Back on The Map - Guests Rediscover Tom Ham’s Lighthouse After Major Remodel to Design and Menu

Photo by Derek Plank courtesy of Tom Ham's Lighthouse
August 22, 2013

Following a $3.5 million renovation, designed by the late architect Graham Downes, Tom Ham’s Lighthouse now features a new interior design, menus, a bayfront bar – and still one of the best views in San Diego. The only restaurant in the country with a fully functioning U.S. Coast Guard lighthouse, Tom Ham’s Lighthouse has remained a San Diego institution for over 40 years on the tip of Harbor Island.

“My father, Tom Ham, built Tom Ham’s Lighthouse in 1971. This was his dream, to build a restaurant that highlighted the history of San Diego. I think he would be pleased with the outcome of this remodel,” said co-owner Susie Baumann. “The genius of our architect Graham Downes was that he could see what an older building could be.”

Photo by Derek Plank courtesy of Tom Ham's Lighthouse
The Baumann family worked closely with Downes and his team to ensure that every interior finish was updated to complement the classic early California design of the building. An outdoor dining deck was added to the second floor and features infinity glass, providing unobstructed views of the San Diego Bayand the city skyline.

As guests enter Tom Ham’s Lighthouse, they will see a unique keg room, which sets the tone of the restaurant. A bayside wedding site was added and artist Christopher Puzio created the wedding arch with 2,000 individual aluminum rings, a new icon on the bay. The new design also moved the upstairs bar to face the bay.

Photo by Derek Plank courtesy of Tom Ham's Lighthouse
“I know my father would be proud that his three grandsons Grant, Tommy and Andy, who were instrumental in keeping his love of this City alive in the décor you will see inside – the maps on the grand stairway, the U.S. Coast Guard 1893 Fog Bell shined up and proudly placed in the lobby, Tom Ham’s valuable antique model ships, and his collection of shipheads are strategically mounted in the upstairs bar,” added Susie.

Susie, her husband Larry, and sons Grant, Tommy and Andy own and manage Tom Ham’s Lighthouse and the Bali Hai Restaurant.

Photo by Crissy Pascual courtesy of Tom Ham's Lighthouse
Tom Ham’s Lighthouse is now open for lunch, dinner, Sunday brunch (which we hear is AMAZING) and happy hour. Perfect for social and business lunches, choices include Ballast Point Pale Ale fish & chips, fried chicken sandwich with pickle jalapeño slaw and crab BLT. For dinner, new features include the pomegranate-glazed pork belly with Fontina polenta and roast corn and shrimp soup as starters; lobster bouillabaisse and paella as main dishes and butter poached pearl potatoes with herbs and grilled asparagus with preserved lemon as side dishes, among many other selections. As well, Tom Ham’s Lighthouse will continue its famous Sunday brunch, with plenty of seafood, such as lobster claws and crab legs, an omelet station, pasta station, and prime rib.

Photo by Derek Plank courtesy of Tom Ham's Lighthouse
Monday through Friday, from 3 to 6 p.m., happy hour favorites include daily selected beers for $3 for an 8 oz. pour and $5 for a 16 oz. pour, along with $1 off all wines and $2 off all craft cocktails. Select specially priced appetizers include tenderloin tips with blue cheese, bacon and arugula and calamari with honey lime chili dipping sauce.

The new upstairs bar features 32 beers on tap, including “Beacon No. 9” brewed by Ballast Point in honor of Tom Ham’s Lighthouse Beacon No. 9, a working Coast Guard lighthouse. The majority of the beers will be from established local breweries, such as Karl Strauss, Ballast Point, Stone Brewery, Green Flash, Port Brewing, the Lost Abbey and Manzanita. Also featured are craft cocktails such as Saucy Sally with light rum, Chambord and lemon verbena and Wickie’s Salvation with Maker’s Mark, ginger liquor, blackberries and rosemary syrup. An extensive wine list features selections by the bottle and glass.

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