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Downtown Johnny Brown's

1220 Third Avenue, Downtown San Diego

Mark this for Friday.

I came in here around six last Friday evening, on the hunt for Stone Brewing's November "Enjoy By" beer. It's a series of brews that last for a month and are supposed to taste fresher than long-life beers.

I'd dropped in to The Local, the pub on Fifth Avenue, and the guys there said they didn't have it yet and the only place that could be ahead of them around here was Downtown Johnny Brown's.

DTJB's big patio

DTJB's big patio

But the overworked bar guys at DTJB's said they'd seen no sign of deliveries from Escondido. This was the height of happy hour. Place pretty packed with City workers from the government offices around this Civic Center Plaza.

So I had to make a quick libation decision. Spotted Old Viscosity's bigger brother, Older Viscosity (from Port Brewing). Got it 'cause I know how seductive that thick black brew is. Tulip glassful cost $7.75.

Ugh. Not cheap for the amount you get. Guess happy hour didn't apply here. But no worries, mate, because it's a real thick, strong elixir, so you don't want to rush it anyway.

Plus, turns out I've got here just in time for their Free Friday Food table. Wow. Laid out with battered mushrooms, chicken chunks, slices of peppery cheese and salami sausage, Carr's crackers and another herby cracker, plus a bunch of fresh fruit. Strawbs, raspberries, blackberries and grapes.

And here' s where it all comes together: this Older Viscosity is plenty rich and plenty sweet to drink, and goes totally fabboliciously with the strawbs, salami and cheese.

Honestly, it's a beautiful combo. Free's pretty nice too, and there's enough to keep you grazing for hours here.

Well, maybe not hours. It pays to arrive early, because they don't keep on refilling the food tray. And with all of these savvy city workers piling in, you could say the Government will steal from your very mouth if you don't muscle your way to the front of the line and get yours.

Whatever, I come out into civic plaza fat, happy, and just $7.75 poorer. It would have been even less if I had scored a cut-price HH drink.

But then I would have missed the taste riot in my mouth. I'm happy.

Also: there's always the $1 tacos during happy hour.

And that Stone "Enjoy By"? Should be there by the end of the week.

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