6115 Paseo Del Norte, Carlsbad
When most San Diegans celebrate the history of beer, they start out with Karl Strauss Brewing Company. Or, if they really comb the annals of suds’ story, they mention the original Aztec Brewing Company and other pre-Prohibition operations. Well, one local is peeling back the ale onion all the way to this country’s humble-yet-formidable beginnings, creating a venue that simultaneously pays homage to our founding fathers and their ale enjoyment as well as San Diego’s influence on craft brewing via the newly established Green Dragon Tavern & Museum (6115 Paseo Del Norte, Carlsbad).
Adjacent to the Carlsbad Flower Fields and designed to replicate Boston’s historic Green Dragon Tavern (Colonial Era brick, columns, cobblestone pathways, and more), the combo venue is 22,000 square feet and divided into five parts — a tavern, restaurant, coffee house, rentable meeting space, and the museum component. The latter offers visitors a free peek at historic texts, documents, and collectables supplied from a private collection and the Pilgrim Hall Museum (the oldest museum in the US, in continuous operation since 1824).
The tavern was built to replicate the experience of lifting tankards as Samuel Adams and company did back in the day. Tall ceilinged with a two-story stone fireplace and brass chandelier, it seats 100 and is outfitted with some modern-day innovations the 1770s crowd weren’t privy to. Among those are flat screen TVs and 20 taps of mostly craft ales and lagers. A full-on dining experience is offered at the restaurant, which is helmed by Culinary Institute of America graduate Craig Hastings. The menu delivers New England dishes like clam chowder, lobster rolls, fish and chips, handpies, and even Boston baked beans made with black strap molasses and maple syrup. Entrée salads and sandwiches named after the likes of Paul Revere and Ben Franklin are also on the edible docket.
Green Dragon opened its doors earlier this month and business hours are 5 to 10 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday. It certainly brings a unique craft beer drinking experience to San Diego, and a rare infusion of the other coast.