After completing a $17 million renovation and expansion over five years, Horton Plaza Park in the Gaslamp Quarter finally reopened to the public last May. More than 200 events will be held there annually, and three retailers including Starbucks have been added to sell refreshments to park visitors. Local organizations and businesses can hold events in the 1.9-acre park, which includes a new amphitheater and interactive fountain. Check out the Park Unplugged series bringing live music to the park on Saturdays and Sundays. The urban park also has free WIFI.
The 53,000-square-foot venue is known for its historic landmark fountain (separate from the interactive fountain mentioned above), built in 1910. One of my initial worries about the centrally-located park was that it would draw in the homeless population downtown — especially because of the public restrooms — but the security cameras and police patrols are meant to deter that. On my most recent visit, I was pleased to see that didn’t seem to be an issue.
Around the corner from the park, Quad Alehouse opened last summer above Gaslamp Tavern on the third level. With 28 craft beers on tap, the dinner menu is focused on smoked meats and house-made sausages. Get your meat as a sandwich, salad or plate, and add a side like the smoked mac n’ cheese or kale broccoli slaw. The cheese and charcuterie boards are great to start with, or try the onion rings with malt vinegar aioli. For a lighter dish, try the apple & blue cheese salad or the ahi tuna slider. For a meat-tastic meal, opt for the brisket or pulled pork (or get it added to your mac n’ cheese). Don’t skip out on dessert at Quad Alehouse, where you can get a “snikker’s bar” (vanilla ice cream with chocolate ganache, egg cream mousse, smoked peanuts and caramel) or a beer shake (stout with vanilla ice cream and bourbon sweet cream).
Since the beer taps are always rotating, you can check out different brews like Green Flash’s Passion Fruit Kicker wheat ale or Societe’s The Bachelorette pale lager. If beer isn’t your thing, try one of the beer-inspired cocktails like the Summer Saison with whiskey, cloves, lemon, lactose, vermouth and pineapple syrup. Take advantage of happy hour Monday through Friday from 4 to 7 p.m., and enjoy weekend brunch from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.