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Kettner Exchange Almost Complete

My tour of the new Kettner Exchange 8,000 square foot construction site, the newest restaurant and bar from Matt Spencer (of Syrah and Firehouse PB), was great. It’s located on a very large corner of Grape St. and Kettner Blvd., one of the busiest corners in San Diego thanks to all the traffic leaving the airport daily, and it’s half a block away from the Waterfront, San Diego’s oldest tavern established in 1933, with the concept and name of Kettner Exchange paying homage to the prominent San Diego politician from the 1910’s and 1920’s, William “Brother Bill” Kettner, who served four terms in congress, and is credited with turning San Diego into a military town, championing the establishment of US Naval bases. Exclusive DTR bonus trivia… while a lot of Downtown is made up of old brothels, this site used to house the more recent video production of an adult nature in the early 80s and 90s.

Matt walked us through the site, expanding on his team’s vision. It will feature progressive American cuisine from Chef Brian Redzikowski, and wine and cocktails from Sommelier and Master Mixologist Adam Stemmler. As we toured the site, Matt described each area to us. The upstairs patio will have unique glass-enclosed cabanas, each with their own wet bar, and a very unique personalized beer keg tap! Beer aficionados will love this for special events and parties. Ladies will love the luxurious swinging wine chairs opposite the cabana area, with superb views overlooking Grape St. and the bay. The curved roof and enclosed fire pit will offer a unique and superb interior feel.

The main floor of the restaurant will be darker and more masculine, offering an amazing full length bar, ending with a four-person seating area at the very far side for great group bar-side conversations. The chef’s table will have a large window that can be seen from the street, enticing people with the view of a busy kitchen and great food. There will be over a dozen parking spaces available during off-hours, and prime times will allow valet to pack in nearly two dozen cars, so parking should be less of a problem, but I’ll still probably Uber over anyway, since their cocktails are sure to impress.

We toured the Donut Joint space as well, on the same lot, but it will be a distinct destination, with amazing local coffee, served with a special donut surprise, and only two simple delicious donut flavors.

The initial budget for Kettner Exchange was just over $3 million, but with city permit requirements (larger elevator, water runoff plumbing directly into the gutters, etc), it’s now nearly quite a bit more than that – but I guarantee it’ll be worth it for everyone involved.

Visit their website for more details:

Here’s the gallery of photos from the tour, enjoy, and hope to have drinks there near the end of August – keep an eye out for event details! 😉

About Rob Marlbrough (@DowntownRob)

Bringing you the best, the luxurious, and the unique. DowntownRob is the semi-official ambassador of San Diego, and craves new venues with distinctive flare, amazing food, and superb cocktails.

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