San Diego’s First NFT Cocktail Bar, Botanica, To Open On North Park’s University Avenue

San Diego’s Be Saha Hospitality Group announces its newest concept opening this summer: Botanica Bar, an art-forward cocktail bar from the team behind hotspots Tahona and Wormwood.

Expected to open toward the end of summer in the heart of North Park on University Avenue, Botanica will bring an immersive drinking and social experience to San Diego through its focus on botanical spirits and simultaneously supporting emerging artists, displaying and acting as a marketplace for NFT art.

bar area of Botanica

One of the very few NFT bars in the US

Notably, Botanica Bar will be one of the first NFT cocktail bars on the West Coast and one of very few in the United States. One wall within Botanica will exclusively showcase NFT (non-fungible tokens) art displayed on custom-designed framed display screens, with guests able to purchase through a digital art gallery as they discover new artists from across the globe. Proceeds from NFT art sales will benefit the artist and Create Purpose, a 501c3 nonprofit providing educational programs to orphanages in Mexico.

Botanica’s prime corner location will share the complex that houses Art Produce, a nonprofit cultural center that connects artists, cultural organizations, schools, urban farmers and businesses. Botanica’s 1,500-square-foot interior, designed by Studio Bel, will act as an ever-changing art gallery adorned in carefully curated works by local and international talent, including street and digital art.

The space will feature a chic yet subdued lounge area seating up to 48 guests draped in elegant curtains reminiscent of classic speakeasies. Behind the building, an urban garden will provide a private venue for special gatherings, with a portion of event proceeds benefiting Art Produce Foundation.

Botanica Bar

Innovative cocktail program and evolving menu

The artistic essence of Botanica will also be immediately felt through genever and gin-focused cocktails crafted to reflect famous works of art; this innovative cocktail program is created by Beverage Director Marina Ferreira, co-founder of RoseWater Cocktail Club, a female-founded cocktail catering and education company.

Genever, a traditional liquor of the Netherlands, Belgium and Northern France, is one of Europe’s oldest distilled spirits and is considered the precursor to gin. Guests will experience genever in the traditional way, served in elegant flutes, while Botanica’s gin and artisanal spirits selection will be one of the most diverse in San Diego with botanical spirits sourced from around the world.

Additionally, Botanica will offer educational genever and gin tasting sessions, mirroring the popular bar programs of Be Saha Hospitality Group’s Tahona and Wormwood where guests similarly participate in mezcal tastings and absinthe flights.

Botanica’s food menu is designed by Be Saha Hospitality Group’s Culinary Director, Janina Garay, and Botanica’s Kitchen Manager, Tiffany Tran, and focuses on the art of pintxos. First developed in the Basque region, specifically in the town of San Sebastian, pintxos mirror the traditional Spanish tapa while integrating French nouvelle cuisine.

Garay and Tran, who have previously worked at Michelin star restaurant, Addison, will create an evolving menu of inventive bar bites to represent their varied culinary influences.

Botanica’s and Be Saha Hospitality Group’s founder Amar Harrag is well-known for highlighting unexpected artisanal spirits through concepts including San Diego’s first mezcaleria, Tahona Bar, and the highly praised absinthe bar, Wormwood, in University Heights. He is also the founder of the San Diego chapter of Corazon de Vida, a non-profit organization aiding orphaned and abandoned children in Mexico, and has served as a board member for the similarly focused Create Purpose since its inception in 2014.

Where visual and experiential art meet

the lounge at botanica bar

“Botanica is meant to be a place where visual and experiential art meet. Our goal is to transcend from a bar into a community center, following in the footsteps of our neighbor, Art Produce, and supporting young artists with new ways to connect with the world,” said Harrag.

Botanica is an extension of Be Saha Hospitality Group’s commitment to renegade spirits that are far less commercially available but strongly connected to cultural traditions and culinary arts.

Adds Harrag, “As a team, we dream up each new concept with the aim of bringing creative, experiential gathering spaces and a sense of community to our neighbors and all San Diegans. And with Botanica, what we conceived is this place that simultaneously transports guests into new realms while very much connecting them to the artistic essence of North Park.”

Botanica Bar will be located at 3139 University Avenue, San Diego, California 92104 and online here.

See you there, San Diego!