Built in 1947 by Maryann Prophet, a pilot, and her husband, owner of a number of vending machines in San Diego, the Aero Club was originally intended to be a place where Maryann and her high-flying friends could enjoy a cocktail and pass the time telling tall tales of aerial exploits.
The iconic neon sign, visible from Lindbergh Airport, is of a Delta Dart.
Through the years the Aero Club has cultivated a colorful history,including a period in the 1960s when, after being sold by the Prophets.
Naturally, the next time the bar was sold, in the 1970s, it became a favorite of off-duty (or not) police officers. When the owner at the time finished for the evening, usually around 11 p.m., he would simply leave the keys to the front door with one of the law-enforcing customers. At the end of the night, the last one to leave simply locked the door and tossed the keys through the mail slot and thought nothing of it.
Facing closure in the 1980s, a group of locally-based Greyhound Bus drivers pooled their resources and purchased the Aero Club as a sort of makeshift clubhouse ideally situated for long-haul drivers right off the I-5.
Like we said, “colorful.”
Owned since 2004 by Bayridge, Brooklyn native Bill Lutzius, the Aero Club now boasts 800+ whiskies, the most of any bar in San Diego and competitive with any bar in America.
The Aero Club has been named one of America’s top dive bars by Maxim.