Gaslamp Quarter, San Diego
Tivoli, spelled backwards, is i-lov-it. Yes, we absolutely did.
The oldest bar in San Diego has anchored this corner of the Gaslamp district since 1885 when the neighborhood was known as the Stingaree; a gritty, bawdy den of iniquity where vices of every sort were enjoyed with cheerful impunity. Saloons, gambling halls, bordellos, opium haunts… everything a sailor (and some of the city’s more illustrious gentlemen) fresh into port could want. Legendary lawman, Wyatt Earp, owned four establishments here, and is rumored to have bellied up to the gilt-embellished bar which has been serving up libations for 130 years - as evidenced by a grainy, turn-of-the-century photo enshrined on a wall by the pool table.
Yep, liquor and card games downstairs and a brothel above, this was one wild place. Land in here on game day when the Padres are playing and it’s STILL a wild place: this is a favorite with local sports fans and employees of the Gaslamp’s other bars and restaurants. Cheap, good burgers and hotdogs, looooong happy hours and lots of specials accommodate even a backpacker’s budget (there are several hostels within a couple of blocks), and it’s known for “honest pour” drinks by some of the friendliest bartenders in town.
Casual; comfortably worn around the edges; sidewalk terrace; decent beer list. Highly recommended.
If you’re interested in more about the the Stingaree, you can read about it here (my thanks to Elizabeth C. Macphail and the Journal of San Diego History):
Sixteen blocks in downtown San Diego west from Fourth Avenue east to Sixth Avenue and north Broadway, south to Harbor Drive, has been renovated and designated as a tribute to the past and the present.
This historical section is the original (2nd) downtown San Diego created after the 1872 fire that destroyed SD's original town, what is now known as Old Town San Diego State Historic Park. The buildings in this area of downtown have been restored/refurbished to reflect the original graceful architecture.
Instead of being content to present this as a type of capsulized museum, every space has been utilized to attract residents and tourist alike. It has been a wonderful success and every day and night of the week, there is something offered/going on for almost anyone's tastes.
The Gaslamp Quarter comes alive at night and if you are looking for crowds of people in a party mood, you'll hit the jackpot in the Gaslamp.
As with most places, the Gaslamp has it's "hottest spots" which change from time to time, but the variety of music style--sedate piano bar to raging rock bands, entertainment type--live theater to Hooters and dress code--from formal to grunge, means that there is a place to attract almost everyone.
Many places in the Gaslamp Quarter have no cover-charge, however some do, so be prepared.
Now, if you're looking for that Cool Jazz & Blues sound we have it here too.
I like Croce's.
This was opened by Ingrid Croce after her husband, Jim Croce died. She's a hands on owner and an active member of the Gaslamp community so you might see her around the place while you're there.
As of January 2014 Croce's will no longer be the Heart of the Gaslamp Quarter. Look for Ingrid and Croce's Restraurant & Jazz Bar in their new location at Bunker Hill.
Each year some of the old places close, some move nearer or farther and some open their doors for the first time. Whatever the situation is during your visit, you can count on having a good time in San Diego's vibrant Gaslamp Quarter.
In recent times most of the restaurants, bars and nightclubs have been offering extended Happy Hours, and even better deals each day of the week to entice you to choose their establishment.
I tend to go to the Gaslamp Quarter during week nights to avoid the "full-frenzy-fiesta," that happens on the weekends. Still, early or mid week the vibe is still "festive, fun and fast.
Dress Code: Most places accept the "come as you are" look, but the "locals" usually dress up for the evening and some of the hottest spots will not let you in if you are not dressed properly. Some places will not even allow tennis shoes. I suggest calling the various establishments to ask if they actually do have a "dress code."
This is on the north corner of a whole line of restaurants/bars/dancing clubs. Pub Crawling on this block is a blast!
Jimmy's is a good place to stop for a meal and enjoy the music and it's not too expensive, especially for the Gaslamp Quarter. Late night, dining, drinking and dancing is offered here. So it's up to you. I've not seen it late at night but hear that it is a fun place to be.
I can't dance so just had a meal here in the late afternoon on the "patio," which is actually a fenced section of the sidewalk. The dining room was darkish in a romantic way. I've had Fish & Chips and the Cobb Salad. Both were well made and tasty. The service was nice and friendly.
Dress Code: It really depends on your reason for going there. "Your own casual style" is okay if you just want a meal or a drink. If dancing and meeting people are your goals than I suggest that you dress Trendy/Stylishly Casual for a better chance of success.
Backstage At Aubergine offered dinner and the popular play, "Forever Plaid" for many years and now the play has moved on. At the moment the theater is dark.
However, Aubergine offers more than theater and you might find the charming dining room, the hip bar or the very casual café worth a visit.
At Abergine the focus has always been on the food and with a 1940's, Boggy & Bacall feeling created by the talented piano player during the week or the hot sounds of jazz on the weekends, you will surely have a wonderful evening.
Backstage at Aubergine and Augergine, the restaurant and club is now CLOSED!
In it's place you'll find not only a new establishment, but a really different type of restaurant, entertainment venue and a Hot nightclub, which has been awarded Best Nightclub in the Nation!
Of course an old lady like me hasn't actually been here, but my ears work and I've heard many interesting and exciting things about this place. In fact, I'd expect this to be in New York or L.A. but it's in San Diego!
If nothing else it's Hot, Trendy, Different, Exciting, and Successful! So if that sounds good to you, check it out. Seems that FLUXX is shaking up the Gaslamp Quarter and people are taking notice. As with most Clubs like this one it is expensive, but lots of people really like it.
There is no Cover Charge if you come for dinner, but it will be added to your bill if you want to stay after.
I'll get a new photo soon.
I went to get the photo and was a bit surprised that I almost missed it! Very understated. In fact I'd wondered if it had closed it's doors already. A simple and not large sign on the awning identifies it as FLUXX, nothing else to indicate that this is an ever changing elegant and playful place to party. The backstage door had the only colorful pop, to compliment the venue inside, on it's sign asking that those around the door to please be quiet.
Dress Code: Dress your trendy best and feel comfortable. This is one of those places that the door man has the final word on letting you in or not. On their website they list unacceptable attire.
Don't be surprised if you bump into to someone really famous here so be sure to look really good if you want to get in.
I've heard that celebrities come here, but I sort of thought it was mostly those, who's stars have dimmed in recent years.
However, last night on TMZ, they mentioned that Ashton Kutcher spent his anniversity at FLUXX in San Diego, while Demi was in NYC. So, I guess even the hottest stars come down from LA to party here too. Also they come to perform as well.
I haven't been here yet but will tell you what I know so far and will give my opinion once I've stopped here.
They are open seven nights a week and offer two shows, at 8:00 pm and 10:30 pm so. they open for seating at 7:00 pm/10:00 pm. There normally isn't a cover charge nor a 2-drink minimum, which is unusual for such a club.
You do have to have tickets for a show and can get them on-line from their website or by calling their number. It seems that a ticket can cost anywhere between $0.00 to $20.00 depending on the talent/night of the week. Since you have to be 21 years to enter, keep in mind that anyone under 21 will not be allowed in.
However, though their menu isn't what I'd call fine dining, it does seem appropriate for the venue with enough variety to offer something to everyone in your party if you choose the Dinner Show.
Smoking is allowed on their patio, but I don't know if you can still see the show while out there.
Dress Code: Casual dress will be accepted, but you might want to dress up a bit to make a special night of it.
After visiting both the Napa Valley Grill and Rei do Gado (and then posing for the webcam to show our VT t-shirts), we went to Fio's for a nightcap. We had many martini's and had lots to talk about while listening to jazz.
Dress Code: Business casual is the norm...didn't eat here but the food looked and smelled good.
tons of restaurants (all price range), clubs, concert venues, and bars. one can walk the avenues or hire bike rides. there's also lots of cute boutiques and a movie theater.
Dress Code: from casual to fancy schmancy.
Gaslamp Quarter is about 8 blocks long by 2 blocks wide in downtown San Diego crammed with restaurants, shops and nightclubs. It's walking distance (about a block away) from Horton Plaza so most people just park at Horton Plaza then walk over to Gaslamp. Take your ticket and get it validated at most of the Horton Plaza vendors so you get credit for some free parking (about 1-2 hours, I think). There's a movie theater there also. Most clubs offer either DJ music or live music.
Dress Code: To get into the clubs, no jeans, no sandals/sneakers. Nice dress please.
FURIOUS, RAGE, ANGER, PISSED-OFF are words that come into my mind when I think of this establishment. If you plan on dining at this restaurant, I advise you to read the detailed account of my experience this past Saturday night.
Me and my boyfriend were in San Diego for the weekend celebrating my birthday. Our hotel was near the Gaslamp District so we decided to have dinner on 5th St. Saturday night. After multiple menu perusing, we decided on Greystone because the menu looked appetizing and the hostess delivered her best persuasive speaking abilities - convincing us that this place had the best food and ambiance compared to others, by far. We decided on sitting at a somewhat cozy and private table, that was near the open kitchen. Our original server seemed friendly even though he had a bit of a sarcastic humor that I was able to laugh/brush off. We ordered two entrees, a side dish, and a bottle of wine that came in a timely manner. As I was taking pictures of our entrees for the purpose of posting it on Yelp, I overheard another server commenting to the prep cook (I guess the guy that puts the finishing touches on each plate) on how he thinks it's "retarded" for people to be so fascinated with their food that they have to take pictures of it. Shortly after this, another server came to our table and refilled our wine glasses. We said "thank you" and didn't get an acknowledgment in return. At this point, we assumed that our first server must have finished his shift and another one was filling in for him. It would have been courteous if our first server actually introduced us to our new server and gave us his reasons for leaving. I mean, you get better service at the local Chili's/TGIF at this point. When we were done with our meal and the check came (brought to us by a third server), me and my boyfriend agree that since we had mediocre service, the tip should only be 10%. The third server picked up the check and as he was walking away, looked at the bill and said clearly "what a douche bag." I know I don't have super human abilities where my hearing is as great as a bat's so I'm just thinking that these servers are very poorly trained and are just utterly bitter about their job in order to blatantly not care about whether their patrons can hear them or not. So after he walks away from us, he goes to the manager (he's in a suit so we're assuming he's in charge) and says something about what a douche my boyfriend is. I didn't hear the rest but "douche" was definitely part of that conversation. As we were leaving, my boyfriend gets a hold of the manager and tells him about how disatisfied we are with the service and what we've been overhearing the rude comments made by the servers. The manager insists on being unaware about any of this and apologizes, although it sounded very insincere.
THE WORST PART ABOUT THIS STORY IS: when my boyfriend decided to call AMEX to cancel the tip on the bill, he learned that instead of being charged 10% for the tip, they changed it to 20%. This means that either the server/manager adjusted the tip on their own free will! I don't know what laws they abide by but this is illegal here. And when the hell was tip mandatory? People here tend to think that getting a tip is an entitlement and that it is no longer earned. The sad part is, the food was actually good...too bad Greystone employs a bunch of rude, conniving sons of ***es! Now, we have to wait for the charge to be posted before we can dispute it with the restaurant/AMEX. Luckily, this horrible dining experience did not ruin our lovely weekend together in SD.
Dress Code: None
I had heard a few things about Onyx's new sister lounge-- THIN-- a few times, usually the same thing...its a great place to meet people, cheap drinks, awesome dance floor. Although I agree the drinks were cheap and there was a dance floor I will not agree that the people frequenting this place are really worth meeting. It may sound harsh, but this bar is so "ultra hip and chic" that I could hardly stand it. For starters the bar was almost empty when they let me and my ladies in, but refused to let our guy friends in. Instead they had to sit in a line which really had no reason to be there, since when I stepped in side I was basically hanging out with the bartenders. The vibe is pretty cool. Bright lights shining through huge art deco glass paintings, and the lounge part of the place wasnt all that bad, as there were all sorts of cushions, chairs and couches to play around on...but honestly this place doesnt live up to its buzz. The bouncers are over ancy and ready to beat you up at the first sign of trouble. The bathrooms have a unisex washroom which makes for some uncomfortable drunken moments, and even more uncomfortable moments for the three people standing there waiting to hand your paper towels... I mean come on. The music decisions were nothing to get excited over, and the dance floor (although large) had few people dancing on it, but instead was full of women trying to trying to balance on their stripper heels and men scouting out those that are most likely to be underagers. Its a wierd scene, and def too uptight and chi-chi for my liking. Maybe Ill give it another try some night, but definitely no night soon.
Dress Code: Very dressy. Almost every lady had on her shortest dress, highest heels, and lots of make up. For guys it looks like everything goes, but I would atleast throw on some nice shoes, and a button up for this place. Also there was a bit of funkiness going on, so feel free to take a chance on your outfit that night with a hat, crazy bag, bright colors, whatever.
The center of all San Diego nightlife is the famous Gaslamp Quarter. Here are over 100 restaurants, nightclubs, and small bars of all kinds. It's also a great place for shopping, browsing, and just hanging out. For live music, check out Croce's. But don't stay too long in one place.
This is one of the city's oldest, most historic neighborhoods. It was a booming red-light district during the late 19th century, known in those days as Stingaree. In the early 20th century, it was a center for Chinese-Americans. The old gaslamps are still around, but today modern electric lights provide most of the illumination.
Dress Code: Depends upon the place you visit. Most places are fairly casual.
This area was not like this when I lasted visited. It reminds me of South Beach in Miami or New Orleans. Tons of people going to clubs and restaurants. My favorite place to hang out was Cesar's Cigar Lounge. They didn't have a huge selection of cigars, but I love the fact that they even have a cigar lounge. There is no such place in Seattle, where we live. I love a good cigar and the weather and the patio were perfect for people watching.
If wanting that nice romantic night out, or if looking for the nightlife of clubs and many pubs.
The Gaslamp Quarter is Southern California's premier dining, shopping and entertainment district, where you'll find a truly eclectic blend of food, fun and culture -- all within one of San Diego's most historic areas. Stroll past the district's grand, historic buildings restored to their original character. A place where you can see charming Victorian-style buildings constructed between 1880 and 1910.
Dress Code: Dress nice!
Just take a taxi, trolley, or walk (if staying downtown) and go to the Gaslamp area. There are bars and clubs everywhere. Some of my favorites were Maloney's, Side Bar, and The Bitter End.
Dress Code: No flip flops or t-shirts at most of the nicer places.
Right in the middle of downtown you'll find a gorgeous area (about 10 square blocks or so and growing) of great restaurants and clubs. You can hear live music, dance, grab a cold one.
On the weekends the place is jumpin'!
Those lucky enough to live down here will be hanging out of their windows letting in the ocean air.
Locals will simply refer to this National Historic District as 'the Gaslamp.'
Dress Code: Relax, it's San Diego.