868 Fifth Avenue, Downtown San Diego
What’s this? Craft beer on Fifth? That’s right. Our downtown strip is straying further from its time-honored formula of tourist traps and EDM cesspools to bring West Coast suds to the Gaslamp. Nearby establishments such as the Hopping Pig, the Tipsy Crow, and the Local have been facilitating the movement of artisanal brews into the area for a few years now, and Quad Ale House comes as a welcome addition with 28 San Diego–centric taps, including one nitro, overseen by Beau Schmitt of the Brew Project (Mission Hills).
Branding itself as a “beer study hall,” Quad takes on the air of a collegiate meeting place where knowledge is imparted in a communal environment, equally suited for craft-beer doctorates and foam-fancying freshman alike. The bar’s name, an invention of Lost Abbey’s Tomme Arthur, also serves as a tribute to two styles of beer: Belgian quads and quadruple IPAs. Owners Todd Ferrari and Joe Stewart, who have run the Gaslamp Tavern downstairs for the past ten years, converted this third-story former Navy locker into a 5000-square-foot minimal industrial warehouse of exposed brick, unvarnished wood flooring, a 50-foot bar, and communal tables. Seating about 100 with plenty of standing room, Quad offers a prime vantage point from which to witness the bedlam of Friday night Gaslamp unfold.
Prices run north of the town average, with beers around $7 and a selection of whiskey and bourbon-based cocktails for $12, but the price point is sensible for the neighborhood. As a tongue-in-cheek wink at the area’s ubiquitous bottle service, Quad offers a variety of 22-ounce bombers of beer served in a bucket and accompanied by taster glasses. Flights of five 4-ounce beers (under 10 percent ABV) go for $12.50 until 8 p.m.
The kitchen is headed up by Chef Brandon Brooks (Sessions Public, Ritual Tavern). The menu centers around house-made meats including a garlic and herb roasted chicken, ancho chili braised beef brisket, hickory smoked pulled pork, Moroccan spiced lamb shoulder, and applewood smoked turkey breast. Pick your meat, toss it on one of five template sandwiches or salads, choose a side, grab a beer, and get to studying! All meats are available by the pound for $13–$22. Financial aid not accepted.
Capacity: about 200
Prices: Pints, ~$7; cocktails, $12
Hours: 11:30 am–2 am daily
Happy: 4–7 PM, Monday–Friday; $5 select drafts, $2 off whiskey, $5 Chef’s choice sandwich, $5 cocktails
Parking: Good luck
Food: House-made, slow-cooked meats