Little Miss Moonshine


Photo by Kate and Michael Auda
It’s against the law in the Golden State for a person to serve alcoholic beverages at a bar before the age 21.

For California native Kelly Clancey, that milestone couldn’t come soon enough. After growing up in the Central Valley, working for years in the service industry and enjoying an illustrious athletic career at Chico State University, she began concocting cocktails for customers the day she turned 21.

After relocating to San Diego two years ago, Clancey worked at The Wood on Mission Boulevard until the popular PB spot closed for a remodel. Today, she’s making hay while the moon shines by serving up drink after drink at the hot new country bar and nightclub Moonshine Beach.

Since swinging open its Pacific Beach doors in late May in the space formerly occupied by Typhoon Saloon, Moonshine Beach has complemented Cerveza Jack’s - the new cantina next door - and Moonshine Flats, the bar’s sister venue in East Village.

A quick word with Clancey before the crowd starts rolling in ...

PacificSD: What’s been customers’ reactions to Moonshine Beach so far?
KELLY CLANCEY: People love it. We’ve only been open three weeks, and you don’t know how many of the same faces I’ve seen all three days of the weekend all three weeks. Pacific Beach needed something like this.

What makes the place awesome?
It took us a while to open up, and I think that’s because of all the detail that went into this place. Our artists spent so much time on all these handmade signs. And, from the barrels to every little detail of the bar, everything is just so well thought out. In the women’s bathrooms, for instance, we have all these famous country artists on every door. Girls love to go in there like, ‘I’m going to use the Luke Bryan stall.’ We also do a lot of line dancing in here, but we teach the line dances, so you don’t have to know ‘em to come and do ‘em.

What’s the music like?
We host a lot of live concerts and bands almost every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night. And we have big names coming through. We just had Chase Bryant here. Chase Bryant was in Pacific Beach! It’s so awesome. We have Old Dominion, Kellie Pickler, Cassadee Pope and lots of other big names coming soon.

What have your customers been ordering to drink?
A lot of our drinks are really simple and streamlined. We have a “Man’s Best Friend,” which is a shot of Hornitos and a can of PBR. That’s one of my favorite things to serve, because I’m all about efficiency. But we also use a lot of our moonshines. We have one cocktail called the “Cowboy Up.” It’s Dixie Moonshine, which is like a sweet-tea moonshine, and lemonade. It’s delicious.

What do you do when you’re not at work?
I work out, I compete in bikini competitions and I go to the zoo a lot. I really, really love the zoo here. It’s one of my favorite things about San Diego. It’s so much fun. You can get a yearlong pass, and then go every day. You don’t have to spend any more money, but you get to see so many amazing animals.

How did you get started in bikini competitions?
I competed in track and field in college, and then, when I graduated, I was at a loss for something do with that competitive side of me. So, I started doing CrossFit workouts. When I moved here, I switched to bikini competitions. It’s a really good outlet for the athletic side of me, and the competitive side of me.

Comic-Con’s coming? You stoked on that?
I geek out on Harry Potter so hard. A lot of people make fun of me for it.

Which Hogwarts House would you belong to?
I’m pretty sure I’d be a Hufflepuff. I’m easy-tempered, low-maintenance, nice and maybe a bit of a pushover. I think that kind of goes in the Hufflepuff category.

Do you identify with any superheroes?
I wanted to be Wonder Woman when I was little, for a really long time. I think I was Wonder Woman for Halloween for four years in a row. I just couldn’t give it up.

Visit PB’s Hufflepuff Wonder Woman Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Taco Tuesdays at Moonshine Beach. Check out the venue’s website for concert dates and to score tickets for upcoming shows.

1165 Garnet Ave.
Pacific Beach