Go strange every third Thursday with Makeout Weird, an experimental/dance/punk night.
2236 Fern Street, San Diego
Established in 1979, the bar on the corner of 30th and Juniper went defunct for a decade in the ’90s and reopened as the Whistle Stop during the summer of 2001 in the heart of South Park’s burgeoning small-business district. A quick hop from a coffeehouse, a bicycle shop, a bookstore, local craft vendors, and a family-run Italian deli, the Whistle Stop is the ideal place to meet friends for an evening drink and stay for a night of films, knitting jams, trivia, or live music.
No stranger to the bar business, owner Sam Chammas is the man behind neighboring burger tavern Station and has a hand in Live Wire, Riviera Supper Club, Krakatoa Café, and until about two years ago, the Turf Club. As such, Whistle Stop has something for just about everybody. Pull in for a local debut, like last month’s Trap Gold, featuring members of the Kabbs and the Old In Out, or a Tuesday game-night with a five-foot-tall Connect Four and Mario Kart.
Commune gets together every last Wednesday most months (else at Bar Pink) for an anti–big tobacco showcase of local art, music, and fashion. Note the smoking alley out back. Go strange every third Thursday with Makeout Weird, an experimental/dance/punk night hosted by Heather Brosche (aka Monsterpussy), who produces original video for each event. December’s edition saw Author & Punisher (Tristan Shone) perform industrial doom metal on a custom fabricated Gigerpunk apparatus of knobs, pedals, sliders, and pounders.
Other regular nights include Sleepwalking (oldies and soul), Worst Music Ever (your favorite songs from puberty), ’80s vs ’90s, VAMP (poets and storyteller), and Booty Bassment, which packs the bar monthly for old-school hip-hop and R&B.
Street parking can be tricky. Instead, ride your bike and lock up to South Park’s staple penny farthing racks or hop a Park-2-Park shuttle, which stops a half block from the bar and runs several times a month for events throughout North/South Park and University/Normal Heights.
The cash-only bar serves stiff cocktails, 12 taps, bottled beer, and wine.
Hours: Weekdays 5 p.m.–2 a.m., weekends 2 p.m.–2 a.m.
Happy Hour: $1 off pints and cocktails until 8 p.m. daily
Prices: drafts $4.50–6, cocktails $5; cash only
Food: Fridays 5:30–7:30 p.m. local-sourced street grub from Miho Gastrotruck
Cover: some weekends, $5ish
Max Cap: 200