San Diego’s 18-plus nightlife

    Being underage in San Diego is hard. Downtown clubs are off-limits, many concert venues are 21-and-over, and most of Pacific Beach is completely reserved for the older crowd. It’s common on campus to hear complaints that there is nothing to do in San Diego from those of us young’uns who haven’t yet reached our coveted 21st birthdays. However, the 18-and-older clubs may provide one last hope for quality activities in San Diego for those students still shunned from downtown bars.

    While the venue Soma has frequent all-ages concerts and Tijuana welcomes the underage across the border and into its somewhat less-than-classy bars, these are poor substitutes for the nightlife options available to the older crowd. Below is a short preview of some 18-and-up clubs in San Diego whose information can be found through Internet searches or even in the yellow pages. It’s up to the reader to decide if these clubs stack up to “real” clubs in Pacific Beach and the Gaslamp District.

    Club 911

    This El Cajon “club” is little more than a restaurant converted into a small dance floor for the night.

    Not exactly frequented by the typical college-student crowd, Club 911 seems to be the popular spot for pot-smoking Navy guys and locals too lazy to venture to the upscale clubs downtown. The dance floor stayed empty until around 11 p.m., when people finally got adventurous enough to brave the old-school rap that the DJ seemed to thoroughly enjoy.

    “Club 911 has all the charm of a dirty saloon,” said Thurgood Marshall College sophomore Courtney Ward. “If you’ve never been, then I guess check it out, but don’t get your hopes up.”

    Bottom line: Unless you’re bringing a huge group of people to liven it up, this place is too dead to be worth the $10 cover charge. For the daring, info on Club 911 can be found at http://www.sandiegoclubs.com in the “under-21” section.

    Margarita Rocks

    If Club 911’s cheap feel and shady clientele don’t leave room for interest, then 18-and-over night at Margarita Rocks in Oceanside might be more appropriate. The fact that it’s an actual club and not a hollowed-out restaurant immediately gives it an edge over Club 911. Margarita Rocks has multiple levels, an impressive dance floor and pool tables along the back wall. Similar to Club 911, it takes quite a while for people to venture out to the dance floor, but the music (mostly hip-hop and top 40) was a step up. Margarita Rocks’ crowd is made up of mostly college-age students, without a gaggle of hefty thugs wandering around looking to start trouble.

    “Margarita Rocks lives up to its name,” said Brian Day, an Earl Warren College sophomore. “The crowd is lively and the atmosphere is great for dancing.”

    Bottom line: it’s a step in the right direction, and an overall good time, but still too high a cover charge ($10) to become a regular activity. There is an additional Margarita Rocks in Pacific Beach, but it’s exclusively 21-and-up. For information on Margarita Rocks in Oceanside, visit them online at http://www.margaritarocks.com.

    Hot Monkey Love

    Last is a small coffee shop/club that can be found near San Diego State called Hot Monkey Love. The name stands out, which is what usually draws students to it in the first place.

    Coffee shop by day, happening club spot by night, Hot Monkey Love has something different every night: live bands, poetry readings, open mic night, goth night and salsa night, among others.

    “I thought salsa night [every Sunday beginning at 8 p.m.] sounded interesting and was glad to hear that there was something different going on at one of the 18-plus venues besides hip-hop night and ’80s night,” said Jayson Martin, a John Muir College freshman. The $6 cover includes an hour of salsa instructions on basic steps and rythms, and then it breaks into just dancing. Hot Monkey love is significantly smaller than other clubs, which gives it a more intimate feeling, and the people are usually understanding of those with two left feet. The cheaper cover charge is definitely a relief.

    Bottom line: For those of us looking for something new and interesting, or just a fun place to hang out and socialize with people, Hot Monkey Love is a distinct hit. Information on Hot Monkey Love and its many events can be found at http://www.hotmonkeylovecafe.com.

    For students who are more into the larger, crowded clubs with flashing lights and louder dance music, sadly it seems the best solution is still to wait for that 21st birthday or finding a good fake ID. And then there’s always Mexico.

    Additional under-21 activities can be found at http://www.sandiegoclubs.com/under21.asp.

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