By Athena Mekis
The Gaslamp Restaurant and Bar entertains family and friends with a load of activities every day of the week. The owners Alicia Shelton and Jennifer McDonald are continually changing people’s opinion of The Gaslamp.
The previous owners had received complaints because of their customers’ boisterous behavior, but Shelton and McDonald fashion each event respectfully. “I want people to keep an open mind and come experience for themselves,” Shelton said. Stained wood, stucco walls and dim chandeliers give it a European elegance. The décor is sophisticated and formal yet comfortable and friendly.
Happy hours are 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, but the fun doesn’t start until after 8 p.m. They serve burgers two for $1 as well as $3 Bud Lights and Coronas, and they never charge a cover. Depending on the customers, the kitchen usually closes around 10 p.m. so there is always plenty of time to grab a delicious appetizer like the gnocchi, or go all out with a cowboy steak and enjoy the show.
Mondays (Closed): Private parties and banquets only. Call (562) 596-4718 to make a reservation.
Tuesdays (5 p.m. to 1 a.m.): Comedy night is not for the faint of heart or the easily offended. Chris Simpson hosts and organizes the show. It begins at 8:30 with a novice comedian. The MC, usually Simpson, follows. Then, a nationally recognized comedian tells jokes he normally wouldn’t on a network T.V. station. Finally, the headliner finishes the show by 10 p.m. with hilarious observations and personal experiences. Simpson said, “We view this as a civil jury. We ask for the majority to laugh.” New comics do stand-up every six months so there will always be new material to titillate customer’s minds.
Wednesdays (5 p.m. to 1 a.m.): The wine meeting is held in the dining section from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Entertainment changes every week with DJs and live acoustic rock. Although soon there will be a Las Vegas-style hypnotist show where everyone will be part of the fun.
Thursdays (5 p.m. to 1 a.m.): The socialites arrive for the wine tasting between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. It is $20 for 6 tastes (2-3 oz.) of wine. Many attendees are over 40, but a few younger people take part in the adult recreation. Guitar virtuoso Frank Potenza has a classic voice like Sinatra. He plays for the audience from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. By 9 p.m. most of the wine tasters leave and Generation Y sits around the bar to listen to ‘90s covers from the band 90s210.
Fridays (5 p.m. to 1 a.m.): The ‘80s tribute band Knyght Ryder is extremely popular among The Gaslamp crowd. Reservations are strongly recommended so that customers may sit level with the stage and view the energy on the dance floor. Ladies are in heels and gentlemen wear collared tees. Everyone appears as if they were models. That’s why they have a photo booth titled “You Ought to Be in Pictures.”
Saturdays (5 p.m. to 1 a.m.): DJ DeLa spins top 40 hits from the ‘80s, ‘90s and today. The DJ and his equipment glow neon blue. The dance floor illuminates with spinning lights and the bass thumps deep into the crowd on the dance floor. The ‘80s and ‘90s songs were originally rock, but, by the time DJ DeLa plays them, the beat parallels his dance music.
Sundays (2 p.m. to 8 p.m.): Different live bands play for what looks like a family reunion BBQ. One band, Big Noise, plays vintage rock-n-roll covers from artists such as Creedence and The Stones. There is an all-BBQ menu ranging from $6 tri-tip sandwiches to a $15 plate of BBQ favorites. Take advantage now because in October Sundays will be reserved for private parties and banquets.
The Gaslamp Restaurant & Bar is located at 6251 E. Pacific Coast Highway. Business hours are Tuesday through Saturday 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. and Sunday 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. Contact The Gaslamp at (562) 833-7026 or www.thegaslamprestaurant.com.