By Dr. Ink
Nearly a year after the quasi-Irish pub O’Hungry’s came under new ownership and switched to Hungry’s Kitchen & Tap, the original sign still hangs over the entrance as if nothing has changed. No website exists either, which further conceals the fact that the menu has been revised and the interior was remodeled.
Tourists to Old Town may never know the difference, although to this local on the recent prowl for a beer fix, the establishment’s reincarnation is refreshing.
The 50-ounce yards of beer remain in the offing, although they aren’t discounted during happy hour. Also in place are the heavy wood tables that have seen their fair share of merriment over the years. But with a renewed bar and tap system installed, and olive-green walls filled neatly with framed photography, the atmosphere is lighter and feels more European than it did before.
Weekday happy hour points to a rotating schedule of specials from either the kitchen or the taps, or both.
On Mondays, for example, the deal affords you mugs of select craft drafts for $3 each. Or on Tuesdays you can score a taco and “tall boy” can of beer for $10.
Wednesdays are for burger and Coke lovers, when the combo is priced also at $10. Beer re-enters the fold on Thursdays as craft pitchers are $20 apiece while the following day pints sell for $5.
I kick-started the week with a couple of Monday mugs, starting with Stone’s fruit-forward Tangerine Express IPA. I would have ordered a second mug had the waitress not tapped out the remaining supply, which filled the frosty glass only three-quarters. Because it fell short, she kindly took it off my bill.
Two other beers listed on the hard-to-read mirrored menu were also sold out — Iron Fist’s chocolate-mint stout and Absolution’s “cardinal sin” red ale. So I settled for one of my old standbys, Cali Creamin’ vanilla cream ale by Mother Earth. Light and malty, I don’t recall paying only $3 for a full mug of it at other establishments.
From the regular menu I ordered a hot Bavarian pretzel ($5.95) served with a generous portion of beer cheese. The pretzel was hot and delicious, but the electric-yellow cheese was forgettable due to its lack of tang and nary a hint of beer.
Though while perusing the new menu in eyeshot of those slender yard-long beer glasses racked at the bar, I’ll likely return for lunch or dinner to sample the kitchen’s fish and chips or Tijuana-style hot dog or Swedish-style meatballs served with mashed potatoes and lingonberry sauce. Beer, of course, will be the requisite beverage of choice.
The taps feature craft beers exclusively, although only about half of them are discounted during happy hour, and a few were sold out by the middle of the afternoon.
I only tried the Bavarian pretzel served with flavorless beer-cheese sauce in a soup cup. Mustard would have been a better dip.
You’ll save on average about 20 percent on the food and drink specials, which rotate throughout the weekdays.
Despite fast service and not being charged for an under-filled mug of beer, the two waitresses on duty were rather brusque and unwelcoming when interacting with customers
Located on a prime corner lot in Old Town, the space features more Old World charm since it was remodeled last year.
Sara is the editor of San Diego Uptown News.