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It’s been a long week. And it’s only Wednesday. I figure I’ve earned a pint, so I head into a bar I’ve been eyeing for a couple of days now: The San Diego Brewing Company, just behind Einstein’s Bagels on Mission Gorge Road.
I was at Einstein’s at 7:30 this morning for an interview. It was raining then. Now the day’s winding down, I’ve done about 15 interviews since then and driven all over District 7 as part of my coverage of the issues and City Council candidates here. I’m ready for a quiet chat with Russell Williams, my amiable bartender.
Williams is nonchalant about the City Council race. “I haven’t really been following it,” he tells me. “I know they changed the boundaries, but that’s about it.”
Over a pint of Grantville Gold, brewed about 10 feet away from where I’m sitting, I talk to Williams about the plans to turn this outer spoke of San Diego — a few minutes down Mission Gorge and you’re in sage-scented countryside, plus there’s country and western music playing in the bar — into a high-density community housing thousands of new apartments.
“It’s good for business, right.”
When I first came to San Diego, I tended bar at the Dublin Square Irish pub on Fourth Avenue. This was in the years when the ballpark was being built, and there was a palpable buzz about the crowds the Padres would bring to the Gaslamp Quarter. Business would boom, we were told. Another few months, and we’d be earning buckets of cash as the bar filled for every home game.
Sadly, I got the sack before that happened and became a journalist instead. Williams is now in a similar spot, waiting for new development to stack his bar two to three deep with local residents.
He remembers when the Padres used to play in Qualcomm Stadium.
“We’re still very busy for the football, but that’s one day. Instead of 80 home games, we have 10,” Williams tells me.
Nowadays, the Padres are playing on several screens above the bar. The country music is still playing on the jukebox and the commute is hotting up outside. In a couple of years, this could be happy hour: welcome-home time for commuters returning to their new condos along Mission Gorge Road.
That may irk residents of nearby Allied Gardens, who are loath to see their community change. But for at least one bartender in the valley, it’s all good news.
Will Carless is an investigative reporter at voiceofsandiego.org currently focused on local education. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 619.550.5670.
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