LIVING IN THE CITY: Shay Priyadarshi

This transplanted Scotsman knows his downtown bars and restaurants, avoids the trolley and has an insider tip regarding hotel pools

“Living In the City” is the San Diego Sun‘s feature Q&A with downtown San Diego residents. It’s a way to get to know the city by meeting the people who live here. This is an ongoing series.

Name: Shay Priyadarshi

Location: Marina Park in the Marina District

Personal deets: Originally from Edinburgh, Scotland (the world’s Next Finest City). Lived in San Diego for 15 years, six years downtown. I’m the cofounder and CTO of a movie and content distribution company. My daughter lives with me part-time.

Reason for moving downtown: I got divorced. Also, I used to live in Ocean Beach and wanted to stop pretending I have piercings and tattoos.

Working from home: My company was remote before COVID. Depending on the day, I get the kid up, wake her up again, and take her to school. Work till whenever—taking breaks to pick-up the kid, grab lunch with friends/colleagues, play tennis, get a workout or go for Happy Hour.

The Marina Park Condominiums lobby entrance.

Best aspect of your current location: It’s super well located and super quiet.

Worst aspect of your location: I go out too often.

Best reason to live downtown: San Diego’s downtown size and the weather is the perfect combo for getting around on foot, scooter or bike—without spending hours just trying to get somewhere.

Scooters: I love them. They’re not a problem…until evenings around the Gaslamp Quarter. The city needs to declare the whole of Gaslamp as a pedestrian zone.

Pets: I keep flirting with the idea, then I go off to L.A. for two nights and remember why I don’t have any pets.

Brigantine and Portside Pier.

Lunch place(s): Mushroom tacos at Puesto at The Headquarters. Drink in the view at Portside Pier. Isola Pizza Bar has the best value for a weekend Happy Hour. And, Sushi 2.

Dinner spot(s): Little Italy’s Born & Raised for steak tartare and tableside martinis. Cowboy Star‘s steaks and Negronis. The Whiskey House for Sazerac #2 and charcuterie. Barbusa‘s ricciola. Ironside Fish & Oyster Bar’s seafood platters. Hive Sushi Lounge‘s mackerel nigiri. Animae is the most authentic Japanese I’ve had outside of Japan. Anything from Water Grill.

Coffee shop: Copa Vida at Broadway and Columbia. Best coffee in town, along with almond croissants.

Bar(s): What’s the mood? I like a wide selection—from Tivoli Bar and Grill (dive) to Topsail (fly). The Lion’s Share for the best cocktails. Carnitas Snack Shack for easy weekend vibes with great views. Kansas City Barbecue if you want an excuse to never leave.

Shay’s not a fan of the trolley, or non-Scot public transportation.

Public transportation: The public transport in Scotland is stellar and used predominantly. Here, it’s expected to be (and therefore is) super uncomfortable. The trolley has been a bad experience most times I’ve used it.

Safety: I’ve never felt uncomfortable or had an incident I couldn’t handle. Especially if I’m with my daughter, I stay vigilant.

Homelessness: During the pandemic, the homeless seemed to have taken-over downtown. Now things seem to be “back to normal.” But what is that? Have they been hidden away somewhere? I feel it’s a mental health crisis that we choose to ignore. It’s not a welfare/economic issue.

Favorite memory: The Women’s March of 2017. I was proud to walk with my daughter and watch her young brain comprehend self-empowerment.

Second-favorite memory: The Brit Floyd (Pink Floyd tribute band) concerts at Civic Theatre at the start of every summer!

The Gaslamp Quarter parklet on Fifth Avenue for Barleymash.

City infrastructure advice: Make sure the restaurant parklets for outdoor seating remain permanent.

Funniest downtown experience: I lived in East Village (Smart Corner) and was grilling with some friends. We saw plumes from a rocket launch in the high atmosphere. Another group who was grilling thought we were being attacked (by aliens or a foreign nation or someone). They literally dropped their plates/utensils and ran down the stairs terrified.

Comic-Con story: I love Scooby-Doo. A few years back, I had breakfast with Velma and Daphne at Brickyard Coffee & Tea.

Padres games: I thought I left cricket behind when I moved to America. You guys have a translated version over here. Why?

Best insider tip: Know that the big hotel pools aren’t just for the hotel guests.


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