Comic-Con 2016: Events that Don’t Need a Badge

Dr. Strange Elixir cocktail at Flour & Barley. Available July 21-24.

No pass for Comic-Con 2016? No problem! Check out these events surrounding the convention.

Edited by Lisa Kelley

Comic-Con, San Diego’s most beloved convention returns to the convention center downtown, July 21-24. And for costumed fans from around the globe, San Diego offers a proper welcome with everything from cookies and cocktails to movie screenings and themed-parties. Whether or not you’re going to the convention, there’s plenty of comic-themed fun to be had.


30th Anniversary of Aliens
July 20. To commemorate the release of the 1986 action/sci-fi classic, San Diego’s Comic-Con will host an Aliens reunion. Fans can check out the film at the historic Balboa Theatre. 7 p.m. $12/pp. 868 Fourth Ave., Gaslamp Quarter, 619.570.1100.

July 20-21. Head to East Village’s urban hot spot for craft pizza and Comic-Con celebrations. On Wednesday, BASIC welcomes J!nx, a worldwide leader in clothing dedicated to the gaming industry. On Thursday, mingle with representatives from Munky King, a unique toy store that creates designer toys from collaborations between designers and artists. Both events are free to the public. 410 10th Ave., East Village.

Costume Party at The Commons
July 21-23. Head to The Commons for a weekend-long costume party. The popular San Diego bar and eatery is open to the public with no cover charge, and guests are encouraged to come in their best Comic-Con-inspired costumes for a chance to win raffle prizes throughout the weekend. 901 Fourth Ave., Gaslamp Quarter, 619.696.8888.

Final Symphony
July 21. Hironobu Sakaguchi, creator of the popular video game Final Fantasy, will join San Diego Symphony as a guest speaker prior to the performance of Final Symphony. The performance takes the celebrated music of composers Nobuo Uematsu and Masasshi Hamauzu and re-imagines it in a full 45-minute symphony and piano concerto. 6 p.m. Jacobs Music Center-Copley Symphony Hall, 750 B St., downtown, 619.235.0804.

Star Trek Beyond at The LOT
Starting July 21, catch the new release of Star Trek Beyond starring Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana and others. The LOT, San Diego’s finest luxury theater, offers a comfortable viewing experience and an extensive menu with everything from breakfast to dessert. 7611 Fay Ave., La Jolla; 2620 Truxtun Rd., Liberty Station,

July 21: First Screening of Star Trek Beyond at The LOT

Comic-Con Brews Cruise
July 22. Set sail on the bi-annual Stone and Friends Brews Cruise and enjoy special edition and limited release beers from Stone Brewing Co., Great Divide, Belching Beaver and Reverend Nats Cider. Tickets include unlimited beer samples and two floors of live entertainment featuring Sega Genecide, and Nerds playing party music from the ’90s and today. $55/pp. Hornblower Cruises, 1800 Harbor Dr., San Diego Marina.

Heroes Brew Craft Beer Festival
July 23. Just in time for Comic-Con, San Diego’s Waterfront Park transforms into a craft beer comic book. Attendees will enjoy tastes of more than 100 craft beers from more than 40 breweries, while competing in the caped crusader costume contest, enjoying music, dancing and more. 3:30-6:30 p.m. 1600 Pacific Hwy, San Diego Embarcadero.

July 23. Superheroes take a canine turn at the fourth annual PAWmicon. The family-friendly event features the PAWSplay contest in which participants can dress up their pups for the chance at winning prizes. 7510 Hazard Center Dr., Mission Valley.

Underground Lightsaber Fighters Tournament
July 23. The Underground Lightsaber Fighters gather in Balboa Park for an all-out lightsaber battle. The event is free to attend to watch and a fun place for Star Wars fans of all ages. Balboa Park Fountain outside the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, Balboa Park.

July 23: Lightsaber Tournament in Balboa Park

Heat Comic-Con Pool Party at the Lafayette Hotel
July 24. The historic Lafayette Hotel hosts a cosplay pool party with local DJs, food and drinks, pool floats and water guns for all to engage in an all-out water fight. Noon-5 p.m. 2223 El Cajon Blvd., North Park,

Food + Drink

Flour & Barley
Everyone’s getting into the Comic-Con Spirit, and Flour & Barley in downtown’s The Headquarters is no exception. For one weekend, enjoy two specially theme cocktails: Dr. Strange Elixir with Midori, Stoli O, pineapple, lemon and honeydew cube garnish; and the Suicide Squad Bomb with Kappa pisco, Beefeater gin, Jose Cuervo, Svedka, Triple Sec and muddled blackberry with a splash of Sprite. 789 W. Harbor Dr., downtown, 619.344.2900.

Quad Alehouse
Honoring the highly-anticipated Suicide Squad release in August, Quad Alehouse presents five signature drinks based on the characters from the flick. The cocktail lineup includes: The Joker with Ketel One Citroen, blue curaçao, cranberry, pineapple and fresh lime; Harley Quinn with Tanqueray gin, maraschino cherry liqueur, creme de violate and fresh lemon; Dead Shot Old Fashioned, with Bulleit bourbon, brown sugar, Angostura bitters and cherry and apple bitters; El Diablo Scorched Peach Margarita with Tequila Don Julio, white peach puree, lemon, lime and scorched agave with habanero carrot puree; and the Enchantress Refresher with Ketel One, lime juice, sliced cucumber and fresh mint. $10 each. 868 Fifth Ave., Gaslamp Quarter, 619.239.3339.

Suicide Squad specialty cocktails at Quad Alehouse. Available July 21-24.

Just in time for Comic-Con, Puesto in The Headquarters has rolled out some exclusive dishes to satisfy even the hungriest of fans. Enjoy the El Heroe Taco with Maine lobster, filet Mignon, melted cheese, avocado and chipotle heroe sauce; or pacify the dark side with the El Villain Taco made with duck carnitas, black bean puree, whipped avocado and habanero pickled onion. Top it off with the El Mezcalito cocktail made with Vida mescal, Guanabana, tamarindo, lime leaf and charred orange. 789 West Harbor Dr., downtown, 619.233.8880.

Bake Sale Bakery
East Village’s favorite bakery is channeling Star Wars for its newest cookie creation, the “Wookie cookie.” Named after Star Wars’ furry giants, the chewy coconut macaroons will be available throughout Comic-Con weekend. 815 F St., East Village, 619.515.2224.

San Pasqual Wine Tasting Room
Sip on a refreshing passion fruit “Super Hero Wine Slushie” in a custom 18 oz. superhero or Star Trek travel tumbler. $20 ea. 805 W. Harbor Dr., Seaport Village, 619.544.9463.

Saltbox Restaurant
Executive Chef Brad Kraten has created a special comic character-themed menu including the Wolverine Burger with onions, jalapeños, chili pickles and cheese; the Deadpool Chicken Chimichanga with avocado salsa and creme fraiche; and Aunt May’s Buckwheat Pancakes with pecan butter and maple syrup. 1047 Fifth Ave., Gaslamp Quarter, 619.515.3003.

Bankers Hill Bar + Restaurant
The downtown bar and eatery combines two of San Diego’s favorite things—Comic-Con and beer—in its new “Beer is the Path to the Dark Side” cocktail. The Yoda-inspired libation is made with Genepy des Alpes liqueur, fresh lime, house-made pineapple syrup, cucumber basil syrup and topped with Societe Brewing Co.’s Apprentice IPA. 2202 Fourth Ave., downtown, 619.231.0222.



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