Photo by Torrey Bailey
OGGI'S PIZZA EXPRESS
After Louie's Pub closed, San Diego State University had a three-year dry spell before dipping back in with Oggi's Pizza Express (5500 Campanile Drive) in 2014. Despite being a chain, Oggi's earns brownie points right off the bat because its CEO and founder George Hadjis teaches at SDSU, while his daughter and Franchise Vice President Estella Ferrera got her Master's on campus. It constantly keeps 10 Oggi-brewed beers kegged, making sure to cover the entire craft rainbow from cream ales to stouts. But it also has 20 other brands of local brews tapped on a three-month rotation. The casual college vibe is solidified by booth seating and a TV-lined bar tuned to the day's sports. Attracting students, concertgoers and basketball fans, Oggi's customers are a mirror image of the school's diversity. It's apparent by the music choice, which is fueled by a digital jukebox or DirecTV music channels. Some afternoons Pantera is blaring, other nights Barry Manilow croons, and sometimes it's Biggie throwing down. You never know what you're going to get.
Photo by Torrey Bailey
ZANZIBAR CAFÉ AT THE LOFT
There are several spots to drink on the University of California, San Diego's campus, but The Loft's Zanzibar Cafe (9500 Gilman Drive) has a feel that's far from collegiate with lounge-y tables and a fine-tuned menu. It only has eights taps, but it rotates out top-notch selections like Bell's, and it also serves wine and mimosas. Plus, there's a 3-5 p.m. happy hour with deals on appetizers such as like smoked chicken and black bean quesadillas or pork belly tacos. The bar doubles as a music venue, attracting DJs like Hotel Garuda or classical pianists like Christopher O'Riley. The music follows one rule: no country. The space also lends itself to other events such as psychedelic coloring parties, salsa nights, and documentary viewings. Unlike most college bars, Zanzibar Cafe at The Loft attracts a studious crowd that isn't there to get rowdy between classes. When a student once asked what a water jug was filled with, the manager jokingly replied, "Vodka." The student poured out the cup. Students are known to decline beers a week before finals. This certainly isn't SDSU.
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