By Kyle Hall / Photo by Kristina Yamamoto
They say, "If you can make it in New York, blah blah blah we're really supa tough ova here!" Or something like that. Anyway, after making it, nay, killing it, in some of Manhattan and Brooklyn's finest drinkeries, Bek Allen from Chaplos in Cortez Hill is proving she's also got what it takes to hack it on the mean streets of San Diego.
Working smart, and probably still hard, Allen's now enabling guests to drink their way across the city with half-a-dozen neighborhood-inspired concoctions whose recipes were created by some of the area's top bartenders.
Despite being born wherever Indiana is, the savvy 'tender has managed to bring the city together over alcohol in a much cooler manner than we locals - who unite only to ban the stuff from beaches/parks and NEVER LET ANYBODY HAVE ANY FUN! - ever have.
PacificSD: What's your favorite spirit?
Bek Allen: Bourbon. You can do so much with that spirit - you can go Old Fashioned spin or Manhattan, or throw some juice in there and stretch it with soda. It is a spirit that you can work with and mold to the customer's palate.
What was your most embarassing moment behind the bar?
I had this guy think I was Dani Shay. If you don't know her, look her up. I had to sing for him to convince him I wasn't. Enough said.
Where do you like to go for a good drink?
Oh, man, that is a tough question. I would have to say, when I am in the mood for a good cocktail, I go to Prep Kitchen in Little Italy . Jen Queen always has something delicious up her sleeve.
What does your home bar look like?
Effen Black Cherry and tequila in the freezer. Are you kidding me? Do you think I am going to make a craft cocktail after work?
What's your favorite neighborhood in San Diego?
I dig university heights. It has great pizza and Thai food, dancing and dive bars. What more can you ask for?
Which drink on the new menu captures its corresponding neighborhood best?
I think Meghan Balser's [Seven Grand] cocktail corresponds with her neighborhood the best. North Park is becoming a great new destination spot for cocktails. Her cocktail is like a julep, but she throws in some twists. You must try it.
What's your favorite item on the menu at Chaplos?
I love the fresh ceviche and I am currently hooked on Chef Norma's BBQ Chicken Sandwich on the lunch menu. For dinner, I would hands-down recommend the lamb chops. They are absolutely delicious.
Going to town
Enjoy six Chaplos cocktails from across the city
The Hillcrest, by Tavo estrada of 100 Wines: Hornitos Tequila, lime juice, spicy blackberry coulis and grapefruit juice.
The Mission Hills, by Robert Yowel of Brooklyn Girl: Ballast Point Old Grove Gin, Dolin Vermouth Blanc, lavender bitters and lemon bitters.
The North Park, by Meghan Balser of Seven Grand: Rye, Amaro CioCiaro, mint and orange zest.
The Little Italy, by Jen Queen of Prep Kitchen: Old Tom gin, Campari, housemade dry vermouth.
The Normal Heights, by Sarah Ellis of Jaynes Gastropup: Gosling's Rum, Pimms, lime juice and Angostura bitters.
The Gaslamp Quarter, by Bek Allen of Chaplos: Knob Creek Bourbon, Amaretto and Benedictine.