Making waves since 2014, when it entered the East Village as one of San Diego’s first craft distilleries, Old Harbor Distilling Co. is embarking on several projects this year including its own line of canned cocktails and a satellite tasting room and casual restaurant in the works at Seaport Village.
The latest endeavor is closest to home, a new 20-seat speakeasy located inside of the distillery’s 17th Street warehouse.
Presided over by Old Harbor founder Mike Skubic, the Commodores Club is a private, reservations-only space that is currently operating on Fridays and Saturdays from 7 p.m. until midnight with approximately three seatings per night.
Guests enter off the street through a hallway hung with old buoys, aka “the Prop Shop” (click on the “Scullery” link to access a reservation page) before emerging into a dark and intimate space decorated with antique paintings and nautical memorabilia, dominated by a handsome bar and a handful of tables that were custom built by Skubic and a friend, who turned a corner of the distillery into a woodworking studio during the pandemic.
Designed to showcase Old Harbor’s growing range of spirits, from its well-known gins to rum, coffee liqueur, and vodka, the Commodores Club’s 30-cocktail list, deftly executed by the speakeasy’s two bartenders, includes martinis, tonics, and classic tiki drinks as well as signatures like the Avast Word, a Last Word riff with Old Harbor’s San Miguel Southwestern Gin, green chartreuse, marachino liqueur, lime, and a float of mezcal, and the Parlay, which mixes Ampersand Coffee Liqueur with rye and Campari.
Skubic tells Eater that he may eventually expanded the speakeasy’s hours of operation and says that he plans to offer some small snack options at the bar. He’ll also be offering different membership tiers, which will include priority reservations, early dibs on new spirit releases, and even access to your own private barrel for custom barrel-aging.
The Commodores Club, 270 17th Street, East Village. Fridays and Saturdays from 7 p.m. to midnight.