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Thrusters: A Hidden Gem


Thrusters in Pacific Beach
Courtesy Photo

Driving by, you may not even notice Thrusters Lounge in Pacific Beach. Marked only by two non-lighted signs, one being almost illegible, this lounge is an underground secret for locals and visitors alike. Stumbling in, the bar changes from a bare, dark exterior to a classy, surf-themed interior which was recently remodeled to include a granite bartop and museum lighting on the walls, which illuminate selected artwork from local artists. While the space is small, Thrusters manages to fit in a long, fully stocked bar, bar tables along the opposite wall, a DJ area and a dancefloor. Surfboards hang from the ceiling, and mirrors line the wall opposite the bar to create more space.

Behind the scenes, Thrusters is the only establishment listed under bars/pubs certified by the Green Restaurant Association, and has been since 1999, when they opened. Thrusters owner Nick Zanoni has stated that this was his personal preference, since most patrons have no knowledge of their certification. The process of being certified is involved and expensive: establishments cannot use styrofoam, and must agree to make four new environmentally conscious decisions each year. At this point, Thrusters has completed about sixteen steps including water and energy conservation, a recycling program, and using products that are non-toxic to the environment. The next step for the lounge is to replace their cleaning products with ones more environmentally friendly. In addition to the certification, Thrusters has been involved with other events to raise environmental awareness, including beach clean-ups and the Green Drinks program.

When asked what type of patrons visit the lounge, Zanoni stated, “we are Pacific Beach.” The crowd the lounge is eclectic, and changes nightly. On Sundays, various artists provide the lounge with live jazz music. On Tuesdays, Thrusters hosts "LeFunkParlorDelux," where DJ’s Matty A, Kingsley, and Big Vin Dog spin house/techno and hip hop music. On weekends, the bar is packed, with jukebox music playing in the background.

Some nights, the lounge burns incense and lights candles, adding to the already relaxed vibe. In a world of giant, commercialized bar/clubs with u-call-it low grade vodka specials, Thrusters Lounge and Art Galleria in Pacific Beach is a refreshing break from reality.

Details »
  • City: Pacific Beach
  • Phone: (858) 483-6334
  • Name: Thrusters Lounge
  • Address: 4633 Mission Blvd.