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We Step Inside the City’s Newest (and Spookiest) Speakeasy with Tahona Owner Amar Harrag

Happy Half Hour Podcast 169


Welcome back! We’re here at the Hotel del Coronado with Sara Harper, the director of marketing for the Hotel Del and Beach Village at the Del. Sara oversees all the marketing for the iconic resort.

This week’s special guest is here right in time for Halloween. Joining us is Amar Harrag, the co-owner of Tahona restaurant and mezcal bar in Old Town, which has a new speakeasy that just opened called Oculto 477. Tahona, opened earlier this year, is the city’s first mezcal tasting room. Both drinking dens are next door to the old El Campo Santo Cemetery.

We learned that Amar is a native of Antibes in the south of France, and a graduate of the University of San Diego. In addition to Tahona, he co-owns Matisse Bistro in San Diego and Irvine, and runs the real estate brokerage Allied Green Realty. He is also the founder of the San Diego chapter of Corazon de Vida and sits on the board of directors for Create Purpose—both are nonprofits that help orphaned and abandoned children in Mexico.

For Two People, $50, Amar chose Tacos El Gordo for quick and delicious carne asada and lengua tacos. Troy picked El Pescador because of their tasty local fish. Lauren chose Tiger!Tiger!, which recently had a Japanese craft beer pop-up (she enjoyed a matcha lager). Erin ventured out to East County with her family and had smoked turkey on a roll at Grand Ole BBQ.  

In Hot Plates, we talked about how after more than 50 years in business, Su Casa in La Jolla closed. There is a new Oaxacan restaurant coming to Hillcrest named Cocina de Barrio, replacing the old Swami's Cafe on Fifth Avenue. SKA Bar and Restaurant is a new two-story rooftop bar in Normal Heights on Adams Avenue—it’s now the largest restaurant and bar in the neighborhood.

David’s 60 Second Beer Review this week is Collabapalooza­—it's a mix of Queen of Tarts from Karl Strauss and Tabula Rasa porter from Second Chance Beer Company, blended in wine barrels with Michigan tart cherries.

This week’s Hot Topic is from a recent story from the San Francisco Chronicle, which says that the gig economy (and companies like Uber and Lyft) are making it harder for restaurant owners in the Bay Area to find new kitchen staff.

Thanks for listening, and we’d love to hear from you! Call us at 619-744-0535 and leave a message. Or if you’re too shy to call, you can email HappyHalfHour@sdmag.com. You can give us your recommendations for Two People, $50, tell us about any news happening in San Diego’s culinary world, or let us know who you’d like to hear featured as a guest on the podcast.

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About This Blog

Since 2016, San Diego Magazine produces a number of weekly podcasts. Here you'll find all recent episodes.

Happy Half Hour is a weekly chat on San Diego's most buzzy drinking and dining news, featuring prominent industry guests, new openings, and the best things to eat and drink right now. Hosted by Troy Johnson, Erin Chambers Smith, and Lauren Winget.


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