A look at the rooftop beer lounge Padres fans are missing this season.
(Photo courtesy of Bay City Brewing Co.)
I’m not saying we jinxed it, but San Diego sports were enjoying an uncommonly good year before all sports were canceled due to coronavirus. Aztecs basketball started 26-and-0 and figured to make noise as a top five team entering NCAA’s March Madness tournament. Major League Rugby’s San Diego Legion started the season a dominant 5-and-0 . And since no one can factually dispute it, we can just assume the Padres would have at least kept up those winning ways with a perfect home stand through April, right?
3760 Hancock Street, San Diego
The postponement of baseball hasn’t just disappointed sports fans, but East Village businesses as well. Restaurants, bars, and breweries downtown count on the Padres season like shopping malls count on Christmas. Not to mention Comic Con and the regular convention center traffic.
For Bay City Brewing, the fruit of that season was finally within reach following a long wait. Its Point Loma brewery has proved a hit among sports fans. It sits across the street from the sports arena, home ice for the San Diego Gulls hockey team, and has become a de facto co-host on game nights. When the Gulls’ seasons season was suspended March 12, Bay City took a hit but showed resolve to stay open on social media: “We’re bummed, too. Even though the fate of the season is unclear, we would still love for you to grab a brew with us.”
It posted a notice to customers pledging high safety standards, and followed up with announcement about the grand opening of its new restaurant and tasting room near Petco Park, about 1900 feet due north of home plate. Crowned by a 3000-square-foot, indoor-outdoor rooftop lounge, Bay City’s East Village investment intended to open March 16.
Instead, on March 16, Major League Baseball announced it would delay the start of its season by at least two months, and California’s governor ordered bars and restaurant dining rooms closed to the public. Bay City announced it would be “closed until further notice.”
“We’ve been working on this project in East Village for two years,” says Bay City cofounder Greg Anderson, who also operates McGregor's Grill, near the Aztec’s football stadium. “It took a year just to get the conditional use permit.”
Bay City did just manage to initiate a soft open phase for Bay City Brewing East Village (627 Eighth Avenue), but it didn’t do much to show off that fourth story deck. “It rained for six days in a row.”
The new outdoor pregame venue may have to wait, but Bay City has shown signs of a comeback story. By late March it had reopened Point Loma for beer to go, and on April 3, it went ahead with an East Village opening: curbside takeout of pizza and beer.
Anderson says he and his partners weren’t sure how effectively opening for the first time would work, but ultimately East Village is a community they’re excited to be joining, so they might as well be there to serve the neighborhood, baseball or not. Sell some beer. Pay some employees.
“If payroll and sales are equal,” says Anderson, “it’s kind of a win.”