3615 Fifth Avenue, Bankers Hill
Built as a residential hotel in 1926, Inn at the Park (née Park Manor Suites) in Bankers Hill was bought by Shell Vacations in May and is currently undergoing renovations to give rooms a kitschy, modern aesthetic with nods to the lodge’s Italian Renaissance roots.
The restaurant serves refined American cuisine with an emphasis on organic steaks, burgers, seafood, and pastas, but the real jam for those sidled up to the bar is the spinach-and-artichoke dip — a thick, chowdery sauce served with buttery, fried pita bread.
“It was mostly older gay men when I started here nine years ago,” says bartender Jersey, an East Coast transplant and legend among bar-going circles. “Now, just about everybody comes through here. It’s really fun.”
The lounge is intimate, seating about 30 at a marble-top bar, tables, and a booth. Sophisticated but not stuffy, the bar holds a mix of aging regulars, young couples, and karaoke divas amicably chatting with Jersey and dancing to Monday-night sing-along renditions of “Rainy Days and Mondays,” “Friends in Low Places,” and “Piano Man.” The Inn’s own rotating cast of regular pianists (keyboardists, actually) play Tuesday through Sunday evenings.
In addition to a full bar, the Inn offers a rotating Stone tap and a selection of local bottled micros, imports, and domestics. Try the house special, Jersey Juice, gratis on Tuesday nights with a Facebook check in.
“I can’t tell you the ingredients,” she smiles, “but it’s tropical. Mai tai–like.”
Down a hallway adorned with historic photos of old Adams Avenue, La Jolla Cove, the Horton House, and Broadway, Jersey serves as elevatress to the Friday rooftop happy hour at the Top of the Park bar and restaurant, where lunch is served from 11:30 to 2 on weekdays in an expansive dining hall and an open patio with a view of Point Loma, the harbor, downtown, and Tijuana. Mimosas flow endlessly at special brunch events.
Catch Jersey tending Inn at the Park on weekends from noon to 6, Mondays and Tuesdays from 5 to close, and elevating happy-hour patrons from 5 to 10 on Friday evenings.
- Hours: noon to late
- Happy hour: Dollar off drinks ‘til 7 daily
- Prices: draft, $5; bottles, $3.50+; cocktails, $5+
- Credit cards: Yes