Lamb burger and fries. The Public House.
  • Lamb burger and fries. The Public House.
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Public House La Jolla

830 Kline Street, La Jolla

it might look like an oasis... in a worse neighborhood.

Aside from a Karl Strauss outpost, I wasn't sure there were any reasonable spots to find good draft beer in La Jolla – at least, any reasonably priced spots. So I've never really gone there in search of beer.

However, I was on the lookout for lunch one day, and came across a little outdoor venue that, to be honest, seemed a little out of place among the village boutiques and bistros.

The Public House seems like it might be a better fit down the road in Pacific Beach. An outdoor bar, supported by mostly outdoor seating, with the faint stench of stale spilled beer and brand-sponsored patio umbrellas for shade. It doesn't exactly scream chichi.

It's also got a clever little catchphrase — "Locally World Famous Burgers and Ales". Cute, but I'm not even sure that's true.

As happens far too often, I was in the midst of a responsible work afternoon and couldn't afford to drink a beer with lunch (doing so always requires a nap, which doesn't usually convey professionalism). I did get a chance to browse the taplist and gotta say it was respectable, with a healthy sampling of local, Belgian and notable west coast breweries. As long as they keep their tap lines clean, this deck could prove a pleasant drinking environment.

Keeping a lot of condiments on the table is a must for a place like this.

I was craving a burger this afternoon, which was a little dismaying because I keep reading articles telling me that eating beef is bad for the environment.

Fortunately, they offer a lamb burger, with goat cheese, roasted tomatoes and "cucumber sauce." I haven't read anything about Colorado lambs causing damage to ozone or rainforests, so I bit.

It was a pricey, $14-and-change burger, and reminded me which beachfront community I was in. It did come with fries, though, so really only a couple dollars more than a similar meal at Burger Lounge or Five Guys (somebody's got to pay for those peanuts).

And in truth, it worked out alright. The lamb was juicy and rich, the goat cheese nice and tangy. The cucumber sauce didn't make that much of an impression, but a bevy of hot sauces (Sriracha, Tapatio, house habanero sauces) on the table gave me options to dress it up. Even the fries were nice and crispy, with soft centers.

Fortunately, I don't need to grab lunch in La Jolla very often, and when I do I'll usually opt for fish over at the (finally) expanding Pescadero's. Still, if it ever comes to pass that I'm on a date in La Jolla with a girl who's impressed by my fondness for burgers and beer, I'll keep Public House in mind.

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