North Park Stories

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 ...

North Park stroll

Business changes along University Avenue

Tobacco Rhoda’s dive bar closed down in June 2016. The bar had reportedly been a problem in the neighborhood for years. Artist Sam Ballard, who had a studio behind the bar for eight years, described ...

Rocket From the Crypt up from the crypt

Punk-rock big band headlines Casbah's Halloween bash at the Lafayette

Rocket From the Crypt played their “final concert ever” at the Casbah’s then-annual Halloween party at the Westin Horton Plaza in 2005…so it was only fitting that the beast be brought back to life to ...

Park-starved residents locked out of school playgrounds

"Responsibility for opening seems unclear and too often forgotten."

At least three of San Diego's joint-use playground parks have limited or eliminated public access to playgrounds in North Park, Normal Heights, and Kensington, and no one knows who is responsible. After three days of ...

New on the North Park beer block

Former Ballast Point brewers bring on the Eppig

North Park's status as a beer hub gets a major boost in the next few months as a trio of turnkey breweries leasing from HG Fenton's Brewery Igniter program begin to go online. Three ten-barrel ...

A cozy, out-of-the-way spot in the middle of North Park

Bangkok Spices Thai relocation a good move for old standby

The name seemed familiar, but when I walked past Bangkok Spices shortly after it opened on 30th Street, I couldn't quite place it. Eventually I realized I'd been to a restaurant of the same name ...

Hipster zone planned for North Park

Community plans for Golden Hill and South Park also laid out

Mid-city residents packed city-council chambers on Tuesday afternoon (October 25) as councilmembers convened to consider long-awaited updates to community plans for North Park and Golden Hill. The most contentious discussion centered around the North Park ...

Atmosphere casts its line at the Observatory

Slug and friends mix Fishing Blues with the classics

Atmosphere's tour began with a broken down van just outside of Saskatoon, but smoothed out quickly with a string of sold-out shows leading into Friday night's gig at Observatory North Park, which sold out weeks ...

North Park finds room for one more coffee shop

Biker cafe is surprisingly comfortable

I didn't think North Park needed another coffee shop, particularly along 30th Street. But when I walked into the newly opened Torque Moto Café, I immediately felt as though it scratched a neighborhood itch that's ...

What North Park's future will look like

"Our plan is for the millennials. If they can avoid having a car, they do."

The North Park Planning Committee on Tuesday (September 6) approved the area's draft community plan update — the roadmap for long-term growth and preservation for a neighborhood deemed one of America's hippest hipster neighborhoods in ...

Oh, those free-range birds

Late lunch in North Park

David and I finally made it to Encontro, in that magical empty hour between lunch and dinner. The restaurant is positioned at the corner of University Avenue and 30th Street, which puts it right in ...

Tribute pays tribute to the world’s best pizza

Get a slice of hospitality

Tribute Pizza has been in soft opening mode for the past month or so, but this review begins about two years earlier. The setting is BLVD Market, San Diego’s premier prepared-foods monthly on El Cajon ...

/ dun • ee • din / nrth • prk /

New Zealand gastropub hits North Park’s culinary corner

If you count the controversial Jack in the Box, there are now 14 restaurants and two bars within 500 feet of the doglegged intersection of 30th at Upas Street. Some food writers have taken to ...

Lil B's closes

El Cajon Boulevard restaurant had replaced long-running Johnny's R

Lil B’s Urban Eatery at 2611 El Cajon Boulevard in North Park has closed down. All the windows are covered. Their listed phone number doesn’t answer. More than a week ago when I ate there, ...

Georgia Street Bridge restoration begins

Demise of streetcars signaled beginning of decades-long demolition talk

After decades of back-and-forth about whether to demolish or restore the Georgia Street Bridge, restoration of the 102-year-old structure began on August 3. The project was supposed to break ground in the fall of 2015 ...

Dark-rock duo Blood Ponies tracking that fuzz all over town

Feral ponies

"Our music is dark, heavy post-punk, made by two people who make a surprising amount of noise," says Jeff Terich, who partners with Candice Renee in Blood Ponies. “It sounds best at night when our ...

North Park Kentucky Fried Chicken picket

"If we could get them to stop serving antibiotic-laced meat..."

Organizers with the consumer advocacy group CalPIRG gathered in front of a North Park fast-food outlet on Tuesday (August 9) to deliver signatures and entice passersby to pose for "photo petitions" aimed at ending the ...

Europeans and Asians eat mackerel and bonito

Americans have a narrow definition of what constitutes fine table fare

Fun Fact Number One: University Heights seafood counter Beerfish couldn’t get www.beerfish.com because some obscure rod and tackle outfit with the tagline “Worse for wear and overpriced” has it locked down. Fun Fact Number Two: ...

Savages turn Observatory into a cauldron of punk-metal

British band riding a mighty, high wave behind this year's Adore Life

What to say about Savages…these are some badass ladies. The English quartet is known for their fierce and eerie delivery. Atmospheric guitar feedback, constant rumbling of bass and drums, topped off by Jehnny Beth’s maniacal ...

The soft, loud, soft, really loud Wye Oak

Baltimore indie-rock duo packs 'em in at the Irenic

Wye Oak is a Baltimore indie-rock duo formed in 2006 whose music ranges from laid-back and spare to noisy guitar freak-outs. They showcased these dynamics mid-set at the Irenic with the galloping soft/loud/soft/really loud structure ...

You’ve got to try dukkah

This North Park spot is too easy to miss

While there are a lot of big, notable restaurants lining 30th Street as it winds through North Park, there are a handful of blink-and-you’ll-miss-them spots as well. Apparently I didn’t blink overly much while driving ...

Wang’s North Park restaurant space in escrow

Failed eatery had been "everything the community was looking for"

In 2011, restaurateurs Joel Herzer and Tom Eads got approval from the San Diego City Council to loan them $500,000 in redevelopment funds to assist with costs of opening Wang’s North Park restaurant. Housed in ...

Groundbreaking for apartments to house LGBT seniors

Completion targeted for December 2017

A large crowd gathered at the northwest corner of Texas Street and Howard Avenue on July 13 for a groundbreaking ceremony marking construction of affordable apartments for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender seniors. The housing ...

SDPD wife helped crack case of North Park attacker

"We do care, cops do care. I live in the neighborhood."

Though she was instrumental in cracking the 2014 case of the serial attacker in North Park and Normal Heights, Carrie Spillane didn't feel right about accepting the $10,000 reward. So she asked the city to ...

Craft beer rich in North Park

Talents converge to construct San Diego's urban brewery ideal

One of the beer community's most anticipated brewery debuts hit University Avenue at the end of June when North Park Beer Co. officially opened for business — an opening that resonates in urban culture as ...

North Park's next brewery has 19th-century roots

Eppig Brewery revives a 150-year-old Bavarian brand out of Brooklyn

Last August, HG Fenton's turnkey brewhouse division Brewery Igniter announced plans to convert a former North Park strip club into a trio of small breweries, and in February West Coaster magazine reported the first tenant ...

Beer and weed bridge to Thorn Brewery

OG HighPA — at 4.20% ABV (wink, wink) — ventures into dank territory

Thorn Street Brewery is taking steps to become the first brewery in the country to package a beer flavored with marijuana. The microbrewer debuted its OG HighPA last month in its North Park tasting room, ...

Pierced the radio veil

Local post-core quartet is blowing up

It pays to play well. Even if there aren’t many people there to see you. “The other day I went to the Ché Café and there were, like, ten kids there,” says singer/songwriter/guitarist Vic Fuentes ...

Before there was reggae there was reggay — and there was Toots

Toots & the Maytals take the stage at the Observatory Wednesday night

Toots and the Maytals have been coming around for so long now that news of their arrival is taken in stride, much like the way one might embrace a change of season or impending weather. ...

Four kinds of pretzel

California Tap Room has snack food for North Park’s beer scene

There’s a new shop in North Park called California Tap Room, and it makes excellent use of water, yeast, and grain. But maybe not the way you’d expect. This tap room isn’t specifically in the ...

Coffee + flowers = sensory benefits

Flowers to the right, coffee to the left

Its large, painted outside wall says Coffee + Flowers, but inside the storefront on the southwest corner of Texas and University there are actually two distinct businesses: Communal Coffee and Native Poppy flower shop. "In ...

Signature-gatherer falsely claims petition will save Comic-Con

Who the guy was working for remains a mystery

On June 2 in front of Vons in North Park, at 30th Street and Howard, a paid signature-gatherer stood next to a sign. It read: "Please sign the new Comic-Con petition." Reader contributor Dryw Keltz ...

North Park Woolworth's re-do on hold

Meantime, same developer constructs 35 apartments off alley

While the long-delayed renovation of the historic F.W. Woolworth Co. building at 3067–3075 University Avenue still has no start date, the developer is constructing apartments behind that building. Built in 1949, the Streamline Moderne structure ...

Hot Gouda and cold IPA

Venissimo Cheese at Bottlecraft

Since I live in the area and regularly “research” craft beer, I probably visit North Park’s Bottlecraft shop more than the average customer. While the Venissimo counter has been selling globally sourced cheeses out of ...

Abstract works by NASA science illustrator on display in North Park Gallery

A New Stellar Order shows through June 18

There’s a an artistic universe squeezed into a little gallery space tucked between a residential home and a tattoo parlor on the eastern edge of North Park. The space is called Teros Gallery, the same ...

Jack in the Box headed to court over North Park "remodel"

Appellate court springs some justice on fast-food chain and city

A group of North Park residents will have another chance in court to show that fast-food company Jack in the Box illegally rebuilt a restaurant against current zoning regulations. On May 23, appellate judges from ...

Assertive licorice

Tasting notes on Négociant Winery’s 2012 Sangiovese

In 2012, Utah’s happy hour ban went into effect, adding that state to a short list of others that consider special prices on alcoholic drinks a source of great social harm. Later that year, Hurricane ...

New law lets you drink beer in a parking lot...sometimes

"We got wind of the new legislation early last year."

Brewery anniversaries are getting bigger this year, and it has everything to do with a new state law. Effective January 1, AB 776 permits breweries to sell beer "on property contiguous and adjacent to its ...

Alt-rockers still paddling despite "Nada Surf"

New York–based band was told their brand came with "a certain lack of success"

Nada Surf first gained national recognition in 1996 when the video for their song “Popular” went into heavy rotation on MTV. As a result, the group toured their debut album, High/Low, heavily, but when it ...

It's a new Nada day

New Yorkers Nada Surf continue their alt-rock ride

They got older. And as a band, they got better. But, where does Nada Surf fit into the bigger picture today? There’s good argument that Nada Surf is a one-hit wonder. Lightning struck only once ...

Brewing with Kiwis

Emerging New Zealand craft scene wades into San Diego

New Zealand brewery Garage Project began distributing to San Diego for the first time last month, offering local beer fans a new glimpse of the emerging Kiwi craft brewing scene. This may be welcome news ...

John "Swami" Reis produces compilation record of 22 San Diego bands

More bang bang for your buck

The Schizophonics blast the compilation Hardcore Matinee wide open with a two-minute scree of post-punk rock violence called “Red Planet,” which sets the tone for the 21 original tracks to follow from hometown artists such ...

Show up for donuts, leave with tacos

Panchita’s latest is more kitchen than bakery

Years living around Golden Hill has gotten me familiar with Panchita’s Bakery. I knew the Mexican bakery had a couple of other locations around town, so when I noticed a new one open in North ...

A biergarten for North Park

ChuckAlek makes a move into the city from Ramona

For the past three years or so, ChuckAlek Independent Brewers has been producing beer in small batches out in Ramona. During that time, occasional kegs would make it into central San Diego, but the nanobrewery ...

Belching Beaver getting big

Six-packs, sours, and a full restaurant in the works

Belching Beaver Brewing has been in serious expansion mode this spring. In March, the company more than quadrupled its capacity by moving in to a 30-barrel production brewery in Oceanside. Meanwhile, its original 15-barrel Vista ...

Palomar Card Club license revoked

Chips redeemable — send to Colorado address

Last December 9, federal agents led by the FBI raided the Palomar Card Club (also known as Palomar Casino) at 2724 El Cajon Boulevard, alleging illegal operations, bookmaking, and money laundering. The Reader previously reported ...

The multitasking Mr. Boyle

Folk Art Records owner on what Record Store Day has in store for him

“That would be the goal that I’d like to achieve. Longevity.” Brendan Boyle bought Folk Arts Rare Records from the owner/founder, Lou Curtiss, who was an old man at the time of the sale. Boyle ...

Third Eye open

Third Eye Blind frontman Stephan Jenkins overcomes his writer's block

Third Eye Blind took six years between their last album, Ursa Major, and their new platter, Dopamine, owing in large part to leader Stephan Jenkins’s struggles with writer’s block, a problem he tried to cure, ...

City bucks for “twinkle lights”

Council also approves funding for I-805 holiday bridge-lights project

North Park residents will soon get a lot of twinkle in their eyes, thanks to $5200 in “community programs and services” funding from the city. The San Diego City Council on March 15 passed (as ...

Massive plans for bike lanes where? When?

Association of governments has some answers but not all

The first time I heard about the San Diego Association of Governments’ plans to significantly change the street alongside my house was at a planning-group meeting — for a different community. I was stunned for ...

Click it, drink it

Growing number of services deliver beer to your door

Home-delivery service has become one of the tech industry's fastest growing sectors, and while its primary focus has been restaurant-prepared meals, beer and liquor are increasingly on the agenda. Over the past several months, several ...

Mr. Buck's Full Contact bric-a-brac

Davit Buck sets up shop selling rock-and-roll oddities

Some people know Davit Buck for fronting such wild and woolly local bands as Jack Septic, Bad Apples, Mother Russia, Subterranean Horses, Mother Bitch, and John Wayne Gacy Daycare. The only band name that caused ...

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