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Sidecar doesn't ride shotgun

Linda Vista bar has dialed in the obscure location in a way that none of its predecessors had

Sidecar
Sidecar
Place

Sidecar

1310 Morena Boulevard, San Diego

Blame the humidity, but my first instinct upon entering Sidecar was to draw a cynical correlation between the place’s name and the thought that they were more or less riding shotgun to the passing fancies of modern San Diego bardom. Expansive roll-up windows shout “neighborhood craft beer bar!” while a slew of arcade games in the corner where the Griffin’s stage once stood appeal to a whimsical, young professional sensibility (looking at you, Coin-Op).

Maybe I went in with a muggy attitude, certain that nothing would ever outdo the divey Irish abandon of old O’Connells. As I scanned the reasonably priced and well-constructed cocktail menu, a rude contempt welled up inside of me. How dare they deprive the location of its long-lived cavernous charm! But as I polished off my second El Duderino — a refreshing if not inventive swirl of horchata vodka, Kalua, and Coronado Blue Bridge Coffee Stout — it became evident that Sidecar was much more than an amalgam of ephemeral fads.

No, Sidecar has dialed in the obscure location in a way that none of its predecessors had. The beer list, for starters, is a smart selection of 14 local and out-of-town crafts (one nitro) all priced around five bucks. The cocktail menu, meanwhile, touts nine preparations that draw heavily on Ballast Point’s distillery and select liquors. At $8 a pop, one would be remiss not to sample several of Sidecar’s offerings. Of special interest is the PCN RX, a medical-grade mixture of Monkey Shoulder scotch, lemon, ginger juice, and Montelobos mezcal. The flavor clash is just such that the palate is perplexed into a state of seduction that lingers like a fine blue cheese.

In the end, the arcade games prove crucial to what might otherwise be a humdrum environment. Jurassic Park pinball, skeeball, the obligatory Big Buck Hunter, and a (surprisingly) engaging golf game animate the barroom, which previously held a much more huddled, confidential ambiance.

Opened last November by the owners of the Regals Beagle and Seagull, Sidecar offers daily specials, including: Mondays, $2 off everything; Tuesdays, trivia at 7:30; Wednesdays, $4 well mules; Thursdays, special events with guest breweries and live music; Fridays, live music; and Sundays, $6 pitchers and free pool. Pizza Port sponsors a Pop-a-Shot basketball tournament every first Thursday with prizes and discounted cans of Ponto, Chronic (both $3), and Swami ($4).


Capacity: about 150

Prices: Wine $7, bottles $4–$11, pints $4–$6, cocktails $8

Hours: 3 p.m.–2 a.m. daily

Happy: Monday–Friday, 3–7 pm

Parking: Onsite behind bar

Food: Chips & salsa, $2.50; Josie’s Jerky, $5.

The Deal: Irish Mimosas (High Life and Tullamore Dew shot), $6 all day

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Sidecar
Sidecar
Place

Sidecar

1310 Morena Boulevard, San Diego

Blame the humidity, but my first instinct upon entering Sidecar was to draw a cynical correlation between the place’s name and the thought that they were more or less riding shotgun to the passing fancies of modern San Diego bardom. Expansive roll-up windows shout “neighborhood craft beer bar!” while a slew of arcade games in the corner where the Griffin’s stage once stood appeal to a whimsical, young professional sensibility (looking at you, Coin-Op).

Maybe I went in with a muggy attitude, certain that nothing would ever outdo the divey Irish abandon of old O’Connells. As I scanned the reasonably priced and well-constructed cocktail menu, a rude contempt welled up inside of me. How dare they deprive the location of its long-lived cavernous charm! But as I polished off my second El Duderino — a refreshing if not inventive swirl of horchata vodka, Kalua, and Coronado Blue Bridge Coffee Stout — it became evident that Sidecar was much more than an amalgam of ephemeral fads.

No, Sidecar has dialed in the obscure location in a way that none of its predecessors had. The beer list, for starters, is a smart selection of 14 local and out-of-town crafts (one nitro) all priced around five bucks. The cocktail menu, meanwhile, touts nine preparations that draw heavily on Ballast Point’s distillery and select liquors. At $8 a pop, one would be remiss not to sample several of Sidecar’s offerings. Of special interest is the PCN RX, a medical-grade mixture of Monkey Shoulder scotch, lemon, ginger juice, and Montelobos mezcal. The flavor clash is just such that the palate is perplexed into a state of seduction that lingers like a fine blue cheese.

In the end, the arcade games prove crucial to what might otherwise be a humdrum environment. Jurassic Park pinball, skeeball, the obligatory Big Buck Hunter, and a (surprisingly) engaging golf game animate the barroom, which previously held a much more huddled, confidential ambiance.

Opened last November by the owners of the Regals Beagle and Seagull, Sidecar offers daily specials, including: Mondays, $2 off everything; Tuesdays, trivia at 7:30; Wednesdays, $4 well mules; Thursdays, special events with guest breweries and live music; Fridays, live music; and Sundays, $6 pitchers and free pool. Pizza Port sponsors a Pop-a-Shot basketball tournament every first Thursday with prizes and discounted cans of Ponto, Chronic (both $3), and Swami ($4).


Capacity: about 150

Prices: Wine $7, bottles $4–$11, pints $4–$6, cocktails $8

Hours: 3 p.m.–2 a.m. daily

Happy: Monday–Friday, 3–7 pm

Parking: Onsite behind bar

Food: Chips & salsa, $2.50; Josie’s Jerky, $5.

The Deal: Irish Mimosas (High Life and Tullamore Dew shot), $6 all day

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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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