Aidan Demarest knows how to do a quick turnaround; the Los Angeles-based bartender and consultant built Glendale's Neat, his deconstructed cocktail bar, in just 21 days.
Now, he and business partner Dave Whitton, of LA's Villains Tavern, are planning to unveil their new San Diego bar, Frauds and Swindlers, as early as next week.
Demarest and Whitton were originally in talks with The Keating Hotel's owner to take over Croce's F Street corner spot when the jazz restaurant closes to move Banker's Hill in December. But then the adjacent Brick+Mortar closed and the duo changed gears; they were at New Orleans' Tales of the Cocktail event last month when the deal came through, and now they're repositioning their concept for the dual-level, 7,000-square foot space that's also owned by the Gaslamp hotel.
The new proprietors have gutted the space, and Dana Hollister, a set designer, is outfitting Frauds and Swindlers with studio pieces, from church pews to cathedral windows and black chandeliers. The main bar will offer a 20-drink list of shrub-based cocktails, juleps and tropical libations.
The 750-square-foot mezzanine house Two Fingers Upstairs. A relation to Demarest's Neat, this intimate bar will serve whiskey and rare spirits straight up with beer, juice or soda backs. A small stage will feature live music five nights a week with an emphasis on rockabilly and bluegrass.
A grand opening party is scheduled for August 24 to coincide with the San Diego Spirits Festival; expect to see some well-known guest bartenders from around the country behind the stick.
Demarest and Whitton also plan to resurrect Krust, the late night pizzeria that once occupied a side space; now called The Italian Next Door, the small eatery will serve slices until 4 a.m.
· Frauds and Swindlers [Official Site]
· All Plywood Report Coverage [~ESD~]