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Fancy Karaoke Hits the Gaslamp

Mission Hills' iconic Lamplighter gets a sister location and an upgrade in downtown with the opening of Gaslamplighter
Interior of the new Gaslamplighter karaoke bar in downtown San Diego
Courtesy of Gaslamplighter

If you’ve lived in San Diego long enough, you’ve likely found yourself four cocktails deep singing “Sweet Caroline” with a room full of strangers joining in as background vocalists at the Lamplighter in Mission Hills. It’s an iconic rite of passage here.

On Thursday, NVRL FT Hospitality Group and Lamplighter’s Frankie Sciuto will open Gaslamplighter, a cocktail-focused karaoke bar at 536 Market Street. Sciuto—a San Diego native, fourth generation bar owner, and owner of Side Bar—used the Lamplighter, his family’s karaoke bar, as a jumping-off point for the concept. 

“The Lamplighter has been a staple in the San Diego community for decades, known as a place to come together and share good times,” said Sciuto in a recent press release. “I’m confident that Gaslamplighter will mirror its legacy.”

Arianne Virsunen, marketing director for the NVRL FT, explains that the Gaslamplighter team “wanted to bring 1920s mixed with a little bit of 1960s New York-style flair” to bring a sense of “timeless nostalgia” to the former Ciro’s Pizzeria space. “A lot of people know the location because that was people’s drunk slice,” she laughs. 

Rendering courtesy of Gaslamplighter

But the 1,600-square-foot suite won’t be quite so recognizable now. GTC Design Studios, who most recently redesigned multiple Rare Society locations, did a complete overhaul, installing speakeasy-inspired accents as well as historical details and photographs provided by the Gaslamp Quarter Association that show what the corner of 6th and Market looked like in the early 20th century. 

“We wanted to pay homage to the Lamplighter, but really create a contemporary iteration,” says Virsunen.

Other recognizable names include beverage director David Tye (Kingfisher, The Crab Hut, The Lion’s Share, Sycamore Den) and Stevie Latona, who Virsunen calls “a huge player in the industry for a long time,” adding that “David actually started his career at Side Bar, which is a very cool circle moment.”

If you’re the type of person who needs liquid courage to belt it out at karaoke, the cocktail menu promises to deliver. Virsunen says the focus is classic cocktails with a modern flair, “everything from a classic Manhattan with a little bit of a twist, to an amazing Martini that’s been taken to a new level with truffle and caviar.” There may or may not even be a Negroni topped with 24K gold. It’s a whole vibe.

Gaslamplighter will open to the public on Thursday and hours will run Thursday through Sunday, 6 pm to 2 am.

Courtesy of Monarch Ocean Pub

San Diego Restaurant News & Food Events

Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching, and there are a ton of events to attend and reservations to make. (Seriously, if you haven’t made a reservation yet, time’s a-fleeting!) A few that I’m eyeballing include The Rose’s dinner for two with optional wine pairings (South Park), Monarch Ocean Pub’s “Bottle & Board” special (Del Mar), Bivouac’s cider and dessert pairing (North Park), and Omni La Costa Resort & Spa’s prix fixe menu for two (with childcare available? Yes please!) in Carlsbad.

The best part of Super Bowl Sunday is the food (don’t @ me). Luckily for all of us, there are plenty of places to either watch the game or pick up some tasty snacks to impress. See our full list of places to catch the game or just eat some good grub here.

Beth’s Bites

When former New Yorker and SDM managing editor Jackie Bryant vouches for pizza, you know it’s legit. Angry Pete’s Pizza just opened their latest spot at 5335 Overland Avenue in Kearny Mesa, and you can’t miss it—the space’s history as a former Taco Bell is pretty obvious. (No shade, I’m always ready to eat más.)

I’ve never eaten better than when I was in Japan. When that craving hits, I head to Ichiban Sando for one of their sandos on the silky-soft milk bread I haven’t found anywhere else in San Diego. 

More Millennial pink! The Sasan is coming soon to Mission Hills, and with it are two delicious-sounding concepts: Communion, a rooftop restaurant and bar, and Paradis, an outdoor sidewalk cafe. I’m definitely keeping my eye on the Nakhshab Development & Design Instagram page for updates (which I’ll share here, of course).

By Beth Demmon

Beth Demmon is an award-winning writer and podcaster whose work regularly appears in national outlets and San Diego Magazine. Her first book, The Beer Lover's Guide to Cider, is now available. Find out more on

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