Today marks the end of what’s been a really fun exercise in creating diverse and entertaining day-long itineraries for you. I spotlighted the design lover, the urbanite, the Zen seeker, the off-the-beaten-path foodie, and today I’m focusing on the hipster, that single origin coffee-drinking, suspender-sporting, vintage glasses-wearing, underground party-hopping millenial who loves to stay on top of his/her new fiction reading but also spends an obscene amount of time perfecting an Instagram shot.
And lest you think I’m turning my nose up at hipsters, it’s actually quite the opposite. Hipsters favor all things cool and trendy with a flair for the non-mainstream. And let’s be clear: I’m a hipster. And here are all my favorite hipster spots. Go on and enjoy the anti-establishmentarianism:
Breakfast at Wow Wow Waffle. How’s this for hipster cred? Wow Wow is a waffle eatery tucked behind a North Park laundromat and decked out with upcycled lecture hall seats from Point Loma Nazarene University, succulent walls, and plenty of books and magazines. Off the charts hipster! And it’s where my happiest mornings start. I’m truly Wow Wow’s number 1 fan. The waffles, made with a Brioche-based dough rather than a batter, are the best I’ve ever had, and for drinks, the flavored lemonades are quite popular, and coffee comes with free refills. (Open Fridays and Saturdays)Boutique hopping in North Park. Walk north five blocks to the crux of Hipster, San Diego, better known as 30th Street and University Avenue and its surrounds. This is where hipster favorites like, craft beer (Fall Brewing, Bottlecraft) and craft coffee (Holsem, Dark Horse Coffee Roasters), meets cool-kids shopping. After you’ve walked around the area, head to Aloha Beach Club (formerly known as Aloha Sunday). If you didn’t think surf culture could be hipster, think again. Beyond surf gear, the Club also sells upscale bath and body products, apparel, and more. Hunt & Gather is also worth a look-see for vintage clothes. (Photo via Aloha Beach Club)Lunch at Tacos Perla. A plum location on the newly happening corner of 30th and Upas streets is a perfect place for the trendy taqueria, where street-style tacos get all fancy on us. Backed by the owners of The Pearl Hotel, Perla and its chef consulted with prominent Tijuana taqueria Kokopelli on the menu, which spans carne asada, mahi-mahi, and a great (and constantly rotating) selection of vegetarian and vegan tacos as well as the robust salsa bar (above) corralled in an old Coca-Cola crate. You can even order fried crickets. #hipsterShopping at Gym Standard. Over by 30th Street and El Cajon Boulevard is this sleek, sparsely outfitted boutique dedicated to cool sneakers, offbeat magazines, and plenty of plants with cool planters. Yes, it feels wee too-cool-for-school on the outside, but owner Edwin Negado is one of the friendliest people in town. He’s welcoming, kind, and charming. (Photo via Gym Standard)
Afternoon pick-me-up at Coffee & Tea Collective. There’s no such thing as too much caffeine for a hipster. After Gym Standard, head next door to the equally sparse Coffee & Tea Collective. (I included their downtown location in my Design Lover’s Guide to San Diego, but the North Park cafe is the O.G.) The baristas are absolute sticklers for perfection, so expect attention to detail with those single-origin blends. Given the small space and few outlets, it’s not a great place to work, but it’s perfect for reading and catching up with friends.Pre-dinner hangout at The Quartyard. What was once a vacant lot in downtown’s East Village neighborhood is now a popular community park that includes a beer garden, Sausage & Meat restaurant, dog park, coffee shop, and more. Named after the shipping quarts used for the different structures, The Quartyard is a unique outdoor patio and a testament to turning nothing into something (really great). (Photo via)Dinner at Burnside. North Park gets most of San Diego’s hipster cred, but Normal Heights is quite the enclave of anti-establishment fun. Case in point: Burnside, a new elevated sandwich canteen from the folks behind the very cool cocktail lounge Sycamore Den. Any hipster will tell you that the casual food with an upscale twist is so in right now. (See: donuts, fried chicken.) At Burnside, the menu is short but sweet, including a pork or tofu banh mi, ribeye with Korean bbq sauce, a stinky grilled cheese, and my favorite, favorite, favorite, the buttermilk fried chicken ($9). Be sure to get the fries, too. A half-order ($4) was the perfect amount for me and my boyfriend to share. Drinks at Polite Provisions. After dinner, stick around in Normal Heights for drinks in one of my favorite San Diego bars. Polite Provisions is a stylish, speakeasy-style spot housed in a former pharmacy. (We hipsters love a bit of old with the new!) The space is well-designed—tiled floors and a white marble bar counter—and the drinks are equally fashionable. Their punch bowls are great for groups, and while my boyfriend’s go-to—Attorney’s Privilege made with bourbon, bitters, and a syrup of almond, rose water, and sugar—is no longer on the menu, he still gets it whenever we go. If you get hungry, you can order from next door’s Soda & Swine, a meatball-themed eatery, and eat your meal in Polite Provisions. (First photo by Zack Benson; second photo by Lyudmila Zotova)