"If you fall in the pool tonight it's a good thing," HotelThrillist host Chef Brian Malarkey of San Diego's Gaslamp District standout Searsucker cried out to the crowd gathered at Thrillist's annual summer celebration this past weekend at the Hard Rock Hotel in sunny San Diego.
Two full days of partying kicked off at noon Friday when party-goers who gathered to send off summer 2014 in style were greeted with frozen piña coladas served in Malibu-stamped coconuts they were invited to bang open themselves near the lobby bar inside the chic ground-floor lounge 207. They headed up to their rooms with gift bags filled with caffeinated wine, and enough Red Bull to help keep the party going through Saturday night.
Guests were welcomed with piña coladas served in Malibu-stamped coconuts. (Thrillist)
Friday night’s Taste of Thrillist party hosted at the Float rooftop pool was billed as an “off-the menu San Diego feast.” Indie pop folk duo Good Graeff serenaded the crowd, which included the hotel’s guests who stood on balconies overlooking the pool in the surrounding multi-color lit courtyard. Chef Brian Malarkey hosted a packed party where guests drinking beer provided by the San Diego Brewer’s Guild posed with props in a photo booth by a pool where a girl performed a dance routine inside a human-sized, inflated floating bubble.
Slaters 50/50 served a tequila chorizo fundido burger. (Thrillist)
Malarkey served a hamachi tartar with shallot, crème fraîche, chives, and jalapeño, Salt And Cleaver offered lamb merguez, Puesto offered filet mignon tacos, Duck Dive served a pan-seared duck with blueberry risotto, Slaters 50/50 served a tequila chorizo fundido burger with beer-battered onion rings, guacamole, and green chiles, and Donut Bar featured its “Big Poppa Tart Donut,” a glazed donut with a strawberry Pop-Tart. After the party ended at 10 p.m., partygoers were invited to explore Downtown San Diego’s restaurants and nightlife.
Executive editor Arthur Bovino with, at right, one of The Daily Meal's own 25 best bartenders in America, mixologist Eric Johnson. (Angela Moore)
Saturday’s morning activities kicked off at 9:30 a.m. with a “Wake & Bake” event with coffee from Bird Rock Coffee Roasters and breakfast sandwiches by Sea & Smoke. Several groups of party-goers ventured to Mission Bay for paddle-boarding excursions (standing on a surfboard and alternating paddling with one oar) before heading back to the Float Rooftop Pool at the Hard Rock Hotel for a custom Malibu Black Pearl Cocktail by Sycamore Den's star mixologist Eric Johnson (an esteemed member of The Daily Meal’s own list of America’s 25 Best Bartenders) during The Malibu Rum Pool Party. There were more piña coladas, more coconuts, more tasty bites (including those from a full-roasted pig and taco bar), a nitrogen ice cream bar with every topping imaginable, and beats performed by DJ Havana Brown.
DJ Skee and trumpeter Rico DeLargo. (Thrillist)
Partygoers took five hours to recover, or explore San Diego before the closeout “After-Dark Finale” where DJ Skee and trumpeter Rico DeLargo played to a packed house at the 207 nightclub until 2 a.m."'If you fall in the pool tonight it's a good thing,' advised HotelThrillist host Chef Brian Malarkey."
Following last year’s HotelThrillist at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Chicago, and the 2012 party at the JW Marriott in Los Angeles, San Diego’s event was an epic party. Some of this year’s proceeds went to the United States Bartender’s Guild National Charity Foundation, an organization that looks to put a stop to childhood hunger. And it was a fantastic opportunity courtesy Thrillist’s hospitality and invitation to say goodbye to summer and check out San Diego’s fish taco, nightlife, and fine-dining scene.