“The Spanish Village by the Sea” is one of the best beer and food destinations in Orange County. Part of what makes it great is the number of quality establishments in such a small area. most of the selections detailed below are all within a mile of each other. So here goes our craft beer city guide for San Clemente!
San Clemente has been making a name for itself over the past couple years and now boasts some real variety in both beer and food, although there are some great restaurant choices in town (South of Nicks and Nicks to mention a few) , our list only features those with a craft beer focus. To make the list, you need to have a minimum of 6 taps and hopefully a decent bottle list to go along. No bar focused spots here, it’s about pairing food and beer.
That said, here ya go
Riders Club: Burgers and Taps- Well Married
This is one of the top Burger establishments in Orange County, It is a little over 2 years old and has grown to be a very popular place for unique craft beer and a superb burger. They sport 8 taps and the beers change frequently, always seeming to include a hard to find pour. We love the place- check out our review for more information. Super casual atmosphere, since it is a small place it can get crowded particularly on Friday and Saturday nights. Riders club is a must mention for our craft beer city guide.
St.Roy Chef’s at Vine
This restaurant was originally known simply as Vine, with Justin Monson, the former executive chef of French 75 in Laguna at the helm. The restaurant went through a menu and beer renovation some time ago, The result, 10 taps and a terrific pub menu that has something for everyone. They change taps frequently, our beef is they don’t’ keep the beer menu up to date either on their website or anywhere else for that matter. That said we have been to a couple of their beer pairing dinners and thought they did a great job. We suspect that you won’t have any trouble pairing a great craft beer with any of their terrific dishes. Keep your pocketbook wide open on this one, St.Roy Chef’s at Vine is a little pricey.
The Cellar- Don’t let the name fool you, this is a great food and beer destination.
Another little Del Mar street nugget. With this name you’d expect wine, and you would be right. However, they have 6 taps (our minimum for inclusion on our list) pour some nice craft brews and offer a solid bottle list. The service here is amazing, and the food selection is unique and simply outstanding. Not too many choices and they all pair well with the beer selection that The Cellar has to offer. Considering the menu, the prices are just perfect. With it’s live music every night, great food and respectable beer offering, The Cellar should be on your list of “date night” destinations in San Clemente. Note, the place is small and it gets crowded. Prepare to wait unless you time it right.
Leave it to San Clemente to have an upscale Hawaiin/Asian fusion restaurant. I am putting this on our craft beer city guide because it is hard to find island cuisine at this level of quality in Orange County. Great variety and good prices have made this a favorite of folks in SC and in So Orange County. 8 Taps, and a decent bottle list land them in our review here. As expected the taps start out with Hawaiin beer, Primo and Kona and Maui brewing representing the islands. In addition North Coast had both “Prankster” and “Old Rasputin, Stone had the IPA slot and finally a Belgium rounds out the tap list. Taco Tuesday is super popular and they have crazy lunch specials at $4.99!!! Looking for something different, put Hapa J’s on your list.
Selma’s Chicago Pizza
Good new bad news here. They have two ridiculous locations in Ladera and Rancho Santa Margarita, with killer taps in addition to their great pizza. The San Clemente is a great little sit down restaurant right on Del Mar, but it does not have the “Tap Room” atmosphere that the other two do. That said they still sport a nice little beer selection of 8 taps, as well as a few nuggets in bottle to choose from. If you in San Clemente and you have a hankering for great Pizza and a quality beer you can’t go wrong here. We all have a favorite, Selma’s is mine since I love their thick crust.
A newer eatery in town. It does seem strange that San Clemente has 3 Pizza places within a mile of each other. Even stranger (better here ) is that all of them have a solid craft beer list and as such make them destinations worthy of a visit if Pizza is your craving. All have a different pizza style, with Brick focusing on thin crust. With 6 taps they make the cut. A recent visit revealed the following pours at Brick, with all at $5 and $6 a glass: Bear Republic Black Stout, Eel River Organic Blonde, Ale Hangar 24 Orange Wheat, Stone Pale Ale Stone Ruination IPA, Hop Rod Rye . They also have a small but solid bottle list as well.
In addition to their own beer, they always have an really awesome guest tap collection, (The best in San Clemente by far). They do a great job of changing the selection of “guest beers” that give another reason to check this place out.
To take the guess work out they have a live camera that shows all their current taps, you can check it out on our site.
Pizza Port really appeals to the pocket book of the cost conscious beer swiller. They publish an events calendar where you can see the happy hour specials including the $3 pint deals that they offer on a regular basis. Tuesdays focus is on Ports house brews, Thursday’s offer up one of the guest brews for your enjoyment. They rotate them each week. They also have some happy hour food deals so you can feed that growling stomach as well. The best lunch special in all of orange county lives at Pizza port, $7 for a pint, two slices, and a hearty salad.
Perhaps one of our favorite new beer and food spots in San Clemente is the Peruvian restaurant, Inka Mamas. The beer selection is decent, about 6 taps, 5 of them are micro brews. The highlight of Inka Mamas is the FOOD! First of all, it may seem a bit expensive, round $16 or !8 a dish, but remember, one dish feeds two people. Inka Mama’s Peruvian Paella will knock your socks off. Tired of your standard pub and brewery food? Check out Inka Mamas for good beer and amazing food. They are not in the downtown mix but rather in the community of Talega, just a mile or so east of the 5. Check out the inka mamas website here.
Board and Brew
Lastly, I am going to give a shout out to Board and Brew, if you read our review, We love this place. Great tap list, at great prices and the best sandwich you can find anywhere. Fresh ingredients and big portions. Not really a dinner destination, but for lunch, we love it. Great beer happy hours by the way with $2 off any beer Tuesdays after 2pm and a daily happy hour with $3 pints from 3-6pm. Hope you have enjoyed our craft beer city guide for san clemente. You can check out individual articles we have written on may of the above locations by browsing our blog. For example, read our review of pizza port san clemente by click here.
San Clemente is South , South OC but make the drive, cruise Del Mar street and make a selection. Whatever your food preference, you will find a great beer to accompany it.
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