Downtown San Diego Stories

Anti-Trump spitting

Cypher at the Hostel welcomes rapping world travelers

The aggro spirit present in many rap lyrics bubbled up when an impromptu curbside verbal battle between two local crews got physical outside the Tower Bar in May of 2013. Don’t expect any inter-artist aggression ...

Fast-food wage rally snowballs

Marchers also rage for rent control and against Olango killing, Dakota pipeline

As many as 1000 activists pushing a broad range of causes gathered downtown Tuesday evening (November 29), the fourth anniversary of the "Fight for 15" movement backed by fast-food workers and labor unions to raise ...

Not all San Diego beer tasting rooms look alike

Six spots that go beyond reclaimed wood

They may range in size and scope, but most of the nearly 150 breweries and tasting rooms pouring across greater San Diego have at least one thing in common — their looks. Since the majority ...

And the winner is...

San Diego Music Awards back on at House of Blues

Kevin Hellman says he was convinced to come back and resurrect the San Diego Music Awards, which will be held March 21 at the House of Blues downtown. Hellman told the Reader two weeks ago ...

Captain Hook walks on water

Truuuump...Truuump will tear us apart

A marathon set of Joy Division and New Order classics by Manchester legend Peter Hook as the U.S. votes itself to hell is the only cure for the surrounding catastrophe. After a subtle start, “Ceremony” ...

Sophisticated stuff at the Dog Haus

Dawgs off the chain

"Go!” This is Carla. “You can make it!” Eight. Friday night. Tapped out. Cupboard’s bare. Broke, broke, pelado. Except, heh-heh, just saw an ad that says free hot dogs today and tonight only, at the ...

Pirate promotion

Orange County–based concert promoter John Reese doesn’t want to take on the "two behemoths"

A former bouncer who launched his own security company and then parlayed his concert access into a gig as the tour manager for Guns ’N Roses, penetrated San Diego’s closed-shop concert business. “I think its ...

Library lets in the noise

"Checked Out" experimental music fest plugs in at the downtown branch

“No, this is not the sort of thing that you’d expect to hear in the library.” Laurie Bailey is the arts, music, and recreation librarian at the Central Library in East Village. She’s talking about ...

Sally Ride: From budget line item to Broadway Pier

A chance to see the inner workings of the new research vessel

Named for Sally Ride, the first American woman in space as part of the space shuttle Challenger crew and member of UCSD’s faculty, Scripps Institution of Oceanography’s new research vessel, Sally Ride, will be open ...

Jethro Tull, written and performed by Ian Anderson

The band about a man is now a rock opera

Jethro Tull the band may be on hiatus, or may be kaput, but Ian Anderson is keeping the name going strong. Anderson is back with his Thick as a Brick 2/Homo Eroticus band, but this ...

Book booze

Bring your library card and a designated driver

The old downtown public library was notorious for hosting legions of homeless inebriates haunting the stacks. Now the city is looking for a vendor who can purvey the hard stuff to higher-dollar crowds. “From a ...

Alice in Chains...in Symphony Hall?

Veteran Seattle act lays some grunge on the Copley stage

Alice in Chains is one of the many bands to come out of the Seattle grunge scene of the early ’90s. Often overlooked by fans that flocked to Nirvana, Soundgarden, and Pearl Jam, I found ...

Taking a leap from real estate and tech to coffee

Second career coffee ventures

As the specialty coffee business has gained in popularity, it's become an appealing choice for non-service industry professionals pursuing a second career. A couple such cases have led to new roasting shops in the county. ...

Jump into a viper pit of ramen noodles

Island of goodies at Ramen Yamadaya

Wow. Downtown. This scuzziest part of Broadway, around Fifth, is suddenly taking off. Guess the facelift started with the opening of the park at Horton Plaza, but now eateries are opening one after the other, ...

Belly up to the kombucha bar

Fermented tea aims to compete with soft drinks more than beer

Tasting rooms have become a dime a dozen in San Diego, but beer is not on the menu of one that opened on Pacific Highway in May. Bootstrap Kombucha offers free tasters and fills growlers ...

Fifty most dangerous intersections for pedestrians

8000 pedestrians injured, 270 killed within 15-year span

If you're crossing the street at an intersection on University Avenue, watch out! Because 11 of the city's most dangerous intersections for pedestrians are on University in the five or so miles between Fourth Avenue ...

Not just a home — a soaring tour de force

A potential front seat at the convadium

Beds: 4 | Baths: 4 | Current Owner: Robert Wright | List Price: $5,900,000 The Harbor Club condominium complex, comprising two towers at the foot of Harbor Drive across from the convention center and blocks ...

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, ...

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