As OMNIA San Diego descends into downtown next weekend, there's no question that our nightlife scene is about to be drastically transformed for the better.
Fueled by the immense, influential powers of Hakkasan Group, OMNIA San Diego is kicking off its first month with A-list DJ talent including Armin van Buuren, Tiesto, Krewella and surprise guests along the way. For the Gaslamp, which undoubtedly has witnessed its fair share of closures and turnover, there's a tangible excitement building in the air around this new era featuring OMNIA as an anchor and a slew of more new venues joining in the fun.
RMD Group, known previously for its nightlife profile of Side Bar, FLUXX and F6ix, surprised locals in June 2014 with the opening of Mexican restaurant Don Chido. On June 1 of this year, they'll open their second culinary venture named Rustic Root. Located directly next door to Chido and sharing the chef talent of Antonio Friscia, Rustic Root will debut a more American-style menu and feature downtown's only rooftop restaurant with brunch, dinner and late-night menu service. (535 5th Ave. rusticroot.com)
Taking the former Wet Willies space, Blush Ice Bar + East-West Kitchen is also debuting this summer for a new eatery style downtown hasn't seen before. The restaurant will revolve around the frozen cocktail drink, which East Village resident Taylor Kim and Russ Fukushima created at their original Blush location in San Jose. Chef Daniel Barron, formerly of La Valencia Hotel, will be overseeing the menu packed with small-plates mixing Western and Asian fare. Beyond the signature Blush cocktails, the restaurant side will feature other on-ice elements including an 18-seat raw bar with a dedicated oyster lounge. (555 Market St.)
Adding sophisticated seafood to the scene, Water Grill opened doors just last month in the 11,000 square-foot space formerly operating as The Palm in San Diego. Menu highlights include Santa Barbara spot prawns, squid ink pasta and Wild Eastern sea scallops, all led by Executive Chef Fabrice Poigin and served at lunch and dinner seven days a week. (615 J St. watergrill.com)
Things are certainly on the upswing downtown, and OMNIA San Diego isn't the only key nightclub unveiling of the year. We're eagerly anticipating the opening of Cake Nightclub in the former Voyeur club, following in the footsteps of the majorly successful original Cake location in Scottsdale. Led by Tosh Berman of EDL Management Group, this boutique nightlife venue with 17th century decadent European designs is best known for the sweetly dressed Cake Dolls serving guests. (755 5th Ave. cakenightclub.com)
And finally, downtown will get an L.A. addition with the launch of Avalon San Diego in the former Fourth and B space. Set to open later this year, the colossal venue will be mirrored after Avalon Hollywood, which has been dominating the L.A. nightlife scene for the past 12 years. There's talk of concerts and other special events to take place here outside of the nightlife, plus cutting-edge lighting and sound on each level of this "mega club." (345 B St. avalonsandiego.com)