That nice homey feel

Sam Chammas shares the nooks and crannies of East County

Sam Chammas at the produce market on Chase Avenue: “Middle Eastern markets are my daytime discotheques.”
  • Sam Chammas at the produce market on Chase Avenue: “Middle Eastern markets are my daytime discotheques.”
  • Image by Andy Boyd

Live Wire

2103 El Cajon Boulevard, University Heights

Whistle Stop Bar

2236 Fern Street, South Park

Sam Chammas, the co-owner (with Joe Austin) of the Live Wire and Whistle Stop is part of San Diego’s roots-rock era of the 1980s and ’90s led by the Beat Farmers and Mojo Nixon but which also included bands he played in such as the Outriders, Sons of Disaster, and Carnivorous Lunar Activity.

You moved to the East County six years ago...

“There are all kinds of nooks and crannies, like the Middle Eastern produce market on Chase Avenue where they are always playing great Middle Eastern Dance music while you’re shopping for your fresh baked pita bread or goat cheese. Middle Eastern markets are my daytime discotheques. Daytime is the new nighttime.”

The Spring Valley Inn gave birth to the Beat Farmers...

“It’s now a youth actors theater. Right across from there is a wonderful place called Pho and Grill. The other good places out here are Urbn Pizza and the Italian restaurant Arrivederci [both in El Cajon].”

Next Big Thing in East County?

“There is a rumor that a great ’90s rock musician is opening a place in a wide-open field just off the 8 that will have hay bales and bands and barbecue. That’s all I can say...”

Edwards Mira Mesa

10733 Westview Parkway, Mira Mesa

Any other East County destinations?

“The Edwards Theater in Rancho San Diego is a great place to see blockbuster films when they first come out because you don’t have to wait in line. I saw a lot of people from North Park who came here just for that reason when the new Star Wars movie came out.”

You stopped having bands at the Live Wire ten years ago. Who always gets it at the Whistle Stop?

“It’s always a magic night when the Donkeys play. The Schizophonics make me want to be in a band again.”

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