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Star Bar San Diego

For decades the Star Bar has stood stalwartly at the end of E Street while the downtown landscape changed around it like a time-lapse photograph. It has aged slowly into the institution it is today — the most shamelessly gaudy bar the Gaslamp has ever seen. If you like your dive bars painfully ironic, you’ll feel right at home at the Star Bar.

On first visit, you might assume that the place was about to close. The lights are far too bright for any self-respecting dive. Bottle prices are marked with sloppy Sharpie scribbles on white scraps of paper. Pyramids of overstocked liquor and beer are stacked in every nook of every aisle, constituting something of a maze to the restrooms in back.

What really distinguishes the Star Bar, though, is the decor. It’s Christmas every day of the year behind the bar, where ornaments and wreathing are strung above the booze. The ceilings are decorated with circular nautical paintings, over which is strewn fishnet-style — and mostly non-functioning — Christmas lighting. Tinsel and tassels and red leatherette take up every unadorned inch of the long bar. All this kitsch makes for a certain charm, we’re sure. We just haven’t quite put our finger on it yet.

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