“We said, ‘Let’s see if we can make it happen in Lakeside.’”
10053 Maine Avenue, San Diego
Lakeside. Unless you live there, you probably only know it as that rodeo alcove of tweekers, rednecks, and Klansmen out past Santee. Often the butt of the joke, Lakeside touts a handful of merits that tend to get overlooked in the punchline: picnicking at Lindo Lake Park, fishing at Lake Jennings, and hiking on “El Capitan” — named after the iconic Yosemite attraction that it resembles.
Now you can add quality drinking and dining to the list with Eastbound Bar & Grill, located on the historic Maine Avenue strip of downtown Lakeside. Looking like a sports bar that had a summer fling with a craft-beer joint and gave birth to a family restaurant, Eastbound was started just over three years ago by a trio of friends from El Capitan High School.
Co-owners Marco Rodriguez, Ben Clevenger, and Jason Nichols met playing football during their freshman year, and, a few years later, began tossing around the idea of opening their own bar. Inspired by Nichols’s grandmother’s place, Waterfront Bar (a downtown San Diego landmark that holds the city’s earliest liquor license), the three amigos inaugurated Eastbound in February 2010.
“We said, ‘Let’s see if we can make it happen in Lakeside, because there aren’t really any great spots out here,’” Rodriguez recalls. “People don’t come out to East County for a drink and karaoke, so we wanted to give people an option in this area.”
The result is a welcoming neighborhood bar with open-air patio ambiance that specializes in award-winning burgers, pizzas, cocktails, and brews. Rodriguez likens it to a chameleon.
“We have everyone from 7 to 70 years old; we have kids coming out of a Little League game with their grandparents. On the weekend, we have brunch. During sporting events, we are a big Chargers bar. We even open up early if people want to come watch the World Cup.”
Accordingly, the bar touts about 16 flat screens and just as many taps focusing largely on local beer selections.
“We like to support local guys,” says Rodriguez, who curates rarities such as Belching Beaver from Vista and boasts Eastbound as the buyer of Helm’s (Kearny Mesa) first keg.
“Lakeside has kind of a negative connotation, but we try to bring out the best in the neighborhood,” Rodriguez says.
Keep an eye out for Eastbound’s new location in La Mesa, which will be opening this summer.
- Attire: Vivacious vaquero
- The Deal: Mon., 50-cent wings; Tues., $2 tacos; Wed., $2.50 pizza slice; Thurs., steak, whiskey, and karaoke!
- Hours: Mon.–Thurs., 10 a.m.–12 a.m.; Fri./Sat., 8 a.m.–1 a.m.; Sun., 8 a.m.–12 a.m.
- Happy: Mon.–Fri., 3–6, all drafts $4
- Prices: Domestic drafts, $4; micro drafts, $5
- Food: Yes
- Max Cap: 157