North Park Stories

Herstorical L7

Los Angeles grunge girls reunite for a night at San Diego Music Thing

L7, the loud and raunchy female quartet featuring guitarists Donita Sparks and Suzi Gardner, bassist Jennifer Finch, and drummer Dee Plakas, formed in 1985, broke big in 1992, broke up in 2001, and reunited last ...

San Diego rockers invade Spain and Italy

Robert Lopez and friends bring a Schizophonic Little Richard to Europe

Last month, a San Diego traveling circus invaded Spain and Italy to perform a run of shows. The three-act tour, which featured the Little Richards, Schizophonics, and Diana Death y Sus Novios, benefitted from the ...

Just in on Justin (Pearson)

The Locust, Head Wound City, Retox, janitor on the WB

Twenty years ago bassist Justin Pearson cofounded the Locust, the San Diego band known for its short, spazzy grindcore songs played by guys in insect suits. About the same time he launched Three One G, ...

James and the giant bass

Yo La Tengo's James McNew talks "stuff like that there"

In 1990, Hoboken natives Yo La Tengo released Fakebook — an album composed of cover songs, reworked tunes, and a handful of original compositions. 25 years later, the band is revisiting that template with Stuff ...

These are "Salad Days" for Mac DeMarco

Indie hit crowd surfs at Observatory North park

Dipping down from the forgotten land of Canada, Mac DeMarco and his corky bandmates made an appearance at the Observatory North Park in support of DeMarco’s delightful “mini LP” Another One. Crowd-surfing, child-like banter, and ...

Chango voodoo

Local indie act Botanica Chango plays a record-release at the Irenic on November 4

Josh Becker (aka Chango Chango) from the group Botanica Chango sums up his band’s sound as being “voodoo pop.” What is voodoo pop? Well, let’s examine “BB and the Beat,” currently available on the band’s ...

Let’s try Soda & Swine sober

Is it still good in the middle of the day?

I’d tasted the fare at Soda & Swine several times before, but I’d never actually been in the space. I was always next door, enjoying a libation at Polite Provisions while David, ever the giver, ...

Paul Weller — Modernist with a capital M

The modfather's visit to Observatory North Park reviewed

Don’t you just love places that charge $18 for two cans of PBR? Me neither. North Park’s Observatory played host to a visit from the modstar, Paul Weller. It’s been a long time since he ...

Saving Ray

New leadership injects life into longstanding event

it’s Saturday night on North Park’s Ray Street and the pavement is humming with life. A dude in zebra tights and a tank top twirls around with a hula hoop while a crowd gathers to ...

Rip Current is not so very small anymore

The winning formula of a San Diego–based brewery of the year

In September, Rip Current founders Paul Sangster and Guy Shobe brought five beers to the Great American Beer Festival, the nation's biggest beer contest. The former homebrewers returned victorious, with two medals and the distinction ...

Drinking a 5pm Session at midnight

One of many beers I tried for the first time at Hamilton's

The best thing about my house is its location — just a few short blocks from Hamilton's Tavern. This is by design. The slightly divey taphouse has been one of our city's champions of craft ...

Tostadas are the new tacos

Fruit and fish creations at a new North Park spot

Casting my vote at the Reader Feast food and drink festival this year was easy. Yes, eventual winner Half Door Brewing Co. rightfully earned its victory with a combo of tasty beers and ahi poke ...

Little Birds' Elgin James’s personal appearance benefits Digital Gym

Get your Q's A'd

Join Reader film-critic Scott Marks at the Digital Gym, Friday, October 9, at 9 p.m. for a screening of Little Birds, followed by a Q&A with writer-director Elgin James. The autobiographical tale, James’s debut, stars ...

May the Force be with Titus Andronicus

...and not the police force

The Titus Andronicus van rolled into town on the same night as the Foo Fighters traveling circus. Whereas Dave Grohl and Co. most likely played to a sold-out Sleepy Train Amphitheatre, Patrick Stickles and his ...

Dane Coffee takes aggressive baby steps

Coffeee shop to open next year or the year after

Back in 2013, a change in California law allowed individuals to sell food prepared in home kitchens. Such “Cottage Food Operations” also applies to coffee, and for nearly a year husband-and-wife team Scott and Brielle ...

It's fixed. No running, and no peeing in Bud's pool

Morley Field municipal pool ready for swimming, more repairs to come

On Monday (September 28), San Diego's oldest community pool reopened to the public after getting the thumbs up from the County Department of Environmental Health on September 23. The Bud Kearns Municipal Pool was originally ...

Stickles's march to the sea

"If the guitar is not loud enough, then my brain is louder, and it’s not gonna work”

"Tell the world my story. Nobody believes me. They think I’m bullshitting them.” The story Titus Andronicus mastermind Patrick Stickles is referring to is a complicated one. Much of it is peeled away within the ...

"Cholo goth" duo gets ripped off at Riot Fest in Chicago

Stolen Prayers

“We are mostly a San Diego/L.A./New York band,” says Rafa Reyes, half of cholo goth duo Prayers. The release of their Young Gods album took them on a 14-city, three-week tour, which ended September 11 ...

Wavves' slavves come out to play

Nathan Williams brings the band home for one night in North Park

A rainy night in North Park failed to keep the punk-rock masses away from the Observatory for Wavves’ San Diego tour stop. After a rollicking set by Chicago rockers Twin Peaks, Nathan Williams unleashed his ...

The cheeky swagger of Twin Peaks

From Mom's basement to opening dates with Wavves

From one mom’s basement to your ears: the four core members of Twin Peaks (nothing to do with the television series of the same name, they once told a reporter) know each other going back ...

Feast! Uptown

Best restaurants from the Heights to the Parks

From Mission Hills to Kensington, in Heights both Normal and University, and in Parks North and South, UPTOWN residents don't rest on good looks or thick pocketbooks. They thrive on personality and artful presentation. So, ...

"Wildheart" Miguel funks up the Observatory

...with a two hour set of electrifying funk-rock and sexy slow jams

One of the best concert experiences is when you catch an artist at that pivotal moment when your gut tells you he or she is on the cusp of going Big Time. That’s how I ...

If tears were good luck, Morrissey would be rich

Oh wait, he is rich — a report from night number one at the Observatory

Given his penchant for last-minute show cancellations, the last thing that San Diegans with Morrissey tickets wanted to see four hours before show time was an e-mail with “Event Update” in the subject line. Thankfully, ...

Sabuku Sushi pushes boundaries

Bacon even makes sushi better

Usually when a sushi place tries to add American elements, it is more confusion than fusion. But when it’s done well, it can take Japanese flavors into an interesting new place. One restaurant that does ...

Eff your diet, life is short

As good as “bad” can be at Streetcar Merchants

These days, there are few things more counterculture than a blatant disregard for “healthy” food. If hipsters were still a thing (which they’re not, but if), then Streetcar Merchants would be their headquarters. While everyone ...

Headtripping with Tame Impala

The Australian psych-rock band brings its Currents tour through town

The Observatory in North Park continued its winning streak of knockout concerts by playing host to Australia’s Tame Impala on a sweltering August night. It was yet another sellout show for the venue, and the ...

Brewery Igniter offers brewhouses for lease

Fenton powered business model cuts startup costs

Given the number of craft beer companies launched in San Diego over the past couple of years, starting a brewery almost seems easy. Of course, it's not, and given the capital investment required to purchase ...

Barn Brewing nearly in full swing on the Boulevard

Poor House sister spot serving beer all day, every day

The team behind Poor House brewing have opened a second nanobrewery in North Park. Barn Brewery sits just around the corner from the 30th Street brewhouse, adding its name to the growing number of young ...

Rocket men

Astronauts, etc launch at Seven Grand

Anthony Ferraro deserves a mighty high-five for coming up with a band name so perfectly representative of the music he creates. His five-piece band, Astronauts, etc, specializes in the mellow, spaced-out pop that AIR has ...

Supermarket slump?

North Park Haggen store affected by layoffs

The staffing cutbacks announced July 14 for Haggen supermarkets throughout Southern California have included San Diego. A conversation July 15 with two North Park Haggen employees (who had to remain anonymous) revealed that the store ...

Destruction continues before the groundbreaking

Former AT&T bldg, site of future housing, also target of arson and graffiti

A July 5 fire at the long-vacant former AT&T building at 4220 Arizona Street (off the intersection of Texas Street and Howard Avenue) caused minor damage to the structure, which was already scheduled for demolition. ...

Bully for Bully

The death of grunge left Alicia Bognanno wanting more

The voice does not sound like it should be coming out of that singer’s body. I’m talking about Bully’s front person Alicia Bognanno, and I love it when that happens. The unexpected vocal skirmish that ...

Sí, Señor Saison, sí

Coronado Brewing gets hot — but not too hot

When I ran into a couple of Tijuana brewers at the National Homebrewers Conference conference last week, they mentioned that Coronado Brewing Company has been generous and supportive of the rising ranks of brewers living ...

Surprise! Three Rugburns reunions next week

Shows in North Park and Normal Heights

“Yes, we decided we wanted to play a show because [bassist] John Castro was gonna be in town from NYC,” Rugburns ringleader Steve Poltz revealed to the Reader about the band’s surprise reunion next Tuesday, ...

The Homebrewer is now brewing

New tasting room features Home Brew Co. beers

A different sort of brewery has opened in North Park. Brewing supply store the Homebrewer soft-opened a tasting room in February. The 21-tap room has a few design revisions in store before its official summer ...

Every day is Sunday for Slackers

San Diego ex-pat saxman returns with his rocksteady act

The Slackers from New York City have a San Diego connection: meet David Hillyard, the band’s sax player. Now 45, he was born here and raised in a neighborhood in the northern part of La ...

Spoon: a spectacle in lights

Lucky for Britt, Dryw's going to give him another chance...

On the first date of a two-night stand at the Observatory North Park, Spoon delivered their trademark indie art-rock, complemented by a spellbinding light show that was one of the coolest this reporter’s seen at ...

Skinny Daddy gives the tongue a workout

Alpine's supercharged IPA aimed at hopheads

I spent several hours last week making excruciating decisions as I tried to work my way through a pretty special tap list Toronado assembled for its seventh anniversary. There were few wrong answers among the ...

Spoon and the Tasmanian Devil

Indie rock act remembers past San Diego shows while looking forward to two nights at Observatory North Park.

Creativity comes to the third wave

Middle East inspirations and natural ingredients land in North Park's crowded coffee scene.

The already saturated North Park coffee scene took an unexpected turn in early May when Holsem Coffee opened on University at 30th. While the small-batch roaster offers seven single-origin coffees plus both light and dark ...

Grand openings and a thirst-inducing documentary

Craft beer happenings for May 14-18

Friday, May 15 Stone Liberty Station two-year anniversary celebration: The Decatur Road wing of Stone's brewing empire celebrates two years all day Friday with a deep roster of brewed-on-site beers, including a special 2nd Anniversary ...

Escargot at the Smoking Goat

Ian strikes one off his bucket list

I play the part of the American foodie when I go to Paris, visiting patisseries, boulangeries, fromageries, boucheries, and fine restaurants and eating everything remotely French that comes my way: fois gras, soufflé, macarons, and ...

Meet the men (and woman) from Man from Reno

Boyle, hard-boiled

With a title like Man from Reno, one would half expect it to end on a dissolve of Glenn Ford riding off into a Columbia Pictures sunset. Instead, we get a departure in form from ...

Living on the edge with no living wage

Another day of action observed, another day of inaction from politicos

Activists pushing for a higher minimum wage through the labor-backed Fight for 15 campaign staged their biggest protest yet on Wednesday. Starting early on the morning of April 15, the protest — timed to coincide ...

Get away, stay local: a weekend in Uptown

Staycation in Hillcrest, Balboa, North Park and environs.

My best weekend getaway is when I leave my car parked on the street outside my apartment in Hillcrest from 4 p.m. on Friday afternoon til Monday morning at 7: Friday Friday afternoon I go ...

Thanks, Mr. Citizen Traffic Engineer

North Park resident does legwork to double parking on Alabama Street

On April 8, residents of Alabama Street between Polk and Howard avenues got approval for a shot at doubling the parking spaces on their street from 23 to 46, by turning the parallel parking on ...

Bouncer-friendly Punch Brothers tuck 'em in at the Observatory

Here’s a phrase that’s probably never been uttered by man: “the banjo player with mystique.” That’s Noam Pikelny in a nutshell. Decked out in a white suit, Pikelny’s deep voice and deadpan banter served as ...

Shopping like a foodie: Heart & Trotter

New locovore butcher goes whole hog

"Those eggs are gorgeous." I was standing in the middle of a very crowded soft-opening day at Heart & Trotter, North Park's new "whole animal butcher shop." The place promises all local, hormone- and antibiotic-free ...

Jacked by the Box

Residents appeal decision to allow overhaul of North Park fast-food joint

North Park residents are appealing a decision from Superior Court judge Robert Prager to dismiss the lawsuit they filed over the massive overhaul of a Jack in the Box restaurant in North Park. The basis ...

Bo Diddley’s pick stolen

According to Folk Art Rare Records owner Brendan Boyle, on the morning of February 25, a framed piece of San Diego music history was stolen from the walls of Folk Arts Rare Records. The missing ...

Amorcito Corazon moves into competitive locale

Mexican "bistro" replaces vegetarian spot, may need its customers

Underbelly, Smoking Goat, Alexander's. These are a few of the high traffic restaurants packing in around the intersection of 30th and Upas in North Park, where the new Amorcito Corazon opened this month, replacing what ...

Double dose of taste

North Park's Awash puts Ethiopian favorites on an edible plate

"Yes,” says Habtamu. “This bread is two days old.” Okay, sounds like a confession. But, no, it’s a statement of pride. “Our bread,” he says, “needs time.” We’re talking injera, the famous Ethiopian bread that ...

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