The Night The Music Died Along Popular Fifth Avenue
By Kevin Wilkerson, PubClub.com San Diego Nightlife Blogger
There were no people walking along crowded sidewalks and spilling into the street, no lines at the businesses, no music-blaring pedicabs and very few cars.
The San Diego Gaslamp Quarter – the mecca of the city’s nightlife and one of the top bar districts on the West Coast – is now a dark and deserted place on weekends.
The effects of the closure of bars and restaurants due to the COVID-19 pandemic could not be better demonstrated anywhere in California than right here along Fifth Avenue in San Diego. Normally teeming with people and activity, a PubClub.com patrol showed it empty the first weekend after Gov. Gavin Newsom commanded everyone to stay inside and San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer ordered the city’s bars and restaurants to close to customers.
The silence was as telling as the lack of people.
There was no music.
No music from pedicabs. No music coming out from a band inside of The Field. No music coming from the bars or the restaurants that become bars at 10 o’clock. No music coming out of cars, who cruise Fifth Avenue the way Ron Howard, Cindy Williams, Richard Dreyfuss and – most notably, Suzanne Somers – did LA’s Sunset Strip in the movie classic American Graffiti.
There was no soundtrack from the continuous conversations from barflies, no clinking of glasses coming from inside the bars and friendly greetings from the pretty hostesses at the nice restaurants such as Asti, Greystone or Butcher’s Cut.
The strangest site was at the corner of Market & Fifth where Barleymash, the Gaslamp’s nightlife institution, sat dark and empty.
It – and all other bars and restaurants in the Gaslamp and beyond – will continue to be dark until further notice. It’s a strange site and a strange feeling, and San Diego is hardly alone as the world reacts to control the coronavirus.