(Published in the March 2010 issue)
Like so many proud parents, San Diego entrepreneurs are giving birth...in this case to new venues. The primary difference, of course, is that rather than feeding and watering their babies, it’s their babies that will be feeding and watering us.
From the latest in decked out dance clubs to down-home pads for pizza and pints, here’s a quick look at some area hotspots blossoming this spring.
URBN Coal Fired Pizza + Bar
3085 University Ave., North Park urbnpizza.com
Since hitting it out of the park with his stadium-adjacent BASIC Urban Kitchen + Bar in East Village , and his first URBN location in Vista, Jon Mangini has been looking for a centralized, hip, yet homey habitat in which to expand his empire. He’s just found it: a 5,000 square-foot brick warehouse in North Park. With an open floor plan, unpretentious environment and retractable garage doors, URBN can be expected to draw crowds with coalfired pizzas, wine and craft beer. Opening: late spring.
789 Sixth Ave., Downtown qualitysocial.com
Love the gritty realism and working-class-hero vibe of a dive bar, but hate the questionable clientele, sticky tables and greasy-spoon fare? Hospitality veterans Christopher Dexter and Christopher Guimond have the answer for you-a neighborhood watering hole in the heart of the Gaslamp that toes the line between casual and sophisticated. Devoid of ostentation and stocked with quality quaffs and an upscale comfort-food menu crafted from local ingredients, Quality Social is for folks who crave luxury in a setting that’s more laidback and less “scene.” Opening: March 11.
500 Fourth Ave., Downtown
As San Diego’s largest single-room upscale nightclub, FLUXX will provide the type of luxury nightlife amenities and cushy bottle service you’d expect. The unexpected starts with the cave-like entrance that opens onto the venue’s enormous dance area, which will wow guests with the latest in sound and lighting systems, an all-wood dance-floor to maximize the boom-boom and a liquid nitrogen system to keep things cool. FLUXX’s mood and motif will be kept in an ever-changing, evolving state to make the experience different on every visit. Opening: March 12.
1221 Garnet Ave., Pacific Beach
Bolstering Pacific Beach’s rep as being a college town without a college is the addition of the neighborhood’s very own Woodstock’s Pizza. This is the eighth Woodstock’s (the only one not on or adjacent to a college campus) for co-owners and long-standing Pacific Beach residents, Jeff and Laura Ambrose, who have significant experience catering to students with ravenous appetites for fresh, hand-tossed pizza, cold beer and a fun vibe. Prices are reasonable, and the pizzas, which are excellent, come in sizes ranging from personal to giant. For a surprising combination of flavors, try the Triton Pizza: pesto, shrimp, pine-nuts, sundried tomatoes and feta on white or wheat crust (Laura Ambrose’s invention). Now Open.
1956 Bacon St., Ocean Beach
Beloved as a family-friendly franchise for pizza pies and recognized throughout the country for its award-winning craft brews, this coastal chain is adding a third port of call. Owners Vince and Gina Marsaglia’s southern migration was prompted by their finding a prime location where beach-going beer buddies can cozy up at communal picnic tables and enjoy an ocean view from the venue’s rooftop deck or check out the indoor action at OB’s only operating brewery. Opening: mid-April.
Wine Steals East Village
793 & 795 J St., East Village
Price-conscious oenophiles will enjoy the familiar features at Wine Steals’ newest outpost: wines and vino compatible treats for under $20 (artisan cheese and meat boards, salads and pizza) served in the comfy lounge or on the outdoor deck. In addition to their grape expectations, CEO Kenneth Mills and his team will also unveil Proper GastroPub, a traditional Euro-style public house with dark wood and leather interiors, where great beer and stiff drinks are matched with forwardthinking yet accessible edibles in a classic pub setting. Opening: early March.
3500 Sports Arena Blvd (at the San Diego Sports Arena), Point Loma
The San Diego Sports Arena recently underwent extensive renovation, the centerpiece of which is a 6,100 square-foot venue-within-a-venue that includes multiple bars, 20 flatscreen TVs showing videos and live feeds from the arena, a dance floor with an elevated DJ booth and a stage for live musical performances. Arena-goers wanting access to 3500 can purchase either annual memberships or single-event VIP ticket packages. On non-event days, the space is also available for rental, and you can bet there will be plenty of parking. Now Open.