Coronado Brewing Company Gets Face-Lift

Artist Aaron Quinones is seen here hand painting a detailed restoration of the Coronado Brewing Company's famous logo.

The large and colorful logo of the Coronado Brewing Company (CBC) recently got a face-lift. Artist Aaron Quinones, who has had sign experience with such exotic clientele as Trader Joe’s, spent several days repainting the mermaid and company name by hand.

“This is the fourth time we have restored the large building logo. We last had it done six years ago,” said Kyle Chapman, manager of CBC. “The logo had become checked, cracked and faded from the elements, and this is just a part of our spring cleaning here at the Brewing Company.”

The Coronado Brewing Company has been on this plot of land at 170 Orange Ave. for 15 years (they opened in 1996) but this particular footprint of property has been serving Coronado over several generations in many different forms.

Beginning in 1886 ferryboats arrived at this section of town (the vicinity of First Street and Orange Avenue) to offload workers, supplies, and eventually guests for the elegant Hotel del Coronado, Tent City and points beyond.

Once the ferryboats docked, the challenge was how to get them to the far side of the island, where the town seemed to be building around the Hotel Del at record pace.

Eventually a set of tracks was put down along the median strip of Orange Avenue. On any given day you could see a small steam locomotive, horse-drawn trolleys, electric trolleys and horse-drawn carriages carrying their fares south.

While people waited for the ferry, or for their ride across Coronado, they would shop and stroll. It didn’t take long for the founding fathers to realize opportunity existed at this end of town, too.

An early drug store was built at the corner of Second and Orange, operated by the Mathewson Family, descendents of whom are still on the island. Homes began to sprout up along First Street to the west, which then had an unencumbered view of San Diego Bay.

There were a handful of eateries, hotels, stables and other small businesses, including a nursery, a Catholic church and a brothel. Docks were put in to house the deepwater sailing ships laden with heavy cargo. A rail spur branched off to North Island, crossing the large waterway separating north and south Coronado islands called the Spanish Bight.

The 300 block of Orange Avenue had to be graded flat, so the small steam locomotive could make the grade headed south. This is why so many homes in that block sit quite a bit higher. The road went down but the homes stayed where they were. The train could make it over the hump coming from the Hotel Del, but couldn’t raise enough speed to make it over from the Ferry Landing, especially with a large load of railcars and people.

Other businesses occupying part or all of the lot at 170 Orange Avenue included The Ferry Market, Glynn’s Liquor Store and Pete’s Market.

Until the early 1970s, the site CBC now occupies was a favorite breakfast eatery known as Papa Tom’s. Here you could explore the blackest coffee and some of the best eggs on the island. The bacon had a sweetness to it that had customers guessing for years as to the ingredients.

On any given day you would see old sailors, ferryboat drivers, taxi operators, off-duty cops, and a wide variety of Coronado’s social strata. They would perch themselves at the bar with a newspaper and a pot of coffee and sit for hours at a time. The locals nicknamed it “Tomaine Tom’s.”

In the 1980s Papa Toms was knocked down and Bula’s Pub and Eatery took its place. Owned by longtime Coronado resident and restaurateur Steve Lindsey, Bula’s rapidly became the place to eat, drink, or just be seen. Legendary (and controversial) brick mason Bud Bernhard put in the lovely curved brickwork on Bula’s Pub, much of which remains today.

Celebrity bartenders could be found at Bula’s. One of the most notable was Nick Reynolds, popular member of the Kingston Trio. The clientele was high-class and worldly, some literally stepping off their cruising yachts and walking in the front door.

In 1996 the land at 170 Orange Avenue was to take on another manifestation, this one in the form of a state-of-the-art brewery and restaurant called the Coronado Brewing Company.

Brothers Ron and Rick Chapman, whose family dates back more than a hundred years in Coronado, took over the business and today the Coronado Brewing Company is known worldwide thanks to their successful menu, original brews and friendly service.

The mermaid logo has become as iconic as the company truck, a 1924 Model T named “Olive Oyl” that can be seen driving around Coronado on a daily basis and in parades and car shows representing the Coronado Brewing Company.

For more information on the Coronado Brewing Company visit

Submitted by Joe Ditler of Part-Time PR.