Lapping it up with Christina Ricci and Blondie

An homage to dying your hair, early NYC punk, and Blondie’s Camp Funtime T-shirt

Blonde channels CBGB into modern day through punk-rock patchwork.
  • Blonde channels CBGB into modern day through punk-rock patchwork.
  • Image by Chris Woo

Blonde Bar

1808 W. Washington Street, Mission Hills

At the unruly age of 16, the former Bar Dynamite bleached its mop and jutted its chin as Blonde Bar. Open since August, Blonde channels a ’70s CBGB into modern day through the punk-rock patchwork imagery of totem poles, Moloko Plus font, and a blown-up portrait of Christina Ricci from Buffalo 66. Wait, what?

Owner Allen Colaneri, who cut his booking and bartending chops at the Void and the Office, developed the concept as an homage to dying your hair, early NYC punk, and Blondie’s Camp Funtime T-shirt featuring a totem pole that the bar has adopted as its emblem.

“We lightly follow the Blonde theme aesthetically, like in our bathrooms and the mural of Christina,” Colaneri says. “I just found that image special. Melancholy, mysterious, sad, mischievous. So l put it up. Most people can’t tell who that is. I still love the movie after watching it a million times, so it’s just a fun thing to have. The Moloko menu, inspired by A Clockwork Orange, just randomly happened one day. Aaron, our barback and chalkboard dude, started writing our beer menu in a similar font so I asked him to do it. I think we may actually make almond-milk cocktails with those names.”

There’s a healthy amount of whimsy to Blonde’s design, but at the heart of it stands a bit of everything that seems to work in San Diego: 16 taps of choice beer, an imaginative cocktail menu pre-batched daily and crafted by Jeremiah Zimmerman (who you may recognize from folk-rock outfit the Silent Comedy and behind the bar at El Dorado), quality multi-genre music booking, and a chummy neighborhood bar feel. Add to that a tap of draft kombucha, a staff of close-knit artists and musicians, and the happy hour ($5 cocktails!) “human jukebox” aka a vinyl shelf curated by customers, employees, and guest musicians, and you’ve got one solid zeitgeist of a watering hole.

The cocktail of the hour is Life on Mars, a spirit-forward swirl of Illegal mezcal, Herradura tequila, green chartreuse, and fresh lime. The stage, meanwhile, has seen performances from Animal Collective and Kid Koala along with residents Bump, Dance Klassique, Redwoods Social, Ceremony Night, Planet B/Three One G, and tributes to the likes of Elliot Smith, the Strokes, and Joy Division.

Get your hair did on NYE with Moving Units and the Lulls. 20 bucks presale.

Blonde Bar

1808 W. Washington Street, Mission Hills

Prices: beer, $5–$7; cocktails, $10

Food: gourmet tacos next door at Lucha Libre

Hours: 5 pm to 2 am daily

Happy: 5 to 9 PM daily; half off cocktails, $2 drafts

Parking: lot next to Palomar Market

Capacity: 165

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Just for the record, it was Vincent Gallo who bleached Christina Ricci's hair to blonde Ricci was very upset having this done and remained angry at Gallo until she realized how genious the move was. Even keeping her hair blonde for her next film.

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