Decades-Old Dive Bar Cheswicks West Under New Ownership In San Diego's Ocean Beach

May 20, 2024

The tiny biker bar with a big window, San Diego's decades-old Cheswick's West is under new ownership in Ocean Beach and will soon close to rebrand into a different concept. 

In 1983, Ocean Beach resident Dean Hall opened Cheswicks West. Over the more than 40 years in business, the dive bar has hosted eclectic blend of patrons ranging from bikers, to surfers, to hippies and musicians, and everyone in between. Last year, a large brawl occurred outside of Cheswick's, resulting in a stabbing and multiple people injured. Reportedly 17 Hells Angeles were indicted connected with the incident. 

The 1,400 square-foot Cheswick's was recently taken over by new owners Julius & Kimberlly Ulrich, Francesca Lawrence and Annamarie Spenner. After being put up for sale late last year, the Cheswick's space was previously being eyed by a group of investor that includes Miles Doughty, the frontman for San Diego-born rock band Slightly Stoopid, but they ultimately purchased nearby The Harp. Cheswick's will close after Memorial Day weekend and receive a renovation to become a newly named bar. 

"We will take over as Cheswicks for a brief period and then shut down to build out the new concept right after Memorial Day," explained new owner Julius Ulrich.  

Cheswick's has a grandfathered Type-48 full liquor license, which does not require ownership to serve food and allows the establishment to stay open to 2 am. The lease has 6 years left and the landlord is eager to extend. The bar has capacity for 49 people inside with outside curbside seating that can be re-established to increase capacity to 83. The founder and owner for the past 40 years, Ralph Hall, passed in 2021 and he left the bar to his longtime manager, Michelle Driscoll, who due to illness had to retire. 

Cheswick's West is located at 5038 Newport Avenue in San Diego's Ocean Beach.