Drinkabout gives free rides to premier bars

by Andrew Younger

sinbads

While the brown, hoofed animal repository known as the San Diego Zoo and the killer whale detention center called SeaWorld have long brought national renown to America’s Finest City, San Diego’s craft beer scene has grown to prominence in recent years as a premier brewing locale in the country. The epicenter of this beer culture exists only four miles west of San Diego State on 30th Street, a street that Men’s Journal declared “is easily the nation’s best beer boulevard.”

With a diversity of bars only rivaled by the diversity of beers throughout 30th Street and the surrounding Mid-City area, exploring everything this region has to offer could prove daunting for even the most tolerant of livers. Thankfully, on the third Wednesday of every month, a free bus tour called the DrinkAbout allows patrons to hop on and off at any of the nine bars included on the route while avoiding parking hassles and providing a designated driver for the night. Buses arrive every 30 minutes and form a loop that runs from 7-11 p.m.

Anchoring the ends of the DrinkAbout are two of “America’s 100 Best Beer Bars,” according to Draft Magazine: Normal Heights’ illustrious gastro-pub Blind Lady Ale House and South Park’s craft beer mecca Hamilton’s Tavern. Blind Lady on Adams Avenue, with its beer hall-styled open seating and exposed brick and beam interior, has a brewery feel that complements the wide selection of both San Diego-specific beers and imports. Hamilton’s features 28 beers on tap and more than 200 different bottles with an emphasis on Belgian-style ales.

The next stop on the DrinkAbout tour after Blind Lady is Small Bar on Park Avenue. Small Bar, featured in The Daily Aztec in March, compensates for its diminutive size with its expansive beer and barrel-aged liquor selection. Following Small Bar is Live Wire Bar on El Cajon Boulevard, then San Francisco export Toronado and its collection of microbrews. For the more environmentally conscious, Sea Rocket Bistro only serves locally caught and sustainable food along with its craft beers while the Station Tavern offers gourmet hamburgers and hot dogs as well as traditional cocktails. The Ritual Tavern is a classy gastro-pub with outdoor seating and an extremely knowledgeable staff. And lastly, the newest addition to the DrinkAbout is El Cajon Boulevard’s Eleven which bills itself as “your neighborhood rock & roll joint.” Eleven features karaoke, live music, comedy nights and, presumably, amps that go to 11.

The next DrinkAbout bus tour is on Sept. 21 and starts at 7 p.m. The cost is free. For more information, visit sddrinkabout.blogspot.com.