I’d driven by and seen the Monkey Paw a few times when Jake and I have headed Downtown for something. It’s right on the corner when you get off the freeway from the 94. It used to be a sketchy looking dive bar but it’s been cleaned up a bit and been given a way cooler sounding now. The Monkey Paw just sounds like a place I’d like to visit.
[Peek of the interior]
Pretty simple setup. Menus are available tableside and the bar is up in the front for drink ordering. Jake and I visited about noon on a Saturday and no one else was in the place, so the bartender gave us tableside service and let us know where we could order food for munching on (a little window in the back of the bar was where you ordered).
There’s another handy wall menu near the back in case you forget your order. Not quite the full menu, but close!
[Beer Candy Naked Wings - 1lb. - $9]
Originally we went here for research – I was looking for a good “beer incorporated into food” dishes for an article I was writing. I saw on their web menu that one of the sauces they had for their wings was a Guinness BBQ sauce only to find that they didn’t offer this anymore. We ended up trying 1lb. of the “Beer Candy Naked” wings. We could have also gotten Sweet Georgia Brown BBQ sauce or Hot Buffalo sauce, but “Beer Candy Naked” sounded the most interesting of the bunch.
We got about 7 wings and they weren’t really “saucy” – more like a glazed wings. It was kind of hard for me to identify any particular flavor from the glaze – minor sweetness, maybe? It didn’t lay much of an impression on me, but the wings themselves were very good. A bunch of very meaty wings with a nice outer crunch – I just didn’t really detect what the “Beer Candy” was doing for the wings here.
[Cheesesteak with White American Cheese and Onions and Waffle Fries - $10]
Jake and I decided to share two other dishes for lunch and I’m glad we did. One item we tried was the cheesesteak. The “Original” they have on their menu comes with Whiz, which I dislike, so we went custom and got it with American cheese and onions. I had read Kirk’s post about the cheesesteaks here so I was interested in trying them out for myself.
This cheesesteak had a nice, crusty bread which was warmed up and toasted and a good amount of meat to it. There was a good balance of cheese and meat – the cheese was nicely melted all over and the onions added a nice hint of extra flavor. Definitely a cheesesteak I’d want to eat again!
[BBQ Monkey Slider - Cheddar, Sweet Georgia Brown BBQ sauce, bacon, red & green onions with waffle fries - $8]
Jake and I also shared one of their sliders. Now, I knew it was a slider going in, but I guess I was still expecting a bit more from it, especially since it was $8… but nope, it was tiny with a tiny bun and I was glad that we had shared this and the cheesesteak – otherwise one of us would have had a serious lack of entree.
Besides the smallness, I do have to say that we both really like the Sweet Georgia Brown BBQ sauce. We ended up wishing we had gotten that with our wings instead. It was a nice little burger but I just don’t think it was worth the price – I would have gotten just fries instead.
They have a bunch of other interesting sounding items, such as the Piggyback Fries (waffle fries with shredded BBQ pork, melted cheddar and onions) or the Drunky Monken Bones which are pork shank bites with a choice of sauce (like the wings).
[Happy Hour Specials]
They also have happy hour specials and serve up a bunch of different local brews available for drinking. Jake and I enjoyed the foods and a nice little time out for ourselves.
Monkey Paw Pub & Brewery
805 16th Street
San Diego, CA 92101
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