Walter Mencken 11:47 a.m., May 30
Quiet neighborhood bar in Old Town serves up cheap eats.
Around the invisible barrier where Old Town starts getting seedy, or at least unglamorous, sits Kelly’s Pub (619-683-3200). It’s got a pretty good juke box, two dart boards, two pool tables, a parking lot, and a crowd that tends towards middle age.
Kelly’s also has an affordable menu of decent bar food and plenty of space to eat and drink in peace, which can be in short supply some days. The food comes courtesy of the Fried Locals, originally a catering outfit from OB, who man the kitchen Monday through Saturday until eleven, five on Sundays.
If you want to get away from the scene (whatever your scene is), you couldn’t do much better. It's not the kind of bar that poetically embellishes the menu with the buzz words of the moment, tacking a couple dollars onto the price of otherwise unremarkable food.
The kitchen whips up a surprisingly good half-pound lamb burger for $8. Asking another dollar for the privilege of adding cheese and $2 for fries is a bit of a hustle, but it’s still cheap-ish after the surcharges so the complaints don’t hold much water. A regular hamburger is just $6, although the same surcharges apply. The real trick is to sneak in for happy hour (everyday from 11-7!), when a burger, fries, and a pint of Bud is just $7.50, which is almost Mickey D’s cheap.
The daily specials are on point as well. Wednesday is lamb stew for $8.95, but the real winner is the Friday night special: prime rib with veggies and a baked potato for $12.95. Sure, it’s not the finest or thickest cut of beef, around and it’s the polar opposite of fancy, but the chef is a friendly dude and adding the beer of the month ($3.50) onto the tab gets you in and out with a prime rib dinner, a brew, and change back from a Jackson. That’s not too shabby.