From the Archive: San Diego Uptown News

“Dr. Ink” did a nice piece about Aero Club, in September 2012.


“If you’re a whiskey lover, consider The Aero Club Bar your ultimate candy store. Fans of vodka and other spirits will also feel a rush when laying eyes upon Aero’s in-your-face wall of liquor boasting more than 750 bottles of booze, with about 500 of them revealing whiskeys of every genre.

Indecision strikes when leafing through a tome listing the liquid gold by category: Scottish, Irish, American, rye and “other worldly.” The pages continue endlessly while the burgeoning display of glass behind the bar will set your liver on fire.

During happy hour, shot pours are 50 cents off. They measure an ounce and a half, not counting the few extra dribbles that sneak into your rock glass. For whiskeys that begin exceeding $13 a pour, the discount may not apply.

The same price break applies to well drinks and myriad beers, which include about 20 drafts. But we came for the hard stuff and sipped gleefully to Lou Reed and David Bowie songs playing on the jukebox.

While my companions imbibed on a couple of summery Greyhounds (vodka and grapefruit juice), I zeroed in on Dalmore Single Malt Scotch, aged 12 years and served from a pretty bottle with a stag’s head stretching across the front. Priced at $8 with the discount, it was worth every cent.

“You’re going to want to try this straight up,” the knowledgeable bartender said as she discouraged me from diluting it with a splash of soda, which I commonly request when drinking the cheaper stuff at other bars. She was right. This scotch needed nothing more than an eager set of lips as the rush of light peat and orange spice began warming my throat.

It would take a whiskey connoisseur many years and mucho bucks to sample the entire list, considering that in the next few weeks, about 100 additional labels will be added to the inventory.

A number of whiskeys and other spirits dominate the wall behind Aero Club’s bar. 

“I always had this dream of a wall of liquor,” said owner Bill Lutzius, who purchased The Aero Club Bar in 2004 after running a tire shop in Orange County. “My whiskey buying was more of a compulsion that ended up to what it is today.”

Lutzius is among a string of owners who have run the joint since 1947 after it was originally founded by a female pilot. Vestiges of the aeronautical theme remain in the form of model airplanes hovering above the booze collection.

The clientele today is diversified, attracting bartenders from nearby downtown, 20- and 30-somethings escaping the club scene and occasional airport personnel that we presume do not include pilots gearing up for flight.”

The original post is here:

From the Archives: 10 Best

Katie Dillon of 10 Best, part of USA Today, wrote this post about Aero in September 2012.



“Yes, it’s a dive bar. The Aero Club has a local following that’s been loyal for decades. Located near the San Diego airport on India street, the drinks are reasonably priced, poured with a usually heavy hand, and the service is friendly. There’s no food, but there’s a tractor beam-like draw to the place once you set foot inside the door.Expect plenty of neon, a jukebox, pool tables and TVs playing old movies. The vibe is typically chill whether it’s day or night. Go to truly unwind in your casual garb. Leave the little black dress and attitude at home. Come here for a change of pace from the downtown scene or to continue on your usual one.

The bar stocks over 450 whiskeys. That’s 450 whiskeys available on a menu for you to order as you will. Flights of whiskey start at just $20 and about 20 beers are usually on tap. There’s a list of specialty and traditional cocktails, as well. The wall of liquor holds over 750 bottles!

The Aero Club is perhaps nicer than a lot of other dives, but it’s still a dive. Parking isn’t great, but patrons don’t complain about it. Just be mindful that it’s street parking, but with drinks like this you’re better off taking a taxi anyway.”

Click here for the original story:

From the Archives: UT San Diego

Early in 2013, Keli Dailey did a whiskey bar article — we were featured in it.


Here’s the blurb:

“Over the years it’s been a chancy place to let your guard down (nicknamed “The San Diego Gun and Knife Club” in the ‘60s), a cop bar, a long-haul driver clubhouse and a Yelp meet-up spot… The Aero Club–started by a female pilot, hence the Delta Dart aircraft on the neon sign out front–took off in 1947.

Right now it’s gloriously overrun with whiskeys.

Owner Bill Lutzius houses up to 600 brands, I’m told– those shelves are congested with bottles. I haven’t tallied up the barrel-aged bourbons, the Canadian blends, the Japanese whiskeys, the single malts, the fruity liqueurs, the peaty waters from Scotland and other styles beyond (blech! Irish whiskey). But it takes 50-plus pages to list all of Aero Club’s whiskeys (ask for this bound book at the bar).

There are tasting notes in that whiskepedia: For “spicy pepper, green wood and malt…together with a splash of rye whiskey,” find the entry from a top American distillery, Roughstock Montana Whiskey. Get their Cask Strength neat for $13.

Of note: The Aero Club has a jukebox (Johnny Cash), pool table, well-worn booths, whiskey flights, and a paper-lanterns-and-Christmas-lights sensibility. Maxim recently featured it as the magazine’s Dive Bar of the Month.”

The rest of the story is here:

From the Archives: San Diego City Beat

Ian Cheesman of San Diego City Beat did this story about Aero Club last year:


“At first blush, The Aero Club Bar (3365 India St. in Middletown, wouldn’t seem to be the type of place that would capture my attention. While it offers 20 taps, only about seven of those handles rotate, usually with craft brew coming standard. Aero Club doesn’t offer beer flights, unless you already order your tasters four pint glasses at a time. There’s not even any food. And yet there is one inescapable factor to acknowledge: I want to drink here.

I’ve always had a fondness for dive bars. Beer just tastes better with the looming fear of being stabbed. Of course, my delicate suburban tooshie wouldn’t really have crossed the Aero Club’s threshold back when it was lovingly dubbed “The San Diego Gun and Knife Club” some 50 years ago, but those days are long behind it. Now it’s better known as a Maxim “Dive Bar of the Month,” an honor that owner Bill Lutzius will proudly verify with magazine clippings with little provocation.

Lutzius, like the Aero Club itself, is utterly disinterested in fashion or pretense. He has a deep love of neon lighting and happily adorns any exposed surface with it. His flat-screen TVs flanking the bar eschew brawny sporting events in favor of old-timey silent movies. It’s a blender full of anachronisms that should not harmoniously coexist, but somehow, in the context of an odd little bar that attracts interesting people, it succeeds beautifully.

Like any dive bar worth its salt, the Aero Club has an unwavering commitment to inebriation. This is best exemplified by its wall of more than 450 whiskies, a sight that makes my mouth water and my liver recoil in terror. With whiskey flights starting at $20, you can finally decide if the Speyside single malts or Scottish lowland whiskies deserve the crown for best scotch. The beer’s not without its charms, as well, since all are served here “on nitro” (meaning it uses nitrogen to produce a creamier head and more mellow mouthfeel than carbonated brews). That’s a mixed bag for me, but it delivers old favorites in a new way and is worth a whirl.

I can’t say The Aero Club is cool or conveniently located, but I can say I’ll be going back.”



Name: John

Where are you originally from? Boston

How long have you worked for Aero Club? About 3 ½ years

What shifts do you usually work? Saturdays, Sundays, Mondays, & Thursdays – 7pm – Close

What’s the Best Part of Your Job? The customers and regulars, we have the best!

Favorite cocktail? Old Fashioned

Favorite Beer? Racer 5 or Sculpin

Favorite whiskey? Woodford Reserve, Single Malt

Favorite spirit? No, doubt…WHISKEY!

When you are off, where do you like to hang out? Go home and chill and try to be sleep by 5am.

Do you have any tattoos? What is it and what’s the story? Strangely, Chad and I have both have Geisha girl tattoos on our arms and we didn’t even know it until recently!



Name: Chad, the Bar Manager

Where are you originally from? Southwest PA

How long have you worked for Aero Club? 8 years

What shifts do you usually work? Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays – 7pm to Close

What’s the Best Part of Your Job? Working at a place that I’m passionate about

Favorite cocktail? Anything that’s shaken or muddled

Favorite Beer? The four rotating taps

Favorite whiskey? Generally, the Wheated Bourbons

Favorite spirit? Whiskey, for sure. But Gin is a close second.

When you are off, where do you like to hang out? Finishing a whiskey guide book. Hanging out with my fiancé Laura. We’re expecting a baby!

Do you have any tattoos? What is it and what’s the story? Yeah…
Traveling has been a great influence and my tattoos reflect my life experiences.



Name:  Annie

Where are you originally from? St. Louis

How long have you worked for Aero Club? Since September 2013

What shifts do you usually work? Mondays & Saturdays – afternoon shift

What’s the Best Part of Your Job? Being around all this whiskey.

Favorite cocktail? The Aero Cream Soda — I love it!

Favorite Beer?  Black Walnut Dunkel

Favorite whiskey?  Double Chocolate Bourbon by Pritchard

Favorite spirit? WHISKEY, of course!

When you are off, where do you like to hang out? I’m into photography — so you can find me shooting around town and at punk shows.

Do you have any tattoos? What is it and what’s the story?  A sleeve dedicated to Missouri.

Page 3 of 41234