Monkey Paw Pub & Brewery
Active Beers: 34
Beer Ratings: 189
Beer Avg: 3.8
Taps: 40 / Bottles: 50
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: N
Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 15 | Reviews: 14 | Show All Ratings:
4.15/5 rDev +0.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$
Because there’s a line out the door at Hamilton’s, that’s why; something about a couple of Bear Republic casks. Whatever, we reshuffled quickly to here, on the corner of something and something in closer to San Diego than I’ve been yet. Okay, so the neighborhood is in, ahem, ‘transition’, and probably not doing so quickly enough. I suppose we could shake that dried up shriveled paw, and fix that with one of our 3 wishes, but at what cost, what cost...
An ‘L’ish shaped shiny wood topped bar, with a brick base and seating for 20 on stools to the left. Matching bar counter adjacent seating another 20 perhaps, and then 2 matching pic-a-nic tables for 8 apiece and 4 hightop wall tabling extensions and bar counter running an ‘L’ off the side and along the kitchen wall to the rear.
Tap row alternating upper lower upper lower upper lower on barback center, some specialty booze above, and magnum bottles of Chimay & Samichlaus atop to both sides of a flatscreen there. 4X8 horizontal board forward of the bar, listing the Monkey Paw house beers brewed on the other side of that wall, + on decks and cask offerings current listed, as well as the rest of the tap; beer, style, ABV & price. Bottle cooler to the left, I believe there to be some 4 dozen + selections. Looks to be a pretty well thought out collection of import & craft, with a good many styles covered. I can see Orval in there; I wonder how much it would cost to spend some time with her.
I thought the walls were a blueish but they seem steel gray now. Matching blue gray ceiling and plank wood away from the bar. Drop spinnys with a center lamp and track baby spot trios. Windows with, well, it’s not stained glass, but papered maybe with beery pieces of stained glass in appearance narrow vertical accordion over out front. Brewery logo pieces and housemade, um, paintings (I think they be), riddled about. Events blackboard to the rear, and a straight to the point down and dirty food menu.
30 beers on tap, of which 6 are house beers (Mandrill IPA, Rich Man’s Double IPA, Low & Slow Rauchbier, Sweet Georgia Brown, The Downs Family Irish Stout, Oatmeal Pale Ale), and 2 dozen more, ¼ of which are imports meh (Guinness, Jever, Chimay White, Delirium Tremens, St Feuillien Tripel, Paulaner Hefe), and the remainder a mix of mostly west coast craft beer selections (Anchor Steam & Zymaster California Lager, Bear Republic Racer 5, Sierra Nevada Stout, Craftsman Juniper Ale, Coronado Mermaid’s Red Ale & Idiot IPA, Karl Strauss Tripel & Queen of Tarts American Wild Ale, Firestone Walker Reserve Porter, Ballast Point Sculpin, Green Flash West Coast IPA, Lagunitas IPA, Avery White Rascal, Flying Dog Raging Bitch, Ommegang BPA), save a single mead (IQhilika African Birds Eye Chili Mead) and cider (Blackthorn Cider). Lest I forget the pair of handpumps (only 1 live just now), pouring Karl Strauss Wreck Alley Imperial Stout.
We’re having at the Monkey Paw beers ‘cause it is, you know, a brewpub. I must say, the 2 IPA’s don’t suck, the Rich Man’s double IPA being not too over the top, but I’m really diggin’ the Mandrill IPA. And then I moved onto the Karl Strauss Queen of Tarts American Wild Ale, which was Rodenbach-ish, in a meh way.
It has gotten to the point at which a bit of food is going to help the cause. As such, I opted for a round of ‘beer candy naked wings’, while Ben went with the ‘spicy monkey sliders’ (I wonder how many of those will come to an order, as I would like to scarf no less than 3 of those from him). The food arrived all wrong, or I don’t know what. The ‘drunken monkey bones’ did not suck, and tasted better ‘cause I didn’t order them. And then the ‘beer candy naked wings’ I did order but had been seemingly denied showed up, while Ben remained sans sliders still (for his sins). Clearly, the whole ‘order through a window and point to the table you’re sitting at’ system is flawed major, ‘cause they just end up delivering whatever wherever. His ‘spicy monkey sliders’ finally arrived, but condensed to a single burger. It will be hard to move on that (Fuckers!) Correction; the slider is supposed to be a single full on burger (?), which Ben offered the ‘thumbs up’ on having quickly consumed.
A bit gritty but it’s a comfortable enough house overall. Good food if you can get it, I suppose. Solid bottle list, and taps, too, although the latter is seemingly a little odd to me; I can’t remember having seen a brewpub before with a guest tap to house beer 4 to 1 ratio. Just seems they’d be overshadowing their own wares, you know? Beer here!
08-07-2012 17:25:08 | More by slander
4.72/5 rDev +14.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$$
I too visited this place this past Saturday. I was there around 2pm however. I was told from some locals that I should not venture past about 6th street at night, and I was actually a little uneasy venturing here during the day. I think this was my fourth stop on my San Diego walking tour.
It was pretty easy to find once in the neighborhood. A small place with a small bar and some hightops scattered about. There were about 10 other people in here so it was a pretty good crowd for early afternoon.
The selection was nice as well. I think they had about 30 drafts. Selectoins included Alesmith, Russian River, Duchesse De Bourgogne, Ballast Point, Avery. They also had a solid selection of scotches. Some single malt beauties like Laproaig 18 year, Macallan 18, Lagavullin 16.
I actually liked this place better than Downtown Johnny Browns and was probably my favorite place for good beer. The neighborhood leaves much to be desired but go here during the day and you will not be disappointed.
09-13-2011 19:59:25 | More by SaCkErZ9
4.3/5 rDev +4.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | $$
Another place owned by the Hamilton's Tavern folks, which is all the endorsement you should need to stop by. After making the pilgrimage to Alpine, we stopped in here on our way back downtown. Monkey Paw is located in a residential area a few blocks east of downtown. We easily found street parking for our mid-afternoon visit.
Inside the place bears a strong resemblance to Hamilton's, except that the windows were open to let in some nice daylight. A long curved bar holds about 20. There are also plenty of high top and low tables with benches. A bit gritty but in a good way.
We visited during SDBW. The tap list for this day consisted of a bunch of Sierra Nevada beers, very heavy on the Beer Camp series. This was a very cool change from a lot of other tap lists in town that week. The Beer Camp beers were a mixed bag, as they have typically been in my experience but still this was fun.
The bartender was quite outgoing and friendly, made us feel at home.
No house brews yet, though we did see a small brew house in a garage next door so maybe soon. I liked Monkey Paw a lot.
11-28-2011 20:20:32 | More by sholland119
4.28/5 rDev +3.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5 | $$$
This is a brewpub that doubles as a craft beer bar. They had 9 house taps, all of which I tried, and plenty of guest taps as well.
The beers being produced here are pretty good. The double IPA was a bit weak but for the most part the others were solid. They sell flights of 4. The guest taps included highlighs such as Weihenstephaner Pils ad several local ipas. There were some rare bottles in the fridge.
They also served food. I ordered the Naughty Monkey and payed for it the day after.
Service was good, only 1 girl at the bar for the whole place but she managed. (The place isn't huge and it was about 1/3 full).
07-28-2012 14:39:18 | More by crossovert
4.66/5 rDev +13.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
I believe Monkey Paw just opened up a few weeks ago. I stopped in for the first time with some friends this past Saturday night, arriving aroung 10:15 and staying til last call.
Monkey Paw sits in a run-down area near the outskirts of downtown. There aren't any other bars or restaurants nearby; old apartment complexes and empty parking lots seem to occupy most of the adjacent blocks (so parking's a cinch). This sector can get spooky at night, but it also serves as a important buffer between Monkey Paw and the Gas Lamp.
Monkey Paw is under the same ownership as Hamilton's Tavern and Small Bar, and it bears a strong resemblance to both of those establishments. The tap selection is the same: roughly 30 taps covering a wide variety of styles (including sour ales). The bottle selection is solid and reasonably priced, though roughly half the size of Hamilton's line-up. The vibe, decor, and layout are just like Small Bar: open and airy; long wooden tables and benches; window seats that open to the sidewalk. The crowd was pretty small on this Saturday night, but it seemed like a mellow, down-to-earth group, and I'm sure the following will grow in time.
This bar stays open til 2:00am and is a fantastic stop if you're near downtown San Diego, especially if you want to avoid the mess that is the Gas Lamp.
09-12-2011 20:01:40 | More by ThreeWiseMen
3.61/5 rDev -12.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3 | service: 4 | selection: 3.75 | $
Located in downtown SD. Kind of a dive atmosphere, but filled with beer geeks.
Walking in the bar is to the right and sitting at the bar and elsewhere.
We wanted to visit here after having a brew of theirs at another bar. We tried the Peanut Butter Potter, a brown ale, and an IPA. Not really impressed with these beers. We did like the selection of guest bottles and taps. Had a Petrus aged Pale Ale that was on tap ad crazy good.
We like the atmosphere and the service and could see us hanging out here, but I hope that the beers we would have next from there would impress us more.
06-19-2013 15:37:47 | More by bradybeer
3.39/5 rDev -17.7%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 2 | selection: 4 | $$
Smallish place downtown, with easy on-street parking. Black walls, burnished wooden bar-back and ceilings, and quite loud. About 30 taps, with a strangley large amount from Montana. Other than that a decent mix of hoppy beers, dark beers and a few Belgians mixed in. Lot's of Chimay bottles prominently displayed with a "Duvel prohibited" insignia on the chaulkboard. Curious.
This place was not our favorite of our 2011 SoCal trip. Two bartenders more interested in each other than customers, and apparently you have to ask for the happy hour pricing during happy hour, otherwise you pay full price. If there was a bottle list it was not offered.
One and done for Monkey Paw.
10-11-2011 23:50:49 | More by brewandbbq
4.48/5 rDev +8.7%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$
Our goal while visiting SD was to try as many local beers as possible. Of the many places we went to while visiting SD, Monkey Paw was one of our favorites. We couldn't get enough of the Cornelius DIPA and their Howler IPA was great as well. You know a place is good when you just stop in for one and end up staying a few hours.
Interestingly we went here towards the end of our trip partially because we had not gotten an opportunity to try their IPA elsewhere during the week. The bartender said that was because they couldn't really keep up with supply so they keep it in house.
We ended up ordering a cheese steak and fries from the menu, and it was delicious.
If your looking for a local SD beer experience, this should fit the bill. We would go back on a future trip.
11-03-2012 01:20:09 | More by rikatine
4.33/5 rDev +5.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5 | $$
I stopped by yesterday (12/12/11) to try their first run of beers. I'd heard good things about the brewer's homebrew offerings so I was cautiously optimistic. As it turns out, the beer was damn good. Everything I tried was very good, but the Brown was probably their best beer per the style, and the Pineapple X-Press was a delicious hoppy Pale Ale. I had a couple pints of that.
The neighborhood contains no small number of homeless encampments, but once you make it to Monkey Paw you're greeted by a warm environment. Dark stained wood tables and a long bar are observable. The bottle and tap selections were both good, but I was only interested in trying the house beers.
The service was prompt and friendly. I was lucky to visit on 50 cent wing night, and the wings are very good. I recommend, as always, to get whatever sauce you desire on the side so that the wings stay crispy rather than soak in sauce and become soggy.
My main gripe about this place, as with Hamilton's, is that they only offer pints and no other sizes. This nonsense flies at Hamilton's, but if you're brewing your own beers you need to offer for purchase 4-5oz sample pours in the case that the patron wants to try all the beers. I don't really want to order full pints of all your house beers when I want to try them all. I don't live in the neighborhood, and I'm not looking to get a DUI on my drive home. I also don't just want a one ounce splash for free. I want to purchase a reasonably sized sample of the beer. _Please_ offer a sampler tray or an option of half pint pours.
My other gripe is the music playing on the jukebox. Nonstop nineties garbage played by the employees, like the shit they play on 91X. Is it too much to ask that you play some progressive death metal or maybe some funeral doom?
This concludes my discursive review of Monkey Paw.
12-13-2011 17:06:50 | More by HopHead84
3.76/5 rDev -8.7%
vibe: 3.25 | quality: 3.75 | service: 4.25 | selection: 3.5 | $
I wanted to like this place so bad because my GF and I love their Kong Barleywine and like the vibe we get overall from the brewery.
Sadly, this wasn't the case and we both left a little disappointed. Her and I may have had are expectations set high but I still think this could have potential. We walked from our hotel from Downtown and that was a treat! We were given the opportunity to dodge tweakers running by, weave around the homeless and navigate through closed streets. YAY, we won!
Inside was kind of like the outside; hot and nothing to get excited about. Selection of brew consisted of lots of pales and IPAs, a few guests taps that skewed to the "beginner" drinkers but nothing to even want to keep me to stay. I had their XPA and the Mint saison and actually really enjoyed the XPA! Good stuff. While the AMOUNT of beers available were good, the variety kind of sucked. Prices were great and that's about the best part, but they better be for all the work it took to get there!
Also, A for service! While the two bartenders were busy and it took a bit to grab their attention, they made time for light chatting and always had big smiles.
09-10-2013 22:16:55 | More by EyePeeAyBryan
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Monkey Paw Pub & Brewery in San Diego, CA
91 out of 100 based on 15 user ratings.