NuNu’s Cocktail Lounge


Okay, this is so stupid. In the piece I put up yesterday (Kickin’ It Karaoke Style), I mentioned the Lamplighter Bar, in San Diego.

I then got an amazing number of emails (well: given that one would have been freaky enough) from people in San Diego who remember a time when I used to get paid to write bar reviews. (And I mean a lot of bar reviews: there was a three or four month period there where I was writing full reviews of 30 bars a week. I was, like, a slave-labor bar guy.) I wrote such “venue reviews” for SignOn San Diego, the website for the San Diego Union-Tribune newspaper. I also wrote a ton of such pieces for AOL’s Digital City San Diego. (If anyone wants to know more about how these kinds of freelance gigs works, lemme know, and I’ll happily bore you with what I know.)

In their emails to me a few folks asked  to see my old review of the Lamplighter. I’m afraid I couldn’t find that on my (cursory) visit to SignOn San Diego—but on that site I did right away find the short review I wrote of a bar that came up in the comments section of the karaoke piece. That bar (which is pretty much my favorite bar in San Diego) is called NuNu’s. Here’s what I had to say about NuNu’s (which I don’t think has since changed a bit) lo’ those many years now gone by. I hope this works for that vast array of my fans who have moved from San Diego and are apparently feeling nostalgic for the places there where once upon a time they used to love to pass the time.

Anyway, here’s what I once had to say about NuNu’s, which is located in the Hillcrest neighborhood of San Diego, which I believe is one of the largest gay neighborhoods in the country.

The young crowd is thrilled to have discovered such a cool and hip place; the local thespians are thrilled to have discovered a nightspot that makes them feel like they’re still in a play (Death of A Carpet Salesman ? A Streetcar Named Buddy Hackett ?); the old-timers sit, and sip, and wonder what all the excitement is about.

The exterior features fat, ’60s-style plastic lettering painted in an appalling brown-and-orange color scheme that—through some sort of bad, drug-induced national psychosis—came to mark places the Rat Pack would find positively swingin’.

Inside, Nunu’s is cozy in that skewered way bars sometimes are. The stools at the long and winding bar are hefty-load size, and the round booths lining the walls are made of button-riveted, industrial-strength naugahyde. There’s a “gettin’ it on in Tahoe” fireplace; mirrored walls; cheesy, faux-Tiffany hanging lamps; plastic ivy intertwined with (inexplicable) Christmas lights above the bar; and “wallpaper” made out of some bizzaro carpet material that manages to be at once utterly hideous and surprisingly inoffensive. Antique memorabilia here and there completes your smooth launch into the Twilight Zone of interior decor.

So the place is old. So what? For the grizzled guardians of this hip, haute hang-out, Nunu’s has always been good news.

Didya get it? Didya? “Nunu’s has always been good news?” Did’ya get that little play on words there?

Boy, it’s hard to believe I now put out that kind of quality writing for free, isn’t it?

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