July 14 2010 10:06 AM

A review of Odysea in San Diego

OdySea
Photo by Jeff "Turbo" Corrigan

ODYSEA @ Hilton San Diego Bayfront
1 Park Blvd.
Downtown
hiltonsandiegobayfront.com

I didn't want to tell Ora the name of the bar.

“Odysea, a Liquid Adventure” wouldn't sound cool to a chick who, last time I saw her, was cleaning up a spilled tube of cadmium red oil paint from the dirty floor of her City Heights shack by smearing it onto her hands and slapping bloody prints all over the walls.

She shows up at the new Bayfront Hilton wearing all black, tattoos exposed, with painted lips that stand out against her fluorescent ashen skin like crushed fruit on a moonlit city sidewalk.

I ask her what she thinks of the midcentury-inspired lobby decor. “I don't like that fabric,” she says, glancing up at the gray mesh cylindrical ceiling sculptures that evoke ghosts of chandeliers. “Looks cheap.”

In the spacious bar, mid-tempo space-age electronica bounces all over the empty lounge and giant-screen TVs beam the Weather Channel for nobody.

Beyond the glass walls sit comfortable-looking outdoor seating areas. If it wasn't a chilly, overcast evening, that's where we'd hang out.

“Time to get what we came for,” I say.

We find a corner and check out the menu of “handcrafted organic cocktails,” which bear names that reinforce the Greek mythology theme: Siren, Helios, Zephyrus, etc.

The three classics on the menu are the French 75, Side Car and Sazerac. I choose the Sazerac, the world's first cocktail, dating back to the 1830s, the pride of New Orleans, my favorite rye whiskey drink.

Ora, the artist, naturally gravitates toward the Muse, a girly concoction of Acai Blueberry Vodka, lemon juice, muddled blueberries and sugar.

In the $12 range, these cocktails cost as much as those served at San Diego's finest bar, Noble Experiment.

When they come, the Sazerac is served on the rocks. A travesty. It's like serving cold french fries. It just shouldn't be done. I down it quick, before the ice has time to water it down and ruin it, but it's already too late. Ora's Muse is a blue, sugary confection that I try but can barely swallow. Ora drops it like medicine.

“How is it?” I ask. “Good. I'll have another. By the way, I've been thinking about quitting drinking.”

Instead, she orders the Oceanus: Citroen, St. Germain, Lime Juice, Ginger and Thyme Bitters. It's stimulating and not too sweet, a success if you like vodka.

I can see myself sipping one of these concoctions out on the terrace on a late August evening. Ora will have a straight ginger ale. And there ought to be a beautiful sunset included for the price of the drinks: You should see Ora's face by twilight.

Calendar

  • Visit one of the 70 participating restaurants, bars, coffeehouses and nightclubs in town on this night and 25 to 50 percent of sales will go to local HIV/AIDS services and prevention programs. 
  • Anthony Bernal and Chris Ward, who are vying to replace Todd Gloria on the San Diego City Council, will discuss urban issues, such as parking, homelessness and new developments
  • The new exhibition designed by Dave Ghilarducci is made from hundreds of rolls of packing tape and bound together by layers of plastic shrink-wrap. Visitors can navigate their way through cocoon-like passageways...
  • The renowned Mexican black and white photographer presents an exhibition exploring the principal themes within three groups: "Bestiarium"," Fantastic Women" and "Silent Natures."
  • Presented by Pacific Arts Movement, the sixth annual mini film fest features 14 film programs from 10 countries that includes everything from docs to romantic tearjerkers. See website for full lineup and...
  • The San Diego County Bike Coalition hosts this monthly bike-in happy hour event to get biking residents involved in their communities and discuss bike projects planned for that specific community
  • Debunk some of the stereotypes surrounding cannibalism at this new exhibition that takes a hands-on approach to the subject. Includes video games and interactive activities where patrons will have to decide...
  • So Say We All's monthly storytelling night features stories about those jobs we took because we had to take a job. Featured readers include Allison Gauss, Annmarie Houghtailing, Cecile Estelle, and more
  • Artists from the all-abstracts group show will talk about their work and techniques. Artists include Edwin Nutting, Danielle Nelisse, Leah Pantea, Lenore Simon, and more
See all events on Thursday, Apr 28