Welcome to the photo series Eater Scenes, in which Eater photographers visit some of San Diego's best restaurants and bar to capture them at a certain, and very specific, point in the day. In honor of Cocktail Week 2015, Eater photographer Bradley Schweit documents a Friday night at the Turf Supper Club in Golden Hill.
If walls could talk, we'd eagerly listen to every story the Turf Supper Club would tell; operating since the 1950s, the bar and grill spent a decade in the hands of legendary locals that included Tim Mays (Casbah, Starlite) and Sam Chammas (Whistle Stop, The Station), who gave it hipster cred but kept its original flavor intact. Now run by the building's owner, the Turf is still a popular hangout. On a busy night, locals occupy every booth and bar stool inside the space, bathed in red light, where overhead fans circulate the sweet smoke of searing meat from the communal grill.
Over the years, the bar has developed a loyal following among the San Diego craft cocktail industry, who drink there on days off or swing by before last pour at 1:40 a.m.; Fairweather bar man Anthony Schmidt explains why,
"It’s a hipster version of Cheers, but it isn’t exclusive to hipster crowds. It’s like walking into a vintage clothing store where nobody cares if you’re wearing cargo shorts and a collared shirt. This is the core beauty of Turf. The crew doesn’t mind or judge who you are or where you come from. If you want a fancy cocktail, they’re gladly capable. If you want the usual G&T, they’ll ask your preference of gin. They are what all bar crews should aspire to be, a happy family that cares about their guests and does all they can to ensure you're happy too."
The classic cocktail menu, which includes well-prepared versions of Old Fashioneds, Rye Manhattans, Gimlets and Sidecars is overseen by a beloved bar team that includes Jackson Milgaten (The Balboa), Chloe Quattrociocchi and Moises Moreno, who is shown here mixing up an off-menu variation of the bar's signature Sneaky Tiki, made with Laphroaig Scotch.