Cool on the Coast: It’s a festive February with Valentine’s, Marvel, beer, Chinese New Year

Layla Marino

2014_COLUMN_MARINOFebruary marks the beginning of the end of winter, and though the weather is mild on the coast, surfers, sunbathers and especially lovers start to feel the thaw, if mild, in February and come back out in the sun. As the water warms up, so does the fun and the love on San Diego’s North Coast. In addition to the usual great music and coastal activities always available on the coast, this February sees even more fun for lovers of beer, lovers of art and culture, and of course lovers of love in all the great cities from Del Mar to Oceanside. Whether you’re looking to treat that special someone, or to treat yourself as someone special, the coast is definitely the place to warm up for February.

Valentine’s Day fun: The North Coast is known for its fine dining, and on Feb. 14, many of the area’s restaurants will offer special lovers’ deals this Valentine’s Day. Check out this list of the some of the best prix fixe menus, and if food’s not your passion, there’s also comedy, art, music and even a beer fest.

Restaurants with Prix Fixe Valentine’s specials:

Other Valentine’s Day fun:

  • My Funny Valentine’s Comedy Show” — This age-18-and-up relationship-based comedy show features award-winning comedians from Vancouver who have worked with the likes of Chris Rock, Jerry Seinfeld and Bob Saget. Give your romantic day a funny twist at the Carlsbad Village Theatre. Tickets and information at
  • Del Mar Arts Center Spring Opening Reception — Before you heat up your Valentine’s night, stop by the Del Mar Arts Center gallery to see the new crop of featured artists for free. There will be a live painting demonstration, refreshments and pups from the Helen Woodward Animal Center to make this pet-themed show come alive. Proceeds from art sales will go to Helen Woodward shelter. For info visit
  • Peter Pupping Band Valentine’s Day Concert — Spice up your love day with a concert from this fiery quartet who call themselves a Cuban, bossa nova, samba and Latin jazz mix. The concert will be held at the Encinitas Library.
  • Cupid’s Comedy Spectacular” — The newly restored Sunshine Brooks Theatre in Oceanside will host an evening of relationship-based humor from some of California’s top comedians. Tickets and information:
  • Palate to Palette: Paint! Wine! Play! — This 21-and-up class led by Margaret Chiaro at the Oceanside Museum of Art will teach techniques on how to recreate master paintings, and wine will be served.
  • Brewbie’s Beer Fest — It wouldn’t be Valentine’s Day in San Diego without at least one love-themed beer event, and it’s to help charity, as well. This sixth annual event will be held in the afternoon at Bagby Beer Company in Oceanside, and tickets include a custom Brewbies glass, “I Heart Boobies” bracelet and five raffle tickets. Proceeds benefit the Keep a Breast Foundation charity. Tickets and information at

The Belly Up, Solana Beach: Valentine’s month or not, the Belly Up has you covered for great music on the North Coast, per usual. Here are some highlights from its stellar February lineup, which features tons of cover bands and some huge names. For tickets and information, go to

  • Feb. 6: The Pettybreakers and Thunder Road — Kicking off a month of great tribute bands, these tributes to Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and Bruce Springstein and the E Street Band are not to be missed for the discerning classic rock fan.
  • Feb. 7: Dead Man’s Party — Always a crowd favorite at the Belly Up, Dead Man’s Party plays the best of Oingo Boingo and Danny Elfman’s extensive musical catalog. This show sells out quickly, so get your tickets soon and “leave your body at the door.”
  • Feb. 11: Brownout Presents Brown Sabbath — Not your average cover band, Brown Sabbath is a tribute to the legendary group Black Sabbath, but they translate these classic songs through their own Latin jazz/funk prism. Check out this unique twist on classic rock.
  • Feb. 14: Logic: Under Pressure World Tour and Ozomatli — Valentine’s Day is huge at the Belly Up with two major concerts. Hip hop heavy hitter Logic will be playing at 7, with the reggae rock group Ozomatli at 8 p.m. Come to one show or stay for both.
  • Feb. 15: Ozomatli — More reggae love on Sunday if you couldn’t make the Saturday show. Two chances to get your dancehall on at the Belly Up.
  • Feb. 19: An Evening with the Taj Mahal Trio — Blues this great only comes around once in a great while, and the Belly Up has it. Come see this legend in the intimate setting of the Belly Up, and get your tickets soon, as blues this great sells out fast.
  • Feb. 27: The Highwayman Show’s Johnny Cash Birthday Celebration — The Highwayman Show is one of the most unique tribute bands out there, with its masterful recreation of all four of the “Outlaw Country Highwaymen:” Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson and Waylon Jennings. The group will perform a special two-hour set in honor of the Man in Black, Johnny Cash’s birthday.

Beer events: It’s no secret that San Diego is the hot spot for great craft beer and great beer events, and February is no exception. We’ve already shown where to get your suds on Valentine’s Day, but that’s definitely not the only day you can taste San Diego’s most fun export. Check out these recommended tastings, and remember to drink responsibly.

  • Feb. 7: Arcana Brewery/Twisted Manzanita Collaboration New Release — Arcana and Twisted Manzanita brewmaster Brian Mitchell will debut their newest creation in February, a smoked barrel-aged old ale offering called Old Ingles. If you saw the North Coast Current’s past review of Arcana’s fall offerings, you’ll know not to miss this one.
  • Feb. 9: “Rare Beer Monday” at Encinitas Ale House — Encinitas Ale House has this great event every Monday, but on Feb. 9, it will debut a doozie with Lost Abbey’s ultra-rare Track #8, a high-alcohol ale with raisins, cinnamon and hints of chilies. Bring your DD and start your week off with this little gem. More information at
  • Feb. 9: Craft Beer and Cheese at Priority Public House — Priority Public House focuses on farm-to-table dining and local products, including its craft beers. Join them for an evening of beer and cheese pairings featuring five craft beers and 10 local cheeses. Cheese doesn’t just go with wine anymore. For more information, visit

Arts, culture and family fun: Not enough to do with all the romance, beer and music in coastal North County? There’s plenty more where that came from. Whether you’re celebrating Chinese New Year, helping with charity or enjoying art of all kinds, the North Coast has the whole world at residents’ doorstep with plays, arts, culture and, yes, even comics.

  • Ongoing daily Feb. 7-22: The Marvel Experience — Comic-Con isn’t the only comic rodeo in town. Marvel Comics fans have two whole weeks to revel in their favorite stories and characters in this convention of all things superhero at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. Check out The Avengers and more at this action-packed event. Details:
  • Ongoing Thursday-Sunday Through March 1: “Stage Kiss” Presented by New Village Arts Theatre Carlsbad — The New Arts Village Theatre hosts this comedic play by Sarah Ruhl, which takes a quirky look at what happens when the lines between onstage romance and offstage work are blurred. For tickets and information, visit
  • Feb. 8: Buddhist Perspectives: World Peace — The Encinitas Library will host this month’s Buddhist Perspectives lecture on how ancient religions can help usher in change and world peace. Eric Hauber, Ph.d., will discuss the importance of personal happiness for the good of the planet. Visit for more details.
  • Feb. 11: Roy Bak and Irina Bessanova Classical Violin Concert — This free event at the Carmel Valley Public Library hosts two of the most accomplished classical musicians in the world. Violinist Roy Bak will perform works by Bach and other classical greats with Irina Bessanova accompanying him on the piano.
  • Feb. 21: Paw Walk in the Garden 5K — The San Diego Botanic Garden will get an influx of non-native fauna in the form of our furry friends. Walk the 5K with your dog or come to cheer on the four-legged racers as they walk for the Rancho Coastal Humane Society. For tickets and information, go to
  • Feb. 21: Batiquitos Lagoon Trail Maintenance Coastal Cleanup Volunteer Group — If you love our clean coasts and bays, spend an afternoon helping to keep them that way. Volunteers will help pick up litter, restore the habitat and water plants. The coast has given so much to us, now it’s time to give back. Go online to for details.
  • Feb. 27: A Reading with Joyce Carol Oates — The Carlsbad City Library presents a talk and book-signing with one of the 20th century’s most celebrated writers. This award-winning author of classics such as “Angel of Light” and “The Triumph of the Spider Monkey” will read from her newest book, “The Sacrifice,” and take questions. For more information, go to
  • Feb. 27: The Chinese New Year Red Ball — With such a culturally diverse community, San Diegans get to enjoy two New Year celebrations. The Chinese New Year celebration at Club M is free and will help revelers usher in the Year of the Ram in style. Go online to for more information.
  • Feb. 28: Soul Fusion Fundraiser Concert — MiraCosta College is home to San Diego’s own Umoja Community (Swahili for “unity”), which will be giving its second annual fundraiser concert featuring performances and auctions surrounding jazz, soul, gospel and R&B. For more information, go to

We’ve given you just a small cross-section of all the great fun to be had in coastal North County in the month of February. As both the weather and the romance heat up, be sure to get out there in the sun and enjoy everything that’s “Cool on the Coast.”

Columnist Layla Marino is a San Diego music and arts writer. Visit Follow her on Twitter at Send questions and comments to [email protected].