Food & Drink

Drinking like a '70s dad

Published On 04/25/2013 Published On 04/25/2013
The bar at Sycamore Den in Normal Heights San Diego.

Because the technology still doesn't exist to travel back in time and drink with a younger version of your dad (or Crispin Glover, for that matter), Sycamore Den is the next best thing, a 1970s dad-inspired watering hole with yellow-tinted lighting, lava stone accents, and wood paneling hearkening back to a time when nobody was cooler than your old man. Not even Crispin Glover. Kick back in the massive orange vinyl booth and have a cocktail in front of the equally massive golden fireplace. Banjos, acoustic guitars, and other various retro accoutrements are displayed in the case on the wall. If you look closely, there’s even an old family portrait framed on the shelf. Since Dad had to be protector of the household, there’s a row of rifles on the wall, although these particular rifles don’t work. There're also vintage ashtrays scattered about, because even though you can’t, you know Dad would have lit up a Newport or two in here. The Noble Experiment's Eric Johnson wails on his guitar in "Cliffs of Dover" gives a more updated feel to the drinks menu with concoctions like the whiskey & peach Wolf Ticket, the Flannel Mouth (gin, aperol, cucumber) or this Eskimo made with Suze (a French aperitif) and soda. A large collection of India glass barware is on display, and classic mid-century lights add the kind of seductive glow you'd rather not think about at a place you've been associating with dads. Keeping with the paternal theme, the owners asked people to send in pictures of their own dads, which are now displayed on wall paper in the bathrooms -- kinda cruel if pops shares Biff's aversion to poop.

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1. Sycamore Den 3391 Adams Ave, San Diego, CA 92116 (Normal Heights)

If the San Diego backdrop of beaches and palm trees has somehow got you itching for a getaway, look no further than Sycamore Den. This masculine, woodsy bar feels like a hidden hunting lodge getaway right on Adams. The '70s vibe comes complete with mounted guns, stone and wood lining, and polished leather booths, and the drinks match with a menu that's got a heavy emphasis on whiskey, rye, and bourbon (in craft cocktails and on their own).