One of San Diego's most anticipated bar openings in 2015 was definitely at Park & Rec, located in the neighborhood of University Heights.
Park & Rec's concept blends world-class cocktails with a charming patio party vibe. This is where locals and visitors come to play and have fun.
The upscale bar's name is derived from the venue's location on Park Avenue and intended recreational aspect. While some may consider the art of cocktail consumption as recreation, the courtyard will have plenty of other backyard fun like ping-pong, darts and shuffleboard.
The cocktail courtyard at Park & Rec — Photo courtesy of Park & Rec
But if the recreation aspect conjures up images of a frat party, then rest assured that Park & Rec is nothing like that. (Beer in cans will even be appropriately dressed in Park & Rec-branded koozies.)
While there will be multiple beers on tap and a selection of wine, the focus is on a playful assortment of classically driven cocktails, all created under the auspices of nationally acclaimed barkeeps Trevor Easter (Noble Experiment, Rickhouse, Bourbon & Branch, Heaven's Dog) and Anthony Schmidt (Fairweather, Rare Form, Noble Experiment).
These are high-caliber drinks.
With cheeky names like Park Bench, Seesaw and Merry-Go-Round, the cocktails embody the playground-inspired theme of Park & Rec.
The summer menu will feature 10 "Light and Refreshing" sippers, such as Dos Ojos, made with cucumber-infused tequila, lime, ginger and soda water.
The Lo-Baller menu is full of options that are a twist on the boozier high ball, because the base spirit has been modified to create a lighter drink.
But don't forget to try the Slide, an old-fashioned milkshake on overdrive, which is a combination of aged rum, coffee liqueur, cream and chocolate malt.
Daytime drinkers should plan to come for brunch, when drinks like a bloody Mary, Pimm's Cup and French 75 are on offer.
All of this awesome booze requires a little food. There's a food cart for that. Royale with Cheese – a concept born out of Austin, Texas – will serve up burgers, grilled cheese, tater tots and other Pulp Fiction-style bites.
The bar's decor retained a lot of the three-bungalow building's historic details, such as the original stained glass windows, wooden doors and intricate molding. The space is decent, at 5000 square feet, and large enough to welcome up to 300 people.
We can't help but expect that Park & Rec will be one of San Diego's best outdoor drinking spots in no time.