Kilowatt Brewing recently opened its third location, a satellite tasting room in Oceanside, but there’ll be no rest for owners Steve Kozyk and Rachel Fischer. Later this week, they’ll debut Kilowatt’s fourth venue, a speakeasy called Forbidden Cove that’s built into the business suite abutting the company’s Kearny Mesa headquarters.
The 1,200-square-foot former karaoke spot recently became available when the previous owners ran into snags obtaining a liquor license. Kozyk and Fischer snatched it up with the idea of celebrating their shared love for tiki bars. In doing so, they took inspiration from traditional and modern interpretations on that genre, including numerous inspirations gleaned at this year’s Tiki Oasis extravaganza at Mission Valley’s Crowne Plaza Hotel.
“The tiki revival’s been awesome. It’s just mind-boggling how the envelope keeps getting pushed,” says Kozyk. “We’ve always been interested in it, so it feels natural. It’s been fun trying to cultivate a space like this while blending in elements of what Kilowatt is known for.”
Such hallmarks include creative lighting design, black-light art and sleight-of-hand artistry. The latter shows upon entry to the speakeasy. In addition to accessing Forbidden Cove through a wall designed to blend into an array of barrel racks, guests will be treated to a spectacle involving infinity mirrors, colorful glass Japanese fishing floats, an eight-foot tiki god (one of two in the building) and more.
“It’s like a tropical island cove far away from the city,” explains Kozyk. “This place is all about complete escapism that’s different, mysterious, comforting and spurs the imagination.”
Forbidden Cove is outfitted in a variety of tiki elements, a number of which were sourced from estate sales as well as local enthusiasts. Kozyk says that some fans of the genre were so excited to have their pieces as part of such an inspired project that they donated them. This is particularly impressive given the fact Forbidden Cove is a pop-up of sorts, which will be open roughly 18 months, then disappear forever. The building housing it, Kilowatt’s brewery and other businesses is slated for demolition, something Kozyk and Fischer have come to terms with. In the end, their love of tiki and desire to create something fun and different made it worth the work they put into realizing their speakeasy vision.
Beverage options include concoctions and “non-distilled brewed spirits” made with Kilowatt’s Ziely sister line of adult beverages, which includes hard seltzers and other alcoholic beverages. There will also be island-inspired beers such as a pineapple-coconut blonde ale and Chardonnay barrel-aged Belgian-style golden strong ale with apricots, both of which will be on tap when the venue debuts to the public. Guests may also press a button to open a secret window leading to Kilowatt’s tasting room, where they can order anything on tap there.
Forbidden Cove will soft-open this Friday, beginning at 5 p.m. Initially, the venue will be open 5 p.m. to midnight, Fridays and Saturdays, though hours may expand based on public reception. The Forbidden Cove’s can hold 35 patrons at a time. To reserve a spot at the speakeasy, people are required to sign up online. Forbidden Cove is located inside Kilowatt Brewing at 7576 Clairemont Mesa Boulevard.