Small Bar serves up big flavor

Guinness-infused beer mac n’ cheese combines a classic childhood comfort food and candied bacon with the quintessential stout ale. Photo Credit: Lauren J. Mapp

Lauren J. Mapp

Guinness-infused beer mac n’ cheese combines a classic childhood comfort food and candied bacon with the quintessential stout ale. Photo Credit: Lauren J. Mapp

Lauren J. Mapp, Editor-in-Chief

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San Diego definitely doesn’t have a short list of bars slinging craft beers and cocktails, but one of the best places, despite its tiny size, is University Height’s aptly-named Small Bar, located at 4628 Park Ave.

Red and black ominous walls adorned with elephants welcome you as the jukebox plays hits from The Beatles, Joan Jett and Bright Eyes among many others.

Special cask and beer glass events are regular occurrences at Small Bar, and they are one of the participants of the monthly bus pub crawl throughout Normal Heights, North Park and South Park, known as the “Drink About.”

Once you’ve secured a spot at one of the tables or some prime real estate at the bar, it’s time to order off their extensive drink menu. The mule cocktails in their engraved-copper mugs are fan-favorites, but the blackberry daiquiri, old fashioned and spicy dirty pickle martini are also great ways to quench your thirst.

A rotating selection of beers on tap at Small Bar will always keep you on your toes, and with 42 taps it will be hard to find something you won’t like.

In an IPA-crazed society it can sometimes be difficult to find a good pint of brown ale or something flavorful, mellow and not too hopped up, but Small Bar obliges with plenty of beer options that span the spectrum.

Wells banana bread banana ale, Bear Republic Pete’s Tribute brown ale and the Bootleggers Black Phoenix chipotle coffee stout are all excellent choices if you want to try something a little different.

Hop addicts can get their fix by trying tap choices such as the Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA, Beer Valley Leafer Madness IIPA and the Green Flash Imperial IPA.

Cocktails and beer aren’t the only draws to Small Bar, an eclectic menu of pub fare is also subject to being worshipped by regular patrons.

Beer mac n’ cheese is a must try with its three cheeses, Guinness béchamel sauce topped with beer candied bacon and roasted cherry tomatoes. The sauce has a bit of a kick embedded in the comforting, gooey mess that reminds you of your childhood.

Fried pickles in their crispy, Anchor Steam beer batter enclosures are the perfect sharing plate for a group of friends, and the ranch dip is a perfect accompaniment.

Small bleu fried shoestring fries, covered in melted Maytag bleu cheese and parsley can be matched with any of the menu’s sandwiches or plates. In case you don’t like all the fussin’, you can also order them naked.

On Saturday and Sunday mornings from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., retreat to a hangover recovery brunch and indulge in the French toast, omelets or the southern comfort of biscuits n’ gravy.

Bloody Mary Superior is a smorgasbord in a glass and the perfect drink to get back on track during brunch. It’s made with their house mix, a splash of Guinness, steak sauce and garlic-chili infused vodka, and then garnished shrimp, beer candied bacon, house-made pickle in addition to a garden’s worth of vegetables.

Definitely stop in at Small Bar if you’re looking for a spot with all the pomp and circumstance of a gourmet pub, but without the pretentiousness.

Fried pickles battered with Anchor Steamed beer at Small Bar are great for sharing with friends and pair well with the Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA on tap. Photo Credit: Lauren J. Mapp

Guinness-infused beer mac n’ cheese combines a classic childhood comfort food and candied bacon with the quintessential stout ale. Photo Credit: Lauren J. Mapp

Smothered in melted Maytag Bleu cheese, Small Bar’s French fries play well with any of their sandwiches or plated meals. Photo Credit: Lauren J. Mapp

Small Bar's selection of mule cocktails feature a nice blance between flavor and alcohol content. Photo Credit: Lauren J. Mapp

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