California Tapas and Craft Cocktails

Liberty Call Grilled Lamp Lollipops
Liberty Call Grilled Lamp Lollipops (photo credit Rob Andrew)

More than a year after first revealing plans to open in Barrio Logan, San Diego’s Liberty Call Distilling announces the wait is over. The award-winning craft distillery will open at 1985 National Avenue during a grand opening weekend beginning Thursday, April 2. As a pioneer of San Diego’s craft spirits movement, Liberty Call Distilling’s newest concept will center on California tapas and craft cocktails served in a fast casual restaurant adjacent a glass-enclosed distillery. The project is designed in large part by well-known chef Miguel Valdez, born and raised in Barrio Logan, and is Liberty Call’s first addition to its original Spring Valley distillery, founded in 2013.

The space will encompass nearly 3,300 square feet designed by Hurkes Harris Design Associates, who have developed such industry hot spots as The Local, Breakfast Republic and Resident Brewing. An open floor plan with lounge-like ambience will showcase a working still behind a glass partition, inviting the public to see first-hand where Liberty Call’s expansive portfolio of gin, white and spiced rums, bourbon and American single malt whiskey is made. Within the restaurant, a full bar will serve craft cocktails while California tapas will be available via counter service. A large, garage door-style wall will roll up to reveal views of Coronado Bridge and an outdoor patio with a fire pit, herb garden and high-top tables along the perimeter. Liberty Call Distilling will seat approximately 75 guests.

“I have a deep connection to this community and its values, and it humbles me to see people embracing the food I grew up enjoying,” said Chef Miguel Valdez. “I look forward to recreating these memories as California tapas on Liberty Call’s menu, and above all, I want people to share in these memories and leave with a smile on their face. That’s why I always go back quality comfort food. I’d love to bring it back to this community which is where I grew up and where I started.”

Valdez, who gained acclaim for seasonal and sustainable fare during his time at The Red Door in Mission Hills, grew up in Barrio Logan and has designed Liberty Call’s dinner, lunch and brunch menus to align with the meals he enjoyed in his youth and his vision for the culinary future. Lunch menu standouts include Tommy’s Tuna Melt (named after the well-known local fishmonger) and the house special Liberty Dog, a smoked bacon wrapped hotdog with seasonal pico de gallo and Liberty Call’s signature Gin Chili Rojo Sauce. Liberty Call will be the first restaurant and distillery in San Diego serving signature sauces made with the distillery’s own spirits; further examples include the dinner menu’s Bone Marrow with Filet of Beef Tartare with a Bourbon Mustard, and Grilled Lamb Lollipops featuring Liberty Call’s signature Spiced Rum Chimichurri.

“I’ve been working with a wide range of Liberty Call’s spirits while planning this menu. This creation of new sauces using the distillery’s own craft spirits is pushing new boundaries and allows me to incorporate additional and unexpected layers of flavor,” said Valdez.

Liberty Call Distilling’s kitchen will also serve as Valdez’ playground for designing frequent Chef’s Table pop-up dinner events designed for no more than a dozen guests at a time. Valdez will also use the kitchen to continue creating fare for farm-to-table offsite catering.

A carefully planned beverage menu emphasizes the distillery’s original low abv draft cocktails as well as seasonal and barrel aged cocktails, plus local non-alcoholic options. Among its craft cocktails—created with house made simple syrups, bitters and shrubs—Liberty Call will offer variations of classic libations such as the Paloma-inspired Working Person’s Drink and the Menudo Mary. A rotating monthly featured cocktail begins with April’s Showers & Flowerswith Szechuan peppercorn infused Liberty Call gin, lavender and rose simple syrup, Key lime juice, sage and an edible floral garnish. Local craft beers and Valle de Guadalupe wines will also be served.

Upon opening to the public, Liberty Call Distilling’s hours will be Monday and Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Tuesday and Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday from noon to 11 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

About Liberty Call Distilling: Founded in 2013 and today considered one of the pioneers of San Diego’s booming local craft spirits industry, Liberty Call Distilling specializes in hand crafted grain-to-glass whiskey, bourbon, rum and gin while acknowledging its hometown’s historic ties to the United States Navy. Liberty Call Distilling’s two locations include its manufacturing distillery in Spring Valley and its soon-to-open distillery and kitchen at 1985 National Avenue in Barrio Logan. Learn more at www.libertycall.com and follow along at @LibertyCallDistilling.