1125 Sixth Avenue, Downtown San Diego
I hear it from B Street, plus a racket of laughs and arguments and cheers. It must be Stanley Cup time. The fan clans have gathered at Sixth Avenue between B and C, the shrine itself. Stout, the Irish-run pub.
This must be the after-work crowd, because the place is bulging beyond the railings and onto the sidewalk. First time I came here was the night of the final, couple of years ago. Man, that was ker-razee. Ice fanatics from, like, every cold country on earth. Canada (natch), Russia, Finland, Estonia, Japan, you name it. Plus all our northern tier. The Dakotas, Michigan, Maine, Connecticut, and etc.
So I can’t resist popping in tonight, see how it’s going. Get tips for where to lay my money, har-de-har. And indulge in a luxury that the Stout guys allow: they serve breakfast morning, noon, and night. Plus a big menu of food every day till 10 p.m., and their happy hour is a generous 4-8 p.m. Happens I have been food-free since eight this morning. It’s five in the evening now. Belly’s imploding. So, what better than a beer and a breakfast?
Mark, one of the two Irish owners, is here somewhere, in the crowd inside. You see him because he’s so tall. Never looks hurried. Just a symphony of hands, quick conversation, and timing on pouring drafts, especially on the two-stage Guinness. I sit up to the bar between this gal and a guy, both Canadians, it turns out. They’re watching different games on different screens. I ask the guy, Josh, who would win the Stanley Cup if he had his druthers. “Ottawa Senators,” he says without hesitation. He’s from, uh, Ottawa.
Lisa’s from Winnipeg. I ask her. “Winnipeg Jets or Montreal Canadiens, of course” she says.
Mark appears. “Breakfast?” I ask as he flashes by. He pulls out a menu. Ah, Irish breakfast: two eggs, sausages from the Auld Sod itself, “rashers” of bacon, black-and-white pudding (“black” is kinda congealed blood), baked beans, potatoes, and house-baked soda bread. So-oo tempting, but ooh $13.50.
I go for the cheaper American Breakfast: two eggs (I get over easy), Applewood smoked bacon, potatoes, wheat toast. It costs $7.25.
And, this being the Stout pub, I have to order a stout. Ballast Point Sextant Oatmeal Stout. Okay, seems kinda gross to have beer with breakfast, but this is yummy, and at around five bucks, a deal. And it goes down silky-smooth.
Back to the food. Generous portions, with good herby spuds. And the thick bacon goes great with the Ballast stout. Plus noshing it all down while whack-by-whack hockey commentary and bar arguments rage around me makes for an interesting breakfast.
Turns out Lisa is a diplomat. She is the actual Consul at the Canadian consulate here. Wow.
Anyway, this has to be the most genuinely pubby pub in town. And added benefit is it’s right next to the trolley. Who needs a designated driver? I leave with the names of animals and birds buzzing in my ear: Penguins, bruins, blackhawks, sharks, ducks…what’s next? The San Diego Sea Lions?