clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

San Diego’s First Absinthe Bar Is Bringing La Vie Boheme to 30th Street

Wormwood, a French bar and restaurant, is arriving in mid-November

Seven different bottles of absinthe lined up on a table.

Meet the green fairy at Wormwood, a new restaurant and bar dedicated to all things absinthe which is landing in the space formerly held for 13 years by Jayne’s Gastropub. Romanticized by Bohemian artists and writers of Belle Epoque Paris and banned in the U.S. for nearly 100 years, the anise-flavored spirit will be served traditionally from slow-drip fountains with a cube of sugar and feature in classic New Orleans cocktails, such as the Sazerac and the A La Louisiane, which date back to 1800s.

Scheduled to open by mid-November, the 1,700-square-foot restaurant’s bar and dining room will have a vintage Paris design with a brick-walled courtyard and patio that leads into a semi-private event space they’re calling “Le Jardin Secret”.

A table on a grassy patio with a traditional absinthe fountain.
Wormwood’s courtyard.

Its culinary team includes chef Janina Garay (Chicago’s Topolobampo and Cannella in Tijuana) and chef Danny Romero and his brother and sous chef Dante Romero, who run the pop-up dinner series Tortoise. Garay, who previously worked with the brothers at Bracero in Little Italy and the two Michelin-starred Addison, tells Eater their menu will focus on French classics with local ingredients from Southern California and Baja. Dishes will range from caviar served with sea urchin flan and eggplant sour cream to wagyu tartare with roasted bone marrow and steak with cherry-mezcal bordelaise, creamed pearl onions, and pommes paillason. Other team members include general manager Tawny Myers (Kettner Exchange) and beverage director Ben Marquart (Ironside, Saiko Sushi), whose cocktail list will also include non-absinthe drinks.

A plate of raw seafood, including scallops, fish, and octopus, in a green sauce garnished with plantain chips.
Fruits de mer.
Three artichoke hearts in caesar butter sauce topped with shaved parmesan, lemon, and sourdough toast.
Artichokes with caesar butter.

Owner Amar Harrag, who also runs Old Town mezcaleria Tahona Bar and downtown beer spot Hidden Craft, is stocking Wormwood’s absinthe collection with over 30 varieties sourced from Europe and the U.S. Like Tahona, Harrag is planning to offer events and education around the central spirit, including classes on the history of absinthe, a book club that delves into the culture of absinthe, and tarot card and absinthe nights.

A pale yellow absinthe cocktail in a coupe glass garnished with a flower.
Wormwood cocktail.


4677 30th Street, , CA 92116 (619) 915-6706 Visit Website