By: Josh Desmond and Sara LeProwse
Bootlegger’s—located at 804 Market Street—on the corner between 8th and 9th Avenue—is a great American pub to try if you are looking for a southern feel. The atmosphere is reminiscent of the old west mixed with the new trendy vibe of the Gaslamp District. If you are looking to grab a quick bite or drink, this place has it all.
As you enter, their signature western wrap-around bar is located directly in front of you. For both men and women, the bar is adorned with overhead flat screen tv’s that extend all the way around to the walls; perfect for any professional sports season. If you do not prefer watching sports at a bar, feel free to exit through the garage doors to the main bar scene and enjoy the sights and sounds of San Diego. Ready for any weather, Bootlegger’s is prepared to raise the garage doors for additional seating outside or to close them and keep the atmosphere rowdy inside.
Finally, when one goes to Bootlegger’s, please take notice of the custom artwork. My understanding is there is an artist on staff that draws for the pub, but whoever it is, they deserve your attention. Whether it is the prohibition era drawing where women are protesting men drinking liquor, to the beer can sanctuary, the menu listings above the front door, or the bull horns at the very back of the bar, Bootlegger’s is very trendy and has adequate room for all, both seated and standing.
If you feel more righteous and deserving, upon reservation, Bootlegger’s does offer a back seated area with comfy padded couches and the full Texas welcome as you are surrounded by the history of bourbon and the illusion of plenty of barrels of bourbon at your disposal.
*Disclaimer: No bourbon is actually in the barrels, but the bar is stocked with your favorite drink for a nominal amount, just ask your server.*
I will provide one insight that may persuade you otherwise from going to Bootlegger’s. On Friday night after 8pm, the staff and the patrons did turn a bit too rowdy and obnoxious for me, so I would advise one to try Bootlegger’s at your own risk. Otherwise, from my point of view, most other nights Bootlegger’s is the place to be for entertainment, good food, and a cool drink.
For a nightcap or a pregame, Bootlegger’s will offer you an authentic experience far removed from their name. Now for more on the refreshments and the food!
More than half of us have probably been there. Probably all of us have at least been by Bootlegger. I’ve had my ups and downs with this place. The happy hour crew in there is pretty cool. The bartender doesn’t try too hard, the place isn’t packed, and the weird guy that wants you to believe he’s the next Steve Jobs keeps to himself. But after happy hour . . . well, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
I’m a sucker for a good deal, and happy hour at Bootlegger is pretty darn good. $4 drafts (yes, all drafts, not just domestics), wells, and house wines—Check. Plus all the appetizers are $5. It’s not the kind of place that gives you half the food because you only paid half the regular price. Nope, Bootlegger gives you full size portions for half price. The Buffalo Chicken dip is awesome, although I could go without the celery in the dip. We also had the Ahi Tuna, which has become a new addiction of mine (I may or may not have dreams about it). But funny enough, the Ahi Tuna Poke really wasn’t stellar, so I’m not sure how they messed that one up.
The real treat, as far as I’m concerned, is the fact they have Batch 19 on draft. You can find the stuff in bottles all over the place, but draft beer is a little more special. Batch 19 is brewed by Coors, which I understand is making all the craft beer lovers out there cringe, but give it a shot, it’s not your typical Rocky Mountain Water. This is a prohibition-style lager, which refers to the type of hops they use to brew it. It’s a caramel color and in true Coors fashion, little-to-no head on the pour. It’s got a sweet taste to it like honey and the hops are very mild. It’s really easy to drink and for $4 a glass, why stop at one?
Bootlegger’s is not a bad place to take a quick break from all things law school. It’s close, relatively cheap, and the best time to go is during the afternoon. So plan your next date with your favorite mate and we’ll see you at Bootlegger’s.