“There are a lot of really crazy rumors going around town about El Dorado,” says Ryan Kuntz, manager of the East Village cocktail lounge. “‘I heard it was going out of business.’ ‘I heard it was gonna be an arcade bar.’ ‘They totally got rid of entertainment.’ ‘They are closed for two months during their remodel.’ The list goes on and on.”
1030 Broadway, East Village
The confusion is understandable. On May 31, the bar threw a blowout evening of 11 DJs (including venue staples Bob Dazzla, Adam Salter, and Saul Q) with the byline “One last big party at El Dorado Cocktail Lounge” followed by “No cover ever again.”
The lounge did, in fact, do away with their popular, periodic nights such as Boys & Girls, Bump, and Hickies & Dryhumps, but Kuntz stresses that the venue will continue to host DJs on Fridays and Saturdays (Adam Salter currently has first and third Saturdays while Bob Dazzla spins second and fourth Saturdays) and are remaining open throughout their remodel. The vision? A casual neighborhood bar with more accessible hours, an expanded and refined cocktail menu, and the installation of 20 (mostly local) taps. This at a bar where PBR tallboys once reigned supreme.
Renovations aim to support the rebranding of the location by replacing the dance floor with more seating to facilitate a conversational environment. They’ll also be bringing in a few arcade games (hence the rumors), including dive requisite Big Buck Hunter as well as shuffleboard or skee ball, Kuntz says.
“It seems to be that in San Diego you can have a proper cocktail lounge, but it may be a little stuffy or small,” he says. “You can have a nightclub, but chances are you won’t be able to have a really great cocktail or a delicious craft beer. You can go see your favorite band in a great venue with great sound, but you’re really only there for that. You can go to a beer bar and taste amazing beers, but more than likely, you can’t get a really good cocktail.”
After months of considering what East Village needs most, Kuntz and company now hope to make El Dorado “somewhere that people will frequent more than once a month. A place that you can have a great cocktail, a great craft beer, listen to amazing music, and still have a conversation with whomever you are with.”