When the San Diego City Council banned beach drinking in the wake of the 2007 Labor Day fracas, people wanting to drink at Mission Beach were limited to a few beachfront establishments. While most of these beach bars featured great ocean views, the tap lists were, for lack of a better word, abysmal. Draft, the latest phase of the Belmont Park centennial facelift, gives craft beer fans a reason to flock to Mission Beach, and it opened for business on Wednesday.
With a prominent spot on Mission Beach’s Ocean Front Walk, Draft has everything you’d ask for in a beach bar. The picture windows overlook the beach and ocean, and salty sea air pours in when they’re open. So, what makes this different from any other beach bar? Walk inside, and you’ll soon find out.
As you enter from Ocean Front Walk, look to your left and your eyes are immediately drawn to the gigantic video board that Draft obviously boosted from Viejas Arena. Measuring 30 feet wide, the video wall can be divided to feature up to 11 different screens, or they can use the entire wall to create a screen that would provide the best Call of Duty experience in the world.
If you can manage to pull your attention away from the big shiny thing on the wall, belly up to the bar so you can see why this place is called Draft. A monster tap system with more than 100 taps pours any of 69 different draft beers, and there are plenty of bottled and canned options available too. The beer list runs the gamut when it comes to styles, and the lineup is largely craft with one or two macro brews in the mix.
Draft’s food menu is hardly standard beach bar fare. Executive Chef Brad Wise created a menu that kicks bar food in the pants, and has plenty of items to pair with the myriad of beer options. The nachos are huge, and come with well-seasoned shredded beef and a generous portion of guacamole. Entrees include salads, sandwiches and grilled items like steak, chicken or ribs. Sunday brunch service should start in the coming weeks, and it features enticing items like lemon cream pie pancakes and a French toast B.L.T.
Wednesday was just the soft opening for Draft, and the restaurant is still surrounded by several construction projects. Patio seating for Draft will eventually fill in the entire front of the building between Draft and the WaveHouse. Cannonball, Draft’s upstairs neighbor sushi restaurant, is also expected to reopen this summer with a new menu.