By Sara Butler | Editor
More than 500 San Diegans are expected to take a trip to Bankers Hill this weekend for the Bankers Hill Art & Craft Beer Festival.
The 21-plus event will be held today, March 22 from 6–9 p.m. to celebrate its seventh year. The businesses of Bankers Hill are the focal point of the evening, while pop-up galleries and live DJ music complement the local bites and brews.
Organized by the Bankers Hill Business Group, a Micro Improvement District dedicated to supporting and showcasing the growing neighborhood, and is co-sponsored by Metro CDC and the San Diego Brewers Guild.
Jake Sutton, co-founder of the Bankers Hill Business Group, approached the San Diego Brewers Guild in 2012 about the possibility of partnering on a community art festival.
“At the time, there weren’t nearly as many beer festivals happening in San Diego and I happened to have many friends in the industry from having worked for Karl Stauss and Gordon Biersch in the past,” Sutton said. “It was a natural fit, to combine art and beer into a community event.”
The annual festival is the only Bankers Hill Business District-centric event, focusing purely on the neighborhood and what it offers to the San Diego region.
“We founded this event to showcase the best of Bankers Hill not only to the residents who live here and employees who work here, but other San Diegans who might not be so familiar with our neighborhood,” Sutton continued. “We’re giving them a great reason to visit!”
Every year the festival is held in the The Abbey, a historic building and iconic landmark for the neighborhood featuring stained glass windows. Sutton said the 10,000-square-foot space has a unique layout that facilitates the community feeling well, serving as a great event space.
When it comes time to coordinate and set up the event, local Bankers Hill businesses and brewers are signed up first, and then they open the invitation out to vendors in the surrounding neighborhoods. Some vendors have participated for all seven years. This year, they have a record number of participating vendors, including 15 breweries and eleven food stations.
Complimentary bites will be served by a wide selection of the niche neighborhood restaurants: Cucina Urbana, The Corner Drafthouse, WetStone Wine Bar, Juice Alchemy, Hornblower, Parc Bistro-Brasserie, Barrio Star, Bankers Hill Bar + Restaurant, Jimmy Carter’s Mexican Cafe, Grab and Go Subs, and The Abbey. Local craft breweries will also be offering their fares at the festivities, including a few Uptown darlings like Mike Hess Brewing, Thorn Brewing, Second Chance Beer and Hillcrest Brewing Company.
“Bankers Hill is continually growing an impressive lineup of local restaurants, and we also have such a mix of artists in our district,” Sutton said. “What could go better with those two things then craft beer?”
Paige McWey Acers, executive director of the San Diego Brewers Guild, added that it is a great change for locals to “enjoy award-winning beer from the Capital of Craft … while also supporting the guild’s mission to promote the community of independent craft brewery members.
“With so many of our brewery members pouring beers and in attendance, the event is a great representation of our more than 160 independent craft brewery locations throughout San Diego County,” Acers said.
While enjoying a well-rounded taste of Bankers Hill, attendees will be able to explore the artistic side of the neighborhood. Nearly all of the featured artists either reside or have galleries in Bankers Hill.
Some are returning; others are fresh to the scene. Studio Galería Pilar Montaño, Danielle Zhang, Cayce Hanalei, T Jay Santa Ana, Dots.One, Aimee Baca and Anthony Ray Jimmiez will display and sell their art, ranging from paintings and fine art photography to creative displays. Additionally, DJ music will set the tone for the creative event celebrating the community.
Tickets are available online and at the door for $35, which include unlimited samples for the three-hour festivity.
Advice for newbies? Start upstairs and work your way down through the space — there’s a lot to take in.
— Reach Sara at firstname.lastname@example.org until April 1.