5th Avenue’s Concept Two Seven Eight isn’t even a year old but the Hillcrest restaurant is already branching out by purchasing CJ’s, a longtime W. Washington Street dive bar that sits on the border of Hillcrest and Mission Hills. Its management team, consisting of Bill Franzblau, Jessica Fisher and Deb Fisher, tells Eater that no major changes are planned beyond a bit of a spruce-up and that the bar, and its generous pours and cash-only policy, will remain for the most part as is.
Though they looked at possibly taking over existing restaurants in the area, the owners say that their experience with running the cocktail bar at Concept Two Seven Eight sparked their interest in buying CJ’s. Though the low-key watering hole won’t offer the craft cocktails of the seasonally-minded restaurant, which boasts the largest collection of San Diego-made spirits, it will have extended hours starting later this year. Its new proprietors plan to open at 6 a.m. instead of noon, offering an early morning happy hour for nearby hospital workers finishing the night shift and other daytime drinkers.
Franzblau shared that the CJ’s is just the next of five future projects that the Concept Two Seven Eight group plans to open in the area. Next Wave Commercial’s Paul Ahern, who facilitated the sale, said, “Every neighborhood needs a good dive bar. I respect Bill and his team’s decision to continue operating CJ’s, especially since it’s becoming rarer to find classic venues like this.”