and fragrant dogs tugging at leashes everywhere, the noise level is astounding. The sound system is like a bad muffler bolted to your skull. The seating and game tables seem to be designed for maximum confusion and elbow action.
Seems like the kind of place that should open at 6 a.m., but the bar stools would probably be full anyway. Between doing outdoor things and having to work sometimes, I haven't tried coming here in the early afternoon. So I've never been here when it wasn't filled with crowds yelling over the noise. Even on a rainy Monday night it was jammed, plus the gang of smokers lurching on the sidewalk. Enjoy!
03-22-2012 19:47:48 |
More by mactrail
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | $$
Parking cannot suck enough, we all know that, but even if I had to park a few blocks down the street, Hamilton's was worth the trip.
A neighborhood pub in a middle class area of San Diego suburbia, it's no frills, and working class, with a nice mix of blue and white collar patrons all there for the comradery and good beer. Old brewana adorns the walls. The simple bar area is adjacent to a small dining room with several tables. Pool tables if you're into it though this Wednesday night in early October was all about Red Sox - Angels and the first game of the ALDS whic was on the tvs over the bar.
The selection at Hamiltons did not dissapoint. Sizeable San Diego area offerings including Green Flash, Karl Strauss, Ballast Point, Gordon Biersch, and Russian River. I had a Green Flash Double Imperial IPA to start...a lusty 9% served in a pint glass and only $5 (a snifter or tumbler for $7 in my neck of the woods). The bar was full and the service was dead on. Affable guys sitting next to me willing to talk beer, particularly Cali beer which made the visit even more enjoyable.
A no-frills working man's pub, but then again, aren't all of the BA fav's? A tad out of the way from the city proper, but worth the visit.
10-25-2008 11:10:21 |
More by jim102864
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5 | $
Was in the area for work T-Th and had some free time for dinner so asked BdubleEdubleRUN and Nanobrew to hang out.
Atm- It's in a somewhat old school feeling neighborhood in North Park. A little bar tucked along a residential street. Parking is a bitch without a lot but I found a spot quickly. I will say its a hipster haven and I enjoyed making fun of the cut off pants and beanies when its 80 degrees out. Guess at 30 I am just old and out of touch. A nice dark bar with a few booths to sit in and a probably 20 ft bar. Big chalkboard with all the beers on tap and on cask.
Quality- When looking around the tap list I was a bit excited to see some really great things on tap that I thought were bottle only. Deliverance. Ta Henket, Tounge Buckler amongst others. Walking down the coolers its a dream cellar to see all of them in one locations.
Service- I will say its good service. Wasnt overly talkative or exciting. The guy with the stace was much more friendly. The girl in the kitchen was pretty good. Good info on selections.
Selection- Huge tap list, a couple engines and probably 10 doors packed full of cellarable beers. I was happy to walk back to my table for 2010 Olde Bluehair. Whole reason I went! Had RR, Cantillon, Drie, Lost Abbey, Nebraska, amongst many others.
Food- I ordered a grilled cheese and subbed the bacon for vegan bacon. IT WAS AWESOME(only for ash wednesday) with garlic fries. I want to go back for more food anytime.
Value- With food and 3 beers with tip 24 bucks. Not F N bad in my book.
02-24-2012 20:43:58 |
More by FosterJM
Hamiltons Tavern in San Diego, CA
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