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

The Pub at Lake Cuyamaca gives new meaning to “elevated” bar food

Good fortune, food, drinks, and a view at 4600 feet

At Cuyamaca, fine food and beverage is served with a lake view
At Cuyamaca, fine food and beverage is served with a lake view

If we were going to drive 50 miles, at bare minimum I wanted to find a decent meal at the other side. I don’t feel like that was too demanding — there didn’t need to be a lake view, or anything. A lucky break then, that there happened to be both.

Place

Pub at Lake Cuyamaca

15027 CA-79, Julian, CA

So, though none of our tickets hit the billion-dollar lottery, we did hit a jackpot of sorts by taking a weekend drive out to The Pub at Lake Cuyamaca. Yes, there’s fishing and hiking, fresh air and greenery at the lake, but judging by the number of motorcycles and sports cars we spotted cruising those windy mountain roads, we weren’t the only ones mainly out for a joyride and patio dining.

Sponsored
Sponsored

It's not new that there’s a place to eat in building that sits above Lake Cuyamaca, but a year ago this month the eatery got a major upgrade, courtesy of the same folk who operate Convoy mainstay, O’Brien’s Pub. Which would make the boost to the beer selection a no brainer — not only is there good stuff on tap, but also being sold in in the venue’s adjacent tackle shop. It’s the sort of convenience store that sells bait and camping-friendly foodstuffs (like the brand that sells peanut butter and jelly in the same jar); this one also offers bottles of barrel-aged ale.

A crispy cod fish n chips

Perhaps more importantly, like O’Brien’s, the Pub at Lake Cuyamaca serves elevated pub fare: in this case smoked chicken wings ($20), wagyu beef burgers ($13-20), and what may be the crispiest fish ‘n’ chips I’ve enjoyed this side of the Atlantic ($20). For a real surprise, opt for the crispy leg of duck confit ($24) or the cider-brined, oak-smoked Duroc pork chop ($25).

Does it make sense that the rustic outskirts of Julian boasts better bar food than most of San Diego’s suburban neighborhoods? Maybe not, but it sends a message there are better excuses to eat in these mountains than apple pie, likewise served here.

Smoked tri-tip sandwich, made with prime beef

What makes a little more sense is the smoker that sits outside the pub, doing the good work of slow-cooking meats and vegetables. That includes a (location-appropriate) smoked trout spread ($19), and (unexpected) smokey jus for an organic turkey dip sandwich ($16). I placed my bets on a smoked tri-tip sandwich ($16), featuring prime beef with chimichurri and grilled tomatoes on a soft telera roll. Let’s call it another safe bet that paid off.

The best bet you can make at The Pub at Lake Cuyamaca, given the beer and wine selection, is designating a driver. This becomes obvious when navigating the hairy twists and turns on the way back down the mountain. Otherwise, the place makes for a kick-ass dinner spot, should you want to bundle up and book a cabin, hoping for snow this winter. An hour drive might seem like a long way to go for good food and drink, but it feels like a quick ride if you call it a weekend getaway.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Nicholas Leigh Hunt revisits the Grover Cleveland school shooting with new book

The “trial by media” notoriety kept growing with the Boomtown Rats’ song “I Don’t Like Mondays.”
Next Article

Who needs Disneyland duels when you can Twitch?

Missy Alcazar figures out her funding
At Cuyamaca, fine food and beverage is served with a lake view
At Cuyamaca, fine food and beverage is served with a lake view

If we were going to drive 50 miles, at bare minimum I wanted to find a decent meal at the other side. I don’t feel like that was too demanding — there didn’t need to be a lake view, or anything. A lucky break then, that there happened to be both.

Place

Pub at Lake Cuyamaca

15027 CA-79, Julian, CA

So, though none of our tickets hit the billion-dollar lottery, we did hit a jackpot of sorts by taking a weekend drive out to The Pub at Lake Cuyamaca. Yes, there’s fishing and hiking, fresh air and greenery at the lake, but judging by the number of motorcycles and sports cars we spotted cruising those windy mountain roads, we weren’t the only ones mainly out for a joyride and patio dining.

Sponsored
Sponsored

It's not new that there’s a place to eat in building that sits above Lake Cuyamaca, but a year ago this month the eatery got a major upgrade, courtesy of the same folk who operate Convoy mainstay, O’Brien’s Pub. Which would make the boost to the beer selection a no brainer — not only is there good stuff on tap, but also being sold in in the venue’s adjacent tackle shop. It’s the sort of convenience store that sells bait and camping-friendly foodstuffs (like the brand that sells peanut butter and jelly in the same jar); this one also offers bottles of barrel-aged ale.

A crispy cod fish n chips

Perhaps more importantly, like O’Brien’s, the Pub at Lake Cuyamaca serves elevated pub fare: in this case smoked chicken wings ($20), wagyu beef burgers ($13-20), and what may be the crispiest fish ‘n’ chips I’ve enjoyed this side of the Atlantic ($20). For a real surprise, opt for the crispy leg of duck confit ($24) or the cider-brined, oak-smoked Duroc pork chop ($25).

Does it make sense that the rustic outskirts of Julian boasts better bar food than most of San Diego’s suburban neighborhoods? Maybe not, but it sends a message there are better excuses to eat in these mountains than apple pie, likewise served here.

Smoked tri-tip sandwich, made with prime beef

What makes a little more sense is the smoker that sits outside the pub, doing the good work of slow-cooking meats and vegetables. That includes a (location-appropriate) smoked trout spread ($19), and (unexpected) smokey jus for an organic turkey dip sandwich ($16). I placed my bets on a smoked tri-tip sandwich ($16), featuring prime beef with chimichurri and grilled tomatoes on a soft telera roll. Let’s call it another safe bet that paid off.

The best bet you can make at The Pub at Lake Cuyamaca, given the beer and wine selection, is designating a driver. This becomes obvious when navigating the hairy twists and turns on the way back down the mountain. Otherwise, the place makes for a kick-ass dinner spot, should you want to bundle up and book a cabin, hoping for snow this winter. An hour drive might seem like a long way to go for good food and drink, but it feels like a quick ride if you call it a weekend getaway.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Wagner, Liszt, and Brahms in Escondido

Payare levitates for the victory
Next Article

Thuy, Winter Wonderland Fashion Show & Luncheon, On The Trail of Der Blaue Reiter

Events December 1-December 2, 2022
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories Fishing Report — What’s getting hooked from ship and shore From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town The Gonzo Report — Making the musical scene, or at least reporting from it Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Outdoors — Weekly changes in flora and fauna Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Street Style — San Diego streets have style Surf Diego — Real stories from those braving the waves Theater — On stage in San Diego this week Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Your Week — Daily event picks
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
Close