If you ask a San Diegan who doesn't live in Ocean Beach what they think of our little beach community, they usually say that there's nothing but a bunch of stoners in O.B.
They say that like it's a bad thing.
People tend to stay out of Ocean Beach because of its reputed drug culture. That's unfortunate. We've got a lot to offer here, and it ain't just good weed (though there's that). Here are my picks for The Best of Ocean Beach. Sadly, I didn't have room to include everything that deserves to be included. So if I left out your favorite bar, restaurant or store-well, then, write your own damn article about Ocean Beach.
You wouldn't think it, but some fabulous eating institutions exist and thrive in this so-called stoner town. I guess it's a "munchies" thing.
Poma's Italian Delicatessen (1846 Bacon St.)-Poma's makes the second best meatball sandwiches in San Diego. The meatballs are, like, these perfect orbs of glory, loaded with garlic, covered in sauce, and set inside a homemade Italian roll: my second favorite O.B. sandwich.
Hodad's (5010 Newport Ave.)-"A Hodad's cheeseburger basket will convert any vegetarian," says my girlfriend. "The patties are huge and they don't put any cheesy-ass micro-waved bacon on there-this bacon is the real thing. And all the guys who work there are super freaking hot," added the little ho-bag.
Ortega's (4888 Newport Ave. and 4993 Niagara)-This is a quasi-authentic Mexican food restaurant. It's so popular, they needed two locations. For breakfast, I recommend the calamari Benedict; for lunch or dinner, the sizzling fajitas and shrimp enchilada. The ceviche is fresh and tender.
Kaiserhoff (2253 Sunset Cliffs)-Here you will find the second best draft beer selection in town. Screw all this microbrew crap-give me German beer on tap any day. It makes for the happiest of happy hours. The food is authentic German grub, what with the spatzle and the goulash and the varying brat preparations. The service is also authentic to Germany, which means it's cold, callous, rude, curt, dismissive and slightly obnoxious. Bring your party to the outdoor biergarten.
Bar-B-Que House (5025 Newport Avenue)-The meat peels off the rib bone like the only thing holding it together was a piece of wet Scotch tape.
Thee Bungalow (4996 West Point Loma Boulevard)-Thee Bungalow has been at this location for almost 35 years now. The cuisine is country French with a slight lean toward the contemporary. The restaurant is most known for its 900-large wine list, the roast duck (difficult to find in San Diego) and the dessert soufflés.
Potheads get sleepy. They need artificial stimulants to keep them going.
Jungle Java (5047 Newport Ave.)-Stoner's paradise. It's a half-tented/half open space between two buildings with trees and plants and fountains and really the only thing missing is the raucous jungle-cackle of the kookaburra bird. Smoking is permitted because it's outdoors.
Newbreak (1830 Sunset Cliffs and 1959 Abbot): So good they needed two locations. Newbreak has an ample salad and sandwich menu with plenty of vegan options. The Abbott Street location has an open window counter with a view of the ocean.
Night Clubs Bars
The thing about Ocean Beach is that there are no shitty bars here. Sure, some people criticize such places as Cheswick's and Bullfrog's as being somewhat uncool. But that's what makes these bars so cool-they're not cool enough for the cool people. Here are some other clubs worthy of your patronage.
Winston's Beach Club (1921 Bacon St.)-Winston's is the second best live club in all of San Diego. Of course, I work there from time to time so I guess that makes me biased. Regardless, many awesome local, regional and national bands play there. Look out for Mower, Revelations, Vinyl, Pocket, Superunloader, Alfred Howard, Wise Monkey Orchestra and, of course, the coup de grace-Sunday night karaoke hosted by the man with the cucumber in his pants-Mr. José Sinatra. Or, as we like to call him: The Hose.
Tilted Stick (4970 Voltaire)-Has kick-ass bar food, a kick-ass jukebox and a kick-ass group of bartenders who'll go shot for shot with you if the mood is right. It's just a place that understands how to make the fun happen.
Lucy's Tavern (4906 Voltaire)-Lucy's is quite probably San Diego's second most perfect neighborhood bar. It has the second best shuffleboard table in town. The jukebox does not suck in the least. Service is an emphasis.
Pacific Shores (4927 Newport Ave.)-A world-renowned treasure. Even if Pac Shores has become something of a hipster joint in recent years, it's still the world famous Pacific Shores, and no one can take that away from it.
Arizona Café (1925 Bacon)-As dive bars go, Arizona Café (also known as The A.Z.) is second best in the county. Here the drinks are cheap and the blackout imminent. Don't bother ordering anything blended or shaken here, unless you want the bartender to walk right past you and serve everyone around you until you leave.
Ocean Beach Bar and Grill (1956 Bacon)-Being a Yankee fan, it pains me to say this, but this is the place for all you Boston fans to watch your Patriots, Celtics, Bruins and-wretch, yeech, gurgle, groan-Red Sox games. It's owned by some chick from Boston who was quoted in the Union-Tribune as saying that they "ask Yankee fans to leave the premises...." So, I encourage all you Yankee fans to go down there and give 'em the business.
Ocean Beach People's Organic Food Co-op (4765 Voltaire St.)-Stoners love organic food, care about the environment, and love the idea of a co-op. So should you. People's is a member-owned vegetarian retail market that, according to the website, "offers an extensive selection of organic produce, organic and natural grocery items, organic dairy products, bulk items, perishable items, fresh deli items, books, vitamins, herbs, cruelty-free bodycare, aromatherapy items and many other products that are organic, wholesome, minimally processed, cruelty-free and environmentally safe." Couldn't have said it better myself.
The Black (5017 Newport Ave.)-The Black is the second best head shop in America. All head shops aspire to be The Black and if they don't, they're probably smoking schwag. If you had to pick one business that defines Ocean Beach, it's The Black. Not only can OBecians get all their druggy needs there, like bongs, pipes, screens, rolling papers and crack vials, but it also has a clothing department, a book section, a music store (guitars and accessories), obscure gift items, adult board games, dildos, vibrators and other sex toys, posters, art, flasks, lighters, hemp shit, jewelry and a small humidor that stocks the only smokeable $3 cigar I know of-JM's Dominicans.
Dr. Jefe's Body Piercing (4944-B Newport Ave.)-Dr. Jefe (pronounced Hef-ay) is a local celebrity. He's, like, on TV and shit. The best part about his shop is you can usually see some massively tattooed, earlobe-mangled, implant-bearing, somewhat-scary-looking, self-mutilation man hanging out in front or sitting on the curbside bench like Satan's scarecrow-which we OBecians appreciate because it keeps the La Jollans away.