Quantcast
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

Satisfactory clank!

Total taste heaven in the shape of an artichoke, a burger, mussels

Lou & Mickey’s bar burger
Lou & Mickey’s bar burger
Place

Lou and Mickey's

224 Fifth Avenue, San Diego

Street signage

"Got a lighter?”

It’s this girl. We’re both waiting to cross Fifth and E.

“No,” I say, and wrestle my way through the crowds down to F, just as the signal turns red.

“Got a lighter?”

Here she is again, same question. Forgets I’m the same guy.

Whatever, by the time I get down to K, I’m glad to spot Lou & Mickey’s, the steak and seafood place, right before the railroad tracks. Duck in under the wrought-iron entrance.

Actually, I’ve been waiting for this a long time. Desperate to try their patio. Counting on happy hour to make it possible.

But now, I look around me. Wow. Major redesign. They have opened this sucker right up like they took a can-opener to the walls. A row of brown-cushioned benches and classy cork-top tables lines the sidewalk. And beyond, an entire horseshoe bar has been exposed to the world.

Normally, no way is this my scene. Lou and Mickey’s has been the primo conventioneers’ trap for years. Like, 50-dollar steaks and 30-dollar pork chops. But I still sigh when I go past, because they’ve got the best patio in town. No severe iron grills like the rest in the Gaslamp. Just planters with flowers to define the edges.

So, tonight, I head inside. Then back out, escorted by one of the welcomers.

A row of brown-cushioned benches and classy cork-top tables lines the sidewalk.

No, not kicked out. I could have sat at the cool, white tile bar, with all the sports screens and chatty barkeeps. But, no. Need to be out on the street. And at L&M’s, you can sit anywhere, even if you’re just here for happy hour.

So, I sit up to one of the high tables alongside the sidewalk, let a frisson of satisfaction ripple through my bones, and take in the scene. Purple trees shine out from the Hard Rock Hotel across Fifth, guy struts up and down with two dobermans, clipped ears, clipped tails, enjoying the power the mutts lend him. A new Starbucks right next to Nobu is already bulging with customers.

And right outside, this guy flicks lighted parachutes into the air and lets them float down like glow worms. A pedicab with a blonde doing the pedaling trundles by. One of the Ukraine girls who stayed after the summer season? Probably. Only thing to interrupt her is the railroad crossing bells. And, boy, once they start, they don’t stop. A three-engine freight train comes hauling slowly past. This could go on forever.

Gabby

Time to check happy-hour bargains. Gabby, the red-waistcoated server, comes up with the big main menu. “Happy hour?” I ask. Feel bad. She hunts out a slim green-bordered card. One side says “sips” and the other “bites.” Main thing in “sips” is they have pints of Coors Light, Coronado Island Pilsner, or Stone Pale Ale going for $4. And on the “bites” side I see you can get chow for $1, $2, $4, $6, or $8. A buck’ll buy you one Cherrystone clam or an oyster (“shucker’s choice”) on the half-shell. Two buckeroos will buy a Peruvian Bay scallop, a basket of shoestring fries, or a small Caesar salad. We start hitting real food at $4. Like, an “authentic cart hot dog,” a “filet mignon taco with pico de gallo,” half a grilled jumbo artichoke, or “steamed Mediterranean mussels.”

Then, for $6, the most popular item, I’ll bet: “Lou & Mickey’s bar burger.” Or they have a three-shrimp shrimp cocktail, fried calamari, or beer-battered fish and chips. Eight bucks? Open-faced steak sandwich or teriyaki filet mignon tips.

For me, no questions, no hesitations. Mainly because I see the witching hour of six is only ten minutes away. End of HH!

So, mussels, check. That’s four bucks. Then, can’t resist that half “jumbo” grilled artichoke, also $4. And, what the heck, the burger, $6. And need a brewski. Get the Island Pilsner from Coronado Brewing ($4). ’Course, as soon as Gabby disappears with my order, I realize I’ve gone over the top. Lessee: Four, eight, twelve… ayee! Eighteen Washingtons. And that’s before tax’n tip.

Ten minutes later, a kitchen guy lays out the goods, and it’s a pretty impressive array. Except, that half “jumbo” artichoke turns out to be two little piles of artichoke leaves. No actual artichoke. Bummer. But the first leaf I dip in the creamy garlic aioli sauce, and then scrape off with my lower teeth...oh, man. Total taste heaven. The mussels come swimming in an iron skillet, in a white-wine sauce with garlic, parsley, butter, salt, and pepper, and they taste great with a chunk of bread. They make a satisfactory clank! when you toss the shell into the shucking bowl that every table has.

But, okay, I guess the big prize has to go to the burger. For starters, it just looks so danged beautiful, wrapped like an overfed babushka in its paper shawl. But that’s what I like: there’s nothing mean about it. And for happy hour, they could have skimped and who’d complain? Above all, the meat patty is big and squelchy and deliciously rare.

Just this and a beer would have come to $10 and been totally enough.

The half jumbo artichoke looks underwhelming, but taste and texture conquer all doubts.

Turns out burgers was what the original Lou and Mickey King were about from the get-go. Started off with a burger joint in 1945, ended up with a chain. Their sons Jeff and Sam opened this and named it to honor them.

Honestly, it’s a struggle getting through it all. I walked in and waddled out. Just fit through the wrought-iron arch. Kidding, but that’s how it feels.

I join the sidewalk swirl. Now if I can just avoid that gal with the unlit cigarette.


Happy Hour Prices: One Cherrystone clam, $1; one oyster, $1; Peruvian Bay scallop, $2; fries, $2; small Caesar salad, $2; hot dog, $4; filet mignon taco, $4; grilled artichoke, $4; steamed mussels, $4; burger, $6; shrimp cocktail, $6; fried calamari, $6; fish and chips, $6; steak sandwich, $8; teriyaki filet mignon tips, $8

Happy Hours: 4:00–6:00 p.m., Monday to Friday

Buses: 3, 11

Nearest bus stop: Fifth and Market

Trolley: Green Line

Nearest Trolley Stop: Gaslamp, 20 yards away

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

Previous article

Tacos Lily: good enough for Anthony Bourdain!

I raise my Tecate to the Master.
Lou & Mickey’s bar burger
Lou & Mickey’s bar burger
Place

Lou and Mickey's

224 Fifth Avenue, San Diego

Street signage

"Got a lighter?”

It’s this girl. We’re both waiting to cross Fifth and E.

“No,” I say, and wrestle my way through the crowds down to F, just as the signal turns red.

“Got a lighter?”

Here she is again, same question. Forgets I’m the same guy.

Whatever, by the time I get down to K, I’m glad to spot Lou & Mickey’s, the steak and seafood place, right before the railroad tracks. Duck in under the wrought-iron entrance.

Actually, I’ve been waiting for this a long time. Desperate to try their patio. Counting on happy hour to make it possible.

But now, I look around me. Wow. Major redesign. They have opened this sucker right up like they took a can-opener to the walls. A row of brown-cushioned benches and classy cork-top tables lines the sidewalk. And beyond, an entire horseshoe bar has been exposed to the world.

Normally, no way is this my scene. Lou and Mickey’s has been the primo conventioneers’ trap for years. Like, 50-dollar steaks and 30-dollar pork chops. But I still sigh when I go past, because they’ve got the best patio in town. No severe iron grills like the rest in the Gaslamp. Just planters with flowers to define the edges.

So, tonight, I head inside. Then back out, escorted by one of the welcomers.

A row of brown-cushioned benches and classy cork-top tables lines the sidewalk.

No, not kicked out. I could have sat at the cool, white tile bar, with all the sports screens and chatty barkeeps. But, no. Need to be out on the street. And at L&M’s, you can sit anywhere, even if you’re just here for happy hour.

So, I sit up to one of the high tables alongside the sidewalk, let a frisson of satisfaction ripple through my bones, and take in the scene. Purple trees shine out from the Hard Rock Hotel across Fifth, guy struts up and down with two dobermans, clipped ears, clipped tails, enjoying the power the mutts lend him. A new Starbucks right next to Nobu is already bulging with customers.

And right outside, this guy flicks lighted parachutes into the air and lets them float down like glow worms. A pedicab with a blonde doing the pedaling trundles by. One of the Ukraine girls who stayed after the summer season? Probably. Only thing to interrupt her is the railroad crossing bells. And, boy, once they start, they don’t stop. A three-engine freight train comes hauling slowly past. This could go on forever.

Gabby

Time to check happy-hour bargains. Gabby, the red-waistcoated server, comes up with the big main menu. “Happy hour?” I ask. Feel bad. She hunts out a slim green-bordered card. One side says “sips” and the other “bites.” Main thing in “sips” is they have pints of Coors Light, Coronado Island Pilsner, or Stone Pale Ale going for $4. And on the “bites” side I see you can get chow for $1, $2, $4, $6, or $8. A buck’ll buy you one Cherrystone clam or an oyster (“shucker’s choice”) on the half-shell. Two buckeroos will buy a Peruvian Bay scallop, a basket of shoestring fries, or a small Caesar salad. We start hitting real food at $4. Like, an “authentic cart hot dog,” a “filet mignon taco with pico de gallo,” half a grilled jumbo artichoke, or “steamed Mediterranean mussels.”

Then, for $6, the most popular item, I’ll bet: “Lou & Mickey’s bar burger.” Or they have a three-shrimp shrimp cocktail, fried calamari, or beer-battered fish and chips. Eight bucks? Open-faced steak sandwich or teriyaki filet mignon tips.

For me, no questions, no hesitations. Mainly because I see the witching hour of six is only ten minutes away. End of HH!

So, mussels, check. That’s four bucks. Then, can’t resist that half “jumbo” grilled artichoke, also $4. And, what the heck, the burger, $6. And need a brewski. Get the Island Pilsner from Coronado Brewing ($4). ’Course, as soon as Gabby disappears with my order, I realize I’ve gone over the top. Lessee: Four, eight, twelve… ayee! Eighteen Washingtons. And that’s before tax’n tip.

Ten minutes later, a kitchen guy lays out the goods, and it’s a pretty impressive array. Except, that half “jumbo” artichoke turns out to be two little piles of artichoke leaves. No actual artichoke. Bummer. But the first leaf I dip in the creamy garlic aioli sauce, and then scrape off with my lower teeth...oh, man. Total taste heaven. The mussels come swimming in an iron skillet, in a white-wine sauce with garlic, parsley, butter, salt, and pepper, and they taste great with a chunk of bread. They make a satisfactory clank! when you toss the shell into the shucking bowl that every table has.

But, okay, I guess the big prize has to go to the burger. For starters, it just looks so danged beautiful, wrapped like an overfed babushka in its paper shawl. But that’s what I like: there’s nothing mean about it. And for happy hour, they could have skimped and who’d complain? Above all, the meat patty is big and squelchy and deliciously rare.

Just this and a beer would have come to $10 and been totally enough.

The half jumbo artichoke looks underwhelming, but taste and texture conquer all doubts.

Turns out burgers was what the original Lou and Mickey King were about from the get-go. Started off with a burger joint in 1945, ended up with a chain. Their sons Jeff and Sam opened this and named it to honor them.

Honestly, it’s a struggle getting through it all. I walked in and waddled out. Just fit through the wrought-iron arch. Kidding, but that’s how it feels.

I join the sidewalk swirl. Now if I can just avoid that gal with the unlit cigarette.


Happy Hour Prices: One Cherrystone clam, $1; one oyster, $1; Peruvian Bay scallop, $2; fries, $2; small Caesar salad, $2; hot dog, $4; filet mignon taco, $4; grilled artichoke, $4; steamed mussels, $4; burger, $6; shrimp cocktail, $6; fried calamari, $6; fish and chips, $6; steak sandwich, $8; teriyaki filet mignon tips, $8

Happy Hours: 4:00–6:00 p.m., Monday to Friday

Buses: 3, 11

Nearest bus stop: Fifth and Market

Trolley: Green Line

Nearest Trolley Stop: Gaslamp, 20 yards away

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

Bounce and Twerk: common moves for Megan Thee Stallion and Danyelle “Sweet Dee” Solana

“I use Megan’s music when teaching my classes.”
Next Article

Three poems for August by Dorothy Parker

With an acidic wit and keen eye for flawed humanity
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows 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 Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer News — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search 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 Waterfront — All things ocean 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