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Historic bar expands with new patio, new food options

A historic bar that has been a staple watering hole in Leucadia since the ’50s has received a breath of new life over the last year with several updates including a new patio, new cuisine and new local partnerships that added to its divey past with something the whole neighborhood can enjoy.

Now called the Leucadian, the bar was formerly known as Bar Leucadian and a handful of other names throughout its history. It was first opened as Johnny’s Beer Bar in 1954 by Army-veteran John Kentera and his brother Andy and eventually became The Leucadian Bar and Restaurant.

Together, new owners David Shapiro, Michael Chopp and Doug Sondomowicz made several updates before reopening the bar in October 2021, including a fresh coat of paint on the outside, new interior upgrades that maintain a retro look, and new bar games like pool, darts, arcade machines and shuffleboard.

With the passing of another full year and a warm reception from the community, the Leucadian has since received even more upgrades including a new back patio that has helped the bar to expand and offer more entertainment space as well as local food.

The patio comes complete with fire pit heaters, chairs and cuisine from Jarle Saupstad’s Smoke & Salt backyard barbeque, which offers options from around the world including pork belly, smoked brisket and more.

Today, the Leucadian has been transformed into a comfortable neighborhood bar that Shapiro said both younger crowds and older generations often enjoy side-by-side.

The bar is even dog friendly as long as its canine patrons are friendly as well.

“You’ll have 20-somethings sitting next to 60-somethings,” Shapiro said. “It’s just a very comfortable, local Leucadian landmark in one of the greatest neighborhoods.”

Despite the many necessary updates the business partners have made to the Leucadian, they have also kept much of its classic personal touches like the old nautical decorations and the original bar top.

In the past, the bar has been known as a venue for live music. Although the bar is not yet permitted to offer live music, they hope to bring it back in the future.

More recently, the bar was able to partner with the Leucadia 101 Main Street Association which had a temporary permit to provide live music in the bar’s parking lot on Small Business Saturday.

Hundreds of people were in attendance.

“It was beautiful,” Shapiro said. “We absolutely loved working with them.”

Shapiro hopes to partner with Leucadia 101 and other local organizations and charities again for similar events.

While the Leucadian isn’t technically a sports bar, the bar has become one on demand with great turnouts for NFL football, World Cup soccer matches and especially for games featuring the San Diego Padres.

Sports fans or not, patrons to the Leucadian will find themselves right at home within the cozy bar.

“We have a great staff, and we love our community,” Shapiro said. “We hope to be around for another 50 or 60 years.”

The Leucadian Bar is located at 1542 N. Coast Hwy 101 in Encinitas. Open hours are from 12 p.m. to 12 a.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 12 a.m. on Sundays for NFL.

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