“I bought the bar in 1989, and it’s been a Bears bar ever since,” said Slaga. “We try to make the Chicago people feel at home.”
Each football Sunday, 710 spills over with fans donning da Bears’ signature navy and orange, resounds with the familiar sound of Slaga on the mic for Bears trivia and entices passersby on the boardwalk with the sumptuous smell of Chicago-based Vienna Beef products lingering about the beachfront bar.
“We now serve the best bar food at the beach,” said Slaga. “That’s something we never had before. We just opened our kitchen three years ago and it’s done a lot to support and help our sports fans particularly. We also have 20 TVs, two 10-foot screens and we have a good audio system because we are a live-music club, so when you’re listening to the game, it’s broadcast predominantly.”
This time of year, when fans at Soldier Field are bundling up to brace against the cold, Bears fans in Pacific Beach are jumping in the ocean just steps away during commercial breaks.
Another refuge Bears fans enjoy by living in or visiting San Diego during football season is that while the city of Chicago weeps long after a tough loss, fans in San Diego can move on with their lives after the game is over, Slaga said.
“When Chicago loses, there’s gloom and doom over the city for a week,” he said. “Every news station, newspaper and radio replays it, or you go into the workplace and all your coworkers are upset. In San Diego, you don’t have to hear it over and over,” he said. “When we’re winning, you can’t fit in the place. When we’re losing, it’s palpable in here. Chicago fans are resilient; they’re not fair-weather. When their team stinks, they still try to support them and have fun.”
With the team’s peak season being in 1985 when the Bears defeated the New England Patriots for the Super Bowl title, Slaga tries to bring Bears fans back to a better time. What better way to honor the leadership of the legendary former coach Mike Ditka than with Ditka trivia, Ditka memorabilia giveaways, and “Ditka dollars,” which Slaga distributes to customers for good luck during the games.
For the match up between the Bears and the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, Dec. 16 — two teams with the NFL’s longest running rivalry — Slaga pulled out all the stops, including creating his specially made Bears vs. Packers T-shirts, hosting a number of contests and giveaways, and a carrying a full spread of Vienna Beef products for customers to enjoy.
“We really try to make the Chicago fan fly,” he said. “The experience, for the Chicago person, is probably second to none. Even in Chicago, you really don’t find this. We kind of go overboard. It’s all about having fun here.”
710 Beach Club is located at 710 Garnet Ave. For more information or to check out music lineups or game-day specials, visit www.710bc.com or call (858) 483-7844.