It’s the end of an era in San Diego. Thanks to a sizable contingent of drunken goons whose increasingly abhorrent behavior culminated in a melee at Pacific Beach last September, the City Council recently passed an alcohol ban on all beaches as well as bay shores and coastal parks. The ruling is unfortunate for those who call Ocean Beach home; a laid-back community where we don’t feel the need to pelt law enforcement officers with bottles and cans. Luckily for us, there are several bars in OB within walking distance of the sand and not all of them cater to the Jager Bomb and Miller Chill crowd. So, if you’re spending some time here soaking up the sun and surf, or live here and need a break from the usual suspects on Newport Avenue, here are a few places serving up some quality beers.
Newport Pizza and Ale House
5050 Newport Avenue
The Pizza Shop, as many locals refer to it, provides a constantly rotating selection among its 21 tap handles and 70 bottles. On a recent visit, local offerings included Oaked Bastard from Stone Brewing, Red Devil, a 10.7% abv brew from Coronado Brewing, and Green Flash Imperial IPA, a 9% abv hophead’s delight in a region laden with hop-heavy IPAs. Any bar that also offers St. Bernardus Abt 12 on tap should never be overlooked. Oh yeah, the pizza is damn good as well.
4935 Newport Avenue
After several name changes over the years, the Harp has recently established itself as a reliable Irish-themed bar (shepherd’s pie, anyone?). The Harp offers live music several nights a week as well as the only tap account in OB (for now) with Alpine Beer Company, the much-heralded purveyors of Pure Hoppiness, which many consider to be the crown jewel of the San Diego-style IPA. The Harp also occasionally features other local breweries such as AleSmith and Port Brewing, which is related to the popular Pizza Port restaurants and breweries.
The Blue Parrot
4933 Niagara Avenue
Serving up respectable Mexican fare, the real draw to this indoor/outdoor bar is the happy hour. The Parrot offers $2.75 pints from 2-6 pm on Tuesday through Friday and from 2-close each Monday. A recently expanded tap system includes Racer 5 IPA from Bear Republic as well as Hop 15 which, as you might expect from the moniker, is a massively-hopped Double IPA from local favorite Port Brewing. When available, the Idiot IPA from Coronado Brewing is not to be missed nor, at 8.5% abv, to be taken lightly.
1851 Bacon Street
Since opening more than three years ago, The Vine has solidified its reputation as one of San Diego’s premier wine bars and culinary destinations. What many do not realize is that The Vine also offers dozens of top-quality bottled beers. In addition to a comprehensive array of local breweries (Alpine, AleSmith, Ballast Point among them), there is a large selection of Belgian brews. And in what might be the best-kept happy-hour secret in Ocean Beach, all beers are half price every day of the week from 4 until 6. That’s right, Chimay, Alpine, you name it, half price. P.S. Don’t tell the good folks at Hodad’s, but here lies the best burger in Ocean Beach