TJ Majeske Wants to Make The Pearl a Craft Cocktail Destination
The mid-century modern hotel has new owners, a new chef, and a new focus on cocktails
Like mezcal? You'll dig the Fruit of my Loins.
Point Loma’s Pearl Hotel was one of the early players in San Diego’s growing craft cocktail scene. Opened in 1961, in 2007, it got a mid-century modern makeover and became a destination for its cool vibe and poolside restaurant. But, as the cocktail scene grew, the Pearl didn’t quite keep pace. There were some interesting menus here and there, but when I went last year to grab a cocktail with some friends, I was unimpressed. I sent my drink back and opted for wine.
Now under new ownership, the hotel’s bar/restaurant has a new name—Charles and Dinorah, an homage to the original owners, Charles and Dinorah Gehring—a new chef (Andrew Santana, who was most recently at Carlsbad’s Campfire), and a new bar manager, TJ Majeske (OB Surf Lodge, Bankers Hill). Majeske, whose enthusiasm for his new gig is infectious, says he wants to make The Pearl a craft cocktail destination once more.
“When I first took over, it was like, I think we can bring it back to something that people are thoroughly enjoying—kind of get ahead of the scene,” Majeske said.
Majeske started in August of last year. He rolled out a new menu in November that was part his creations, part customer favorites from an older menu. On May 7, he’s introducing a menu that’s entirely his creations. There’s the very approachable Fruit of My Loins made with mezcal, Ancho Verde liqueur, lemon, lime, grapefruit, and an orgeat-pomegranate syrup. Garnished with a generous sprig of mint, it’s smokey and a little tart with hints of spice and lots of fruit. It’s delicious.
Also good is the Beach Break, which Majeske’s carried over from the November menu. It’s a spicy margarita variation made with a coconut fat-washed tequila and Ancho Reyes chili liqueur.
There’s also an avocado martini, called So Pitted, and a play on a Negroni made with gin, sweet vermouth, Giffard grapefruit liqueur, and Meletti 1870—a better option for folks wary of Campari’s bitterness. Majeske serves the cocktail in a tall glass with ice and tops it with Champagne and Bruto Americano. He called it his “new favorite Negroni.”
Majeske says he’s looking forward to seeing what Charles and Dinorah can become.
“With Chef Santana in the kitchen and [owners] Dev and Jay as hungry as they are to make the Pearl great again, it was an easy fit for me to slide right in and see what I could bring to the table,” he says.
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