Last week, Black Plague Brewing signed a lease on a tasting room spot that will give the Oceanside-based company a presence in one of the most high-profile neighborhoods in San Diego—North Park. Located at 2855 El Cajon Boulevard, the 2,000-square-foot former mattress store will be outfitted with between 18 and 22 wall taps, a “shark fin” bar, live-edge Torrey pine tables and a step-up mezzanine lounge with couches and a retail area. The venue will have room for 99 souls, while an outdoor patio will provide seating for roughly 24 additional guests.
“The design aspects will highlight a time capsule of the Black Plague era, with a museum of oddities and plague-doctor décor, a heavy black colorway with industrial steel finishings and live-wood accents,” says Black Plague co-founder Jordan Hoffart. “We’ll be incorporating a lot of art pieces on the walls, with a large wall projector for video premieres and special events.”
Hoffart says an open floor concept, patio, roll-up doors and prime location on a main drag were assets that led his team to select their new space. Also attractive were brick accent walls, exposed ceiling beams, and becoming neighbors with next-door eateries, Empanada Kitchen and The Heart and Trotter Butchery.
“Originally, we were looking up north towards the Long Beach, L.A. area, but it began to feel like we were forcing something to happen up there, with little or no organic vibe,” says Hoffart. “Initially, we thought North Park may be a bit too saturated, but after visiting the local spots more frequently, we realized the area continues to thrive and the culture seems to be getting stronger than ever. I feel like we can contribute to the culture and bring some of our own following into the mix.”
The current hope is for construction to be completed in time for the North Park tasting room to open in May, ahead of the busy summer season. While this is the only Black Plague satellite in the works at present, Hoffart says his team is always on the lookout for quality project sites and that, once North Park is complete, he will begin humoring the idea of additional tasting rooms.
For now, he is focused on doubling last year’s production numbers, targeting 5,000 barrels of beer in 2020. The current annual capacity at Black Plague’s Oceanside brewery is 8,000 barrels. To help sell all that extra beer, the company is expanding its distribution footprint to include Arizona. Its beers will be placed throughout the entire state by Quail Distributing beginning next month. Hoffart says Arizona’s blossoming craft beer scene and rich skateboard history make for a combination that fits perfectly with Black Plague’s dual brand culture.