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

The Dragon Room at Wong's Golden Palace

The Wong Cup at the right price.

The bar pours heavily. Never, ever drive to the Dragon Room.
The bar pours heavily. Never, ever drive to the Dragon Room.
Place

Wong's Dragon Room

7126 University Avenue, La Mesa

You’ve probably seen Wong’s neon towers glowing along the University Avenue corridor through La Mesa. You probably mistook the place for a drug front or maybe the entrance to a theme park. The truth is even better. Like a waft of samurai nostalgia on an autumn Shanghai breeze, the Dragon Room has a dreamy, faraway quality. Established in 1966, the electric hallucination sees paper Tsingtao serpents flying among Chinese lanterns and Budweiser Select signs. Cocktails come out strong and occasionally on fire. The happy hour is a miracle. Wong’s crown virtue, however, is its cozy patio, where an ornate fountain runs into a koi pond and you can smoke in the open air without ditching your drink.

The Palace’s mediocre cuisine lends credence to the dope-ring vibe. But the Dragon Room, which plays host to diversions such as darts, foosball, billiards, pinball, free Wi-Fi, corn nuts, and a Lotto machine, is an effortless neighborhood dive whose weekday happy hour (5 to 7 p.m.) offers $2.50 drafts from 11 taps and $2.75 wells (add a quarter for juice). There’s no finer prelude to Friday-night karaoke, which starts at 7 p.m.

You can start your Saturday with an omelet or pork chops and eggs ($6) and then stick around for a night of live music from the likes of rock-and-soul stalwarts the Tighten Ups, the Johnson Project Band, Cameltones, and Joey Harris. A $7 steak-and-eggs breakfast is served from 9 a.m. till noon on Sundays, and a half-pound burger or sandwich lunch special ($7.25) with fries/rings and a well/domestic is available from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on weekdays. Remember, you aren’t here for the food. Stick to the cheap cocktails and signature tiki drinks in ridiculous ceramic bowls touting exotic names such as China Dream, Confucius, and the Wong Cup.

“It’s like a Mai Tai but worse,” explains bartender Danelle as she hands me Wong’s namesake pint of hooch.

The classic Scorpion ($8) — a flaming bowl of high-octane rum and fruit juice — is mixed on the restaurant side and may require added shots to taste. The bar, on the other hand, pours heavily. Never, ever drive to the Dragon Room.

Hours: 6 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily

Happy: Monday thru Friday, 5 to 7

Capacity: 150

Cards accepted

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Let them eat French Charolaise steak

Controversial U.N. Foundation bankrolls Jacobs aide's Nicosia junket
Next Article

Writerz Blok knocked down

Gang-neutral graffiti yard on Market yields to housing
The bar pours heavily. Never, ever drive to the Dragon Room.
The bar pours heavily. Never, ever drive to the Dragon Room.
Place

Wong's Dragon Room

7126 University Avenue, La Mesa

You’ve probably seen Wong’s neon towers glowing along the University Avenue corridor through La Mesa. You probably mistook the place for a drug front or maybe the entrance to a theme park. The truth is even better. Like a waft of samurai nostalgia on an autumn Shanghai breeze, the Dragon Room has a dreamy, faraway quality. Established in 1966, the electric hallucination sees paper Tsingtao serpents flying among Chinese lanterns and Budweiser Select signs. Cocktails come out strong and occasionally on fire. The happy hour is a miracle. Wong’s crown virtue, however, is its cozy patio, where an ornate fountain runs into a koi pond and you can smoke in the open air without ditching your drink.

The Palace’s mediocre cuisine lends credence to the dope-ring vibe. But the Dragon Room, which plays host to diversions such as darts, foosball, billiards, pinball, free Wi-Fi, corn nuts, and a Lotto machine, is an effortless neighborhood dive whose weekday happy hour (5 to 7 p.m.) offers $2.50 drafts from 11 taps and $2.75 wells (add a quarter for juice). There’s no finer prelude to Friday-night karaoke, which starts at 7 p.m.

You can start your Saturday with an omelet or pork chops and eggs ($6) and then stick around for a night of live music from the likes of rock-and-soul stalwarts the Tighten Ups, the Johnson Project Band, Cameltones, and Joey Harris. A $7 steak-and-eggs breakfast is served from 9 a.m. till noon on Sundays, and a half-pound burger or sandwich lunch special ($7.25) with fries/rings and a well/domestic is available from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on weekdays. Remember, you aren’t here for the food. Stick to the cheap cocktails and signature tiki drinks in ridiculous ceramic bowls touting exotic names such as China Dream, Confucius, and the Wong Cup.

“It’s like a Mai Tai but worse,” explains bartender Danelle as she hands me Wong’s namesake pint of hooch.

The classic Scorpion ($8) — a flaming bowl of high-octane rum and fruit juice — is mixed on the restaurant side and may require added shots to taste. The bar, on the other hand, pours heavily. Never, ever drive to the Dragon Room.

Hours: 6 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily

Happy: Monday thru Friday, 5 to 7

Capacity: 150

Cards accepted

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

San Diego's thrift stores teeter

Rescue Mission, Father Joe's Villages, Auntie Helen's, Goodwill, Amvets cast about for answers
Next Article

The Great Kiwi Shut-Out

Stuck in America
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Outdoors — Weekly changes in flora and fauna Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Street Style — San Diego streets have style Surf Diego — Real stories from those braving the waves Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Your Week — Daily event picks
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
Close