Hillcrest Brewing Company (HBC) is the closest thing that you’ll have to a gay Cheers where “everyone knows your name.”
Even though HBC is located at the epicenter of Hillcrest, adjacent to the Pride Plaza/Flag at Normal St. and University Ave., it welcomes everyone who stops in for one of their craft beers or excellent food menu items—even furry, four-legged friends are welcome on the patio.
Offering a convivial atmosphere, it’s really easy to hang with old friends or make new friends, enjoying good conversation on indoor or outdoor seating. While there are televisions inside showing some sporting events, the patrons generally don’t get nearly as fired up as they would in a full-blown sports bar (but some major sporting events like playoff games can fire up the guests). It makes it much easier to converse without someone beside you yelling at top volume after that grand slam home run.
Joey, Jason, and the whole team made some significant upgrades to the facility and the menu during the pandemic, enhancing the guest experience with an improved patio and additional indoor seating.
The staff, affectionately known as the #HunkyBrewsters, welcome regulars and first-timers with open arms and a positive attitude. If you become a regular, most will learn your name and soon you may even think you’re Norm walking into Cheers the next time you go in.
The food and drink menus have a little something for everyone; just be prepared for some items with names straight out of the gay lexicon. Things like, “Banana Hammock,” “Crotch Rocket,” or “Meat Packer”—all meant in good fun.
Variety is the spice of life, and you’ll find pizza, chicken Parmigiana, wings, meatballs, Caesar’s salad, and much more on their food menu. On Saturdays and Sundays, they serve brunch until 2 p.m., offering breakfast pizzas and calzones.
HBC offers a daily “Hoppy Hour” from 2 p.m.-6 p.m. with $2 off draught beer, wine, and well drinks. For the Hoppy Hour during the weekdays (M-F), you can purchase slices of pizza for $3.00 as well.
FULL DISCLOSURE: HBC has become my establishment of choice because of its fantastic staff, atmosphere, beers, and menu items, so I may be a bit biased. Other than me handing over my money to them every time I go there, we have no financial relationship. I’m not being compensated for writing this. Not even a free Garlic Nut. All of that said, I encourage you to visit HBC and experience it for yourself.
What You Need To Know
Location: 1458 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92103
- Monday – Friday: Open at 2pm
- Saturday & Sunday: Open at 11am
Cost: Costs are moderate depending on what you’re drinking and eating. They do have a “Hoppy Hour,” Monday – Friday, 3 p.m.-6 p.m. which helps make things more affordable (two beers and two slices of pizza ~ $20).
Phone: (619) 269-4323
Tips: Parking in the Hillcrest area can be a bit challenging. Hillcrest Brewing Company shares a small, free parking lot with other businesses, and it’s almost always full. There is both metered and free street parking available along University Avenue and Normal Street. A number of SDMTS buses stop two blocks away at Park Blvd. and University Ave.
Click to see full-sized photos.
Visited: Any day that ends in “Y”. (Okay. It’s not that bad. But I am there 2-4 times per month.)