– Ironside from the Craft and Commerce folks is open in Little Italy:
…and they’ve done it again on the interior. Here’s a photo of the bar:
…and another of the art deco-touch of black tile and gold trim on the interior columns:
Like their other locations, Ironside has plenty of attention to detail and quirky design features. The individual bathrooms feature a shared sink basin built into the wall, so you might bump hands with your next-door neighbor if you’re washing at the same time. Seafood is the focus of the menu, and while we didn’t sample any oysters, the octopus and fish appetizers and entrees were solid, if not as spectacular as the cocktails. There are 7 different sections to choose from on the drink menu – I had a champagne-based drink from the “Uplifiting” section and the “3 Dots and a Dash” rum concoction that was served in a kitschy Shamu mug.
– Circa is open in the former Farmhouse spot on Adams in University Heights. It carries on Farmhouse’s neighborhood feel and cozy ambiance while switching out the French menu for a concise American one. Our meatloaf and chicken & dumplings entrees more than made up for the slow-ish service, and it was fun to dine on the front patio and listen to the record player spinning old jazz… also on Adams, Java Joe’s made its debut during Adams Ave Unplugged:
…when the street was filled with pedestrians, bicyclists and slow cars all co-existing peacefully, at least from what we saw.
– The owners of Blind Lady Ale House and TigerTiger have been selected to take over the Sculpture Garden space in Balboa Park with a yet-to-be-named restaurant/bar. This news is awesome in so many ways, especially because the park is finally acknowledging it’s not just tourists and elderly philanthropists that visit. Actually, there’s a broad range of residents, many of them young, who frequent our regional resource only to find the expensive Prado restaurant (usually booked with a wedding) and comatose Sculpture Garden Cafe as their sole dining options. Kudos to the Park for acknowledging our city’s craft beer craze, late as they may be. And can the restaurant spill out onto the new car-free Plaza de Panama, like cafes do throughout Europe, or is there the usual San Diego alcohol ordinance that prohibits this?
– More beer: Modern Times’ North Park Flavordome tasting room is the first commercial space to soft-open in the new North Parker building. Like their brewery near the Sports Arena, there’s a lot of WTF design details, from crazy lamps and lampshades on the ceiling to a floppy-disk wall portrait of Gremlins 2’s Gizmo rocking the Rambo headband? (doesn’t look like Yoda to me). And how did they get the bathroom wallpaper on each vent frame line? The outdoor seating is a bonus but could use some shade from our strangely scorching spring weather. The beer is delicious as always, with some special selections on tap; I had the “Funky Lomaland”.
The North Parker itself is nearly complete and I think it looks awesome. One drawback – the lack of a rumored parklet out front, just a sea of 15-minute parking spaces and nary a bike rack to be found yet (except for a big metal thing we all used – maybe that’s it?). Meanwhile up 30th, Caffe Calabria reported a significant increase in sales recently, one year after removing two parking spaces out front to put in their parklet.
– Upcoming: Uptown Streetcar Feasibility Study presentation, this Wednesday 6-8 PM, St Paul’s Cathedral, 6th Ave. Should we expect to hear discussion of applying for a federal grant to help fund a streetcar line, as many other cities have done? Sure, but then this is San Diego… Art Around Adams is Saturday, June 7th.
– The Waterfront Park opened last weekend at the County Administration Center and it was fantastic to see so many people enjoying this great new civic space.
Add some art and sculptures and this could be our version of San Diego’s Millennium Park. More pictures on flickr.
– The status of the Civic Innovation Lab is up in the air, but I really enjoyed two recent talks they hosted on transit-oriented development in Arlington, VA (a dying inner-ring suburb brought back to life by the Metro) and a tactical urbanism presentation by Mike Lydon. For the latter, they created a temporary space for people to enjoy in the Linda Vista library parking lot, using benches and trees. These projects are great because they’re relatively quick to accomplish, and show opportunities where we can return auto-devoted space to people. Look for one in Hillcrest this summer; I’d also love to see one behind the North Park Theater since the planned pocket park there has stalled after the state redevelopment program died. Meanwhile a pocket park is being constructed downtown at 13th and J.
– Too late in the post now to get deep into bike lanes and bike share, but it’s been disappointing to hear opposition to the DecoBike program in Uptown (“we’re going to remove 2 parking spaces for a bike share no one’s going to use?) and La Jolla (“not one inch of public sidewalk and not one parking space!). And a recent meeting in North Park regarding the proposed SANDAG bike lane on Landis brought out the “my free on-street parking is more important than pedestrian and bicyclist safety” crowd – even though there will be no parking loss.
The biggest contradiction in North Park came from the gentleman who worried about his children’s health (reverse-angled parking fumes going into their bedrooms) and safety (they won’t know how to cross a roundabout), yet railed against slowing auto traffic on Landis because of the “congestion” it would bring. So kids, remember – roundabouts are hazardous to your health, but speeding traffic on your street is good! He also wanted SANDAG to prove that the sharrows on 30th have increased bike ridership. He need only look to this study in L.A. where ridership increased 132% after they were installed.