Posh new nightclubs are upping the energy level
Kai Oliver-Kurtin | Contributor
The Gaslamp Quarter recently welcomed several new nightclubs to the district, bringing lavish parties, celebrity entertainers, luxurious ambiences and upscale dining to the quintessential hub of San Diego nightlife.
Here are a few of the new venues drumming up buzz among partygoers.
A brick tunnel separates the dining room from an adjoining nightclub at Parq Restaurant & Nightclub, where diners can enjoy contemporary American fare before heading over for a night of dancing. After sitting vacant for two years, Parq took over the space at 615 Broadway, formerly occupied by On Broadway. Following a multimillion-dollar renovation, Parq opened in October.
“My vision for Parq is to be the first dining and nightlife venue in San Diego that incorporates the best of Las Vegas, Ibiza, Miami and New York hospitality,” said owner Carlos Becerra.
“The restaurant and nightclub are tied together with the overall theme of playfulness of being in a park,” Becerra said. “Design-wise, the two areas are juxtaposed — the restaurant is light and airy with high, open-air ceilings, while the nightclub is more dark, sultry and cavernous.”
Prior to taking the helm at Parq, Executive Chef Errol LeBlanc was working in the kitchens of Paris Las Vegas, Aureole Las Vegas and Mandalay Bay. Most recently, he served as the executive chef of Downtown’s Cafe Sevilla.
The ladies lounge at Parq has makeup artists available for touch-ups throughout the evening and its own private bar. The open-air restaurant contains a 12-foot vertical organic garden, and the nightclub has aerialist acrobats and a massive LED screen. Something entirely unique to Parq is its mascot, Rocatron, a 10-foot robot whose job is to keep guests entertained.
With so much to share on social media, phone chargers are located in every booth to allow guests to keep their personal electronics in working order.
The 20,000-square-foot nightclub is open Fridays and Saturdays from 9:30 p.m. — 2 a.m., and the restaurant serves dinner Wednesday through Saturday – Wednesdays and Thursdays from 6 — 10 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 6 – 11 p.m. Soon the restaurant will be introducing Sunday brunch and a weekly happy hour. For more information, visit parqsd.com.
A smaller, more intimate venue, AD Nightclub opened last August, inheriting its unique, L-shaped floor plan from Red Circle. With religious undertones apparent throughout the 4,300-square-foot space at 905 Fourth Ave., AD’s modern cathedral setting includes vaulted ceilings and stained-glass chandeliers. The staff’s uniforms are ornate, avant-garde costumes made exclusively for AD, playing into the fantasy element of the nightclub’s whimsical theatrics.
“AD is exquisite [with] exceptional attention to detail,” said Bayless Cobb, principal partner. “Every nook and cranny has something new to explore — even if you come a dozen times, you haven’t seen all the details.”
Due to its limited capacity, Cobb said AD has a different dynamic than its larger Downtown competitors. After undergoing a $3 million renovation, the space has 12 tables that surround the dance floor, disc jockey booth and performance hubs, and all bottle service booths include safes and cell phone chargers.
Though originally designed as a sister club of AV Nightclub in Hollywood — which is open only one day a week — for now, AD is open Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and being a smaller venue, it will allow them to open for special events on off-nights during the week as well.
Once the Horton Plaza park redevelopment project across the street is finished and the park is open, AD will pull up its garage door windows and incorporate a full-service restaurant into the business. In the mean time, they have a monthly dinner club where well-known chefs take over the kitchen for a night, offering five – 10 courses with drink pairings.
“When we started out, we emphasized local talent — DJs, Cirque de Soleil performers, contortionists, aerial acrobats, stilt walkers and dancers,” Cobb said. “Since then, we’ve added in lots of top-selling artists and celebrities.”
Previous performers at AD include French Montana, DJ Mustard, Tinashe, K Camp, Jeremih, Mya and Fabolous.
For more information, visit adnightclub.com.
A more casual environment for dining and dancing, Florent Restaurant & Lounge opened last July in the Old City Hall building at 672 Fifth Ave., replacing Jimmy Love’s. Executive Chef Rich Sweeney competed on Bravo TV’s “Top Chef” before opening his other San Diego restaurant, R Gang Eatery in Hillcrest.
Taking its name from the historical Florentine architectural style of the building, Florent serves “global gastro” fare, ranging from duck à l’orange meatballs to creole risotto. A popular happy hour destination during the week (Monday through Friday from 4 – 7 p.m.), the venue transforms from a restaurant into a nightclub on the weekends starting at 10 p.m.
“We’re an upscale but casual restaurant and lounge where dining meets dancing on the weekends,” said General Manager Jared Vallon. “We have some fun DJs that come in and bring up the energy level.”
Florent has live acoustic music on Wednesday nights during happy hour, and disc jockeys play dance music Thursday through Sunday nights.
A versatile space, Florent has become a place to watch the game, host private parties, or enjoy VIP bottle service.
“We thought Fifth Avenue needed a place like this,” Vallon said. “We wanted the décor to be sexy, chic and approachable, and I think we nailed that.”
Florent is open daily for brunch, lunch and dinner, plus late-night dining. The 8,000-square-foot venue has two levels and outdoor patio seating.
Visit florentsd.com for more information.
Cake San Diego is set to open this month at 755 Fifth Ave., replacing Voyeur. It comes after the success of Cake Scottsdale, open for the last year in Arizona. This 10,000-square-foot Las Vegas-style club will have disc jockeys, acrobats and dancers. cakenightclub.com.
Omnia San Diego is taking over the building formerly occupied by Stingaree at 454 Sixth Ave. Following the debut of Omnia Las Vegas at Caesars Palace, Omnia San Diego is set to open in April after completing a full remodel. It will remain multi-level and include both indoor and outdoor spaces. omnianightclub.com.
Avalon San Diego will open at 345 B St., a 25,000-square-foot music venue that previously housed 4th & B. The club will be modeled after the 10-year-old original Avalon Hollywood in Los Angeles, and its primary focus will be electronic dance music. An opening date has not yet been announced. avalonsandiego.com.
—Kai Oliver-Kurtin is a local freelance reporter who also works full-time doing social media marketing for the U.S. Navy. She enjoys covering events, restaurant news, culture and entertainment. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.