The Black Pearl rigs up smooth sailing for Packers fans during NFL season
by Walter Ruskin
Published - 10/26/11 - 03:11 PM | 10626 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Green Bay Packers fans ham it up outside The Black Pearl at 1014 Grand Ave. 
Photo by Walter Ruskin I Beach & Bay Press
Green Bay Packers fans ham it up outside The Black Pearl at 1014 Grand Ave. Photo by Walter Ruskin I Beach & Bay Press
The Black Pearl, located on Grand Avenue at the corner with Cass Street, is a fine Pacific Beach restaurant/bar — and I would be derelict in my duties if I just wrote some humdrum food-and-beverage story about it.  I mean, the name of the place is The Black Pearl, after all!

“The name came to me when I had returned to San Diego after a five-year hiatus,” said owner Brigita Petrutis.  “Originally, the name of this bar was The Australian Pub ... and when I returned, the establishment was in total turmoil, a complete shipwreck!  So, after some hard work and restructuring of management, I felt as if we had raised and resurrected this old bar from the depths of the bottom of the sea and thus, I christened her The Black Pearl.”

For those of you who are history buffs and fans of “Pirates of the Caribbean,” The Black Pearl was an actual ship in the Caribbean. It was registered to the East India Trading Co. and owned by Lord Cutler Beckett. Captained by Sir Henry Morgan, The Black Pearl was sunk in a battle. This ship was never extracted from the sea, but with a little Disney magic, The Black Pearl became a household name. Just thought you should know. You don’t have to Google everything, you know. Sometimes we reporters do it for you.

Now that you know how The Black Pearl was named, the real question is, how did it become known for being a Green Bay Packers Bar? 

“That’s easy!” Petrutis said. “If you’re going to name your bar after a pirate ship, you need a loyal crew and Packers fans are very loyal to their team.” 

While that may be true, you should also know that it’s a savvy move on Petrutis’s part, since The Black Pearl also serves some fine wines and — as everybody knows — Cheeseheads go great with wine!

I know, I know. You’re not going to eat the Cheeseheads because they are made of rubber.  However, if you do get hungry, The Black Pearl has a full menu for dinner and does have some of the best hot wings in Pacific Beach.  They are made from a secret recipe they refused to share with me because dead men tell no tales. What I can tell you is that the way they are prepared makes them the crispiest wings I have ever had.

There is something else you need to know about the Packers Crew that resides at the Black Pearl.  They are different.  Not the different kind you see on the boardwalk which asks you for spare change.  They are the exact opposite. Here in California, we might see them as even a little crazy because they engage in friendly conversation without being provoked. 

When I walked into The Black Pearl  to do this story, a man named Gabe invited me to sit down next to him and bought me a drink. Then he asked me, with a friendly smile, “So, ya a Packers fan?”

I was truthful and said not really. 

“Ohhh, that’s OK,” said Gabe. “You’ll have to buy your next drink though. You understand, don’t ya?” Sure, I understood.  I felt kind of bad but he seemed to appreciate my honesty and then moments later turned to me and said, “You know? Never mind. I was rude.  You don’t have to like The Pack,” and insisted on buying me another round.

Then I thought about it.  Why didn’t I like the Packers?  I knew I didn’t hate them.  I guess I really never gave them much thought.  While I was pondering my thoughts on the Packers, I was approached by a young lady in a Packers shirt, holding a white poodle named Cali, which was dressed in a Green Bay Packers cheerleading outfit. She introduced herself as Denise.

“Hi, I’m the mayor of Green Bay Fans here at The Black Pearl,” she said. So, ya a Packers fan?” 

Hmmmm …

“I guess I don’t hate the Packers,” I replied.

That brought a smile.

“That’s good enough!” said Denise. “You come with us to the game on Nov. 6 (a home game for the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium at 1:15 p.m.). We have a party bus and you’ll have a good time.  You understand?” 

Hmmmm …

“Yes,” I replied.

What else are you going to say when the mayor of Packer Nation invites you to a football game?  You just go. 

So maybe you don’t like the Packers. Maybe you don’t like bars named after ships (if that’s the case, you probably don’t like Girl Scout cookies either).  But no matter what you don’t like, I promise that you will enjoy the time you spend with the crew of The Black Pearl. You will feel like all of your problems are sailing away.

If you’re a member of Facebook, you can ‘like’ their page and get updates on all their activities, like the party bus for the Nov. 6 Packers game against the hometown San Diego Chargers. But there really isn’t any need to fuss with the stadium crowd when you have smooth sailing ahead in the comfy confines of The Black Pearl, conveniently moored at 1014 Grand Ave.

— Walter Ruskin is a member of the San Diego Community Newspaper Group’s “Ugly News Team.” Catch his videos and interviews at

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