A former punk rock club now has new life as a San Diego-style dive bar thanks to industry pros Chad Cline and Jason "Rocky" Nichols; the cousins also co-run the iconic Little Italy institution, The Waterfront Bar & Grill, and Werewolf in the Gaslamp.
The recently completed a ground-up remodel of the 1,300-square-foot space into Banzai Bar includes a new patio and bar, a fish tank centerpiece and vintage arcade game room. Cline says its location smack dab in the center of the Midway District appealed to the partners because Banzai could provide a fun yet accessible bar, with food, to the still-underserved area.
The SoCal and Hawaiian-influenced menu includes crispy won ton shell tacos filled with poke, garlic-ginger chicken thigh nuggets, and a breakfast burrito stuffed with Spam, eggs, rice and toppings. There are also slider-sized versions of the famous Waterfront burger, which are just $2 each during the bar’s 3 to 6 p.m. weekday happy hour, which features $4 draft beer, house wine, and well drinks.
Banzai is currently open 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. on weekdays and from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. on weekends; its grand opening is scheduled for Friday, October 21, when the bar will attempt to set a Guinness World Record for the sheer number of sake bombs consumed.