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When 24-year-old AleSmith Brewing Company (9990 AleSmith Court, Miramar, alesmith.com) wins Best San Diego Brewery, amid a sea of craft breweries in the city, you know they are doing something right. Former homebrewers, Peter and Vicky Zien pay close attention to every detail at their Mirama…

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All the hype for Hodad’s (5010 Newport Avenue and 945 Broadway, hodadies.com) in Petco Park, El Cajon, Ocean Beach and Downtown, can be easily justified with just one bite into its juicy double cheeseburger. One of San Diego’s most celebrated burger joints, Hodad’s offers king size curly fri…

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Beating out the competition for Best Scooter Shop is Vespa Motorsport (3955 Pacific Highway, San Diego, vespamotorsport.com). Now located near Lindbergh Field, this one has a storied history of over nearly three decades and multiple moves—during which it established itself as one of San Dieg…

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Solana Beach’s Belly Up (143 S. Cedros Avenue, bellyup.com) hosts some of the best and up-and-coming artists as well as established musicians in genres like alternative rock, indie rock, reggae, Latin and hip-hop. Lady Gaga, Foo Fighters and the Rolling Stones are among those who have rocked…

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Cowboy Star Restaurant & Butcher Shop (640 10th Avenue, Gaslamp District) is 2019’s Best of Steakhouses winner. The ambiance at Cowboy Star is half cowboy-chic and half homage to classic Hollywood westerns. Movie star cowboy photos cohabit the decor with saddle-shaped patio chairs and co…

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The Besties for Best Theater Production of the year went to “The Book of Mormon,” presented in late July by Broadway San Diego at the Civic Theatre downtown. This national tour stop of the wildly popular musical was special because its cast included area actor and Oceanside resident Luke Mon…

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When a customer needs a whole new wardrobe but really doesn’t have the funds, Buffalo Exchange (various locations, buffaloexchange.com/locations/san-diego/) is the guaranteed spot to find a funky printed jacket or staple denim pieces.Their buyers stay current with fashion trends, hand select…

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With its friendly customer service, North Park’s Pleasures & Treasures (2525 University Avenue, pandtstore.com) makes its customers feel like they belong to a community. Its shelves are stocked with products fit for the experienced or those who want something to spice up their relationsh…

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An energy full of color and dance, San Diego Pride (Sixth Avenue and Laurel Street, sdpride.org) brings a party to celebrate and foster pride, equality and respect for the LGBTQ+ community. It’s a celebration full of festivities ranging from parades to speakers and musical acts. The Pride Pa…

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The San Diego Padres (padres.com) struggled to just a 70-92 record this season and last won the division in 2006, but they still ranked as the city’s most beloved sports team.The game experience is top notch and worth more than a score on the diamond. With events such as Party in the Park, a…

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Partial proceeds from The Besties will go to local nonprofitRob Benzon was thoughtful and kind; someone who would literally give his shirt off his back for someone in need.So, when the popular bartender drowned at age 31 in Acapulco after a rip current pulled him away, his friends remembered…

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A small, modern-style coffee shop, Dark Horse Coffee Roasters, (various locations, darkhorsecoffeeroasters.com) serves a mellow atmosphere with strong coffee in dark, quirky interiors. An eclectic homage to punk music, wait for a cup of coffee and rock out to a handpicked punk playlist.Offer…

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The Besties have honored The Old Globe (1363 Old Globe Way, Balboa Park, theoldglobe.org) as the Best Live Theater in San Diego County. On December 2, the Old Globe will mark 82 years of presenting live theater in Balboa Park, but longevity is only part of its legacy.A year-round producer, t…

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A fresh, new alcohol that makes anyone feel good about drinking. Juneshine in North Park (3052 El Cajon Boulevard, juneshine.com) pours an organic, gluten-free jun kombucha in a boho coastal tasting room. Jun kombucha is uniquely brewed with honey and green tea, creating a smooth taste with …

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San Diego’s cannabis industry has been rolling full steam ahead since recreational legalization took effect in California on January 1, 2018. Urbn Leaf (urbnleaf.com) was one of the city’s first licensed recreational dispensaries, helping to set the standard for how the new wave of dispensar…

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School of Rock (2850 Womble Road, Suite 104, Liberty Station, schoolofrock.com) isn’t just a classic Richard Linklater film starring Jack Black. In fact, it’s San Diego’s best music school. Beating out competitors such as Wagner’s School of Music, Young Lions Jazz Conservatory, San Diego Sch…

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The Best Hot Dog winner for 2019 is Barrio Dogg (2113 Logan Avenue, Barrio Logan, barriodogg.com), with its creative, even artsy, takes on the TJ-dog.The TJ-dog is not so much one specific kind of hot dog as it is a wide-ranging approach to meat in tubular form inside a bun. Put differently,…

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The Best Prime Rib winner for 2019 is Bully’s East Prime Bistro Sports Bar (2401 Camino del Rio South, Mission Valley). Walking into Bully’s East is walking back in time to the “Mad Men” era when, as myth would have it, dark steakhouses were king, and it wasn’t really a business lunch withou…