Dave McDonald says Banker’s Hill is poised to be the next North Park.
It’s a bold claim: North Park is a gentrifying, up-and-coming urban neighborhood noted for cool clubs like U-31 and eclectic eateries like The Linkery and Sea Rocket Bistro.
Banker’s Hill isn’t known for much -- a lot of it sits under the Lindbergh Field flight path and the widely unheralded neighborhood is essentially Victorian homes interspersed with small, plain storefronts.
But here comes McDonald’s Tin Can Alehouse (1863 Fifth Avenue, between Elm and Fir streets). The site has held a liquor license since before World War II, McDonald said, and up until he took over three months ago, it was called Brothers on Fifth.
The new name is derived from the fact that most of the beers served here come in cans. McDonald serves 57 brands of beer.
“If you can’t find something you like here, you don’t like beer,” he said.
For $2.25, you can lowbrow it with Olympia or Old Milwaukee. Schlitz High Gravity (9.5 percent alcohol) and Pabst Blue Ribbon tallboys (24 ounces) are $4.75. The ladies like the Young’s Double Chocolate ($7), and another popular premium is the Maui Coconut Porter ($8), McDonald said, but he believes the best bargain is the German Spaten: It's $25 for a 169-ounce mega-can, which serves roughly 14 12-ounce glasses.
The stretch of Fifth Avenue occupied by Tin Can Alehouse is slightly rough-hewn, but McDonald has cleaned up his establishment. Bands play Tuesday through Saturday, and he recently hosted an art exhibit by HGTV “Design Star” competitor Jen Guerin (her JG Color Studios is on the same block).
North Park may not have Banker’s Hill breathing down its neck in a cool-factor race, but Tin Can Alehouse’s signature All-in-One sandwich is worth a raised eyebrow. Heaped between fresh-baked bread are five meats (salami, pastrami, corned beef, smoked turkey and barbecue beef), provolone cheese and, yes, fresh-cut French fries. If it doesn’t kill you, it will only make you stronger.
Ron Donoho is a regular contributor to NBCSandiego.com and a contributing editor to sandiego.com. His Web site (sandiegoDTOWN.com) is dedicated to news, sports, culture, happy hours and all things downtown.