Bear San Diego: Still plenty for Bears to do – including sunbathe!

Gay San Diego went through some hard times before and during the pandemic.  Many businesses that built the historically gay Hillcrest district, located just minutes away from the San Diego Zoo, have since closed: 

Stores Obelisk and Babette Schwartz, where you could get all kinds of fun kitschy gay stuff and support local LGBT businesses, are no more. And Filter, and longtime LGBT coffee shoppe that had so many owners who gave it a go, is now gone as well.

But other places are now open and Bear San Diego is back! At times, you may be asked for proof of vaccination, so be prepared!

The weather is almost always nice in San Diego (California).  Just so you know, there is just one runway, so when you land, it looks as though you are literally going to crash into city –- or land right into the arms of a bunch of U.S. Navy sailors.

The main gay drag in the Hillcrest area, the gay-boor-hood, is University Avenue, with the secondary gay drag being the cross street of Fifth Avenue. 

On University, Shops like Candy Pushers sell all the fudge and sugar you need.  And fun stores like Humanity! sell all the kitschy fun gay stuff (fans, t-shirts, lube!) that you may need as souvenirs or necessities!

Lips in North Park (just east of Hillcrest, but don’t walk) is where you will see some of the best Drag performers in the area.  Also try to visit Cheers in nearby University Heights, which is a great little neighborhood bar where all the guys are, truly, glad you came. 

Back at Hillcrest, some of the best dining can be had at two longtime favorites, both of which are on University: Baja Betty’s serves some great Mexi/Cali style food and some great cocktails, day or night.  Gossip Grill is great for hearty food and drink, especially if you have gal pals. And Urban Mo’s (formerly Hamburger Mary’s) is the place to see and be seen almost any night or day of the week (showtunes is Monday night).

Two restaurants my traveling bear-man friend Daniel Murphy  — a San Diego native and former Mr. Denver Bear, Mr. Albuquerque Bear and Mr. Wichita Bear (a sash bear if there ever was one) — and I really enjoyed are: 

1) Great Maple, which has original dishes and great service.  It’s on its own little triangle block in Hillcrest and is in the former Brian’s Restaurant building, and ….

2) We really loved Breakfast Bitch.  Located on 5th Avenue off University, they are only open for breakfast or early lunch, they all dress like Rosie the Riveter –- and the food is outstanding.

Ready to spend the day and night with the boys and very few women?  Pecs, located on University, is windowless, fun and powerful. It has a patio –- and it’s where all the men go to be men.  You will love it, I promise.  

The Hole (yes, that’s the name) has the best Sunday Happy Hour for men.  No roof, and there do have a burgers and dogs on Sunday.  Take your shirt off and wear as little as possible. You may want to take a Lyft or Uber on Sunday.  Parking is just not going to happen.

And yes (Praise Little Baby Jesus!!) there is still an Eagle in San Diego, where you are strongly encouraged to dress like a man. And smell like a man.  ‘Nuff said. 

Finally, a new small gay shopping mall of sorts is opening on University and two business are worth noting. Sir & Son is open now, and this shop offers leather, men’s clothing, body stuff… ya know, stuff that men like to wear, and need in our ‘plus’ sizes.

And a new club called AWOL just recently opened its doors. Again, this will be a place for a men.  I think the name says it all.

One more final, final thing: Be prepared to hear a lot of 1980s music.  This must be the trend nowadays post-pandemic. 

It’s just like when ABBA was all the rage worldwide in the 1990s. Everywhere I went, every bar, every store, it was Howard Jones, ABC, Duran Duran, Huey Lewis, Tears for Fears, The Go-Go’s…

Just sayin’.  Be prepared. To be all the man you can be… in your sexy swimwear on the beach. And in Hillcrest!

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