From the Archives: San Diego Beer Insider

Last year, Shawn from San Diego Beer Insider did a story about Aero Club and the Regal Beagle down the street.

Here is the part where he talks about Aero:
“The 1st noteworthy stop is the Aero Club. The Aero Club is a San Diego Institution and is a throw back to the days when San Diego was a world leader in the aerospace industry.

I have a sentimental attachment to this bar as well. Several years ago I was on a date with a hot girl. We had been on a few dates and I really dug her, but this one wasn’t going my way and looked like it might be the last. I happened to live in this area at the time so  I asked if we could stop for a drink on the way back. She agreed and we wound up having a great time and discussion. We were married a couple of years later and she is still the love of my life.


The Aero Club is a pretty small place and the pool tables in the back are so squeezed in that they have some sawed off sticks to make those difficult shots. I’m including this bar with the beer bars although they actually have turned more into a whiskey bar; a recent change since for years they were licensed for beer only. They were evidently pretty excited about the modified liquor license, they have about as huge of a spirits collection as I’ve seen.”

Check out the original story here:

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.”

How To Master Mixology

Cocktail ideas for On-premise Mixologists

Every other month, via the digital edition of Bar Business Magazine, our new MIXED UP column offers bartenders and consumers a collection of recipes for the modern mixologist to implement on-premise or off, across the spirits spectrum, So break out the bar tools and get to it!

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