Over the past six years, gap intelligence's office has been located in Liberty Station and gappers couldn't be happier. What was once a Naval training center, has now been transformed into a community that includes everything from stores, offices, schools, shops, museums, and much more. Liberty Station has become part of our incredible culture and we are able to enjoy the benefits of the area even further with the help of some gap perks. It is not uncommon to see gappers bustling around Liberty Station, picking up coffee, grabbing a gap sponsored lunch in place of having a meeting in the office or even leaving a workout class in the middle of the day. We have even been known to enjoy a happy hour once in a while as a company. gap intelligence's culture, mixed with all that Liberty Station has to offer, allows gappers to enjoy everything in this community to the full extent.
Because Liberty Station is so amazing and FULL of fun spots to check out, I thought it could be beneficial to point out a few places through the eyes of a gapper. Let me begin by saying that the following list is completely biased and influenced solely by my own opinions and experiences. Below I provide reviews of various Liberty Station locations and a single winner within each category, including best: Coffee Shop, Work Lunch Spot, Happy Hour, and Exercise Facility.
Starbucks – We all know and love (?) Starbucks, but let me fill you in on the Liberty Station location. Because of its close proximity to High Tech High, throngs of children flood there before and after school hours, as well as during lunch time. On more than one occasion, I have fled Starbucks heated and coffee-less because of my extremely low tolerance for crowds of teenagers.
West Bean – I am not a frequent customer of West Bean, but if you’re in the mood for a trendy drink and a walk through Liberty Public Market, it doesn’t get better than this. Every once in a while they switch out some fun options such as their Ginger Molasses Latte, which is featured right now. According to West Bean frequenter and gap’s own Katie Hess, “the mint coffee is delicious.”
Moniker General (Winner!) – I remember Gary once asked me what a “hipster” was, and after not being able to paint an accurate picture, I just said, “Pretty much anyone you would see in Moniker.” Not only is Moniker a coffee shop, but it acts as a co-working space, boutique, and has recently added a cocktail bar to its portfolio. As soon as you enter the space, you already know your coffee and food is going to be overpriced, but the taste, along with the ambiance (and good tunes) make it worth it. Remember that article that said that if millennials wanted to be homeowners, they would need to stop buying avocados? Well, Moniker’s 'All Hands On Deck' avocado toast might just be worth it. http://time.com/money/4778942/avocados-millennials-home-buying/
Tender Greens – It took a few months of Lisa insisting I try the Happy Vegan until I finally gave in. Ever since I have been hooked. While the food here is good, Tender Greens gets pretty busy and loud during lunch time, thus lowering its “lunch meeting” rating.
Fig Tree Café – While I enjoy the food here, I do not recommend Fig Tree if you are in any type of time crunch. I have had multiple work lunches here when one or more coworkers have had to leave before their food even arrived. However, Fig Tree’s expansive menu and tasty fries are worth the wait if you have the time and patience.
Liberty Public Market – For larger groups, Public Market is great because it offers the most options. People can choose from a multitude of different restaurants including Thai food, Mexican, empanadas, and the latest addition of ramen. Then everyone can convene in the Mess Hall where Bottlecraft offers plenty of rotating beers (if it’s that type of work lunch).
Ikiru Sushi (Winner!) – Even as a vegetarian, I think this is the best spot for lunch meetings. They are able to accommodate medium sized groups and they are extremely efficient and timely, as well as not too noisy. Definitely a crowd favorite among gappers.
Dirty Birds – Being that the only time I went to Dirty Birds was for the 14th Gappy Birthday, I don’t have much to go off. However, they were able to accommodate our large group and everyone left happily fed and full of alcohol. That said, Dirty Birds has much more of a sports bar ambiance, and doesn’t compete in that regard with the more trendy locations found within Liberty Station.
Bottlecraft – Located within Liberty Public Market, Bottlecraft is my favorite place to grab a beer near gap. Not only do they offer an extensive list of ever-changing craft beers, but there is plenty of indoor and outdoor seating and you can grab food from the Market to enjoy with your beer. Not to mention, the friendly (and attractive) bartenders are an added bonus.
Stone Brewery – Aside from the atmosphere, I am not a huge fan of Stone. Compared to the other Happy Hour contenders, Stone is less casual and has a limited food selection (especially for vegetarians—completely biased, remember?)
Soda and Swine (Winner!) — Soda and Swine offers a great happy hour including $5 draft beers, as well as some seriously discounted food. With plenty of indoor and outdoor seating along with the restaurant being covered in plants, Soda and Swine is definitely #1 in my opinion.
Club Pilates – Club Pilates added a new location to Liberty Station this year and it has been a hit among gappers. gapU provides gappers with the opportunity to take classes at Club Pilates throughout the month. The popularity is obvious since we often run out of classes before the month is even over. The Club Pilates instructors are enthusiastic and definitely get you sweating. They offer various classes for whatever type of workout you are looking for. Be warned, the higher level classes have been known to leave gappers shaking.
Point Loma Sports Club – Another workout provided by gapU are the biweekly PLSC workouts with a personal trainer. The hour-long circuit sessions are hard but the variety keeps them fun. In addition, any gapper that does not want to partake in the class is able to use the gym on their own for that hour. As you can see from the photo, the workouts are intense, but perfect for breaking up the workday.
Yoga Six (Winner!) – Ok, first of all, how lucky are we…ANOTHER thing offered by gapU is the free yoga classes at Yoga Six Point Loma provided through a corporate membership. Not only have I loved every teacher at this studio, but there are also spa-like locker rooms and showers so you can head back to work after class.
As I hope you can tell, the few places I have highlighted above are all great spots in Liberty Station, but they don't even begin to scratch the surface on everything that is located within this hub. Like I said, gappers are extremely lucky that we have been able to enjoy Liberty Station along with all the perks that gap intelligence provides and hopefully we will continue to do so for years to come!