You might have liked Bar Dynamite, but c'mon -- ladies and gentlemen prefer Blonde.
The Mission Hills nightclub, located at 1808 W. Washington St., has shuttered and will reopen this month with a new name, a remodel and a bit of an upgrade in spirit.
Blonde, which is now undergoing renovations, soft-opens on Aug. 17-19, with a grand opening scheduled for Aug. 20. Their Aug. 17 party features a DJ set from Colette for the return of Wednesday night staple Dance Klassique; on Aug. 18, they'll host Part Time, Minor Gems, Fatal Jamz, and DJ sets from Justin Pearson (Retox, the Locust) and Globelamp; and their grand opening will feature Heather Hardcore, Aaron Wallace, Jeremiah BZ and Ikah Love on the ones and twos. According to owner/manager Allen Colaneri, the bar will have a New York City/CBGB-type of vibe both in spirit and the type of music they'll be showcasing.
"It'll be an artist/community type of haven," Colaneri told SoundDiego.
Colaneri, who bartended and booked the Office bar in North Park until recently, is understandably excited.
"There are some other bars close by, but it's not oversaturated," Colaneri said. "You always hear about breweries and craft-cocktail spots opening up all the time all over, but I don't hear about new dive bars. I feel like, while we're not doing something maybe 100 percent original, it's kind of new."
After working for years in the now PB-esque North Park (which he said has become "kind of like downtown, basically a tourist destination"), Colaneri is happy to set about on a different type of mission with Blonde.
"Ultimately, we want to be a dive bar first," Colaneri said. "If you want to go to a bar and there's a show, it's usually too loud. So we'll be trying to find the right balance between being a hangout, and having live music."
The bar will boast 16 craft beer handles (up from Bar Dynamite's eight), kombucha, cold-brew coffee and craft cocktails that will be "built for speed -- we'll have 'em prepped so we can knock 'em out and you won't have to wait 10 minutes for a drink," he said.
When it comes to booking, Colaneri says it all comes down to quality: "We want to host [all types of music], but we really want to keep it high-quality. If there’s a recipe for success that means we have to play the crappiest crap but there'll be a line down the street, we’re not gonna do it. We’ll have some integrity. If we do reggae, it’ll be quality; if we do rap, it’ll be quality; if we do rock, it'll be quality. We want to be particular about the music, so when people come here, they won’t be blasted out with garbage [laughs]."
Of course, quality music is pretty objective, which Colaneri admits, too, but he maintains that the bottom line is: "We want to be a place for music lovers."
That goes for the staff too.
"We've got an all-star lineup of talent -- a collective of music minds, if you will," Colaneri said. "The experience this group has in the industry, it's like everyone's taking on a managerial role. Everyone doubles as a DJ or a band guy. With our staff, we could form two bands and four DJs." [laughs]
All of which will come in handy for their Aug. 20 grand opening, and when patrons start utilizing the "human jukebox," as the owner/manager calls it.
"Behind the bar, we'll have a whole record collection, and a single turntable,:" Colaneri says. "Bartenders will be able to take albums off the wall and play 'em -- it's the human jukebox! We'll have everything. You want to listen to a Blue Note record? We'll have a jazz section. We'll have a local section. We'll buy records from the bands that come through here and add them to the collection, too."
As for what's on the books now? Colaneri says they're continuously adding upcoming events to their Facebook page, which you can check out here. As of now, they've also got a "secret show" listed for Oct. 18. Blonde Redhead, perhaps? Colaneri was, of course, tightlipped about who it is.
"I can't talk about it because it's in the contract with the agent, but I can say it's an indie-dance band," Colaneri said. "It's going to be an awesome event, and it will be packed."
Other upcoming events include:
- Sept. 1: Gap Dreams, Wild Wild Wets, Minor Gems
- Sept. 3: The Memories, the Dream Ride
- Sept. 5: Sloppy Jane, Kids in Heat, the Natives
- Sept. 6: Free the Robots, Taurus Authority (ft. DJ Greyboy)
- Sept. 9: Moving Units present the songs of Joy Division
- Sept. 24: The Weeks, Cold Fronts
- Sept. 30: Adam Green DJ set
- Oct. 11: Triptides, the Kabbs, DJ Matt Bahamas (Heavy Hawaii)
- Nov. 14: Mangchi & Kid Koala
Dustin Lothspeich books The Merrow; plays in Diamond Lakes and Boy King; and runs the music-equipment-worshipping blog Gear and Loathing in San Diego. Follow his updates on Twitter or contact him directly.