Kilowatt joins a suddenly surging OB beer scene, which in the past two years has seen its Pizza Port brewpub joined by newly opened OB Brewery, plus tasting rooms for Mike Hess, Helm's Brewing, Culture Brewing, and Belching Beaver.
Pending clearance of state bureau of Alcoholic Beverage Control permitting hurdles, Kilowatt chief operating officer and co-founder Rachel Fischer anticipates the new tasting room will open sometime in early 2017.
The recent growth of OB's beer scene has met with criticism by a small but vocal segment of the community, which, like other beach communities, have had significant issues with alcohol-related crime.
Fischer contends tasting rooms should not share the blame for the neighborhood's history of alcohol issues.
"Most of the alcohol-related problems we witness are usually caused by businesses that serve hard liquor, stay open late, and have regular drink specials that attract a heavy drinking crowd," Fischer said.
She argues that the higher cost of craft beer dissuades binge drinkers from partaking.
"The drinking culture of tasting rooms are just much different than a typical bar," she said. "People are there to enjoy the craft, not to pound as many beers as possible."
In contrast to the busy cocktail bars along Newport Avenue, type 23 tasting-room licenses prohibit the sale of hard liquor and mandate a midnight closing time.
Kilowatt's tasting room is being designed to be both kid- and dog-friendly, which Fischer views as consistent with the character of the neighborhood. "Two of our owners live in Ocean Beach," she said. "We have a lot of friends and family that live in OB."
The tasting room is taking over a 60-year-old former motorcycle shop at 1875 Cable St., just off Newport and around the corner from Pacific Shores, the 75-year old cocktail bar famous for its blacklit ocean-themed artwork.
Kilowatt shares an affinity for such fluorescent art, so a portion of its 1,000-square-foot lounge will feature both permanent and rotating black-light art installations, either curated by The Ancient Gallery artist collective or created by Kilowatt CEO Steve Kozyk. 3D glasses will be available to add extra dimension to the artwork.
Roll-up doors will open the space to a 500-square-foot patio, though Fischer vows minimal drastic changes to the old building.
"OB is a one-of-a-kind community and it’s currently going through changes and being gentrified," Fischer said. "We’re remodeling and modernizing the space; however, we’re keeping most of the original architecture in place…. We want to keep the original vintage OB look and feel."