Destination Downtown

    It is that time again to forget troubles of the daily grind and dance the night away. One of the best places in the area to explore San Diego nightlife is downtown, in the heart of the Gaslamp Quarter. Three fabulous nightclubs, all conveniently located along 5th Avenue, provide a variety of music, drinks, lights and glamour: The Blue Tattoo, 5ifth Qtr. Bar & Grill and the Bitter End. Each has a cover charge, but this only attests to how clean, classy and dazzling these clubs are. Also be forewarned that parking may be an issue, although there are plenty of horse-drawn carriages to go around. Sure, they are costly, but they save people’s feet for the dance floor.

    The Blue Tattoo, located at 835 5th Ave., is an underground nightclub that features music sponsored by the local radio station Jammin’ Z90. The DJs spin Top 40, hip-hop and R&B hits on Thursday nights and trendy techno on Friday and Saturday nights, which keeps the dance floor moving. The club also requires a cover charge that varies from night to night. A dress code is enforced as well, so, guys, be prepared to toss those old jeans aside and grab a pair of slacks. As for the ladies, a classy dress or slacks will do. Upon entering the club, a coat check is available for $2 per item and is a guaranteed safe storage place for jackets, purses and wallets.

    The club features a dance floor surrounded by tables and chairs for mingling as well as numerous bars stocked with reasonably priced drinks. On Wednesdays, drinks are $2.50 and shots are $1, good for the clubber on a budget. The club staff flaunts a big-city attitude that draws a very cliquey crowd. Also, be prepared for a lot of people in a small space. Nevertheless, it is easy to lose oneself within the mist, strobe lights and music. So choose a night to put the books down, take a break and blow off some steam at the Blue Tattoo.

    Another frequented club downtown is 5ifth Qtr. Bar & Grill located at 600 5th Ave. This club provides a full menu and a variety of drinks offered at reasonable price. Though not as strict in regard to the dress code, the club still requires a cover charge that varies from night to night. Inside, an impressive display of televisions behind the bar displays ongoing screen savers that create the atmosphere. The club is street level with tables outside and inside with a dance floor located to the left upon entrance. Waitresses offer vodka with fruit juice for $2 a shot and $3 bottles of beer. The music is great — three DJs play a variety of hip-hop and techno, and on some nights, the club provides live entertainment. The DJs are up on a stage where people are free to dance as well. The light show and fog are perpetual and the crowd is great. Everyone is there to have a good time. This club is highly recommended — it is clean, spacious and a great place to meet people. The music is loud, but there are tables outside that provide a place to chat and get to know that special someone. This awesome club is worth hitting again and again.

    Last but not least is the Bitter End, located at 770 5th Ave. The Bitter End is housed in a building over 125 years old, making it one of the Gaslamp’s oldest. There is a $5 cover charge on Thursdays after 9:30 p.m., $10 on Friday and Saturday nights after 8:30 p.m. and free all other nights. A coat check is provided as well in the restrooms on the main floor for $5 per

    coat. The Bitter End features three floors.

    The top floor hosts the Library, with a marble bar, a jazz soundtrack, art, tapestries and two marble fireplaces that provide an elegant and intimate atmosphere. The upstairs lounge also features hardwood floors and overstuffed couches and chairs for relaxation and leisurely mingling. The main floor has a 40-foot mahogany bar with a variety of beer, wine and premium spirits that can be pricey but worth it. Described as a San Francisco-style bar, the main floor displays the utmost sophistication with its 20-foot moulded ceiling, four oversized TVs, pool table and hardwood floors.

    The best part of the Bitter End is the (literally) underground nightclub. A dress code is also enforced at this extremely classy joint, which features a full underground bar, a state-of-the-art lighting and sound system, a stage for live entertainment, an illuminated onyx bar and leather bench seat surrounding the dance floor. The underground nightclub plays music from the last three decades, including techno, hip-hop, dance disco, retro ’80s, Latin dance and old-school funk. The variety of music allows everyone to have a good time and groove to his or her favorite songs. For those who are looking to spend a few more dollars for a special night out, the Bitter End is highly recommended.

    All of these clubs are excellent places to bring a date; the intimate atmosphere that these clubs provide makes for a very romantic evening. As for those individuals who are unattached, these clubs are also great for partying with a group of friends and strangers alike.

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