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Riviera Supper Club

The macaroni & cheese and bacon chocolate cake are highly esteemed in many circles. - Image by Chris Woo
The macaroni & cheese and bacon chocolate cake are highly esteemed in many circles.
Place

Riviera Supper Club & Turquoise Room

7777 University Avenue, La Mesa

A friend who frequents the Riviera Supper Club in La Mesa once remarked that drinking in the attached Turquoise Room rejuvenates his sense of machismo. While the sentiment had never occurred to me, the retro cocktail lounge does feel like the kind of place Frank Sinatra, Chuck Norris, or Ron Burgundy would stop off for a ribeye steak and scotch after work.

Former Turf Club proprietors Sam Chammas (Live Wire, Whistle Stop, Station) and Tim Mays (Casbah, Starlite, Krakatoa) opened the Riviera with Live Wire co-owner Joe Austin about two years ago. Founded in 1946 as Jamar Restaurant, the bar maintains its ’60s lounge vibe thanks to sultry red lighting and leather booths illuminated by marbled lamps. In addition to a list of generously spiked cocktails (try the Art Snob — bourbon, bitters, orange peel, ginger ale), the lounge offers four bottled beers, Tecate tall cans, and three drafts. On a recent visit, a dude who was raving to his date about a drink called the “Russian Quaalude” observed that the place looked like something out of Space Mountain. Mostly correct, apart from the bar’s stained-glass Medieval shield centerpiece.

Elaborating on the cook-your-own arrangement at the Turf Club, Riviera expanded their grill and menu, which starts at $8.50 for a sirloin burger or chicken sandwich and touts a variety of sides and desserts. The macaroni & cheese and bacon chocolate cake are highly esteemed in many circles. Steaks start at $9.50, but bovine sympathizers can find alternatives in the portobello burger or the catch of the day.

The no-cover venue hosts live music most nights of the week. Upcoming acts include Blackout Party, River City, V Drago, and the Mario Escovedo Xperience happy hour. The last MEX hour saw Escovedo (the Dragons) and company playing barroom alt-banda rock and classic covers while discount margaritas made their rounds. In lieu of live entertainment, the jukebox spins a collection of oldies, classic rock, jazz, and locals Blackout Party, Lady Dottie and the Diamonds, and Black Heart Procession.

The free lot parks about 50 but fills quickly on weekends. Dinner reservations are encouraged for groups of six or more.

  • Hours: Sun–Thurs, 4 to 11; Fri–Sat, 4 to 1
  • Happy hour: 4 to 6 daily; $2 off cocktails, drafts, and sirloin steaks
  • Prices: cocktails, $6–9; drafts, $7
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The macaroni & cheese and bacon chocolate cake are highly esteemed in many circles. - Image by Chris Woo
The macaroni & cheese and bacon chocolate cake are highly esteemed in many circles.
Place

Riviera Supper Club & Turquoise Room

7777 University Avenue, La Mesa

A friend who frequents the Riviera Supper Club in La Mesa once remarked that drinking in the attached Turquoise Room rejuvenates his sense of machismo. While the sentiment had never occurred to me, the retro cocktail lounge does feel like the kind of place Frank Sinatra, Chuck Norris, or Ron Burgundy would stop off for a ribeye steak and scotch after work.

Former Turf Club proprietors Sam Chammas (Live Wire, Whistle Stop, Station) and Tim Mays (Casbah, Starlite, Krakatoa) opened the Riviera with Live Wire co-owner Joe Austin about two years ago. Founded in 1946 as Jamar Restaurant, the bar maintains its ’60s lounge vibe thanks to sultry red lighting and leather booths illuminated by marbled lamps. In addition to a list of generously spiked cocktails (try the Art Snob — bourbon, bitters, orange peel, ginger ale), the lounge offers four bottled beers, Tecate tall cans, and three drafts. On a recent visit, a dude who was raving to his date about a drink called the “Russian Quaalude” observed that the place looked like something out of Space Mountain. Mostly correct, apart from the bar’s stained-glass Medieval shield centerpiece.

Elaborating on the cook-your-own arrangement at the Turf Club, Riviera expanded their grill and menu, which starts at $8.50 for a sirloin burger or chicken sandwich and touts a variety of sides and desserts. The macaroni & cheese and bacon chocolate cake are highly esteemed in many circles. Steaks start at $9.50, but bovine sympathizers can find alternatives in the portobello burger or the catch of the day.

The no-cover venue hosts live music most nights of the week. Upcoming acts include Blackout Party, River City, V Drago, and the Mario Escovedo Xperience happy hour. The last MEX hour saw Escovedo (the Dragons) and company playing barroom alt-banda rock and classic covers while discount margaritas made their rounds. In lieu of live entertainment, the jukebox spins a collection of oldies, classic rock, jazz, and locals Blackout Party, Lady Dottie and the Diamonds, and Black Heart Procession.

The free lot parks about 50 but fills quickly on weekends. Dinner reservations are encouraged for groups of six or more.

  • Hours: Sun–Thurs, 4 to 11; Fri–Sat, 4 to 1
  • Happy hour: 4 to 6 daily; $2 off cocktails, drafts, and sirloin steaks
  • Prices: cocktails, $6–9; drafts, $7
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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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