1116 25th Street, San Diego
A few issues back, Reader eater Ed Bedford gave a firsthand account of Turf Supper Club’s grill-it-yourself dinner arrangement. You order your flesh. You season and cook it. You get your dinner the way you want it. I won’t rehash the menu here, but before we get on to the real meat of the story (the booze), here are a few tips to help you make the most of your experience.
First of all, it’s important to understand that the Turf is no secret, nor is it spacious. The place is packed on weekends and often on weeknights. As such, some of the staff (though certainly not all) can come off as indifferent, even irritable. Maybe they are. Either way, your steak isn’t going to be the only thing that’s salty on a busy night at the Turf, so if you can’t handle a little bit of ’tude with your food, you’re better off dining elsewhere.
Next, know that you won’t be seated at a booth if your whole party isn’t present. I’m sure they have their reasons for this, and, yeah, it’s annoying, but now you know. Don’t let it ruin your night.
Last, Lord help you if you try to sit in a booth and you aren’t eating. For some reason, this is a huge deal. Avoid it.
On to the good news. The bar kicked off in the early ’50s as a lounge frequented by bookies and horse-gamblers. Today, it’s an undeniable social hub for Golden Hill’s eclectic congregation of musicians, artists, students, and creative folk of every ilk. Turf remains true to their roots as a liquor-loving dive, and an after-work cocktail feels right at home in the bar’s dim, retro interior.
Their prices aren’t rock bottom, but neither are they as steep as most of the downtown locations at the bottom of the hill. On the upper end, there’s the Esquire martini ($10), made with Beefeater or Ketel One, served up or on the rocks, and garnished with blue-cheese-stuffed olives. On the conservative side, there’s the classic Manhattan at $7. If suds are more your style, take 20-ounce pours of select local and imported beers for around $6.
All told, the Turf is a great place to pass the night with friends, but only if you are willing to let the service slide.
Attire: Cocktail casual
The Deal: Piano bar, 8 to 11 p.m. on Sundays
Hours: Mon–Thurs, 5 p.m. to 2 a.m.; Fri–Sun, Noon to 2 a.m.
Happy: Fri–Sun, Noon to 5 p.m., dollar off beers
Food: Steaks, sausages, burgers, Portobellos, and more until 1 a.m.
Price: Specialty cocktails, $7–10; pints, around $6
Capacity: Approximately 75