579 Grand Avenue, San Marcos
The name Phil’s BBQ is synonymous with San Diego… much like handles such as AleSmith, Ballast Point, and Karl Strauss. Now, the ‘cue giant and those local brewing operations will be more synonymous with each other, or at least more noticeably so. Phil’s has actually supported craft beer in a significant way for years, even holding large events with brewers during early editions of San Diego Beer Week. And when the locally grown business remodeled its flagship Point Loma location, it upped its stock of local suds.
Earlier this month, Phil’s BBQ unveiled a completely remodeled bar area at its North County location (579 Grand Avenue, San Marcos) that, like the beverage-focused enclave of its originator, not only features more taps, but more taps pouring San Diego ales. The change makes good sense given the restaurant’s location right off State Route 78, which is affectionately referred to by most craft beer enthusiasts as the “Hop Highway” due to the fact it bisects five municipalities playing home to a total of 30 breweries—roughly a third of the total operating brewhouses in the county.
A quintet of SR78-adjacent brewing companies — Belching Beaver, Latitude 33, The Lost Abbey, Mother Earth Brew Co, and Stone — made it onto the opening day beer list, along with fellow San Diego County interests AleSmith, Ballast Point, Butcher’s, Coronado, and Karl Strauss. The beers are dispensed from tap towers covered over in wintry frost and emerging from a black quartz countertop. Behind the bar, a 50-foot sports ticker reels away, easily visible in the spacious area, which has tripled in square footage from the original bar and now includes more seats and TVs. In addition to craft beer, artisanal cocktails and higher-grade spirits are also available.