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Rooftop Icon, Mister A’s

Orchid Icon  Orchid
  Interior Design
127
8

Mister A’s, situated on the 12th-floor penthouse of the Manchester Financial building, has stood as an iconic landmark since 1965. The restaurant recently underwent a classic remodel under new owner, Ryan Thorsen, breathing fresh vitality into the revered fine-dining destination while paying homage to its original stylings. 

This is the latest transformation for an establishment that has continued to reinvent itself, and brings with it not only a nod to its ongoing legacy, but a strong vision for the future. It captures the elements of a sophisticated brasserie — rich wood millwork, custom damask wall coverings, and marble accents — while infusing retro influences reminiscent of the restaurant’s decadent early days.

The newly built 18-seat bar and 72-seat indoor-outdoor lounge brings back lounge culture and unobstructed 270-degree views of the San Diego skyline. Adjacent to the bar is “The Blue Room,” originally designed in stark contrast to the red hues that dominated in the opening design version, this private dining room was brought back to its gilded glory with floor-to-ceiling drapery, blue carpeting, the original crystal chandelier, and the antique guéridon from the Alessio family.

Historical elements and nostalgic nods appear throughout the restaurant and guest touchpoints. Original arches discovered in a hidden soffit in the lounge are now supported by custom columns that rest above a custom banquet and mural featuring an artistic impression of the eucalyptus trees and jacarandas that dot the landscape of Balboa Park. The Rotunda and hallway now boast stunning hand-painted ceiling frescoes and filigree by LA-Based Charlotte Jackson of Scarab Studio.

Address:
2550 Fifth Ave. (12th Floor) San Diego, CA 92103

Project Owner/Developer:
Ryan Thorsen

Contact Name/Email:
Ryan Thorsen/ryan@asrestaurant.com

Project Architect/Designer:
Ryan Thorsen + Mauricio Couturier

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11 Comments

  1. Daniela

    Do t see anything worth consideration for an orchid, really. With that reason, thumbs down

    Reply
    • Brooklyn

      I respectfully disagree with Daniela’s comment. Here are my reasons for considering Mister A’s for an Orchid award:

      Architectural Transformation: The remodel preserves the restaurant’s heritage while embracing modern design.

      Attention to Detail: The rich woodwork, custom wall coverings, and historical elements contribute to a visually stunning design.

      Stunning Views: The bar and lounge offer breathtaking views of the San Diego skyline.

      Preservation of History: The restoration of “The Blue Room” and use of original elements showcase a commitment to heritage.

      Artistic Impressions: The mural connecting the restaurant to Balboa Park adds a unique touch.

      Overall, Mister A’s demonstrates a blend of history and innovation deserving of an Orchid award. THUMBS UP.

      Reply
    • Steak

      Amazing restaurant with the best view in town. Amazing food and drinks with an extensive wine will be back for dinner soon.

      Reply
    • Rachel

      I don’t know, those chandeliers alone are definitely worth a nod.

      Reply
  2. Samantha Roy

    Such a stunning remodel! The details and quality put into their renovation is breathtaking. Not to mention that view…. If you haven’t been yet, it’s a San Diego must. Bravo!

    Reply
  3. Rick Werlin

    An incredible view, menu, ambiance and service will keep you coming back for more! I have for several decades! Casual bar scene, restaurant GREAT for special occasions or just because you deserve the best!!

    Reply
  4. Sheri Shapiro

    Beautiful design. Love the attention to detail.

    Reply
  5. Ramon Ibarra

    Classic Elegance with a modern color tone, perfect combination of light and shade.

    Reply
  6. Curt Sherman

    Some nice wall treatments, but overall the sense of detail is awkward. In the last image could those skinny columns really support the arched (dull) overhead?

    Reply
  7. Ron Mix

    Mr. A’s advanced its reputation for perfect ambience with a brilliant makeover. That, with a Master Chef, makes this a place for regular visits and special occasions.

    Reply
  8. Denise Bauer

    I definitely nominate for an orchid. New colors alone have given the restaurant an updated look and the relocation and enlargement of the bar has been by far the best improvement which will certainly draw more diners. Views from that room are spectacular as well. Additionally the decor in the private dining room is absolutely stunning. Ryan has continued to maintain the elegance and allure of an icon which will appeal to all ages. Hands down yesterday and today, our all time favorite venue for fine dining and celebrating special occasions. No other surpasses.

    Reply

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