Kettner Exchange Owner Taking Over The Whaling Bar Reboot At La Jolla's Historic La Valencia Hotel

May 23, 2023

The owner of such San Diego hotspots as Kettner Exchange in Little Italy and Firehouse in Pacific Beach is taking the reins at The Whaling Bar reboot at La Jolla's historic La Valencia Hotel.

Matt Spencer's SDCM restaurant group operates many bars and restaurants around San Diego County, including Kettner Exchange, Devil's Dozen Donuts, Firehouse, The Grass Skirt, Good Time Poke, Waverly Restaurant & Lounge, Vin De Syrah, Camino Riviera and Captain's Quarters. Spencer recently signed on to take over the culinary and bar management for the revival of The Whaling Bar at La Jolla's nearly century-old La Valencia Hotel.

Matt Spencer will soon begin overseeing the revival of The Whaling Bar on the base floor of La Valencia Hotel. Expect SDCM's Corporate Executive Chef Brian Redzikowski to redevelop the classic restaurant's menu while SDMC's resident mixologist Eric Johnson will be tasked with updating the bar and cocktail offerings. When reopened as early as this fall, the revived concept will offer a classic-style cocktail lounge feel with a nautical theme and a drink menu that will certainly include the bar's signature beverage "The Whaler's Grog". 
On December 15, 1926, La Jollans MacArthur Gorton and Roy B. Wiltsie formally opened La Valencia Apartment-Hotel overlooking La Jolla Cove on Prospect Street at Herschel Avenue. The Cabrillo Hotel adjacent to the La Valencia was acquired in 1956 and incorporated as the West Wing, while at the same time Cafe La Rue and the Whaling Bar were constructed. Now owned and managed by Pacifica Host Hotels, La V features 114 completely renovated guest rooms and villas overlooking Ellen Browning Scripps Park with stunning views of the Pacific Ocean.
First opened in 1949, The Whaling Bar at the La Valencia Hotel in La Jolla was known for hosting such celebrities as Theodore "Dr. Seuss" Geisel, actor Gregory Peck, and writer Raymond Chandler. In 2013, The Whaling Bar was closed for a remodel and was combined with adjacent dining space Café La Rue. Regulars bemoaned the changes, so much so that La Valencia management decided to bring The Whaling Bar back to life in 2021 but have been long delayed. 

La Valencia Hotel is located at 1132 Prospect Street in the heart of La Jolla Village. For more information, visit