The day I moved into Ocean Beach in 2009 was the day I found home. There’s something special about the neighborhood and the people who live here: I was immediately welcomed with open arms. A fierce sense of loyalty, pride, and neighborly love reigns supreme.
Over the last few years, OB has gone through its fair share of change. Old places have closed their doors while new outside businesses, restaurants, and tasting rooms have opened theirs.
What’s interesting is that these changes haven’t changed OB. This runs contrary to other neighborhoods like Pacific Beach, which didn’t retain the same sense of charm often associated with California surf towns.
But what explains the noteworthy feeling that's alive in OB? Is it something that lasts forever? Or is it a unique moment in time we’re lucky enough to witness?
My official stance is that OB will never die. The culture of the neighborhood is too strong. But I wanted to see what the people keeping it alive and well -- those running the bars, cooking the food, and serving the public -- thought.
I visited seven locations in the neighborhood that each has a distinctive definition of OB’s culture. At the same time, they’re united by two common threads. First, the food and drinks they serve are an extension of their cultural definition. Second, the intersection of food, drinks, and culture in OB creates what’s called the “third space.”
Think of the third space an extension of your living room. It’s a term I had never heard before investigating OB. You have your home, the "first space," work, the "second space," and these locations in OB: the third space.
Most locals -- myself included -- would tell you that OB feels like a real neighborhood. It’s a place where you can walk down the street and people know your name. It’s founded and sustained on human connection.
That feeling thrives at a place like Mike’s Taco Club, where the team builds relationships with each person who walks through the door. Yassi Mesbahzadeh, the general manager, is genuinely interested in learning about your life.