Anyone who has ever trolled the Carlsbad Crawl — you know, the craze where you hit every awesome bar in downtown Carlsbad’s four-block radius — knows that there are really only a couple places to see live music. And really, what’s better than seeing and hearing live music when you’re getting totally plastered? Unfortunately, no one knows the crawl like I do and I will tell you from personal experience that there aren’t that many places that actually offer good music in downtown Carlsbad. What about the Coyote Bar, you ask? Well, the Coyote would be fun if you’re a senior looking to hear bad, bland blues covers who wants to watch Grandma get down with poor young tourists who don’t know a dance move from their Hawaiian-print dress shirts; in fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen good dancing there. It’s always been this drunk sort of sloshing about that crescendos into a flailing of arms and ties and bad sports coats by the end of the night. It’s really quite a spectacle to behold if you’ve never been.
Unfortunately, I’ve been to Coyote more times than I’d like to admit and every time it seems less impressive. The bands are almost always run of the mill cover bands, playing safe and easy tunes that are as boring as all get out. The only cool band that ever played there was Hot Rod Lincoln and that was a few years ago. But those boys do know how to boogie! Now don’t get me wrong, if you’re older and looking to watch a band play smooth jazz and James Taylor songs while sipping your martini, then Coyote is perfect for you. But if you’re a restless 20-something looking for a good rock band to listen to while sipping a few beers with your friends — hoping to stumble upon the next AC/DC or Motorhead — then you’ve got to look elsewhere for that.
Just across the way is Boar Cross’n. This place used to be the one bar most people would avoid going to while following the route of the crawl. I’m not sure exactly why this was but this section of downtown Carlsbad really had a stigma for belonging to a much older scene and that drove most of the younger drunks to places like the Cantina and Pizza Port. Well that is the case no more my friends and loyal readers!
The Boar is under new and younger ownership now, and they’ve been doing their best to totally revamp the entire look and vibe of the place making it more youth-friendly, and it is killer! They’ve made some incredible changes with not only the aesthetics of the place but also its offerings: no longer is it a stale, drab place no one wants to hang out in. The place is so underrated it’s not even funny. They’ve got a killer room full of pool tables and plasma TVs, a fully stocked bar (always an important factor for bars), and one of the coolest stage setups around — complete with pro lighting and sound equipment. Eventually, the new owners plan on opening it up into two stories with even more room for bigger shows and bigger lounge areas. Boar is really setting itself up to become not only a premier and permanent destination along the infamous Carlsbad Crawl, but also a premier music venue for North County.
One of the best changes by far comes with the push for a lot of live shows they’ve been hosting on a weekly basis now. They’ve created a revolving music showcase every Thursday night called The Scene (I’m a fan of this moniker myself, ahem), and what a scene it is!
The Scene showcases several local bands each Thursday night but the main idea is that every week, the venue will feature a different “scene” of music. One week will feature reggae bands, the following week maybe techno and deejays, the following week rap groups, and another week metal or indie. Chances are, no matter what your musical tastes are, if you’re in the area and stop in for a beer on Thursday ($1 Bud/Bud Light on this day too), you’re going to dig what’s going on there. The cover is unbeatable compared to other venues in the area, charging only $5 a pop to get in and if that wasn’t enough, Boar is also offering killer drink specials like $1 Bud/Bud Lights on Fridays and Saturdays (from 8 to 10 p.m.), which is almost unheard of during the weekend.
The Scene has already hosted a slew of incredible bands featured in this column such as Irieside, Despite the Wolves, and other local punk notables like The Hillstreet Stranglers, as well as Fenix TX, The Maxies, and countless others. Upcoming shows include Hot Topic-sponsored dance-glam monstrosity Blood On The Dance Floor on April 23 (this band may be worse than Jeffree Star if that’s even possible); Chula Vista reggae act Stranger on April 16; and local metal boys Despite the Wolves finishing out the month April 30.
Stop into the Boar Cross’n next to Spin Records next time you’re hanging out in downtown Carlsbad. I think you’ll like what you see. For more info on shows, drink specials, and other fun and exciting things, visit www.myspace.com/boarcrossn.
Filed Under: Scene and Heard