Raglan Public House is a New Zealand burger joint in Ocean Beach. The wind worn urban timber exterior with a side garden patio stands out in a sea of concrete on the corner of Bacon Street and Niagara Avenue. After co-owners Matt Baker and P. J. Lamont discovered their restaurant concept on a trip to Raglan, New Zealand, they opened their doors in OB and quickly made their imprint on the tight-knit neighborhood. Their 100% organic burgers at good prices have earned them “Best Burger in San Diego” honors for years. Located one-half block from the ocean, this laid-back Kiwi restaurant is the native habitat for surfers and locals alike.
Raglan Public House Ambiance
Raglan Public House is casual and lively, like you would expect from any New Zealand pub. Most customers are laid-back OB locals whose easy friendliness comes naturally. Popular SoCal designer, Michael Soriano, created the interior of this seaside Kiwi pub with repurposed pallet tables and steel gray stools, a long bar backed with giant rugby-themed photos, and wallpaper styled from New Zealand newspapers. Opposite the bar is a 27-foot mirrored map of New Zealand surf spots with an overlay of Ocean Beach Pier. Surfboard chandeliers with carnival lights hang above the bar, pendant lights hang above tables from surfboard leashes, and painted wooden fish dangle from the rafters.
Outside, there are two large front windows that raise to let in the salty ocean air, and a bar rail and stools for additional seating near the entrance. Around the corner, a vertical urban garden with alternating strips of artificial grass and live ivy cover the side wall. Repurposed pallet picnic tables and café tabletops sit on gray steel frames. Shiny steel troughs hold ivy trellises on the opposite side of the patio and support sunshades that drape above the space. It’s the quintessential urban garden patio. Everything about Raglan Public House is welcoming.
Raglan Public House Food
Raglan Public House is best known for a wide range of local craft beers and their popular signature burgers. Probably the best way to try these out for first-timers is to order beer flight specials and slider specials. All burgers, including sliders, are made from fresh, grass-fed, organic beef served on fresh baked organic buns. Burgers are adorned with locally farmed veggies, and house-made sauces often replace catsup and mustard here. Choose from matchstick, fatty, or sweet (sweet potato) fries alongside burgers and sandwiches. If you have a big appetite, get them Kiwi size, or eat like a local and make them chili cheese fries.
If the selection of about a dozen burgers including a lamb burger and a tofu burger haven’t tempted you, try one of their other specialty sandwiches. Try the Meso Tasty – teriyaki chicken with garlic aioli, grilled pineapple, Swiss cheese, Maui onion chips, and red pepper aioli. Two other favorites are fish n’ chips – beer battered haddock, thick cut chips, and coleslaw, or the OB Cheesesteak – marinated thin-sliced steak loaded with peppers and onions and topped with jalapeño cheese. Diners rave about the Chicken & Waffles – waffle, carmelized banana, shaved almond, peanut butter mousse, and fried chicken wings, but it’s only available for weekend brunch.
Raglan Public House Details
Raglan Public House is open from late morning to late night Monday through Friday, and opens earlier at mid-morning on the weekend for brunch. Sports lovers will enjoy the two flat-screen TVs at the bar; the restaurant also offers free Wi-Fi throughout. Happy Hours are Monday through Friday. Because of the pub atmosphere, they don’t cater to kids and there is no children’s menu. Raglan is ADA accessible. They offer street and bike parking, and also welcome dogs on the patio. You can get take-out or catering services at Raglan. The restaurant website lists current local beer and social events and has an RSS feed to local surf conditions.
Raglan Public House Neighborhood
Since Raglan Public House is only a half-block from the beach, it would be fun to walk straight down Niagara Avenue onto the Ocean Beach Pier – the longest concrete pier in the country. Next to the pier is Ocean Beach, great for sunning and swimming. A little farther down is Dog Beach where your dog can freely romp with other dogs on the beach. Newport Avenue is also along Ocean Beach and has an array of bohemian and beach-themed shops lining either side of the street. This is the hub of downtown OB.
If you want to keep it closer to Raglan Public House, Indie Yoga is three doors down with affordable drop-in classes in Beginner Vinyasa, Surfer’s Flow, Hot Yoga, and others. Across the street from Indie Yoga is In Harmony Herbs & Spices, an excellent stop for organically certified medicinal herbs, essential oils, teas and cooking spices, and books and gifts. They also offer classes and herbal health consultations. If you prefer to get your Zen mind from the fresh sea air, it’s a short drive to the dramatic sandstone cliffs of Sunset Cliffs Natural Park for excellent surfing, hiking, and of course, sunset watching.