Certain neighborhoods in San Diego are blessed with a plethora of breweries that make local craft beer. Sadly, despite having some incredible restaurants and a few great breweries, Hillcrest won’t win any local contest for the number of breweries operating there. What it lacks in breweries, it makes up for with restaurants and bars that serve great craft brews from all over San Diego and beyond.
Hillcrest does feature some unique breweries, but many of the craft beer options around here are tap houses and similar establishments. That doesn’t mean you have to go elsewhere to enjoy a cold beer and a great meal in Hillcrest. In fact, there are plenty of great places here where you can enjoy a delicious dinner and beers made right here in San Diego.
San Diego has so many breweries that it can take a very long time for you to experience them all. When you go to a tap house, you may be able to try several different beers from a number of different local breweries.
Location: 1236 University Avenue (map)
Hours: Monday-Thursday: 4 p.m. to 1 a.m., Friday: 3 p.m. to 2 a.m., Saturday: 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., Sunday: 10 a.m. to 2 a.m.
Uptown Tavern helps set the standard for incredible selection and great quality when it comes to craft beer and food to accompany it. The food is made from scratch, with options including Angus sliders, vegan beet Patty sliders, fresh flatbreads, salads, mac and cheese, and, of course, several options for dessert.
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You had me at Mac & Cheese! 😍 🙌 🧀 This week's special is Shrimp Scampi Mac & Cheese, with a house-made cheese sauce with Asiago, spiral noodles, herb crust, and micro cilantro, served with a toasted baguette. Only here this week! . . . #uptowntavernsd #uptowntavern #hillcrest #hillcrestsandiego #hillcrestsocial #fabuloushillcrest #hillcrestsd #northpark #sandiego #sd #hillcrestnightlife #lgbt #m4m #w4w #gaysandiego #gaylove #gaybar #gay #loveislove #sandiegoliving #sdfood #sdfooddiaries #sdfoodie #sdfoodscene #happyhour #macandcheese #macncheese
They also serve brunch on the weekends, with everything from a fresh weekly scramble made with Farmers Market produce to the ever-trendy avocado toast. Those with more classic taste may prefer steak and eggs, while those with a bit of a sweet tooth might want to dive into some brioche bread French toast, served with a whiskey maple syrup.
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Just in time for #SanDiegoPride, @hopvalleybrewing’s Reveal Pale Ale celebrates the true colors in all of us! Cool off with a pint of Reveal at #UptownTavernSD this weekend. A portion of sales will be donated to the @lgbtcenter! #hillcrest #hillcrestsocial #sdpride #pride2018 #sandiego #sd #northpark
Similarly, they have an incredible selection of beers. There are also plenty of different craft cocktails to entice you into trying something a little harder. Those looking for a fun place to spend the night out should know that this establishment caters to the LBGTQ community, but they are nothing if not welcoming toward the general public. This is definitely a great place to grab a bite or perhaps to nurse your hangover on a Sunday morning with a brunch and a local beer.
Hillcrest Brewing Company
Location: 1458 University Avenue (map)
Hours: Monday-Friday: 3 p.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Sunday: 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Few things go together as well as cold beer and hot pizza, and you find them both at the ever-popular Hillcrest Brewing Company. That’s why they’re the only actual brewery to make this list. Well, that and because you really can’t ignore them when talking about craft beer options in Hillcrest.
If you enjoy beers that have as much flavor as their names have puns, then Hillcrest brewing company has you covered.
Consider their Banana Hammock Scotch ale, which is a relatively powerful 9 percent alcohol by volume beer that boasts caramel, banana and malt flavors. They also typically have at least one IPA on tap, as well as other popular offerings, like their Perle Necklace Pale Ale. That and their popular Crotch Rocket Irish Red are both lower alcohol and highly sippale options.
What’s on tap changes regularly, so stop in and find out what they have to offer you when you’re feeling thirsty some afternoon. While you’re sipping your beer, you’ll likely start to smell the pizzas cooking, including a margarita pizza with creamy garlic sauce, a barbecue chicken pizza, veggie pizza, and even a cheeseburger pizza topped with pickles. You can enjoy a small pizza on your own or split a few with friends.
Project Bar and Grill
Location: 3683 5th Avenue (map)
Hours: Monday-Thursday: 3 p.m. to midnight, Friday: 3 p.m. to 2 a.m., Saturday: 10 a.m. to 2 a.m., Sunday: 10 a.m. to midnight
If you are looking for a place with a chill, low-key atmosphere but a top-shelf selection of craft beers and incredible food, Project Bar and Grill is your best bet. This place bills itself as a sports bar, which it certainly is. However, it is far more impressive than your average Sports Bar.
Appetizers here include their King Carne Fries which have carne asada steak made with IPA beer. They also make ahi tuna poke and bacon wrapped dates. For those with a bigger appetite, there are gourmet burgers served with their house seasoned waffle fries or a fresh salad. They also make the standard chicken wings you would expect, as well as grilled cheeses and other tasty sandwiches.
You can often find more than two dozen beers on draft at Project Bar and Grill at any given time. Many of these beers are made right here in San Diego, by breweries like 32 North, Duck Foot Brewing and other local favorites. You may also be able to find a hard kombucha on tap most days. Overall, there are some really excellent and unique brews to combine with the tasty food they serve here.
Brazen BBQ Smokehouse & Bar
Location: 441 Washington Street (map)
Hours: Sunday-Thursday: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Smoked meats really do pair well with flavorful craft beers. Brazen BBQ Smokehouse & Bar has perfected the pairing of tender, perfectly cooked meats with a rotating selection of great local, craft beers.
The menu has every kind of comfort food imaginable. Whether you want slow-cooked pork belly, specialty bacon, smoked chicken wings or even brisket tacos, they’ve got a protein-packed option to suit you. Those who like carbs or starch more might prefer the Dirty Tater Tots. They cleverly cover tater tots with pulled pork, cheese, pepper, onion and a fried egg. It’s a can’t miss tot dish.
With over 10 beers on tap at any given time, there’s sure to be something that piques your interest. If there isn’t, you can always opt for a bottle of Mission Hard Root Beer or a domestic beer. The menu also features a few wine selections and a pretty decent assortment of liquors and craft cocktails.
If you’re feeling peckish early in the day on the weekend, you can stop in for brunch, where you can shake off the after effects of an evening out with some delicious protein and a drink to kick off the rest of your day.