4746 El Cajon Boulevard, Kensington
A good friend of mine has this theory that In-N-Out Burger employees are actually reanimated dead kids from the ‘50s. Think about it. They’re hardworking, way too nice, and have names like Bucky, Peggy Sue, and Sody Pop. The idea always seemed plausible to me, but when Oakland’s Shannon and the Clams played a punk-rock doo-wop rendition of “My Little Runaway” wearing In-N-Out uniforms at the Til-Two Club on El Cajon and Euclid in City Heights, I was convinced.
It made perfect sense. The bar itself is a resurrection of the 1948 Til-Two Club, complete with checkerboard flooring, a mock-up of the original sign, and black booths where Beauty Bar’s hair chairs used to be. Owner Mick Rossler of Tower Bar is in the process of unearthing the small glass windows out front and making a few minor interior changes to complete the Art Deco façade. Like Tower four blocks to the south, the bar honors a unique piece of San Diego history and offers everything from Pabst “Man Cans” to specialty cocktails such as the Cupcake (two vodkas, O.J., whipped cream, sprinkles) and Egg Cream (chocolate syrup, soda, vodka, milk). Choose from 20-plus bottled beers and 4 domestic/imported taps with a few more on the way.
Between bands, the DJ plays the Nerves, Magazine, and the Saints, meriting the ‘77 punk-rock stamp of approval from my buddy James. Portland punks Therapists incite a minor riot in the open-air show space out back, where smoking is no longer permitted. The collective fashion sensibility registers somewhere between Cut-Off Crass tees and the Flannel Channel, with the occasional Boulevard courtesan mingling among smokers out front.
A change from Beauty Bar’s erratic hours and lackluster decor, Til-Two opens at 4 p.m. daily and has a definite neighborhood hangout feel. On one afternoon visit, a selection from Mick’s vast collection of cult films played on the television and the owner of the strip mall across the street reminisced about the place back when it was the Playhouse biker bar. Undoubtedly a more welcoming neighborhood than it once was, my aging bar mate remarked approvingly on the venue’s evolution. Just don’t park in his strip mall.
Til-Two, 4746 El Cajon Blvd.; tiltwoclub.com
Hours: 4 till 2 daily
Prices: drafts $4, bottles $3-$5, cocktails $3.50-$6
Happy hour: 4 to 7 — $3 drafts/wells
Cover: sometimes ($3-$7)
Max cap: 188
The Deal: $2 Tecate