Gaslamp Quarter celebrates Padres’ home opener during “thoroughFARE”

| July 25, 2020 | 0 Comments

(San Diego, CA) Although it comes nearly four months late, the San Diego Padres took on the Arizona Diamondbacks in an empty Petco Park for their home opener on Friday night, July 24. To celebrate the return of America’s Pastime, the Gaslamp District invited several chalk artists to create Padres-themed artwork along Fifth Avenue as part of the new “thoroughFARE: Outdoor/Curbside Dining & Shopping in the Gaslamp” initiative.

Padre Sidewalk Chalk Art by Cecilia Linayao.

From Thursday through Sunday evenings, a six-block stretch of Fifth Avenue is closed to vehicular traffic to allow more than 40 participating merchants to expand their footprints into the street for socially-distanced dining or shopping. In order to follow Health Department guidelines, all individuals are requested to wear masks and practice safe physical distancing of at least six feet while walking along the street or entering any establishment.

Chalk artists Meg Beverly Canilang and her father Antonio Canilang were busy putting the finishing touches on their mural of a Padres player sliding into third base on the street in between Island Ave. and J Street. The pair have been doing public chalk art since 2008, beginning at the Little Italy Festival and expanding to exhibitions in Carlsbad, the San Diego County Fair, and as far away as Florida.

Chalk artist Meg Beverly Canilang puts the finishing touches on her San Diego Padres-themed mural on Fifth Avenue in the Gaslamp Quarter.

“She was always with me doing the background,” explained Antonio, who started doing chalk art originally. “Then after two years she asked if she could do her own square. She has done her own square every year since then, and now she’s the main artist and I’m the helper.”

“The thing I like about doing chalk murals is that I’m outside and doing big pieces,” said Meg who is a 21-year-old Paint and Printmaking Major at Southwestern College. “So many people come by and give you compliments about your work, and it just makes me feel good about myself.”

While the chalk murals were a nice addition to “thoroughFARE,” the real draw is the al fresco dining at restaurants along the heart of the Gaslamp Quarter. Even early in the afternoon, while many establishments were still setting up for the evening rush, several eateries had multiple groups enjoying meals and drinks. At barleymash, a popular locale near Fifth and Market, Jake and Amy (no last names given) had been joined by family members to celebrate Amy’s 21st birthday.

Jake (front left) and Amy (back right) were joined by Amy’s family and friends to celebrate her 21st birthday at barleymash in the Gaslamp Quarter.

Asked about dining on the street, Jake admitted, “It’s definitely different. You definitely would not expect it, but I’m glad they made accommodations to open up this place and make it happen for people.”

“I’m glad to be out,” commented Amy, adding, “It’s better than being at my house. I’m really lucky to be here with my family today.”

Restaurateurs are also feeling fortunate for the opportunity to expand onto the streets, and they give the Gaslamp Association credit for making it all possible. “It really helped us that the Gaslamp Association gave us the opportunity to do this outside and keep it set up seven days a week,” said Sevilla Restaurant and Tapas General Manager Allyson McKeag. “It really helps with our bottom line, our sales, making sure everyone has a good time and feels comfortable being six feet away and having distance outside.”

Sevilla Restaurant and Tapas General Manager Allyson McKeag

Lisa Presley, General Manager of The Field, echoed those sentiments. “The Gaslamp Association has gone above and beyond by getting permits straightened away, getting umbrellas, the curbside extensions, everything.” The 22-year Gaslamp staple, a true family-owned Irish pub, was especially hard hit by the Covid closures. “It was very hard, especially in an Irish bar being closed the day before St. Patrick’s Day,” Presley lamented. “Obviously we were shut down for a couple of months. As soon as we could we started doing the takeout food five days a week.”

Lisa Presley, General Manager of The Field, an authentic, family-owned Irish Pub in the Gaslamp Quarter

Takeout was also an important element in Sevilla surviving the closures. “We were able to make it through closure because we were able to keep doing our takeout orders,” said McKeag. “We have another two locations that did takeout orders that were amazing. It actually helped us keep improving our takeout food over that same time.”

While the outdoor expansion is helpful for restaurants in the Gaslamp Quarter and elsewhere to survive during the pandemic, it still requires that people feel comfortable enough to come out and patronize them. Masks and safe physical distancing are enforced along the “thoroughFARE” stretch of Fifth Avenue through the help of Elite staff who patrol the area to remind people and to provide masks to those who need them. Both Presley and McKeag remarked on the positive overall atmosphere and looked forward to things once again improving.

“It’s amazing that people are still supporting their local restaurants,” McKeag admitted. “We’re just excited to see the streets being filled again. People coming out, people feeling comfortable, and hopefully dining outdoors.”

Presley concurred, saying, “Just as long as everybody keeps following the guidelines, hopefully onwards and upwards.”

A couple following physical distancing and mask guidelines strolls along Fifth Avenue during the Gaslamp Quarter’s “thoroughFARE” celebration.

“thoroughFARE: Outdoor/Curbside Dining & Shopping in the Gaslamp” takes place along Fifth Avenue Thursdays and Fridays from 3:00 p.m through 11:00 p.m. and on Saturdays and Sundays from noon until 11:00 p.m. The public is reminded to keep a safe physical distance of at least six feet and that masks are required when in public and can be removed once seated in an establishment for dining. For more information about “thoroughFARE” and a list of participating restaurants and merchants, visit the Gaslamp Quarter website at

Stephen Prendergast is a contributing writer for Presidio Sentinel.

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Category: Art, Local News, Other, Restaurants, Sports

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I am a long-time educator, writer and editor. I have taught English from middle school through community and technical college at public, private and charter institutions. Over the years I have also been a writer for sports and news organizations as well as a photojournalist. Currently I am the English Department Chair at a charter middle school and the writer/editor for a local media company.