There is nothing more San Diego than walking into Voltaire Beach House for a cold Red Trolley from Karl Strauss’ Brewing Company while the Padres slam home another victory. Initially opened in 2017 by owners David Schiffman, George Somers, and Mark Huber as an “East-coast inspired beach bar” tailored for the West Coast, the little slice of SoCal has captured the defining qualities the region is known for across the globe. Located just off Voltaire Street in the heart of Ocean Beach, it has become a go-to spot for many seeking out the essence of the southern coast. Even after all this time, the neighborhood destination is paramount for anyone hoping to understand what makes SD food and drink shine like the evening sun.
Visitors trust Voltaire Beach House’s New American cuisine to satiate their thirst and hunger after a day in the sun less than three blocks from the beach. The menu consists of American comfort food classics with a southwest coast flavor. Of course, they have all one needs in the form of drinks from local San Diego beers to craft cocktails. In addition to meaty eats, there are plenty of options for the vegetarians and vegans in the local San Diego community to enjoy, like the much-loved Pineapple Express, with its marinated tofu and sauteed veggies in a gutted pineapple boat. And there is always the opportunity to start a beach day at Voltaire with its brunch menu: The open patio allows the Pacific breeze to weave through and encourages patrons to relax, take a load off, and be present — starting a day of relaxation off right.
And while it is a convenient and reliable spot for visitors, Voltaire has a solid base of regulars, too, making it a local favorite. Lexi Laflamme, a server, attributes this steady flow of familiar faces to Voltaire’s laid-back style and dedicated employees. “It’s the hospitality we bring,” she said. “Most of the people who work here have been working here for over two years.” They have come to know the clientele and embody the Southern California “vibes” that make this place so welcoming.
Indeed, the hospitality seems to have no limit. Dog owners who are tempted to pass up an outing with friends need not fret. It is a pet-friendly restaurant that goes above and beyond for furry friends. “You don’t get that too much in the area,” Laflamme said, noting the lack of venues in OB that allow animals. Dogs aren’t just welcome, they are treated as esteemed guests. The restaurant provides a special menu with a selection of “dog bowl” meals they can enjoy while at Voltaire.
The wooden beams, surfboards, and Polaroid’s plastered on walls, all contribute to a beach “shack feel” where many in the Ocean Beach community gather during the week to unwind. Once a week guests can try their hand at trivia, and big TVs air sporting events every night (especially important for San Diegans the past few baseball seasons). No matter the day or occasion, you and your friends, be they two-legged or four, are guaranteed the social and easygoing environment that so many people come to Southern California for — and so many stay for.