Trendy BarFly in La Jolla offers both family fun and sassy nightlife
By Kelley Carlson
As a sports-themed family restaurant that doubles as a nightclub on weekends, La Jolla’s BarFly is often buzzing with activity.
With a capacity for about 300 people and plenty of floor space, reservations aren’t necessarily needed except during the holidays, according to co-owner Ben Tashakorian. The brick-accented dining room has an array of seating options, including large, semicircular booths that can hold up to six or seven people, cozy couches and polished tables with glowing candles. At the bar, customers can casually browse the selections of spirits and the 20 beers on tap, which include Stone and Karl Strauss.
And there are no shortage of TVs — with more than 25 throughout the restaurant, there’s no need to worry about missing a major sporting event. During football season, families come in and watch games without the rowdiness of a “typical” sports bar, Tashakorian said. While their parents are rooting for their favorite teams and enjoying pizza-and-beer specials, kids are treated to cartoons and they get to eat free with each paying adult.
But there’s more than just TVs to provide entertainment. Bands and disc jockeys take the stage as the weekend draws near. From 7 to 10 p.m. Thursdays, there are jazz tunes; Fridays feature salsa and flamenco from 6 to 9:30 p.m.; and R&B is the music of choice from 6 to 9:30 p.m. Saturdays.
But after 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, BarFly transforms from a family restaurant into a nightclub, where adults 21 and older call the shots and dance away the evening to songs spun by DJs from Z90 and Channel 93.3 FM.
It’s a place guests often migrate to as many local hotels shut down their restaurants by 10 p.m., and it’s not unusual for wedding parties to find their way into the establishment, which requires classy attire during the later hours.
While there’s plenty of action inside, things heat up outside, as well. The patio features a couple of fire pits surrounded by couches, tables for wining and dining, and even more TVs.
Nevertheless, Tashakorian emphasizes that BarFly is a restaurant first before a nightclub.
The fare by Executive Chef Sean Sommer goes beyond the typical bar food and there is a seemingly unlimited selection. The restaurant offers a 43-page menu, which it shares with its next-door neighbor, Aroma Bakery and Café. The entrees reflect ethnic influences, from Asian and Mediterranean to Southwest and contemporary.
One of the popular appetizers is the Avocado Eggrolls. Large avocado chunks, sun-dried tomato, red onion and cilantro are stuffed into a wrapper and lightly fried; they are served with teriyaki and sweet-cilantro sauces.
Another favorite is the Chinese Chicken Salad with sautéed chicken breast, bean sprouts, snap peas, scallions, crispy wontons, cashews, carrots, bell peppers, Romaine lettuce, Napa cabbage and a slightly spicy ginger-soy vinaigrette.
Among the restaurant’s specialties is the tender Salmon Sticks that rest on a bed of rice and are served with sautéed vegetables and wasabi-orange marmalade.
Along with providing a venue for dining, dancing and sports viewing, BarFly is a “one-stop shop” for catering needs, Tashakorian said. Numerous dishes, a full bar, security, servers, bartenders and a DJ can be provided with as little as a day’s notice.
Address: 909 Prospect St., Suite 100, La Jolla
Phone: (858) 454-2323
The Vibe: Relaxed, casual, trendy
Signature Dishes: Chicken Pesto, Beef Stroganoff
Open Since: 2010
Patio Seating: Yes
Take Out: Yes
Happy Hour: 4-7 p.m. Monday-Thursday
Club: 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Restaurant Hours: 4-11 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday
On The Menu Recipe
Each week you’ll find a recipe from the featured restaurant online at lajollalight.com. Just click Get The Recipe at the bottom of the story.
This week: Barfly’s Marsala Mushroom Sauce
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