SAN DIEGO – Avast ye scallywags and seadogs! Here’s your sign to grab your favorite parrot or eyepatch, and set sail to a new pirate-themed speakeasy that has landed on the shores of Pacific Beach.
Captain’s Quarters, located on the treasure map on Grand Avenue, this new speakeasy – whose Grand Opening is coming soon – immerses people into the seafaring world, with a dark and moody experience inspired by the commanding officer’s cabin aboard an 18th-century ship.
The new bar builds on the whimsical, tropical speakeasy inspired by tiki culture located right next door called The Grass Skirt.
Owner Matt Spencer opened The Grass Skirt about six years ago to bring an elevated dining and drinking option to the neighborhood’s mostly sports and dive bar scene.
After seeing the success of the lounge, the born-and-raised San Diego restaurateur and long-time Pacific Beach resident thought of opening another.
“I don’t know where it actually came from, but I always had this idea to do another speakeasy that would feel like you’re in the back of a 1700s ship,” Spencer said to FOX5SanDiego.com. “For some reason, I just kept thinking of a boat in the South Pacific and that kind of led me to (Captain’s Quarters). I just felt like it kind of complemented (the) tropical (theme).”
Once the storefront next door to The Grass Skirt became vacant in 2022, Spencer jumped at the opportunity, creating what is now Captain’s Quarters.
The cocktail and tapas bar offers a seafood forward menu of small bites, like caviar bumps, grilled prawns, mussels escabeche and beef rioja.
“As I was explaining the concept to (our chef), I think I said… ‘You know, Chef, imagine being in the back of one of those Spanish Galleons.’ When I said that, he took it a little more literally, and so I would say the tapas have a bit of a Spanish flair,” Spencer laughed.
Meanwhile, the cocktail menu, called “The Crew,” has mostly gin-based drinks, a homage to the accounts of some higher-ranking officers or captains of pirate crews preferring gin over traditional rum.
At the time, scurvy was of wide concern for the salty dogs on the high seas, so officers used gin to pair with citrus fruit, which was believed to prevent it. The mixed drink became what is known today as the gimlet.
Of the gin the lounge has to offer, Spencer said a specialty liquor created just for Captain’s Quarters is available, in partnership with ReBru Spirits in Barrio Logan.
In addition to the gin cocktails, Captain’s Quarters plans to roll out some immersive drinking options for buccaneers, including a drink that uses a “chambong” – a pipe-like champagne glass with a hollow and curved stem – accompanying the caviar bumps called “Walk the Plank.”
Since the soft opening of the restaurant a couple of weeks ago, Spencer said they’ve already started getting a lot of business.
“We’ve been pleasantly surprised,” Spencer said. “I think a lot of people are looking for something a little nicer, a little more PB.”
The restaurant’s grand opening is expected to be set for sometime in the next couple of weeks, but given the already high demand, he said reservations are encouraged and can be booked on the lounge’s website.
So for any swashbucklers looking for a new place to toast the pirate’s life, Captain’s Quarters is the place for you.
But a warning: pirate code says that all of the restaurant’s surprises are to be kept secret. As the saying goes, dead men tell no tales. Savvy?