February 25, 2014

The Griffin San Diego bar area and stage
I had the pleasure of being part of a great bill on Valentine’s Day held at The Griffin. Previously an Irish Bar called O’Connells, The Griffin is a venue situated in a dark recess of the Linda Vista neighborhood in San Diego (1310 Morena Blvd).  With ample seating, including 3 large booths and several bar-height tables, it is a comfortable place to sit and enjoy good music.  And there’s plenty of standing room in front of the stage for a more rockin’ experience.  They even have a disco ball for the dancier tunes.

The venue is long and separated into three main sections.  Guests enter into the back room where two pool tables and the merch table are situated.  The pool tables are $1 to play and are surrounded by a few tables and seats.  I heard one guest complain that there was no chalk available.  The merch table lies in one corner with two chairs available for staffing.  It was a tight fit for three bands’ merch, and it was rather lucky that the fourth band had forgotten theirs.  For bands that don’t have credit card processing for merch or for guests who forgot to bring cash for the cover charge, there is an ATM in the corner, with a fee of course.

A narrow walkway leads to the bar and bathrooms before opening up to the booths and stage.  The bathrooms - at least the women’s - are relatively clean and stocked.  The bar staff was friendly and quick to take orders.

Bands can load in through a door next to the stage, with a parking lot available right next to the door.  This door is kept closed and monitored by security guards during the show itself.  The sound technician was quick, helpful, and knowledgeable.  He did a great job with all of the bands on Valentine’s Day.  For bands interested in booking, there is a PA specifications sheet on their site.

After running for 3 years, The Griffin went up for sale for $215,000 in January.  The sale of the business comes with a Type 48 license, colloquially known as a “cocktail lounge” license, which allows a full bar (liquor, beer, and wine) without food.  These licenses are no longer issued in San Diego.  As of this entry, the venue is in escrow according to Location Matters, Inc.

As of now, their website calendar lists a few shows, but nothing past April.  Local band Weight of the Sun has played their set from Commons there before, as have countless other local bands in the San Diego area.

  • Lots of seating
  • Pool tables
  • ATM
  • Clean bathrooms
  • Friendly bar
  • Might be big changes coming
By: June Owatari


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