3537 Fifth Ave. (Hillcrest)
Happy Hour: Shrimp Bloody Mary special: 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays; other drink specials, 6 p.m. to closing on Tuesdays
Come on Get Happy! | Dr. Ink
Look no further than one of San Diego’s most cherished and unpretentious watering holes for Bloody Marys that contain more chewable matter in them than any you’ll find at chic restaurants. The swooped-up double-shot Mary sells for $7.50 at Nunu’s Cocktails, from sunrise to sunset on Saturdays and Sundays. After sucking up the dozen-plus ounces of vodka and tomato juice, you likely want a fork to finish the rest.
The drink yields two large shrimp, a celery stalk, a spear of pickled asparagus, a couple of pimento-stuffed olives and a crunchy green bean that isn’t for timid palates. The bean was the spiciest component in the drink, rivaling the few driblets of Tabasco Sauce that went into the liquid. Lemons and limes are also present, adding that lovely citrus zing that clear liquors and tomato juice should never be served without.
Nunu’s Bloody Mary special has caught on well, considering that there wasn’t an empty seat in the house when I stepped inside at 10:30 a.m. last Sunday. With the absence of windows and a heavy curtain covering the doorway, you can easily be tricked into thinking it’s Friday night when the rest of the population actually begins reaching for their morning coffee.
Red leather booths and drab lighting set the stage for a serious, convivial drinking crowd, which on this particular morning, attracted a mix of generations ranging from casually dressed to the unshaven. Chicken wings and jalapeno poppers were another surprising sight in these early hours. But hey, if you’re slugging booze before church lets out, then why not?
There are no discounts on food, but none of it is expensive. Nearly everything from the daily menu is priced under $7.50, such as various burgers, Philly cheese steaks, BLTs, et cetera. The same low prices apply to weekend breakfasts, should you prefer eggs and hash browns with your well-endowed Bloody Mary.
Other drink specials arise on “whacky Tuesdays,” when “you-call-it” top-shelf drinks sell for only $1. Yes, I’ll be putting that offer to the test in the coming week with my love for Bombay Sapphire Gin martinis. Micro brews and imported beers also cost $1, while well drinks and domestic beers cost $2 apiece. At other bars the latter would be the cheapest in the lineup. Therein explains the wackiness of Tuesdays.
The double-shot Bloody Marys on weekends are delectably edible, as they are garnished with shrimp and various veggies, pickled and fresh. In addition, the bartenders don’t skimp on the booze mixing other cocktails.
The char burgers and Buffalo-style wings are big sellers, and are not quite as greasy as the zucchini sticks and O-rings.
The best drink deals occur on “whacky Tuesdays,” when top-shelf cocktails sell for only $1.
Though crowded during most times of the day, Nunu’s bartenders are skilled at taking multiple drink orders concurrently and making the cocktails accurately.
There are only two days when drink specials are offered, but each extends for fairly long periods of time.