2222 San Diego Ave. (Old Town)
Happy Hour: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., daily
Come On Get Happy! | Dr. Ink
Whether sober or tipsy, this booze doctor can’t shoot a serious game of pool for squat. When I do, it’s invariably within the company of only my inner circle, as I poorly demonstrated on a quiet Sunday afternoon at Kelly’s Pub.
The two-room watering hole, located on San Diego Avenue outside the tourist pulse of Old Town, sees better crowds on Sundays during football season. Visiting as a foursome, we landed easy parking in the structure’s side lot and received immediate bar service from a well-staffed workforce tending to five other customers.
Daily happy hour is an eight-hour affair, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., when well drinks and beer are discounted by 50 cents. We came for the suds, with domestics like Budweiser selling for $3 and specialty labels such as Fat Tire from Colorado and Stella Artois from Belgium costing $4.25. There are 18 draft choices in all.
Based on a phone call made previously to confirm if food is served, I was told the kitchen opens “everyday” at 6 p.m., and that the cook offers daily specials on various items. The pub’s menu, however, shows that the kitchen closes at 5 p.m. on Sundays. With naughty munchies like chicken wings and fried zucchini taunting our brains, we didn’t get lucky. A bartender told us shortly after we arrived in late afternoon that Sundays “weren’t working out for food” ever since football season ended.
So we instead shifted into playful competitive mode, taking over an empty pool room stocked with two tables. The games were free because of a pool league that came before us that day. Otherwise they are only 50 cents a rack.
With glasses of Islander IPA from Coronado Brewing Company and a Black and Tan floating around our table, I didn’t feel so embarrassed pocketing the cue ball a few times or accidentally jabbing a friend in the buttocks with the end of my stick. This is how I play.
Our beers were served tall and cold, giving us the urge to sit under direct sunlight rather than within the pub’s dankly lit confines, which seem already decorated for next year’s St. Patrick’s Day with its shamrocks and green curtains. There is no patio, but you get the impression that there really should be one, given the ample lot space in front and alongside the building.
The interior is otherwise worn, showing its age since it became Kelly’s in 1992. But a welcoming neighborhood vibe prevails, attracting mostly locals. The biggest flocks apparently show up between 6 and 7 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays and Saturdays, and between noon and 7 p.m. on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, when you get a pint of Budweiser with an Angus burger and fries for only $7.50. Unfortunately, we missed the boat.
The beer selection isn’t the biggest in town, but it folds in the Irish classics with a few local labels and commercial domestics.
The kitchen is closed on Sundays, the day we visited. But the menu obliges with wings, lamb tacos, burgers and deep-fried cheesecake.
Daily happy hour provides a 50-cent discount on most drinks, although a much better deal is offered in varying time slots on Monday through Saturday, when a pint of beer, a burger and fries cost $7.50.
The bartenders are fast in taking drink orders and informative when it comes to figuring out what deals are available at certain times.
Price breaks are offered during a majority of the pub’s operating hours, even on Sundays when the kitchen is dark.