The Shake Down on Midway

The Shakedown Bar

3048 Midway Drive, Midway District

(Has gone out of business since this article was published.)

“It’s everything we love,” says Shakedown Bar owner DeadTed. “Working in bars, building motorcycles, skateboarding, punk, rock and roll. It’s who we are.”

City Heights native DeadTed began working on cars and choppers when he was 19 and went on to learn the bar business at the Galaxy in Santa Ana, the Brixton in Redondo Beach, and the Viper Room. In August, he returned to San Diego with friends Cody Coons and Dangerous Dave Swain of the Queers to establish his own drinking hole at the former Midway District site of the Rhythm Lounge, rocking the motto “Booze, Bikes, Bands, Broads, and Rods.”

“No attitudes. No bullshit,” DeadTed says. “If you’re good people, you’re welcome.”

In addition to cheap cocktails and an array of customary taps, Shakedown sucker-punches the gutter punk in all of us with $3.50 tall cans of just about any malt liquor you can name.

“That’s all the shit we used to drink as kids,” DeadTed laughs, passing me a tall can of Olde English. “I used to be the Steel Reserve king.”

Shakedown further asserts its awesomeness by offering a donation-based bar-to-house ride service, with doorman Big John at the helm of a black Lincoln limousine.

Iconic ’80s San Diego punks Battalion of Saints take the stage, playing through a sound system dialed in by Chris Fields of the Dwarves. The narrow bar is packed with leather jackets, mohawks, and Doc Martens, which struggle to maintain footing on the beer-slick floor. A mosh pit erupts and stage divers appear through a mist of stray booze.

“I’m still too pissed off, too pissed on,” singer George Anthony says when asked why he’s the only original member of the group still rocking. “I mean, I’m not dead, yet.”

He is joined by bassist Mike Monster (the Spooky), guitarist Mike Shock (ADHD), and drummer Steve Gearbox (Total Chaos, Broken Needles).

With an in-house barber, spontaneous skateboard demos, local car clubs out every other Sunday, and bands like 45 Grave, Lee Ving (of Fear), and D.P.I. on stage, Shakedown is definitely carving out a niche of its own.

“It’s pretty easy,” says a grinning DeadTed, “when it’s all you know.”

Hours: 2–2 daily, 10–2 Sundays
Prices: $3.50 cocktails and tall cans, $3 drafts; dollar off till 7 p.m. daily
Food: $1.50 tacos, $2 burgers
Cover: Cheap to free
Max Cap: 98
The Deal: Schwag tall cans

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Did this take over the Rhythm Lounge? That place was there forever...

I was just at The Shakedown this past week & it was awesome! Kinda a funny-shaped building but the music rocked and the drinks were stiff. I would say to everybody: go check it out for a good time.

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