This fall, The Nolen officially made its San Diego debut as a rooftop bar and lounge sitting on the 14th floor of the Courtyard by Marriott San Diego Gaslamp/Convention Center hotel. The East Village destination has already been catching the attention of locals with its sweeping views of the city and its modern interpretation of a speakeasy.
Designed by Bluemotif Architecture (Kettner Exchange, Juniper & Ivy, Catania), the bar features an open-air design with two fireplaces and 2,500 square feet of space. Six foot glass walls sit along its perimeter allowing for prime view of America’s Finest City. Resting above tables are oculi light fixtures while graffiti-style artwork depicts key architectural landmarks in San Diego. The room’s main centerpiece is a large-scale, backlit piece showcasing Balboa Park’s historical Cabrillo Bridge.
The bar pays homage to a time when early craftsmen and pioneers traveled through the country drinking strong drinks called the John Nolen era. “The Nolen will take a spirit-forward approach to drink making, from throwback cocktails (including the Old Fashioned, Dark & Stormy and Vesper Martini) to modern riffs on recipes past and present. Guests will find an extensive menu of preparations that includes seven differentiated categories of cocktails, including: Barrel-Aged, Hoptails and a rotating selection of Cocktails on Draft,” states a spokesperson for the lounge.
With a list of rotating cocktails aged in oak barrels, the bar will feature a barrel-aged program for two months at a time. The cocktails will be variations on the Old Fashioned, Negroni and Manhattan. For food options, the Nolen serves traditional comfort fare such as flatbreads, truffled tuna melts, grilled cheese tartine and other savory snacks. Given San Diegans’ love of rooftop bars, the Nolen is bound to become one of the hottest spots in the city to grab a cocktail this summer.