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News 8 Throwback: What San Diegans did for a night on the town in 1990

A team of reporters worked on five subjects--romantic places, comedy clubs, karaoke bars, budget ideas, and sports bars. Some places are long gone but some remain.

SAN DIEGO — In 1990, News 8 ventured out to explore San Diego's nightlife. A team of reporters worked on five subjects--romantic places, comedy clubs, karaoke bars, budget ideas, and sports bars. Some places are long gone but some remain.

Those that are gone will hopefully conjure up happy memories and the ones that are still around may give you ideas for a night out; although we found the prices have increased significantly in some cases. Tickets to see a play at the theatre can now reach over $100 while in 1990 our reporter called $12-$28 "not cheap;" a roundtrip ferry ride to Coronado has gone from $3 to $14; a ride on the Giant Dipper roller coaster was $2 then and is $8 in 2021; and Aquarius Roll-A-Rena charged $4 while today a local skating rink is charging $15.

Sports Bars - Trophy's in Mission Valley & Tuba Man's in North Park

This piece features two very different sports bars around town. It starts with one of the newest on the scene. Trophy's in Mission Valley had "the look of a sports bar in heaven," according to reporter Susan Roesgen who marveled at the memorabilia. The menu at Trophy's featured more than typical bar food and aimed to be more of a first-rate restaurant than a pub.  

On the other end of the sports bar spectrum was Tuba Man's which was all about watching games. Donna the bartender said the crowd at the North Park bar was "very sports orientated. And they can get rowdy if their team is winning." 

So if sports fans wanted a little ambiance and a spinach salad, Trophy's was their place but if pitchers of beers and cheering for the home team was more your speed - Tuba Man's it was.

Nightlife on a budget

So many great tips in this story for those who were looking to have fun on a budget. Times Arts Tix was a fantastic perk for those who waited until the last minute to purchase tickets for the theater. Andrea Naversen said ticket prices weren't cheap at $12-$28 but half of that was a great deal. The Reuben E. Lee had an all-you-can-eat buffet with the purchase of a drink. Filling up for free with a view--such a treat. The ferry from Broadway Pier to Coronado was only $3. A ride on the Giant Dipper was just $2. Aquarius Roll-A-Rena in La Mesa cost $4. Good times in 1990! 

Romantic evenings

This part of the series took viewers high and low looking for romantic ways to spend a night on the town in San Diego. First off, News 8's Bob Hansen showcased hot air balloon rides at sunset. He advised looking for a company to fly with in the phone book. 

If sunsets were your thing, but heights were not, he recommended La Valencia Hotel in La Jolla which has stood the test of time for 95 years as of 2021. What was the Sky Room in this clip from 1990 was transformed into the Presidential Suite in 2013 - which still offers ocean views. 

Another well-known hotel made the cut for romance - the Hotel del Coronado, of course - long known for hosting weddings and special occasions. It was also a place to go dancing, Bob said, but if your dancing skills needed help he recommended Coronado Victorian House. A bed and breakfast which included dance lessons. 

And Bob had one last idea to impress your partner - a horse-drawn carriage ride along San Diego's waterfront.

Comedy clubs

Comedy legends performed at The Improv in Pacific Beach. Dinner and drinks and lots of laughter made for a perfect evening. Remember the two-drink minimum? 

Stan Miller said, "if you're looking for something completely different, humor with a flair for the unusual, then the Lyceum Underground probably won't disappoint you." Comedic performers tested their improvisational skills on audiences that were a bit different than those at comedy clubs. One performer said they're great listeners, they don't always wait for the punchline--they're willing to follow you with the characters. Standup comedy or sketch comedy--both great nightlife options.

Interactive nights out

 A night out in San Diego didn't have to be a passive experience, News 8's Marianne Kushi told viewers in part of the nightlife series. One idea was karaoke - and there were plenty of participants willing to sing at Restaurant K in Kearny Mesa - some better than others. 

Another interactive night out was a murder mystery show - which happened to star News 8's Larry Mendte. The whodunit got everyone in the audience involved and was performed at the Town and Country Hotel in Mission Valley.