Though a little scaled back, philanthropy still figures into South Park Abbey's mission.
The locale on the corner of Grape and Fern was built in the late ‘40s as a laundromat and went on to operate as a thrift store, a lighting store, and a “Cuban restaurant with a questionable reputation,” according to Darlene “Mom” Neitzke, who you can find sipping wine at the end of the bar most evenings in her spot designated by a small placard.
Darlene cashed out her retirement to help her son Adam open the South Park Abbey in late 2011. At the time, the idea was to donate 3 percent of proceeds to various charities, hence the bar’s byline: “Delicious food. Great beer. Philanthropy.”
1946 Fern Street, San Diego
The initiative proved too cumbersome for the young business, which instead hosts fundraiser events for groups such as the Renegade Rollergirls and the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation. The dog- and family-friendly sports bar is home to a contingent of ‘Bama Crimson Tide fans and boasts the most extensive beer menu in South Park with 36 taps, a few bottles, and a tap of room-temperature red from Fallbrook Winery for good measure. A rotating beer of the day goes for $4, which is what a well cocktail will set you back during happy hour.
However, it’s easy to rack up a sizable bill here if you aren’t careful. The Abbey’s famous wings are slow-smoked out back and then fried in the kitchen, and some say they’re the best around. At $10 per half dozen (or $18 for 12), they’d better be — this economy...am I right, guys? The truth is they’re pretty damn good — big, juicy, flavorful — and you can take 6 for $6 on Mondays, when burgers (which come with a tantalizing, San Diego–brined Skerry Hot Pickle) go for the same price. Wings come with a choice of nine sauces (one per order), including house favorite “dirty” sauce — a mix of ranch, sweet & spicy, and buffalo.
The Abbey’s breezy windows and patio overlooking the Target Express make it a popular destination during brunch and weekend dinner hours, which means that service can occasionally take a hit. But that shouldn’t stop you from showing up for $12 bottomless mimosas from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on weekends. The crowd is generally a mix of sports fans, beer geeks, families, and neighborhood regulars. If you stick around long enough, you may even have a chance to clink glasses with Mom as karaoke kicks off.
Capacity: Seats ~80 inside, ~15 patio
Food: New American pub fare
Happy hour: $1 off beers, $4 wells; 3–7 p.m., TUES–THURS; all day MON.
Prices: $5–$8 beer, $5.50 wells, $6–$12 cocktails, $6–$9 wine.
Specials: $6 burgers and wings Mondays; $2 Taco Tuesdays, 5:30 p.m.–close; open-mic Wednesdays, 8:00–11 p.m.; $15 fish and chips Fridays; karaoke Sundays (pending cabaret license).
Hours: MON–THURS, 3 p.m.–12 a.m.; FRI, 11:30 a.m.–1:30 a.m.; SAT, 9:30 a.m.– 1:30 a.m.; SUN, 9:30 a.m.–12 a.m.
The Deal: $4 beer of the day