April 16 2012 06:15 PM

A place worth crossing an ocean for (provided you do so via a relatively short bridge)

leroyscoronado
Photo by Ian Cheesman

There is something oddly transformative about traveling over the Coronado Bridge. It's like a portal to some mythical Pleasantville, U.S.A., complete with bright azure skies and the vague sense that a degenerate like me will be deemed unwelcome by locals. It's the perfect mix of beach weather and social anxiety that compels me to tackle a delicious craft brew.

Leroy's Kitchen and Lounge (1015 Orange Ave.) thwarts Coronado Brewing's beer monopoly of the island with a solid array of 16 taps. It functions beautifully as a lounge with its warm yet muted decor and seating options to accommodate strings of friends, small groups or, my personal favorite, quiet moping at the end of the bar.

I will caution that Leroy's is not an alehouse in the strictest sense. Though there wasn't really a selection among the clearly labeled brews that would disappoint, there was a dearth of informed staff to guide my decisions. Beer at Leroy's is really more part of a comprehensive lounge-bar experience, being one of the many apparent premium intoxicants that might capture your fancy.

The menu is more artisanal than typical pub grub, with a professed focus on local, seasonal and sustainable ingredients. It delivered moments of blissful revelry (courtesy of perfectly crisp and light truffle fries) and disappointment (via a soggy pork-belly BLT that somehow managed to wrestle bacon away from transcendence). The portions generally resided between "light" and "sensible," which irked a glutton like me to no end.

Leroy's drink specials are where it truly shines. On top of daily happy hours that discount all beers to only $3.50, the weekly flight night on Wednesday provides three 4-ounce samples for the same. They also offer discounted wine flights on Wednesdays if you swing that way. I tried to convince the manager that they need to offer 4-ounce flights of their fantastic bourbon selection, too, but she gave me that degenerate look I previously mentioned.

Leroy's pulls off lounging with swagger. There's a ton to drink and interesting nibbles, and it's a comfortable destination to sip your nectar of choice. It may be lacking integration as a beer joint, but that's not to say you won't find a fantastic brew there at a surprisingly affordable price.


Write to ianc@sdcitybeat.com and editor@sdcitybeat.com, or follow @iancheesman on Twitter or read his blog, iancheesman.wordpress.com.

Calendar

  • Visit one of the 70 participating restaurants, bars, coffeehouses and nightclubs in town on this night and 25 to 50 percent of sales will go to local HIV/AIDS services and prevention programs. 
  • Anthony Bernal and Chris Ward, who are vying to replace Todd Gloria on the San Diego City Council, will discuss urban issues, such as parking, homelessness and new developments
  • The new exhibition designed by Dave Ghilarducci is made from hundreds of rolls of packing tape and bound together by layers of plastic shrink-wrap. Visitors can navigate their way through cocoon-like passageways...
  • The renowned Mexican black and white photographer presents an exhibition exploring the principal themes within three groups: "Bestiarium"," Fantastic Women" and "Silent Natures."
  • Presented by Pacific Arts Movement, the sixth annual mini film fest features 14 film programs from 10 countries that includes everything from docs to romantic tearjerkers. See website for full lineup and...
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  • So Say We All's monthly storytelling night features stories about those jobs we took because we had to take a job. Featured readers include Allison Gauss, Annmarie Houghtailing, Cecile Estelle, and more
  • Artists from the all-abstracts group show will talk about their work and techniques. Artists include Edwin Nutting, Danielle Nelisse, Leah Pantea, Lenore Simon, and more
See all events on Thursday, Apr 28