San Diego's The Waterfront Owners Take Over Historic Aero Club

August 1, 2018

We recently announced that the owner of San Diego's 70-year-old The Aero Club would either be moving or selling. We know now that it's the latter, as the owners of "the oldest bar in San Diego" - The Waterfront - are in the process of taking over the whiskey-focused, Middletown dive bar.

The Aero Club was first opened in 1947 by a well-respected female pilot, Mariam Profit, who wanted to launch an aviator-themed bar for other airline staff as well as the workers of a nearby aircraft factory. Mariam only ran the establishment for a few years but continued to own the building until she passed away in her mid 90s. Operated as a flailing wine and beer bar at the time, the neighborhood outpost was purchased in 2004 by Bill Lutzius and has since become known as one of San Diego's top dive bars, boasting a selection of more than 1,200 whiskey option.

Lutzius, who opened Chinatown Bar in City Heights this past May, announced that he would not be renewing his lease at 3365 India Street when it terminated in May 2019. In comes cousins Chad Cline and Jason "Rocky" Nichols, whose great-grandfather acquired the Waterfront Bar (whose liquor license is the first issued in San Diego after the end of Prohibition) around the late 1960s. In addition to The Waterfront in Little Italy, the cousins also operate Eastbound in Lakeside, The Hills in La Mesa, Harbor Town and Club Marina in Point Loma, Banzai Bar in Midway District, and Werewolf in the Gaslamp.

Cline and Nichols are in the process of transferring The Aero Club's liquor license into their names. They do not intend to make many changes at the historic dive bar other than maybe adding a few more whiskey varieties. 

For more information about The Aero Club, visit