The Neighborhood: Normal Heights

Welcome to another installment of The Neighborhood.  I hope you have taken the opportunity to explore America’s Finest City and perhaps even followed one of my recommendations.  This month I returned to my favorite neighborhood east of the 805: NORMAL HEIGHTS.  Located on Adams Avenue primarily between 30th and 35th street, Normal Heights is a great neighborhood for a low-key, casual night out.  Normal Heights can be surprisingly charming.

Start at the Blind Lady Ale House, also known as BLAH.  This gastro-pub challenges San Diego’s great beer houses, including Toronado and Hamilton’s, in terms of selection and creativity.  If you liked Warhead candies as a kid, try sour ale, a tart, fruit-infused beer that tastes like it sounds.  Start your night off right with one of their chorizo pizzas.  Just don’t try to finish one yourself. 

Head down the street to Rosie O’Grady’s, a bipolar faux Irish bar.  This place is either packed wall-to-wall or as empty as the snack table in Jessica Simpson’s dressing room.  Behind Rosie O’Grady’s is the tiny Proprietor’s Reserve Wine Bar.  With only 20 seats, Proprietor’s Reserve is a great place for adult grape drink.  Ask the knowledgeable staff for its recommendations.  The best Irish bar in Normal Heights is the Ould Sod.  On Monday and Wednesday nights, the Ould Sod’s happy hour is buy two drinks, get the third for a quarter.  Bring a friend and rack up the free drinks.  The Ould Sod is one of the few bars in Normal Heights where you can find a good selection of distilled beverages; this is primarily a beer neighborhood.  If you’re in the mood for coffee, Lestat’s is the place.  Lestat’s frequently has live music of the coffee house genre.  Look for their open mic night.  But the crown jewel of Normal Heights is Triple Crown Pub.  Triple Crown is a gamer’s paradise, with pool tables, darts, shuffleboard, and an entire ping pong annex.  Relax with a game of shuffleboard and great beer.  Finally, head a few blocks west to Antique Row for your antiquing needs. 

Once a year, the Adams Avenue Street Fair invades Normal Heights.  This is a festival you don’t want to miss.  This last year there was a band playing on the roof of El Zarape Mexican Restaurant in the style of the B Sharps, or to a lesser extent, the Beatles.  Locals danced in the streets in front of Triple Crown Pub as cars swerved to miss them.  If that doesn’t sound like a good time to you, do yourself a favor and go for a scenic cliff-side drive with Junior Seau.

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