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MetlBar Creamery & Café not just ice cream for breakfast

Boozy ice cream maker brings Southern brunch to North Park

Metl Bar launched its boozy ice cream line in Gaslamp last year; a new North Park location picks up the trend.
Metl Bar launched its boozy ice cream line in Gaslamp last year; a new North Park location picks up the trend.

One of the saving graces of pandemic summer 2020 was the emergence of Metl Bar: specifically, its talent for creating small batches of boozy ice cream. Often, they’re inspired by classic cocktails. So a negroni becomes Negroni Gelato, complete with gin and vermouth, and the tiki drink Pankiller becomes Painchiller, sporting three types of rum. Sometimes the flavors mash up of cocktails and classic ice cream flavors: which is how an old fashioned becomes the Pecan Old Fashioned, wherein bourbon, rye, and bitters deliver a twist on butter pecan ice cream.

Place

MetlBar Creamery & Café

2835 University Ave, San Diego

Apparently, ice cream has fueled enough success for the Gaslamp bar and nightclub that it recently spun off a brunch hour counterpart in North Park. MetlBar Creamery & Café plans to eventually serve dinner, but for now the concept seems intent to prove that ice cream is brunch friendly. Don’t feel like there’s enough morning booze in your mimosa or bloody mary? Order a stack of pancakes topped with scoops of that Pecan Old Fashioned. Half pint containers of ice cream are easy to take home, but if you're feeling more ice cream adventurous, service options include custom ice cream cookies sandwiches, ice cream floats, and sundaes.

Metl Bar replaces another brunch spot — Two Blue Ducks — on University Avenue.

Of course, if you’re bold (or foolhardy) enough to check it out with kids in tow, they’re going to demand ice cream for brunch too.

Chicken and waffles part of a Southern brunch menu

While I learned this lesson, I discovered the place actually is pretty kid friendly. And dog friendly too. Most of all, while the pooch chowed on house-made dog biscuits, and the kids enjoyed the always available selection of alcohol-free ice cream (a.k.a. regular ice cream), I realized the place isn’t just an ice cream slinging bar: it’s really a Southern breakfast restaurant.

The sausage egg and biscuit sandwich can make a reasonable grab-and-go option.

In other words, expect the likes of biscuits and gravy, shrimp and grits, and chicken and waffles.

I was a little surprised at how strong the menu turned out. I found the bar food served downtown to be fairly standard, not especially memorable. But here, the traditional fare strikes a great balance between being heavy and rich, but landing lightly enough on the belly to salve a hangover. Thanks to items like a sausage egg and biscuit sandwich, the brunch provides a reasonable grab-and-go option.

A full bar, slinging regular cocktails, not just made with ice cream

But your best bet is probably sticking around and skipping past all the Southern and egg options to the “pur some sugar on me” menu. In addition to ice cream over pancakes, the kitchen gets playful with black cocoa pancakes, strawberry margarita ice cream over French toast, and an angel food cake turned into French toast with cocoa syrup. You might say, not just kid friendly, but big kid friendly.

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Metl Bar launched its boozy ice cream line in Gaslamp last year; a new North Park location picks up the trend.
Metl Bar launched its boozy ice cream line in Gaslamp last year; a new North Park location picks up the trend.

One of the saving graces of pandemic summer 2020 was the emergence of Metl Bar: specifically, its talent for creating small batches of boozy ice cream. Often, they’re inspired by classic cocktails. So a negroni becomes Negroni Gelato, complete with gin and vermouth, and the tiki drink Pankiller becomes Painchiller, sporting three types of rum. Sometimes the flavors mash up of cocktails and classic ice cream flavors: which is how an old fashioned becomes the Pecan Old Fashioned, wherein bourbon, rye, and bitters deliver a twist on butter pecan ice cream.

Place

MetlBar Creamery & Café

2835 University Ave, San Diego

Apparently, ice cream has fueled enough success for the Gaslamp bar and nightclub that it recently spun off a brunch hour counterpart in North Park. MetlBar Creamery & Café plans to eventually serve dinner, but for now the concept seems intent to prove that ice cream is brunch friendly. Don’t feel like there’s enough morning booze in your mimosa or bloody mary? Order a stack of pancakes topped with scoops of that Pecan Old Fashioned. Half pint containers of ice cream are easy to take home, but if you're feeling more ice cream adventurous, service options include custom ice cream cookies sandwiches, ice cream floats, and sundaes.

Metl Bar replaces another brunch spot — Two Blue Ducks — on University Avenue.

Of course, if you’re bold (or foolhardy) enough to check it out with kids in tow, they’re going to demand ice cream for brunch too.

Chicken and waffles part of a Southern brunch menu

While I learned this lesson, I discovered the place actually is pretty kid friendly. And dog friendly too. Most of all, while the pooch chowed on house-made dog biscuits, and the kids enjoyed the always available selection of alcohol-free ice cream (a.k.a. regular ice cream), I realized the place isn’t just an ice cream slinging bar: it’s really a Southern breakfast restaurant.

The sausage egg and biscuit sandwich can make a reasonable grab-and-go option.

In other words, expect the likes of biscuits and gravy, shrimp and grits, and chicken and waffles.

I was a little surprised at how strong the menu turned out. I found the bar food served downtown to be fairly standard, not especially memorable. But here, the traditional fare strikes a great balance between being heavy and rich, but landing lightly enough on the belly to salve a hangover. Thanks to items like a sausage egg and biscuit sandwich, the brunch provides a reasonable grab-and-go option.

A full bar, slinging regular cocktails, not just made with ice cream

But your best bet is probably sticking around and skipping past all the Southern and egg options to the “pur some sugar on me” menu. In addition to ice cream over pancakes, the kitchen gets playful with black cocoa pancakes, strawberry margarita ice cream over French toast, and an angel food cake turned into French toast with cocoa syrup. You might say, not just kid friendly, but big kid friendly.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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