Thanks to a tip from the J's at BoozeReviews I learned about a newer San Diego beer bar called Small Bar. It's located a few blocks north of all the great stops on 30th street on an unassuming little strip of peculiar bars. And Small Bar fits that genre. A glowing neon red sign with the words "Small Bar" greets you at the front. There is a small patio outside the door with two bench style tables (can hold around 8 people each) and as you walk inside you'll see old barrels which are now masquerading as tables along with clubby couch style booths. To go along with that neon red sign, the inside is lit partly by red lights. Sometimes that sorta thing is annoying, but it works here. The bar is long and the chalkboard taplist is deep. Without knowing anything about this place going in you get the feeling you've been here before. The chalkboard looks vaguely similar to a certain bar on 30th street and the glass I was served my sour beer in (Rodenbach) was the same exact one I had an 1809 Berlinerweisse served in at said 30th street bar last week. The food menu - long and intriguing - and oh, yep, that confirms it, they have "Hamilton's Hop Sausage" on their menu. Small Bar must be owned by the same people at Hamiltons. No wonder the beer selection is so great.So I went with a glass of the Rodenbach and a pint of West Coast IPA. They chill their pint glasses in ice here which I LOVE (don't bite my head off beer geeks, I like my beers below proper serving temps). I got there around 8:30 on a Monday night to only a handful of people in the place. I figured they were slowing down for the day. Nope, not so. By 9:30 the place was packed and there was even a happy birthday being sung to a couple people.
Their mission statement is:
Their mission statement is:
We’re very excited to bring the kind of bar you previously could only find in big cities like New York or San Francisco right here to San Diego. Premium beers, spirits, and food, at reasonable prices with a touch of rock and roll. Small Bar.
Back to the food menu, it looked really good. I haven't ever eaten at Hamilton's but I know their burgers, hop sausage and beer cheese soup are real popular there. They were all on the menu along with a bunch of other things. I had the chicken sandwich.... which was good, and their fries are really good. My friend Alicia had the corndogs... or about like half a corndog and 3 fries, with positive reviews.
One other thing to note about the Small Bar. It's not just beer. They have a full bar and specialize in great classic drinks like Old Fashioned, Sidecar, Mint Julep... you get the point. Small Bar is definitely going to be a regular stop for me. It's got a unique vibe to go along with the great beer.