Nightlife in San Diego comes in a few recognizable varieties. There are dozens of venues to catch live music or DJs, including an ample dose of EDM crowd-fillers downtown (sometimes with bottle service if you're used to a certain level of luxury). Elsewhere, there are the fringe specialty nights for fans of glam rock, metal, funk, R&B, lowrider oldies and goth (full disclosure: I DJ a goth night), and even country if you follow the sound of scootin' boots. For those whose youth was spent in neon or Cross Colors, however, the ideal option for a Saturday night out is '80s vs. '90s.
The Whistle Stop hosts two '80s vs. '90s nights a month, on the first and third Saturday, each with DJ sets from residents Gabe Vega and Saul. And for a cover charge of $5, they'll keep your booty moving with a fun, if seemingly contradictory set list of new wave hits and '90s hip-hop jams, not all of which necessarily have a lot in common, sonically speaking, but make for a pretty great soundtrack when you're ready to let loose, have a couple drinks and sweat out the week's stress. You're almost guaranteed to hear both Michael Jackson and Dr. Dre in just about every installment, and honestly, after a long week, you're going to need both of those jams to keep you going.
In a lot of respects, the '80s vs. '90s that happens at Bar Pink has a lot in common with the one that's held at The Whistle Stop. They both take place in an intimate setting, just a few miles apart, and each one has a cover charge of $5, which is a reasonable price for an evening of debauchery and playlist nostalgia. However, at Bar Pink there's a rotating trio of DJs—Heather Hardcore, Vaughn Avakian and Junior the Disco Punk—whose tastes and subtle nuances might very well allow for a little more variety among their sets.
All that being said, there's a certain standard one comes to expect under the banner of '80s vs. '90s, and that mostly has to do with the music itself. So if you're anticipating Hall and Oates being spun into C + C Music Factory, or hearing "My Boo" next to Depeche Mode's "Enjoy the Silence," that's exactly what you're going to get. And since it's at Bar Pink, you get the added benefit of being able to ease yourself comfortably into a posh booth with a potent Sneaky Tiki if the 2 Live Crew just isn't cutting it for you. The thing about a DJ battle between music from the í80s and music from the '90s is that there really isn't a winner as long as you don't stop dancing. And those odds go up after each subsequent downing of a Sneaky Tiki—it's named thusly for a reason, after all.
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