Downtown San Diego Stories

Poison Headache's feel-good Phil

“I can appreciate daddy long legs because they kill bigger and worse spiders, so we’re cool.”

"It’s aggressive and energetic music,” says Wovenwar’s Phil Sgrosso of his new side band Poison Headache. “Something your parents would think is total crap, but that’s sort of the point.” The busy singer/guitarist/bassist has had ...

Downtown protest against Dakota pipeline

"We are not protesters, we are protectors."

Over 100 climate activists gathered downtown on Tuesday evening (September 13) as part of a national day of action aimed at convincing President Obama to put a stop to construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. ...

Central San Diego before 1930

The San Diego trolley in the early 1900s, the elusive Putnam sisters, and someone who remembers the Marstons, Klaubers, and Colonel Fletcher

Clang, clang, clang In the summer you could get a fifty-cent pass for the whole week. ” She recalls passing her ticket out the window to a friend to squeeze two rides for the price ...

A lot of Grammys in the Tedeschi Trucks family

Country-rock couple brings the award-winning big band to Copley Symphony Hall

For those among you who never had the pleasure, the Tedeschi Trucks Band is about as close as you will ever come to approximating a 1970s spectacle known as the Mad Dogs and Englishmen tour. ...

San Diego’s planning commission overrules Gaslamp groups

CVS won’t sell liquor on Fifth and J

Less than 24 hours after downtown's community planning group shot down plans for a 10,800-square-foot CVS store proposed for the Gaslamp Quarter, the citywide Planning Commission approved the same plan — by the same 2-1 ...

A week to finish a stack of Du Par's hot cakes

This could take awhile. Turns out I’m his first full-stack order since they opened.

Uh-oh. Last Chinese restaurant in Chinatown just bit the dust. Lucky Liu’s has closed. And before Unlucky Liu’s, Red Pearl came unstrung. Silver lining? Today, where Red Pearl used to be, I discover a brand-new ...

San Diego taxpayers to be Chargers laughingstock?

Stadium opposition group says team would pay no rent

While the Chargers spend money to propagandize for their stadium/convention center (convadium) proposal, some opposition groups are pointing out what a smelly deal Dean Spanos is trying to foist on San Diegans. Today (August 17), ...

Seaport Village "chills free speech"

Tourist spot accused of fleecing groups by forcing them to hire attorneys

An animal-rights group is suing Seaport Village and the company that manages it for implementing strict guidelines to prevent free speech from occurring at the tourist attraction. The complaint also asks that a judge place ...

Prison reform bill supporters harsh on mayor

Faulconer accused of canceling meeting, spreading Prop 57 "propaganda"

A group of about 20 activists gathered outside city hall on Wednesday (July 20) to voice their support for Proposition 57, a measure advocated by governor Jerry Brown and denounced by mayor Kevin Faulconer. The ...

To judge a deli’s worth, zero in on pastrami

Mustard, rye, and loads of meat at Carnivore Sandwich

When I first heard about a sandwich shop called Carnivore, my thought was it must be hipster. Its name sounds like the sort of provocative approach a de rigueur deli might take — daring you ...

Downtown San Diego before 1930

How IWW and the Wobblies were shut down, and the gruesome Bennington explosion in San Diego Bay

How San Diego Took Care of its Wobblies Jack Whyte was one of the last wobblies to be convicted: “If the people of the state are to blame for this persecution, then the people...are to ...

Preservationists not done fighting for California Theatre

Complete restoration not feasible, says developer

Built in 1927 and historically designated in 1990, the California Theatre on Fourth Avenue has been owned by Sloan Capital since 2008. Sloan recently won non-historic designation for the attached Caliente sign but still has ...

Petco Park may soon get 37-story neighbor

Long-delayed Ballpark District plans heading to city council

The long-awaited Ballpark Village development adjacent to Petco Park is another step closer to final approval. On July 1, South Carolina–based development firm Greystar filed a tentative map of the design with the City of ...

Move over, Bridgepoint, big dog's movin' in

Union-Tribune signage going bigger downtown

While Bridgepoint Education, Inc., still has its name at the top of the building at 600 B Street, that sign is coming down soon. A Bridgepoint spokesperson did not respond to questions, but a source ...

Skip this Gaslamp barbecue

Bugsy’s has had enough time to get better

I give new barbecue joints the widest berth of all restaurant debuts. In my experience, really getting the production schedules dialed in takes a lot longer for barbecue, and the first few months tend to ...

Historic Resources Board hot for Caliente sign

But one dissenting vote decides demolition question

On June 23, the City of San Diego's Historic Resources Board met to decide the fate of three painted murals on downtown’s historic California Theatre at 1122 Fourth Avenue. Bruce Coons, executive director of Save ...

No mashed gristle

Tomato and lettuce are nice and crisp. Cheddar’s sharp, onions give it sweetness.

Hmm... Which whiskey? The Glenfiddich 40-year-old costs $1049 per shot. A jigger of Benchmark costs $1. I hesitate. “Gimme the Gl…Glenfid…d’uh, no. I guess I’ll take the Benchmark,” I say. The $1 Benchmark is part ...

Tragic history for sale at downtown library auction

Mid-century chairs and homeless tables go on the block

Thousands of items of San Diego bibliophilic history are headed for the auction block this coming Saturday, June 11, at the old downtown library at 820 E St. "The Historic San Diego Central Library — ...

Urban Assault via VW

Busted bug driver talks about video that helped cops pop him

“Ultimately [the police] caught me by my name being on the side of the car, not blurring out my license plate, and I didn’t expect the video to go that viral.” Blake Wilkey, 27, was ...

Billy Joel hits a homerun at Petco

For his first visit to San Diego in 20 years, the Piano Man pulls out all the hits

The Piano Man, Billy Joel, played his only 2016 California show at Petco Park Saturday night, May 14. Joel started the show with “Miami 2017” and the sold out crowd of 42,000 sang and danced ...

Skeleton keyed up

Nathan Hubbard's new big band, the Skeleton Key Orchestra, releases Furiously Dreaming

“Writing for a large ensemble in San Diego is just ridiculous,” says drummer/composer Nathan Hubbard, the winner of the 2014 San Diego Music Award for Best Jazz Recording. Hubbard is back in the news with ...

But how many downtown bicycle thefts?

"We hear a lot about Horton Plaza, the 24-Hour Fitness, in front of the supermarket."

Downtown bike shops are hearing more complaints and questions about bike thefts, particularly from so-called “safe rooms” and bike racks in secured parking garages. Employees at a few apartment buildings downtown agreed that thefts have ...

The burrito from Berlin

Spitz, Mediterranean by way of Germany by way of L.A.

In Berlin there aren’t a lot of good places to eat burritos, so people eat döner instead. Also known as döner kebab, the Turkish import has been around for generations, and Germans have adopted the ...

Neil Good Day Center plans to move

"The homeless have been pushed to the edge of downtown."

The Neil Good Day Center for the homeless is planning to move from 299 17th Street, just north of Imperial Avenue, to 14th and Commercial streets, across from the main St. Vincent de Paul campus, ...

Cirque du Nortec

Tijuana electronica duo will make it home from the circus for Cinco

If you are reading this on May 5, there is a good chance that the two main members of the Nortec Collective are flying over your head from Montreal. The Tijuana-based techno musicians are scheduled ...

May Day rally and march downtown

"Economic rights are won through struggle in the streets."

About 250 activists gathered downtown on Sunday (May 1, or May Day) to rally and march from City College to Chicano Park in support of workers' rights, higher wages, reduced immigration enforcement, and lower incarceration ...

Downtown Caliente sign destined for doom?

Councilmembers' seats about to get hot — will they side with developer?

Enrique Limón is on a mission to save the Caliente mural on the west façade of the nearly 90-year-old, decades-abandoned, California Theatre (1122 Fourth Avenue). Limón started a petition on April 22 when he caught ...

Sac town country-rocker Stephan Hogan packs Moonshine Flats

"There was barely room to two-step on the crowded dance floor"

After learning the words to the songs on the EP I picked up when Stephan Hogan and his band played San Diego in February, I was eager to attend their return to town at downtown ...

Sale of 4th&B could mean the end of the venue

Tearing down the house?

The downtown venue that hosted James Brown, Kings of Leon, Black Eyed Peas, X, Snoop Dogg, and TV on the Radio during its 17-year run, and which was slated to be refashioned into a state-of-the-art ...

Lunging into a burger in the People’s Penthouse

Come on, li’l burger

I am the captain of my ship. I stride my bridge deck. I scan the scuddy blue seaway ahead of me. Tallships bob everywhere below. That’s how it feels anyway. Star of India, HMS Surprise, ...

Madama Butterfly is set to open at San Diego Opera

Puccini, the great whore

If I were pushed to make a declaration of my favorite opera of all time I would admit, with some sense of shame, that it is Madama Butterfly. The shame comes in because Butterfly is ...

Parker and the jazzmen

Hip-hop poet Parker Edison joins a couple of local jazz cats on his new project

“I’m doing performances in a trio with me on vocals, jazz drummer Nathan Hubbard, and jazz bassist Harley Magsino,” says Jack King, aka Parker Edison of hip-hop trio Parker & the Numberman. “We’ve definitely had ...

Gaslamp prices, but Lazy Hippo is still a find

In deepest Stingaree for brekky

Mary Smith sat here. So did a lot of her ladies of the night. So did the mayor of San Diego. They say he was a client. But that was the Gilded Age. It was ...

America's finest variety show

Tonight in San Diego kicks off season 4 on Monday, April 11

Local talk show Tonight in San Diego kicks off its fourth season on Monday, April 11, in a new location, the Raw Space Theatre on First Avenue downtown. Organizers recently concluded a successful Kickstarter campaign, ...

Gary Clark Jr.'s guitar speaks volumes

The blues-rock artist returns to play Coachella, Humphrey's in August

Austin-based guitarist Gary Clark Jr. is a man of few words. Rather than waste time with between-song banter, he lets his music do the talking for him, and on this night at House of Blues, ...

Time's about up for California Theatre

“There is significant downtown interest and support for demolishing this blighted site."

The crumbling and leaky California Theatre building, at 1122 Fourth Avenue (at C St.), built in 1927 at a cost of $340,000, has sat vacant since 1990. SOHO (Save Our Heritage Organisation) is fighting to ...

$35 tab for Moores dog-and-pony SDSU stadium show

Scandal-beset university benefactor may try again for "public-private" real estate deal

Taxpayers eager for information on the behind-the-scenes machinations regarding a downtown Chargers stadium and expanding San Diego State University to Mission Valley will have to fork over at least $35 for the privilege. That's the ...

Some things to check on Chargers' stadium plan

Be prepared to cock an eyebrow at this proposal

The plans for a new downtown Chargers stadium should come out Monday (March 28) or sometime during the week. Many of the purported details have been leaked to friendly media, so all San Diegans should ...

There’s always the Hyatt

Market One Café is open around the clock

So it’s like two. In the morning. Everything is closing down, or they’re not happy to see you walk in. But you’ve gotta have a snack before you head home. Gaslamp may have a few ...

Unholy Thursday for janitor treatment

Downtown march sought to open blind eye to low pay and harassment

A group of spiritual leaders assembled by the Interfaith Coalition for Worker Justice used the celebration of Holy Thursday to join with organized-labor supporters in a push to publicize ongoing negotiations between commercial building owners ...

Squelch, tang, and crunch at Striders Clublounge

Eat, drink, wager

“Usually, you’ll hear the roar down here, guys yelling when a race is entering the last stretch.”

Life on the top

Get a unit at Downtown’s first residential high-rise

This joint has a separate elevator for tradespeople.

Justice sought for Robert Branch

"Bonnie Dumanis has continued to criminalize black and brown communities of color."

A small contingent of protesters assembled downtown on Thursday afternoon (March 10) in anticipation of preliminary hearings for the criminal trial of Robert Branch, a security-guard accused of assaulting a sheriff's deputy after an apparent ...

It's 311, so why not?

Same old, same old for 30-year-old alt-rock band

For the diehard 311 fans who crammed into the House of Blues for a rare small-venue performance, the band’s extensive merch offerings were a treasure trove of brand-new items ranging from $100 posters to T-shirts ...

Hard out here for a gimp

Wheelchair Sports Camp's handicapable MC rolls hard over social injustice

Themes of racist, classist, and sexist oppression have been central to hip-hop since its conception, but MC Kalyn Heffernan of Denver-based outfit Wheelchair Sports Camp rolls it out even further. “I grew up in kind ...

Resident now brews at Local location

Downtown's new ten-barrel brewhouse is San Diego owned

San Diego's newest brewery has set up shop just a few blocks from its oldest. Resident Brewing Co. started brewing last month, 27 years after Karl Strauss brewpub opened its first location on Columbia Street ...

Is the Chargers' favorite city about to get dirtied up?

Political hitman, illegal city-council gift purveyor, flagging Chicago-owned U-T enliven stadium saga

A flagging Chicago-owned newspaper desperate for sports business, a wealthy NFL owner with an option to relocate the family football team to Los Angeles, a consultant steeped in the dark arts of the campaign hatchet ...

Chargers redeclare wish for downtown stadium

Couple it with convention center, says team lawyer (again)

Chargers spokesman Mark Fabiani sent out an email this afternoon (February 23), stating that the Chargers are shooting for a combined stadium/convention center downtown. No surprise. As the team was trying to get to Los ...

Raiding Lucky Liu’s kitchen to say Happy New Year

Dim sum is a big deal in China. Right?

“Shin-nyen kwhy-ler,” says Dong Ha. “Happy New Year! Mandarin. What they’d say in Beijing.”

San Diego Opera and Puccini's Tosca

The season at San Diego Opera has begun

San Diego Opera has started their season of transition with Tosca by Puccini. It should be noted that all three productions this year were established by the previous regime. This season is not an indication ...

How little the world has changed

San Diego Musical Theatre’s Ragtime as good as it can be

Based on the novel by E.L. Doctorow, the musical tells a fictional story of imagined characters and people from history whose lives intersect in 1902, and who make the musical, which opened in 1998, relevant ...

Ex-baseballer hits it out of House of Blues

Country up-and-comer Chris Lane comes back to town

It was the second time at bat in San Diego for the UNC-Charlotte baseball player who traded his glove for a guitar. Country artist Chris Lane opened for Dustin Lynch at San Diego House of ...

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