While many locals might equate a night out in the Gaslamp with getting gussied up and waiting in line to enter an overcrowded club, Fifth Avenue's new Trailer Park After Dark offers an escape for those with more subdued tastes.
New to downtown's nightlife scene, the subterranean restaurant and full-service bar beneath relishes in a trailer-park theme, which not only extends to every corner or the decor, but also influences many of the cleverly named cocktails. And behind many of the drinks' imaginative monikers is comedian/bartender Josh Kreps.
A former resident of Maine and North Carolina, Kreps arrived in San Diego in early 2017 with a plan to become a stand-up sensation.
Before his big break arrives, Kreps found time to chat with us about being a bartender by night and a stand-up comic... also by night.
Why did you choose to move to San Diego?
I wanted to come here because L.A.'s so big and full of comics and entertainers. I figured if I moved to San Diego, then I would be a San Diego comic who just shows up in L.A. every once in a while.
What do you like most about working at Trailer Park After Dark?
I love the fast-paced environment. I like running the whole time.
How do you describe the venue's vibe to people who haven't visited yet?
It's a five-star dive bar! It's a chill place to go downtown when you don't want to do the club thing or get crazy. Not that it doesn't get rowdy down here...
How's the reaction been from people since the bar opened?
Everybody who comes down here, you see the look on their faces. Like "Oh, my god! I love this!" There wasn't one detail spared in this bar. We have medicine cabinets you can open up and there's funny stuff in there; there are headrests above the urinals; I give my checks out on license plates. They took a long time paying attention to detail with this place.
What's your favorite element of the bar's decor?
Our barstools are shopping carts fabricated into stools. They're pretty awesome.
What are some of the bar's signature drinks?
The Brand Spankin' New Fashioned is made with barrel-aged rum instead of bourbon, and we've got a pineapple jalapeño margarita, called the Jalapeño Face. Then there's the Southbound Train and the American Mule, which is made with American whiskey instead of vodka. There's also Dickel My Pickle, a shot of Dickel Whiskey and a pickleback, and our Buckshot, which is a can of Busch and a Fireball shot.
What are a couple of your favorite items on the food menu?
We just rolled out gourmet TV Dinners. Every night we have a different one, like turkey with gravy and mashed potatoes, plus corn, a cupcake and a Jello shot all served on a TV dinner tray. Everything's made in-house.
What food and drink pairing do you recommend to first-time Trailer Park visitors?
The TV Dinner with a Jalapeño Face or the Kitchen-Sink Tots with the Jalapeño Face. The TV Dinner's kinda mellow, and the jalapeño margarita brings a little bit of a kick to it.
What's the most important thing to you as a bartender?
Having a good barback.
Who are you comedic inspirations?
George Carlin, Robin Williams and Tom Segura.
Got any long-term ambitions?
I'd like to be a road comic eventually, and then get a special.
Where can people see you perform?
I perform at Madhouse in Horton Plaza sometimes and at the Comedy Palace in Clairemont. I have two shows there this month.
What's your life motto or saying?
"If you ain't first, you're last," Ricky Bobby from Talladega Nights.
Trailer Park After Dark: Open Tuesdays through Saturdays, 5 p.m. to 2 a.m.
835 Fifth Ave., Gaslamp, 619.236.1550, trailerparkafterdark.com