Side Bar and Then Some

A downtown arbiter of cool returns to awe San Diegans after a million dollar makeover.

Side Bar helped define downtown San Diego nightlife, bringing the bottle-service concept to San Diego and popularizing the "New York velvet rope" waiting lines.

Due to either fiscal reasons or the inevitable fade that overtakes "it" nightlife haunts, Side Bar closed 18 months ago. This weekend, it made its grand re-appearance, with a number of positive changes. The renovation made the place bigger -- its capacity has nearly doubled, to 314. That's due to moving a Ciro’s pizza joint halfway down the block on Market Street. 

The new Side Bar is moody and sexy. There are tasteful nude paintings on the walls and video screens, and, perhaps, less tastefully, a custom-made quasi-porn movie is being looped on one TV. A spokesman said it was sure to be a conversation starter, as will be the birdcages that hang over the expanded Market Street side of the club. The birdcage-shaped DJ booth and couches are imitations of a style designed for Paris Hilton.

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