U-31 Cocktail Lounge & Bar
location > 3112 University Avenue, North Park
phone > 619-584-4188
web site > myspace.com/u31sandiego
IN ITS ONGOING TRANSITION from blighted to gentrified, trendy North Park unveils its latest contribution to coolness with U-31, just a few blocks from Bar Pink. As can be expected in these parts, prepare to be wowed by what you see: The music, drinks, bartenders and habitués provide a feast for one’s scenester sensibilities.
VIBE: Wince in vicarious pain at the tight trousers; gawk tastefully at the artistic hairstyles and tattoos. It’s east meets west as the cool kids from San Diego State mesh with their style peers from North Park and nearby neighborhoods, while a sprinkling of Pacific Beach bros and downtown yuppies round out the numbers. Deejays give the soundtrack an infectious edge to match the clientele, while occasionally dropping a cleverly ironic song to the delight of patrons. In any case, bring your dancing shoes: It’s hard to stand still here.
DÉCOR: U-31 may be one of the most Spartan “cocktail lounges” ever — coming off as more of a speakeasy. The space unfolds as you turn the corner and walk inside. An auspicious golden bar stretches along one side of the large room, with a stage (for live music), deejay booth, pool tables and various booths, tables and ottomans along the walls. Though the joint is founded and run by Beauty Bar exiles, retro sparkly vinyl was shunned in favor of woody, sparse, basement-like environs, with beat-esque art adorning the walls.
EATS & DRINKS: In what must be either a nod to San Diego indulgence or some good old-fashioned hipster irony, bottle service is available at U-31 — for parties, special occasions or just because.
MISCELLANEOUS: Six words: mechanical-bull riding every other Monday. Also, U-31 features live music on Wednesdays, while those with a bit of liquid courage can partake in karaoke on Tuesdays.