The Gaslamp’s Fifth Avenue Freeze Out

Maloney's-Fifth-AvenueMaloney's Tavern is one of several shuttered spots on Fifth Avenue in the Gaslamp Quarter.

Fifth Avenue is the main artery in downtown San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter entertainment district. Sure, bars and restaurants regularly come and go within our 16-and-a-half-block historical ’hood. But take a short stroll down Fifth Avenue and try not to be dismayed at the current number of shuttered shops.

Good news: The chic Pendry Hotel (555 J Street), which borders Fifth Avenue, just opened. And several now-defunct spots are under construction for new bars and eateries. But is it restrictive regulations? Cash flow issues? Whatever the reasons, here’s a sad list of 10 Fifth Avenue addresses where the lights aren’t on and nobody’s home.

Lucky Bastard

840 Fifth Avenue.

Lucky Bastard Saloon. 840 Fifth Ave. Not even being managed by one-third of famous triplets that graced the pages of Playboy could keep this big space in operation. Formerly the site of San Diego Hardware. No word on a future occupant.

Georges on Fifth. 835 Fifth Ave. Can anybody remember a date when Georges was actually open? Seems like President Obama may have just started his second term when you could still get a steak here. But maybe Georges being open (and Obama’s presidency) was all a dream…

Trailer Park After Dark. 835 Fifth Ave. After promising to open for more than a year, this underground cultural touchstone may be finally ready to fling wide its doors. Yay?

Bugsy's BBQ

827 Fifth Avenue.

Bugsy’s BBQ. 827 Fifth Ave. No ribbing, but the pulled pork has pulled out of the Gaslamp. No word on a replacement.

Tacos El Gordo. Fifth and F St. In Chula Vista, Tacos El Gordo serves Tijuana-style tacos. Ay dios mio. It’s been years since this location was vacated by a Starbucks. (Yes, Starbucks do close. Despite that old headline from an Onion story: “Starbucks Opens Starbucks In Own Bathroom.”) No tacos appear to be on the immediate horizon.

Maloney’s Tavern. 777 Fifth Ave. Myriad drink specials couldn’t save this underground bar that had more celebrity photos on its walls than Spago and The Palm put together. For now, the spot sits buried.

Tocaya Organica. 755 Fifth Ave. After a couple dance clubs—Voyeur, then Cake—ceased booty shaking here, it’s been dark. A Tocaya Organica (farm-to-table Mexican fare) has been promising to grow into the hood since back in good ol’ 2016.

Zymology 21

750 Fifth Avenue.

Zymology 21. 750 Fifth Ave. This boozy, science-minded bar opened when Café 21 moved down the block to take over the former Croce’s spot. Café 21 is killing it, but Zymology was dead on arrival. No word on a replacement for the site.

American Junkie. 628 Fifth Ave. This L.A. chain is taking over the site of former tourist trap La Fiesta. Was scheduled to open in March, but, gosh, that did not happen.

El Chingon. 560 Fifth Ave. This “Bad Ass” Mexican Eatery is actually set to open any day now, replacing the short-lived 1919 sports bar, which took nearly a year to open after the former Nicky Rottens shuttered.


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