Raze the Roof

By Brandon Hernández
Photo by Kate and Michael Auda

Danielle Reilly came to San Diego by way of Buffalo, New York, trading hot wing culture for Pacific Beach’s hot bar culture - but not before spending a stint in Vegas and earning a degree in Counseling from UC San Diego.

These days, Reilly puts her interpersonal skills to use in tandem with her mixology methodologies behind the bar at PB AleHouse, the celebrated surfside staple that caught fire in February. Talk about hot bar... the place went up in smoke when a small fire that started in the kitchen ignited the ventilation system and spread to the attic.

Luckily no one was hurt, and many of the popular venue’s 120 employees found work at OMG Hospitality’s other establishments, which include Union Kitchen + Tap locations in Encinitas and the Gaslamp, and the new Backyard Kitchen + Tap on Garnet Avenue.

Much as she has done for her beloved Bills, Reilly stuck by AleHouse, which reopened in July. Now back to work at the drastically remodeled Grand Avenue destination for specialty cocktails, house-brewed beers and ocean views, she seems happy to be pouring it on for her regulars once again.

PacificSD: What got you into the bartending game?
DANIELLE REILLY: I wanted to be a bartender ever since I saw the movie Coyote Ugly, and the girl got to spray the guy in the face with the soda gun when he asked for water.

What led you to PB AleHouse?
When I moved back from Vegas, a friend of mine worked at PB AleHouse. With the beach next door, house beers on tap and a hundred screaming Bills fans on Sundays, I was sold.

Were you around when the fire broke out?
I was behind the bar the day the fire happened. That day was a crazy mix of emotions, but I am just glad everyone got out safe. Including our employee, Ben, who we had to coax off the roof and convince that the fire extinguisher wasn’t going to help at that point.

How’s the place look now?
The remodel is such an awesome mixture of old and new. The patio upstairs is now one level, and the bar downstairs was extended to add more seating. Everything looks and feels brand new, but it’s the same awesome food and drinks and, more importantly, the same rock-star staff that everyone comes to the AleHouse for.

Do you have any specialty drinks up your sleeve?
I usually don’t wear sleeves, but one of the specialty drinks on the menu I created is called the Mission and Grand. It’s what a cocktail should be: refreshing and delicious. As for what’s in it, stop by and I’ll make you one.

Any epic stories from your time at PB AleHouse?
Well, there was this one time Tom Brady came into my bar and played a crazy game of darts that he won with a whole crowd shouting his name. Of course, we later found out he was using weighted darts and cheating, but those are just allegations...

Pacific Beach AleHouse
721 Grand Ave., Pacific Beach