The Whaling Bar Ready To Return To La Valencia Hotel In San Diego's La Jolla

February 13, 2024

Finally opening this week after several years in development is The Whaling Bar, a new iteration of La Valencia Hotel's iconic cocktail lounge from the local hospitality team behind Kettner Exchange.

In spring 2021, news broke that La Valencia Hotel was planning to bring back their historic The Whaling Bar cocktail lounge. 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 as new ownership took over the historic La Jolla hotel, The Whaling Bar was closed for a remodel and was combined with adjacent dining space Café La Rue, much to the displeasure of locals.
Last year, it was announced that Matt Spencer's SDCM restaurant group would be overseeing the revival of The Whaling Bar. The 1,500 square-foot space on the ground floor of La Valencia Hotel has since received a $1.5 million redesign by Schoos Design in collaboration with the La Valencia team and SDCM, complete with the return of the beloved original Wing Howard whale paintings and a 1940s cocktail lounge-feel with an updated Moroccan-style interior.
The Whaling Bar will offer a new food menu created by SDCM corporate chef Brian Redzikowski. Expect modernized versions of The Whaling Bar's once-popular dishes, including a version of liver and onions and a "Twinkie-style" steak tartare, as well as new dishes like a prime grilled New York strip loin. From the bar, expect the return of longtime favorite "The Whaler's Grog" cocktail, as well as a variety of old-school martinis.
In addition to The Whaling Bar, 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.

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.

The Whaling Bar will open for dinner service on February 15 at 1132 Prospect Street in the heart of La Jolla Village. For more information, visit and check out the launch menu below.