San Diego’s Liberty Station is back up and running again, hoping to welcome visitors and locals back safely to enjoy its small businesses, restaurants and public spaces.
The historic shopping, dining and arts hub near Point Loma – which originally served as the Naval Training Center (NTC) that opened in 1923 – today features a lively ARTS District with more than 70 galleries, dozens of restaurants, promenades and Liberty Public Market.
When the coronavirus pandemic reached San Diego County in mid-March, Liberty Station – like most of San Diego – shut down.
Three months later, the landmark is slowly reopening its dining rooms and stores with new safety measures in place, and a message of hope.
The Liberty Station Community Association launched a campaign this week dubbed “Anchored in Hope,” focused on “the strength of the community and optimism for the future.”
The campaign plays off Liberty Station’s anchor logo, a nod to its Navy roots. The association has added signs around Liberty Station that read “Anchored in Hope,” near businesses that have reopened. Visitors are invited to “follow the anchor” in support of those newly-reopened small, local businesses.
“We are excited to see the hustle and bustle come back to our community,” said Laurie Albrecht, director of the Liberty Station Community Association, in a press release. “The word ‘hope’ means so much and we want the ‘Anchored in Hope’ campaign to demonstrate our strength as a community in uncertain times and as we go forward together with optimism for the future.”
Of course, like everything reopening across the San Diego County, visitors should expect some new rules at Liberty Station in these times of COVID-19.
Per county health guidelines, every visitor should wear a face mask and maintain a 6-foot distance from other visitors. Visitors should also wash their hands often, avoid touching their face and avoid shaking hands or making unnecessary physical contact with others. All restaurant dining rooms are following county guidelines, and retailers and other shops are doing the same.
Restaurants including Moniker General, Corvette Diner, Officine Buona Forchetta, and Dirty Birds have reopened. Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens at Liberty Station reopened this week and is using its expansive gardens as an extension of its dining room. You can see a full list of open eateries at Liberty Station here.
Liberty Public Market reopened earlier this month and is open daily from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Most tenants at the indoor/outdoor foodie emporium are open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Visitors should plan to wear a face mask at the marketplace, as well as practice social distancing.
As for outdoor spaces, Liberty Station’s Ingram Plaza and North, Central and South Promenades are all now open to the public.
Like dining destinations around San Diego including Little Italy and the Gaslamp Quarter, Liberty Station is shifting to use its outdoor spaces as dining areas.
By this weekend, Pendulum Property Partners (the majority leaseholder for Liberty Station) will add more than 100 shaded tables and 430 chairs spaced throughout three main hospitality areas: The ARTS District, the Quarter, and South Point, which are each home to many restaurants.
“We want to ensure we are doing everything we can to assist in safely reopening of our community businesses, and that begins with providing more usable outdoor seating,” said Joe Haussler, Executive Vice President of Pendulum Property Partners.
Those outdoor tables will be cleaned according to health standards, a rep for Liberty Station said.
And, as existing Liberty Station eateries reopen, a newcomer will join the restaurant roster. In July, The Presley debuts on Perry Road, taking over the spot that once housed Fireside – one of the shuttered restaurants once owned by embattled local business executive Gina Champion-Cain.