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Favorite Places from Space, Part 3

May 20th, 2008 by Kevin Murphy · 19 Comments

O’BRIEN’S PUB
4646 Convoy St.
San Diego, CA 92111

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One of the reasons I dislike living in Minneapolis is that I am, door to door, 1,976 miles from O’Brien’s. This unassuming little pub in a strip mall featuring a Crab Hut and a Tapioca Express is about as humble as a bar can be, yet on any given weekday afternoon, there’s nary a parking space to be had, while sunburnt eccentric millionaires rub elbows with paint-spattered day laborers over pints of, unequivocally, the best beer in the world.

O’Briens is the throbbing heart of the astonishing southern California craft-brewing movement, out of which has come the first uniquely American Pale Ale, the hoppiest, bitterest, strongest beer there is. So smitten was I by it that when I wrote a review of a Minneapolis brew pub for a local paper, I spent two paragraphs on O’Brien’s.

So stop in. Say hello to the gentle giant Tom Nickel, proprietor. The place has become the Kearny Mesa branch of Rifftrax. And although it may be two thousand miles away, it’s my beloved local.

**Conor is passing on a request**
If you have a moment to spare, Tom Nickel’s weekly email newsletter has a request that I’d like to pass along. Let’s knock those Yard Housers off their high horse:

It is time again for the annual City’s Best voting at City Guide. While I am not a maniac about winning awards, I do care sometimes about who shouldn’t win awards. And right now Yard House is winning for Best Beer Selection in San Diego. I would encourage you to vote for anyone else rather than let the Yard House win. There is no way a chain pub from LA with a so-so selection of beer and multiple handles of every Macro brew you can think of can represent the best beer in San Diego. So regardless of who you vote for, please go vote here.

Tags: RiffTrax · Riffer Blogs · beer

19 responses so far ↓

  • 1 RemmieBarrow on May 20, 2008 at 6:00 pm

    How many strip malls have a pub, a crab hut, and a tapioca express all in walking distance? I am guessing not many.

  • 2 Courtney on May 20, 2008 at 7:10 pm

    Kevin, you’re originally from Chicago right? Do you have a favorite bar there? I ask because I only have one foreseeable San Diego trip in my future, and I won’t have a car, and will be very distracted by the thousands of people dressed as Nathan Fillion and Skeletor and stuff.

  • 3 Bill Corbett on May 20, 2008 at 7:43 pm

    “Say hello to the gentle giant Tom Nickel, proprietor.”

    …Who just stepped out of a Tom Waits song.

  • 4 Erik on May 20, 2008 at 8:23 pm

    I do hope they’ll be serving some Exponential Hoppiness in time for hot Comic–Con season!

  • 5 Conor Lastowka on May 20, 2008 at 8:31 pm

    Sounds like someone needs to get on the O’Briens email list:

    “We also have a very special event on Friday, May 30th with Alpine Beer Company. We will be serving 3 different batches of Exponential Hoppiness for a vertical tasting including a full keg of the current release and 5 gallon kegs of the batches from 12/07 and 4/07.”

  • 6 Erik on May 20, 2008 at 8:44 pm

    You know, I’m on the mailing list. I think someone there hates me because I never received that update.

    However, I have marked the 30th on my Calendar.

    Thanks for the update, Conor!

  • 7 Jason on May 21, 2008 at 3:38 am

    Do you still go to Grumpy’s Bar on Mondays for movie night?

  • 8 Ben on May 21, 2008 at 5:16 am

    What’s up with all the nostalgia for Southern California places? Is Pink’s up next? Maybe we can do the James Ellroy tour of LA and start with the Pacific Dining Car?

  • 9 Kevin Murphy on May 21, 2008 at 5:38 am

    Now, I haven’t lived near Chicago in decades, so my faves have rust on them. Loved Miller’s downtown, I think on Wabash, about as relaxed as you get. Tommy Nevin’s in Evanston is a fine Irish pub (forget Butch McGuire’s), and they have a dish on the menu for Rifftrax fans – Bacon and cabbage. But for beer? Jake’s on Clark Street.

  • 10 Kevin Murphy on May 21, 2008 at 5:41 am

    Sad to say, I believe City Club Cinema is no more. However, Rich Kronfeld is at Grumpy’s on Saturday nights hosting a game show called “Risk Your Meat.”

  • 11 Gary Glover on May 21, 2008 at 9:05 am

    Kevin, the most fantastic, unassuming Korean Restaurant (with BBQ, Hot Stone rice & soups) is right next door! Tofu House. http://www.tofuhaus.com/ Don’t let the name throw you, there is far more meat than tofu. Delicious fare, then slide over to O’Brien’s for a liquid desert- yum!

  • 12 Erik on May 21, 2008 at 9:53 am

    You are including Favorite Places from Space #2’s object of Kevin’s affection: The Steele County Free Fair in Owatonna, MN? I must have missed the part about Minnesota being in SoCal. Could you please advise? Perhaps my maps are out of date.

  • 13 Natureboy (Ken) on May 21, 2008 at 10:31 am

    Damn Erik….First you missed your beer update and know you somehow have missed Southern California’s acquisition of Minnesota. Maybe if you put the bong down a little more often, you would catch a few things going on in the world. ;)

  • 14 Ben on May 21, 2008 at 11:30 am

    I made no reference to Favorite Places from Space #2. You are mistaken in that belief. I believe that 2 out of 3 places identified (hence, a majority of those mentioned so far) were from Southern California. If you read my comment, I didn’t say all of the places mentioned to date were in California. Nor were they mostly from Minnesota. Not even in Hillary’s weird electoral math did places from Minnesota outnumber mentioned places from California. In math terms, 1<2 where the “<” means “less than”. Ah, I could enumerate all day about how 1 is not a majority of places over 2. Isn’t learning fun????

  • 15 torgosPizza on May 21, 2008 at 2:52 pm

    “What’s up with all the nostalgia for Southern California places?”

    After saying that, you proceeded to mention two MORE SoCal locations, as if to imply that Kevin would be talking exclusively about places in our neck of the woods.

    If you know what “enumerate” means, then surely you understand that a majority is not the same as a trend?

  • 16 Steve-O on May 22, 2008 at 5:55 pm

    So. Totally. In.

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