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This Tiny Al Fresco Bar Is a First for North Park

The newest (and only) rooftop bar in this trendy neighborhood has popped up for a limited time...or maybe not
Tomoko Matsubayashi
Dollys Bar Rooftop

Dolly’s rooftop perch boasts a tiny bar under a pergola with al fresco seating

Tomoko Matsubayashi

These days, it’s hard to imagine something North Park doesn’t have, aside from affordable homes. Eight thousand male barber shops? Man hair is so very attended to. Several world-class pizza joints? Yep. Quality used bookstores, framing shops, buzzy restaurants, brewery tap rooms, boutiques, even a new park? All of it. But, until recently, what it didn’t have was a rooftop bar. Not a single legal one.

That epoch of up-high barlessness ends with Dolly’s, a tiny pop-up al fresco cocktail spot on the topside of Hoxton Manor on University Ave.

The brainchild of Matt Bone (formerly of Old Man Bar in L.A. and Vino Carta and The Reading Room) and Will Pidd (who worked at San Diego J & Tony’s and Youngblood), Dolly’s is, well, tiny. True to their pedigrees, the menu is pared down but intentional: single selections of natural wines (red, white, pink, bubbles) accompany a classic cocktail list fortified with top-shelf, small-batch liquors. The decor is stark white and DIY, the roof wide open to the sky above and North Park Way to the south. Look over the edge and you get, well, a parking lot. If you’ve chosen this time to be picky, you’ve chosen wrong.

Dolly's Bar Negroni

The “World’s Best Negroni”

Tomoko Matsubayashi

Dolly’s is also temporary. Bone says it’ll be open “as long as the weather stays good,” which in San Diego could mean until 2040 or when bitcoin mines induce a little impromptu ice age. He expects it to stay open until late fall and hopefully become a yearly thing. In the meantime, drinkers can expect vintage tipples like a freezer martini, Singapore Sling, or the “World’s Best” Negroni, made with Volume Primo, Italian vermouth that Bone says is “from one of our favorite bars in the world, Archivio, a world-class cocktail bar in Verona.”

Verona of course is the city of Romeo and Juliet, best known for its balconies. North Park is not. Until now.

By Jackie Bryant

Jackie is San Diego Magazine's content strategist. Prior to that, she was its managing editor. Before her SDM career, she was a long-time freelance journalist covering cannabis, food/restaurants, travel, labor, wine, spirits, arts & culture, design, and other topics. Her work has been selected twice for Best American Travel Writing, and she has won a variety of national and local awards for her writing and reporting.

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