9500 Gilman Drive, San Diego
Established in 1993 by a UCSD grad, Porter’s Pub is a unique and worthwhile campus dive.
There’s the beer, for starters — 24 rotating taps (over 400 varieties have been featured since Porter’s inception) with prices and percentages scrawled on the stainless steel above each pull. They also have 15+ bottles, including Mississippi Mud, Chimay, and Eye of the Hawk.
There’s the $3 menu (slow service, mediocre cuisine, but acceptable for the cost) of burgers, chicken tenders, Mexican pizza, and mac & cheese to top off the reasonably priced selection of wings, fries, poppers, Mexican dishes, and salads, plus perks such as omelets, spring rolls, pulled pork, and sandwiches.
Then there’s the 6000-square-foot venue, where the back of the bar opens up to an outdoor patio surrounded by UCSD’s ubiquitous eucalyptus trees. Smokers can enjoy the show with drink in-hand and buy food from vegan and soul-food vendors while watching the band.
Exceptional for being an all-ages establishment that slings alcohol, Porter’s has booked international acts such as Infected Mushroom, Wavves, Doomtree, Washed Out, Memoryhouse, Das Racist, Twin Sister, Surfer Blood, Zion I & the Grouch, GZA, Andre Nickatina, and even an Otto Von Schirach/Retox/Atari Teenage Riot bill that was canceled due to the widespread power blackout last September.
The bar is an unembellished locale in which one may complete a late assignment and sip pints between impromptu games of foosball and air hockey.
A dedicated beer bar, Porter’s is home to its own brew club — open to students, faculty, and non-campus characters. The club brews every two weeks on Sunday mornings starting at 10:30 a.m. and continues into the afternoon. A $5 donation covers the cost of food, brew-tasting, and materials.
Though notorious for its unimpressive kitchen, Porter’s offers an extensive catering menu of Greek, Thai, Chinese, Mexican, Italian, classic American, and soul food for bar mitzvahs, birthdays, weddings, what-have-yous.
Give the place a visit. Get drunk, then eat. Check the calendar. It’s got an entirely different energy than the nearby all-ages Ché Café, whose booking has been erratic as of late. Upcoming performances at Porter’s include hip-hop notables Logic and Tayyib Ali, Dizzy Wright, and Big K.R.I.T.
Hours: Mon–Fri, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
The Deal: $5.50 beer of the month
Cover: discounted or free for students