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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