Dining

Unique Restaurant Series: Craft and Commerce

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Sometimes it’s nice to visit a new restaurant and be totally wowed by the unique atmosphere. We are creatures of habit, and that means that we tend to frequent the same establishments and subsequently eat a lot of the same food. Gravitating towards the same restaurants and bars isn’t necessarily a bad thing– it’s good to patron local businesses and get familiar with the staff that serves and prepares the meals that you love.

But every now and then, dining at a new place can offer a refreshing change of scenery. This is even more true when the restaurant has distinctive qualities that make it an unforgettable experience. Luckily, San Diego is a big city with a lot to offer when it comes to unique dining experiences. In this series of restaurant reviews, we will take you on a tour of our favorite unique spots to grab some grub.

Our first stop: Craft and Commerce. Located in Little Italy, this hipster heaven is a gastropub with a whimsical, literary feel.  From the moment you step foot in the door, Craft and Commerce transports you to a strange, charming place. The garden wall exterior opens up into a hip, rustic bar. Centered above the taps at the main bar is a dramatic (and almost frightening, but in a good way) grassland scene complete with a taxidermy lion preying on a warthog. The display was an artistic collaboration with Craft and Commerce and San Diego’s Natural History Museum.

This display draws your attention above the bar and up towards the wood paneled ceilings. Every square inch of the restaurant a conversation piece. Even the restrooms at Craft and Commerce are unique. The walls of the loo are decorated with negative reviews of the restaurant (an appropriate spot for all of that negativity, don’t you think?) Shelves bursting with books line many walls, making the restaurant feel like a library/hunting den hybrid.

From the decorative tiling of the floors to the writing on the walls, Craft and Commerce gives you a lot to look to keep you occupied while you wait for your food… But the restaurant is more than just the décor.  Craft and Commerce boasts an excellent menu (one that is reasonably priced, which is surprising considering such extravagant ornamentation) and they are known for their craft cocktails.

For starters, we suggest the Brussels Sprouts (served with kimchi vinaigrette, bacon, and a slow poached egg). For the main course, try the Chicken Fried Quail.

As if the taxidermy, library, and killer menu weren’t enough, Craft and Commerce also has a mystery beyond their freezer: a secret entrance to False Idol, a tiki bar with a whopping 36 -count cocktail menu. If you are looking for a unique dining experience in San Diego, Craft and Commerce (and False Idol) should be on your list.

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Lauren lives in OB with her French bulldog, Elvis Presley. She loves laughter and the great outdoors. You can contact her at lauren@sdentertainer.com.

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