What’s Happening on the Mean Streets of Ocean Beach

by on March 17, 2017 · 18 comments

in Culture, Economy, History, Ocean Beach

It’s not easy being a small businesperson, shopkeeper, store or office owner on the commercial streets of Ocean Beach. Rents are high in this popular, sunny, beach outpost from the rest of the world.

The commercial streets, Newport Avenue, Voltaire Street and Point Loma Avenue are tough for the unwary business enterpriser who takes a gamble opening up any kind of establishment on them. That’s why small businesses are always coming and going, and why empty storefronts remain vacant for months.

The commercial streets of OB are some mean streets and here’s what’s happening on them in mid-March 2017.

Newport Avenue

Former OB Hookah Bar

One of the larger empty storefronts along Newport Ave is the former OB Hookah bar – closed now for many months.

By the appearance of the interior, nothing seems to be moving in ….

Former OB Warehouse

A large notice on the outside door of the former OB Warehouse thanks its past patrons, and announces the coming of Breakfast Republic, which will open upstairs.

Downstairs on another window is the public notice of application to sell alcoholic beverages, by applicant Tupelo Restaurants, Inc., with the business name of Coin Haus.

Down the block are the papered-up windows of OB’s latest brew pub to venture onto what’s fast becoming one of craft beer broadways of San Diego, Little Miss Brewery.

Newport Ave was definitely a mean street for the couple who ran Smart Clips Salon.

Kilowatt Brewery Opens – Offers 3D Effects

On a happier note, Kilowatt Brewery opened its beer-tasting room on Cable Street, right off Newport. They had their grand opening March 3rd and have the capacity to offer 24 taps. The day I was there, they had 17 going.

Their main brewery is up in Kearney Mesa. And they have a weekly product of about 6 barrels of brew (1 barrel = 31 gallons, I was told).

The Kilowatt outside deck used to be a drive-way.

Hidden lights under the counter ensure customers can find their drinks.

A 3D lounge – Ancient Gallery – in the back will have is images switched periodically by a group of artists.

The bar will also host different artists who can display their work on the walls.

This is Andrea, one of the half-dozen or so partners who own Kilowatt.

Apple Tree Market Progress

You can see for yourself how close the market is to opening, an endeavor that has taken its owner years to obtain. The former bank building has gone through an huge metamorphose – and many OBceans have long anticipated the flapping of the wings of this butterfly.

OB Surf Lodge Lounge Opens But Work Continues

The other big news of a business opening is the OB Surf Lodge Lounge – which has taken over the former Shades space. Customers were being welcomed in while workers expanded the outside railing on the back porch.

The front has changed entirely with an open bar.

The Octopus

Did you ever notice this octopus mural in the alley on the same building as the new OB Surf Lounge?

Voltaire Street

Kip of Voltaire Has Moved … Across the Street

Over on OB’s secondary commercial avenue, Voltaire Street, we find that the well-known artist/ painter Kip of Voltaire has moved from the front of the OB Green Center across the street and has set up his sidewalk displays outside Jim Bell’s office and residential building – where Kip lives.

For a donation, Kip will paint you your very own cutsy saying or expression.

And he has plenty of others ready for your visual perusal.

Empty Office Space

Not too far from where Kip of Voltaire used to set up shop, is an empty storefront that has been available for an office for months.

Rehabbing a Tough Location

The storefront next to the liquor store at the corner of Voltaire and Sunset Cliffs Blvd is undergoing some kind of rehab, we noticed. This space has been a difficult place to maintain as a viable business, as there has been at least 4 or 5 different stores here over the last 7 years or so, by our count.

Some Progress at People’s Veggy Restaurant

Something is going in at the old fast-food pizza place up Voltaire on the other side of Catalina. There’s a sign up on the door but this reporter couldn’t make it out driving by.

There you have it, what’s happening on the mean streets of Ocean Beach. It’s tough out there and it’s not all sunshine and daisies. We wish all the new businesses well and offer our condolences to all those that fell.

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

OB Mercy March 18, 2017 at 8:10 am

Not sure what you’re smoking, but the pic at top of the newly paved, Newport Ave is upside down. No mention of the paving??

It’s not the OB Surf Lounge…. It’s LODGE, not lounge!

And it’s Carly’s Jars (or something close) in the old Domino’s pizza spot on Voltaire. The concept is salads in a jar and she delivers them to your workplace and has been doing it for awhile now.


Frank Gormlie March 19, 2017 at 6:04 pm

Whoops! Made the correction, thank you. My only defense is that I used the name of the restaurant used in an upcoming review of the place. Two errors don’t make a right.


Frank Gormlie March 19, 2017 at 6:04 pm

Isn’t that an unusual view? We mentioned the paving earlier.


nicole March 22, 2017 at 12:09 pm

Jesus Christ could you be ANY more aggressive? For being such a laid back town commenters on this website are irritable as f*ck


Geoff Page March 22, 2017 at 3:58 pm

You know, OB Mercy, Frank has an email address. Whenever I see an error, I email him and he fixes it, rather than calling him out publicly for every mistake. As he has explained, he is a one man band and doesn’t have proofreaders, he depends on readers to help out. Maybe just a bit more privately would be nice.


Pete R March 18, 2017 at 8:10 am

Thanks for the update! I believe the space on upper Voltaire (former Tiny’s) is a cafe being opened by People’s market.


Frank Gormlie March 19, 2017 at 6:06 pm

I should have put in a break between those paragraphs; I was referring to another place on the other side of Catalina.


OB Dude March 18, 2017 at 10:17 am

Great update….just wondering are those green chairs at OB Surf Resin Chairs?


OBC March 20, 2017 at 8:45 am

Just a little info on the “Coin Haus,” this is a Cohn group restaurant with a big beer selection but also some old arcade and video games to play. Not super enthused to see another brewery/alcohol venue in OB but at least they’re bringing some sweet video games too! More info for the curious available here:


Judi March 20, 2017 at 9:42 am

My error Mercy. I couldn’t read my own handwriting and wrote Lounge instead of Lodge. I’m entitled to one error a year. That was it. Wasn’t Frank’s fault


OB Mercy March 20, 2017 at 10:41 am

Ha! Forgiven!


judi March 20, 2017 at 12:29 pm

As I was reading this article, I was reminded about the one that I wrote for the OBrag in 2011. http://obrag.org/?p=36171. That was when the James Gang was looking for a buyer. In that article I mentioned those stores that had closed since we moved here in 1966. As I reread Frank’s article – and then mine – I am not surprised to find that there have been other closures since that article appeared – OB Hardware has moved to smaller digs; the Drug Store is gone; so is Little Chef on the corner of Cable and Newport; the Aquarium that was next to SD Paint and Hardware is gone; and of course the Strand and Bank of America are also gone. The Christian Science Reading room has had a succession of restaurants, with two new ones slated to open shortly. And I remember purchasing jewelry at “Smith’s”, and it is also gone. And although I don’t remember the name of the beauty salon in the same building that Doc Mitchell was located in, it was run by the Duncan family – mother, father, son and daughter-in-law. I never thought I’d be one to say, “I remember the old days” – but Frank’s article sure brought it to mind.


OB Mercy March 20, 2017 at 2:15 pm

I’m going to assume you knew Little Chef is still there, but just moved over one building from The Joint, where it used to be.


Geoff Page March 22, 2017 at 3:55 pm

No, Judy is referring to the the Little Chef that used to occupy the whole corner building on the west side of Cable at Newport for many years. The little Chinese place has the name but that is not the one she is talking about and the former Little Chef didn’t serve Chinese food. The Little Chef used to be a great breakfast place. There was another great little breakfast place run by a Korean couple next to the pet store that’s been gone a long time.


OB Mercy March 22, 2017 at 4:03 pm

Cool, thanks for clarifying Geoff.


Jon March 20, 2017 at 12:56 pm

We ate at the new OB Surf “Lodge” this weekend. It was pretty good. Nice to see familiar servers from Shades and other local spots. They paid homage to the previous owner with a “Dave’s Breakfast” item on the menu, and I finally realized that bird mascot is an OB Parrot and not a Puffin. The menu was really interesting, although the beer list left something to be desired (can we please stop including 20 different IPA’s on every tap list in town?). Finally, if nothing else, go treat yourself to the fried chicken strips. They are probably the best I’ve ever had. Ever.


fstued March 21, 2017 at 6:33 am

Things come and go in OB. Its all progress. that’s good Best of luck to all the new start ups


nicole March 22, 2017 at 12:12 pm

Man oh man Apple Tree can not come soon enough! It looks like there’s been a lull in construction in the last few weeks.., I hope everything is on track to open soon, cause once it opens I will truly have no reason to get in my car :P


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