Kearny Mesa brewery Kilowatt Brewing has announced it will bring its colorful, black-lit tasting room style to a satellite tasting room in Ocean Beach.
Kilowatt joins a suddenly surging O.B. beer scene, which in the past two years has seen its Pizza Port brewpub joined by newly opened OB Brewery, plus tasting rooms for Mike Hess, Helm's Brewing, Culture Brewing, and the also coming soon Belching Beaver.
Pending clearance of state bureau of Alcoholic Beverage Control permitting hurdles, Kilowatt chief operating officer and cofounder Rachel Fischer anticipates the new tasting room will open late 2016 or early 2017.
While the process to acquire an ABC license is pretty straightforward, the recent growth of O.B.'s beer scene has met with criticism by a small but vocal segment of the community. Some have lumped tasting rooms in with the ubiquity of liquor stores and full-service bars, while others have erroneously reported a link between tasting rooms and a rise in alcohol-related crime.
Fischer contends tasting rooms should not share the blame for the neighborhood's history of alcohol issues.
"Most of the alcohol-related problems we witness are usually caused by businesses that serve hard liquor, stay open late, and have regular drink specials that attract a heavy drinking crowd."
She argues that the higher cost of craft beer dissuades binge drinkers from partaking.
"The drinking culture of tasting rooms are just much different than a typical bar," she adds. "People are there to enjoy the craft, not to pound as many beers as possible."
In contrast to the busy cocktail bars along Newport Avenue, type 23 tasting-room licenses prohibit the sale of hard liquor and mandate a midnight closing time.
Kilowatt's tasting room is being designed to be both kid- and dog-friendly, which Fischer views as consistent with the character of the neighborhood. "Two of our owners live in Ocean Beach," she says. "We have a lot of friends and family that live in O.B."
The tasting room is taking over a 60-year-old former motorcycle shop at 1875 Cable Street, just off Newport and around the corner from Pacific Shores, the 75-year old cocktail bar famous for its blacklit ocean-themed artwork.
Kilowatt shares an affinity for such fluorescent art, so a portion of its 1000-square-foot lounge will feature both permanent and rotating black-light art installations, either curated by The Ancient Gallery artist collective or created by Kilowatt CEO Steve Kozyk. 3D glasses will be available to add extra dimension to the artwork.
Roll-up doors will open the space to a 500-square-foot patio, though Fischer vows minimal drastic changes to the old building.
"O.B. is a one-of-a-kind community and it’s currently going through changes and being gentrified," she says. "We’re remodeling and modernizing the space; however, we’re keeping most of the original architecture in place…. We want to keep the original vintage O.B. look and feel."