Being a hockey fan in San Diego is like being a cow tipper in Delhi, which is to say, lonely. Sure, despite their Cool Runnings disadvantage (watch the movie), the Gulls were an impressive flock until they folded six years ago. But, while kindred spirits are still scarce, the enthusiast finds company at the Stout Public House, a Canadian/Irish-owned and -inspired bar at the north end of downtown.
“People feel welcome here,” says co-owner Mark Prendergast, a County Kerry native. “They have a place they can call their own, which you don’t get much downtown.”
It’s true — Stout carries an undeniable poise of authenticity in its dark wood interior, Vancouver Canucks jerseys, and panel photographs of Mark’s father, Patty, midgame with the County Mayo football team in the early ’50s.
A world-traveler and avid cyclist, Prendergast left Ireland at 20 to discover mainland Europe, S.E. Asia, Australia, Canada, the Middle East, and the United States, which included a stretch behind the bar at a New York City pub.
“Back home in Ireland, a public house is where people go to hang out and socialize,” says Prendergast. “So, this is kind of a mix of the pubs in New York and the pubs back home.”
True to its heritage — other Stout head, Dave Toth, is Canadian — the full bar specializes in the bottled Canuck classic, Kokanee lager, and eight taps, which include Smithwick’s, Kilkenny, Guinness, Yellowtail, Racer 5, and domestics. Hoppier options are also available in bottles to satisfy the regional palate. Look for team-themed “hocktails” on game days.
The kitchen prepares organic and often locally sourced pub staples such as burgers, wings, and sliders, an all-day breakfast menu, traditional Irish entrées, and Canadian poutine fries smothered in gravy and cheese curds. Hosting the occasional burlesque and live-music show (local “power Celt-rockers” the Fooks play a few times a year), the pub features Stoutronic every Saturday with DJ DBA spinning downtempo, soul, funk, R&B, and dance music. As luck would have it, the bar sits half a block from the trolley, just in case your eyes glow green with whiskey this Saint Patty’s day. After all, as Irish football star George Best once said, “I spent 90 percent of my money on women and drink. The rest I wasted.”