IN GOOD TASTE:
You may think Bub’s at the Beach is just another fun restaurant/bar that serves the best jumbo wings in the neighborhood. But you’d be wrong.
It’s actually Steelers Nation (as in the Pittsburgh Steelers), according to general manager Andrew Bennington. On Sundays, the restaurant is packed with Steeler fans, some who’ve been coming to Bub’s for up to 20 years, “cheering and doing their thing.”
Why Steelers? Because the original owner is from Pittsburgh. And 22 years ago when he opened the place in 1998, he set out to make Bub’s the premier Steeler bar in Southern California. And Bennington says, he pulled it off.
When he came in as GM in January, he told PB Monthly, “I thought maybe I was in charge. I was wrong. We’ve had people that have been here longer than I’ve been drinking who are proud Steelers fans.” Apparently, there are quite a few Pittsburgh transplants who still want to support their hometown team.
And that’s just fine with Bennington, who added: “The owner had a good idea and he ran with it. We’ve tried not to alter too much of his original concept. It’s a neighborhood bar, a T-shirt-and-jeans bar, with lots of sports on TV. We’re not worried about bottle service, or cover charge or long lines. It’s more of a neighborhood attitude where you’re going to see some of the same people at the bar every week.”
However, Bennington admits the area has morphed a bit. He’s noticed vacation rentals have emptied out some of the year-round rental units, which has taken a financial toll on many area businesses. “Short-term rentals have removed some of the college crowd, and, you know, it’s kind of sad to see them go. It was a good business base to have that age group always be here year-round.”
In addition to its sports vibe, Bub’s at the Beach is known for good food as Bennington points out: “It’s one of the things we’re most famous for. Our kitchen is open until 1 a.m. daily. So no matter how late in the night you might have been out and about, we try to have something good waiting for you. We have a lot of standard American fare — burgers, sandwiches, lots of friendly appetizers and salads. We’ve got a lot of healthy options on the menu, as well. But wings, I would say, wings are our claim to fame.”
He tells a funny story about Bub’s tater tots. The restaurant’s been serving them since the beginning, due to a mistake. A delivery driver dropped off the wrong box of food fare, but Bub’s served them anyway and they were a huge hit. So tater tots have stayed on the menu ever since.
Bub’s also has daily specials: Monday is Locals Night, Tuesday is about tacos, Wednesday is half-off wings, Thursday includes Trivia Night and gourmet grilled-cheese sandwiches. The weekend offers “Brunch So Hard,” claiming the “best damn Bloody Mary bar.”
By now, you’ve probably figured out that Bub’s prides itself on its attitude. Bennington says that’s part of the secret of its staying power.
“We’ve been here a lot longer than most people, and we’ve survived a lot of change in the neighborhood,” he insists. “A lot of things have gone on, and Bub’s is still standing here today. We want people to have a smile when they walk in, and an even bigger one on their way out.”
— Bub’s at the Beach sits at 1030 Garnet Ave. in Pacific Beach area of San Diego. Hours are 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. Monday-Friday; 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. There is a second location downtown San Diego at 715 J Street. (858) 270-7269, bubspb.com