San Diego's Historic Gaslamp Quarter To Close Streets For Expanded Outdoor Dining

June 17, 2020

Following a successful launch in Little Italy this past weekend, San Diego's historic Gaslamp Quarter has received the go-ahead to close certain streets to give restaurants more outdoor space for expanded al fresco dining.

In an effort to mitigate crowds gathering indoors at Downtown San Diego eateries, the Gaslamp Quarter Association will close parts of Fifth Avenue between G and L Streets beginning on Thursday, June 18, from 5pm to midnight. The closure will take place Thursday and Friday evenings and Saturdays from noon to midnight. Beginning on July 1, the block between F and G Streets will also close to all but foot traffic. The program will continue through the summer and possibly until the end of the year. Participating restaurants offering expanded al fresco dining starting this weekend include Barleymash, Cafe Sevilla, El Chingon, Havana 1920, and Rustic Root, but up to 50 eateries may join the program by this summer.

Earlier this year, the Gaslamp Quarter Association introduced a proposal for the Gaslamp Promenade, which would reinvent Fifth Avenue into eight distinctive walking plazas. The mission of the promenade would be to foster community by building a place for social connections, conversation, dining and entertainment. The project would cost $40 million and would have to be approved by the city of San Diego. If approved, the city would create an 80 foot wide pedestrian walkway paved in unique cobble stones on 5th Avenue from L Street to Broadway. 

Civico 1845 on Saturday, June 13
Beginning last Saturday, June 13, from 4-10pm, Little Italy closed India Street from W. Ash to W. Grape and W. Beech, W. Cedar, as well as W. Date and W. Fir Street between Kettner Boulevard and Columbia Street, to allow 15 restaurants to expand outdoor dining. This program will continue this weekend, expanding to 21 eateries participating.

In mid-May California’s Alcoholic Beverage Control board initiated the Temporary Catering Authorization to permit restaurants and bars to expand the outdoor areas for patrons to consume food and alcohol as a means for restaurants to recover lost revenue due to COVID-19 pandemic precautions. Approved restaurants are allowed to expand service to parking lots, sidewalks, public thoroughfares closed to public access, and other areas within close proximity to the business. Based on the success of programs in Little Italy and Gaslamp Quarter, more San Diego neighborhoods may begin closing streets to allow restaurants to expand seating, including the North Park, University Heights and Pacific Beach.