On the Menu: Bub’s at the Beach offers fun food with a side of puns in Pacific Beach
There are times when people just want to kick back at a relaxing place to eat and maybe get some laughs.
Bub’s at the Beach could fill that need.
“Sometimes you don’t always want to go to a nice place to eat,” says Todd Brown, owner of the iconic sports bar and grill in the heart of Pacific Beach.
It is on Garnet Avenue between Cass and Dawes streets, which sounds like “cats and dogs,” he jokes, “if you’re not listening too closely.”
Want to visit?
Bub’s at the Beach
• Address: 1030 Garnet Ave., Pacific Beach
• Phone: 858-270-7269
• Website: bubspb.com
• Hours: Open daily from noon to 10 p.m.
• Good to know: Happy Hour Specials are offered from 3 to 5 p.m. on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays on wings and brews. You can also order online for take-out.
Bub’s menu is filled with tongue and cheek comments, idioms and puns, but Brown, who’s been in the restaurant biz since the ‘80s back in his hometown of Pittsburgh takes his food seriously.
When the wingman moved to San Diego, he first tested the waters in Oceanside with Bub’s Bar, then trickled south to PB opening Bub’s at the Beach in 1998.
“It’s an approachable, fun, neighborhood hang out with food always fresh and cooked to order, and good service,” Brown said. “Also a great place to watch sports with a cold beer.”
That is especially true with 25 or so TVs plastered on the walls. As Brown is a diehard Steelers fan, it’s no wonder Bub’s is recognized as the official Pittsburgh Steelers bar, a hopping place especially when the Chargers roll into town. The sports theme is reflected in the authentic décor with Iron City beer cans flattened, embedded into table tops, then epoxyed over, constructed by hand by Brown himself.
The entire restaurant is built with reclaimed wood from Habitat for Humanity, giving a sporty, cozy, casual feel.
Wings (among other goodies like the fresh Woody burgers) are Bub’s thing with a healthier twist since they are grilled, never deep-fried, with a blend of flavors to suit palates of all manners.
Let’s start with the Carolina Gold, Bourbon Brown Sugar, Mango Habanero, Spicy Teriyaki, Thai Peanut and the lollapalooza of them all, the “Garbage Wings.” This is a combination of multiple sauces, bacon, blue cheese crumbles, red onion, almonds and sesame seeds.
Moving on, a variety of skillet steaks nicknamed “Steakums” are a signature dish tossing a pile of fresh grilled steak strips with peppers, mushrooms and onions into a fajita skillet. The dish comes to the table sizzling with a heap of those nicely caramelized vegetables, a sassy chipotle aioli and chunk of garlic Parmesan bread.
Another play on skillets is the tricked out tater tots that throw together the classic potato nuggets with different variations of cheeses, grilled chicken strips, bacon crumbles, caramelized onions, guacamole, jalapenos and a secret sauce. This popular dish was created through sheer serendipity, recalls Brown, when the purveyor sent tater tots to the restaurant instead of fries, and the cooks decided to have some fun and fly with a new concept.
For some lighter options, Brown recommends his favorite kale salad paired with other crucifers like broccoli and Brussels sprouts, and fresh strawberries, along with grilled chicken, steak or shrimp as an add-in, tossed in a house-made vinaigrette. Or why not indulge in the fish and chips with a spunky dry rub instead of the heavy beer batter?
While many locals, beachgoers and a lot of seasonal tourists congregate at the multi-award winning Bub’s at the Beach, a more diverse smattering of diners frequent Bub’s at the Ballpark just over the right field wall of Petco Park, which received the Gold Medallion Award for “Best Sports Bar” in San Diego by the California Restaurant Association.
“It’s all about community, being able to set up a place where people can come in and have a good time with friends and enjoy a good home-cooked meal,” Brown said.
Recipe from Bub’s at the Beach
Bub’s Grilled Wings
• Chicken wings (recommendation is around one pound of wings per person)
• Dry seasoning
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Thaw chicken wings and add dry seasonings. Toss to coat evenly.
3. Bake seasoned wings for 35 to 45 minutes, or until they reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
4. Heat up your grill.
5. Place baked wings on the grill until they have desired grill marks.
6. Toss wings in sauce. (Tip: we love tossing our wings in a bit of melted butter and adding Everything Bagel seasonings for a ton of flavor in a few shakes.)
7. Optional — add wings back to the grill for a bit more char.
8. Serve and enjoy!
Recipe courtesy of Todd and Suzanne Brown.