Bar Pink’s former space now listens to the bar

SAN DIEGO — On weekend nights, there was a line up for a new “listening bar” concept that took over the space of the North Park institution, the Bar Pink on 30th street.

If queuing to get into a bar isn’t your thing, don’t worry – it’s not Arsalun Tafazoli’s preference either.

Tafazoli is co-founder of Consortium Holdings, the team behind some of San Diego’s best places to eat and drink, and their latest venture is still in its infancy after opening in early June.

His first recommendation for those who want to visit the new bar and record store, Part Time Lover: “Don’t go there on the weekend.

It’s not often a business owner discouraged people to enter the building, especially during prime time to generate buzz and revenue. But that’s how seriously the team behind Part Time Lover takes their intended experience.

Large crowds might be a good problem to have, but Tafazoli dove straight into it unprompted during a phone call with earlier this week.

He’s not shy about acknowledging online reviews that praise the vibe and concept while bemoaning a 30-minute wait for a drink at the bar. He doesn’t like seeing queues at the door of what he says will be “a very laid-back community space”.

“It’s really special that we have the support that we are and that it resonates with people,” he said.

But ultimately: “The response was much stronger than we anticipated.”

Tafazoli thinks that will balance out in due course, with some first-time visitors not returning and a small group of knowledgeable regulars forming. In the meantime, he recommends checking out the concept on a weekday, close to 4 p.m.

When the time is right, Tafazoli says “it can be magic”.

The space is designed as a “dream living room,” with comfortable furnishings and a world-class sound system, featuring huge speakers and a designated booth for music selectors, who play records on vinyl. .

Folk Arts Rare Records, a well-respected name among local collectors, runs a new retail space at Part Time Lover, with staff members selling records and curating the bar’s essential soundtrack.

Tafazoli raves about the virtues of listening to music on vinyl with a high-fidelity audio system, at a time when we have grown accustomed to compressed digital files and small headphones.

He places all his trust in Popular Arts. Tafazoli says record collecting — rummaging through crates, finding and preserving precious pieces of music made physical — is more a way of life than a hobby.

When he first took up the chase and sought advice, knowledgeable friends repeatedly directed him to the University Avenue record store, which had been in business since 1967. Today, Folk Arts lends authority to the space, helping to attract other top-notch breeders to come and play to the fullest. sides of their collection at the bar.

They don’t play the Top 40. Often they don’t even play the hip-hop and punk music that made Tafazoli a music lover. Instead, it’s a very eclectic mix, the best of the best from a wide range of influences.

“From Arabic disco to soundscape,” Tafazoli said with a laugh. It’s a contrast to the wide-spread soundtrack pumped out at many other bars in San Diego. The weekend crowd is mostly used to yelling at it.

That’s part of why he expected to have the reverse problem a month after opening, Tafazoli said. He thought people might find the music “too bizarre”, the concept “too esoteric” to attract an audience.

That was probably the case for some first-time visitors in the first few weeks, and it’s okay if it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, he told FOX 5 “We don’t try to be everything to everyone.”

It was important to Tafazoli, however, to pay homage to the hallowed grounds of Bar Pink, a longtime favorite of the local music scene. It definitively closed its doors in 2020, another company victim of the pandemic.

The team gutted and refreshed the bathroom floors and fixtures, but left the show’s posters plastered on their walls in their original state, providing a burst of nostalgia for those longing for the days of Pink. The former bar’s managing partner, Dang Nguyen, also remains as manager.

And just like its predecessor, Part Time Lover is at its best when the music takes center stage. The space is designed so guests can relax and soak up the sound, not stand in the middle of a buzzing crowd, Tafazoli said. The team even designed their menu to avoid any loud shaking and stirring or mixers for drinks.

As more people enjoy the experience provided there, Tafazoli thinks Part Time Lover can become a “hub for the neighborhood” — not a splashy, exclusive club, but a lounge for the local audiophile.

He is already seeing glimpses of this reality.

“When you catch it at the right time, it’s really special,” he told FOX 5.

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