Oceanside, the northernmost beach city in San Diego County, welcomes a mix of Marines, surfers, and tourists. You’ll find all these people and more at the wealth of brewpubs and bars, including Urge Gastropub and Whiskey Bank, a former bank that now houses a restaurant and bar, Mason Ale Works, and 101 Proof Speakeasy, which opened in October 2016.
Make a reservation online and check in at the hostess stand. You’ll receive a vintage key. Round to the side of the building and enter through the door under a green light. Make sure to have your ID ready, along with the key and password. Eight green cushioned stools line a metal bar beneath a pressed tin ceiling. Other guests recline in lounge seating. Old time music plays. 101 Proof stocks a large whiskey selection, organized by origin. They’ve devoted an entire menu to Old Fashioned variations. You’ll also find a high-end beer bottle list and small food menu, including roasted bone marrow, pan-seared foie gras, and bananas Foster.
I was impressed with The Long Goodbye ($11), a play on a gimlet from a bartender named Nate. Laura prepared my bright, refreshing drink, which arrived in a classic stemmed glass with a frosty mix of Ford’s gin, house-made lime cordial, cucumber and sage.