If you’ve been down Coast Highway in Cardiff this week, you’ve probably noticed there’re signs of life again in the space where Yogis Beach Bar used to be. Cardiff Beach Bar at Tower 13 recently opened its doors there, unveiling a new concept, menu and digs.
Leucadia resident Doug Wetherald co-owns the business with Ray Sheets, who lives just north of Ponto Beach. Wetherald has more than 20 years experience in the food industry selling to vendors, and Sheets has owned a couple of bars back in his home state of Ohio. When the two saw the beachfront space up for grabs, they didn’t hesitate.
“You can’t beat this location,” Wetherald says seated in one of the lounge areas overlooking Coast Highway 101, the ocean just over his shoulder. “We really wanted to build a place for the 30 plus crowd. We talked to a lot of locals and many of them, especially women, said they wanted a place where they could go hang out with friends, enjoy live music and dance without feeling too crowded. We’ve done our best to deliver that.”
That’s translated into an roomy dance floor and steady lineup of local bands playing everything from classic rock to reggae to 80s classics. They’ve also revamped the interior with open, airy coastal décor, including a beach-inspired mural. For sports fans, there’re also ample TVs throughout—and just in time for football season, the bar will screen all NFL and college games (and even open early for some of the games).
Executive chef AJ Mortazavi designed the menu, rolling out dozens of appetizers burgers, sandwiches, salads and entrees.
“We considered ourselves a bar going into this but then chef AJ came on board, and all of a sudden we were a restaurant,” Wetherald jokes.
Mortazavi, who uses locally sourced items whenever he can, has included some off-the-beaten path creations—like the Baja Dog, on all-beef hotdog wrapped in bacon with red chili aioli and smoked poblano crema, pinto beans and pico de gallo, all served on a brioche bun—or The Tijuana Shuffle a burger topped with chorizo, cotija cheese, and poblanos. All burgers are half chuck and half brisket, and there’s a house-made veggie patty as well. The menu also features fresh lobster (served in a stack, salad or bisque), a fresh catch of the day, steak, fish tacos, several sandwiches (including a few po boys) and fish-and-chips. There are vegan and vegetarian options, too, and diners are encouraged to tell their server if they have special dietary needs so the kitchen staff can accommodate them.
Tower 13 offers 24 beers on tap, ten of which are local. There’s also 16 labels of wine by the glass and about a dozen craft cocktails, including the S’More Action, a blend of vodka with Godiva chocolate liquor served with a graham cracker crust and toasted marshmallows (see attached photo).
Happy hour runs Monday through Friday and features $3.50 wells, $5 glasses of wine, and draft beers that range from $3 to $6—and there are several appetizers on special for about $5.
Wetherald says the outdoor tiki bar will be open on the weekends and there are plans to build a wine bar in the back.
Tower 13 is located at 2633 S Coast Hwy 101 in Cardiff. It is open Monday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. For more information, you can call (760) 635-1200 or visit the business’ Facebook page.