Miller's Field bartender Ciara Guedesse has had a front-row view of San Diego's beach-bar scene since she began serving the hard-partying masses in 2001. In August 2009, she was named Paci?cSD's co-Bartender of the Month (along with younger sister Lindsay Willis).
With more than a decade behind the bar, Guedesse has gained a sobering perspective: that despite the camaraderie among their patrons, bar owners were competing against each other in ways that didn't contribute to the common good.
Six months ago, to establish greater solidarity in her sandy corner of the industry, Guedesse formed the Beach Bar Guild-a collective of bar owners and their staff who meet each month at one of the member's venues. To date, nearly 20 bars and restaurants have joined the group.
"The idea came about when I started seeing a disconnect between the staffs at Paci?c Beach bars," says Guedesse. "People were becoming overly competitive as opposed to cooperative, and it hit me that we'd all be better off if we worked with each other."
Guild members, for example, strive to prevent drunk driving, collaborating with RADD (Recording Artists Against Drunk Driving) and the Hospitality Task Force of Discover Paci?c Beach (the neighborhood's business improvement district) to make sure all bartenders, servers and security personnel are better trained to protect their customers.
They're also pooling resources in support of neighborhood fundraisers and community causes (like saving the Paci?c Beach Christmas Parade) in an effort to improve business for all members, as well as the bar- going experience for patrons.
"The Guild is open to anyone in PB or Mission Beach who wants to work to create a better industry," says Guedesse. "We are adamant about giving back to the community we work and live in-and unifying the beach bar community, one bar at a time." Safer drinking, better service and more pro?ts? If Guedesse has anything to do with it..."Guild" it, and they will come.
BEACH BAR GUILD MEMBERS
Bub's Dive Bar
Fred's Mexican Café
Guava Beach Bar & Grill
Paci?c Beach Alehouse
PB Shore Club
RT's Longboard Grill
Sandbar Sports Grill