Rocky’s: A bar with burgers and brews to boast about

By Kelley Carlson

Rocky’s Crown Pub may be a small neighborhood tavern in Pacific Beach, but it’s largely known throughout San Diego for its burgers.
Feted in various regional publications, the bar/restaurant, owned by Patricia “Rocky” Rockwood, is a favorite hangout. Catering to the 21-and-older crowd, the employees know quite a few of the customers on a first-name basis, creating an almost Cheers-like atmosphere.

A Rocky's burger and beer. Photos by Kelley Carlson

During a recent evening at the pub, one guest enthusiastically noted that he’s been stopping in for 20 years. Another patron, from Northern California, said she and her son, who resides in Pacific Beach, regularly visit Rocky’s when she’s in town; her daughter also insists on going there when she visits from Alaska.

“Everyone seems to love it so much, they come back,” said Jerry Brim, a manager.

There’s no pretentiousness at Rocky’s; it’s very down-to-earth and laid-back. There’s a bar that runs nearly the length of the establishment, and about a half-dozen tables in the dining area. No matter where people sit, they can watch a sporting event, with nine flatscreens showing a variety of games. The sounds of game buzzers intermingle with the pub’s music, which ranges from classic rock and blues to modern. Various knickknacks furnish the wood walls, from Celtic and Bud Light brand surfboards and a photo of the Blue Angels, to neon signs that advertise beer and sports paraphernalia.

Rocky's patrons gather at the bar.

Since the tavern has limited seating, it can get a bit crowded at times (especially 6:30-9 p.m.) but the fare is worth the wait to many. The menu is simple: burgers and fries served in a red basket. The hand-formed patties (grilled until juicy) are served between soft, lightly seeded buns that are made fresh daily. “The burgers must be good; (the customers) don’t come in to see me,” Brim joked.

Brim suggests first-timers order the 1/3-pound burger, as the 1/2-pounder might be too much food. They can always get the larger size next time, he added. To accompany the burgers, there is ice-cold beer, which is especially refreshing on a warm, humid day, when both of the building’s doors are open and the ocean breeze is flowing through. Among the selections are Bud Light, Coors Light, Ballast Point Pale Ale, Green Flash West Coast IPA, Stone Levitation Ale, Pacifico, Sierra Nevada, Racer 5, Blue Moon, Stella Artois and Coronado’s Mermaid Red Ale. Ballast Point Sculpin is coming soon, Brim said.

In addition, there is wine: chardonnay, pinot grigio, cabernet, pinot noir and white zinfandel.
In lieu of a happy hour, Rocky’s offers a special from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday-Friday; it’s a 1/3-pound burger, with or without cheese; fries; and a soda or draft beer ( excluding Sculpin) for $10.50. Note: payment at the pub is cash only.

Rocky's employees Mikey Schindler, Jerry Brim and Jim Johnson.

Also, the kitchen shuts down at 10 p.m., and last call from the bar is 11:20 p.m.

Rocky’s Crown Pub
Address: 3786 Ingraham St., Pacific Beach
The Vibe: Casual, Relaxed
Signature Dishes: Burgers
Open Since: 1977
Hours: 11 a.m. to midnight daily
Phone: (858) 273-9140
Reservations: No
Patio Seating: No
Take Out: Yes
Happy Hour: No

On The Menu Recipe

Each week you’ll find a recipe from the featured restaurant online at Just click Get The Recipe at the bottom of the story.

This week: Rocky’s Burger

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Posted by Staff on Jun 5, 2013. Filed under Food, Restaurants. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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