Best of San Diego 2021
Best Sunset Toast: Monarch Ocean Pub
At Del Mar Plaza, Monarch Ocean Pub takes sunset toasts to a whole new level. Past the beachy, open-air design and dragon fruit margaritas, the pub’s real magic lies in the nightly poem read by their bar lead, Erik Sloan. At sunset, Sloan rings a cowbell, hops on the bar, and silences the room before reading a poem he wrote that day. The ritual began as a moment to observe hope during a dark time—the pub opened last fall—and has blossomed into a way to reflect on how the pandemic has changed our lives.
“We all got a second chance,” Sloan explains. “And no one should take that for granted.” Sloan wraps up every poem with a toast the whole pub joins in on: “Cheers to me, cheers to you, and here’s a toast to a hell of a view.” While the lobster rolls and the boozy slushies are a big draw, it’s this barman’s poetic tradition and moment of gratitude that truly unify and elevate the room.