Where Everybody Knows Your Name: Miles Doughty Buys Famed Ocean Beach Bar and Venue

Where Everybody Knows Your Name: Miles Doughty Buys Famed Ocean Beach Bar and Venue

Slightly Stoopid co-founder and Ocean Beach native Miles Doughty has taken over ownership of Newport Avenue pillar, The Harp, along with local business owners and friends Steve Ashton, Tyson Greene, and Jeremy Diem.

From booking bigger artists, to Premier League games, to brunch, Doughty and his partners have no shortage of dreams for this historical landmark–all while preserving the essence of what makes OB, OB. In a phone call Monday morning, The Pier asked Doughty about plans for The Harp and how the takeover transpired.

Courtesy of Miles Doughty

TP: It’s April Fool’s Day today. Is The Harp actually closed today? Or is that a joke?

MD: No, The Harp is closed. It’s getting painted right now. It had that old 70’s popcorn ceiling. I have a crew that I’ve been using for about 20 years, amazing painters, a dad and his son, and they just come and wreck it with a team. It’s pretty awesome. It looks great in there already. They basically took all the popcorn out and now they’re putting up a new kind of texture on the ceiling and painting the whole inside. We just painted the outside this week. And then slowly but surely just upgrading the property. The building’s been there for over 100 years.

We’re excited just to be in our hometown and have a piece of the culture. And my partners are awesome. They’re all local guys: Steve Ashton, Tyson Greene, and Jeremy Diem.

From left to right: Miles Doughty, Jeremy Diem, Steve Ashton, Tyson Greene

TP: That’s kind of what I wanted to touch on, too. Ocean Beach has gone through a lot of changes in the last 10 years. What do you think the key is to delaying, staving off gentrification and just keeping OB, OB?

MD: I mean, that was one of the reasons that me and this crew jumped at this opportunity. My friends approached me about six, seven months ago just about taking over a different bar, actually, in Ocean Beach. And The Harp became available [during that time]. And because it was a music venue as well, with the stage and the kitchen, it was such a better opportunity to bring this new energy to a place that’s been there for 20 years as an Irish bar. And before that it was Newport Bar and Grill, when I was growing up. And so for us, we’re just excited.

There’s like a whole new energy in town, knowing that locals got it and it didn’t get bought out by a team of investment guys. I grew up in this town. My dad still lives in the same house that I grew up in, it’s literally a block and a half from the bar. It’s pretty crazy. So it’s special–especially to get to do this with guys that have worked in OB for 25 years. 


TP: That’s so awesome and makes me really happy to hear. That was one thing that disappointed me about the Target going in. Not that Target is bad or anything, but I think that’s what made OB so special is everything was locally owned. Nothing was corporate.

MD: I get it because we grew up here. There was a big fight against Target going in because it does take a little bit away from the culture. Even though everybody uses Target at some point. 

We’re going to completely keep the integrity of the bar. Obviously, it was in kind of a stagnant state, so we’re bringing new life to it. Everyone’s excited that it’s us that took it over. It’s the first two weeks so we’re still just kind of pinching ourselves going, ‘holy shit we got a fucking bar’. 

There’s a cool saying inside the bar, ‘come in a stranger, leave a friend’. The energy is awesome and we’ve already seen over the two weeks just the whole town, all the locals are in there and are like, ‘this is going to be our new spot’.


TP: I think OB, in general, is very welcoming in that way. What are your kind of plans for live music there? What’s the capacity there? 

MD: It holds around 200 people which is not small. 

Courtesy of Miles Doughty

TP: Are you going to be booking outside, non-local acts or is it going to stay kind of like a local/karaoke scene?

MD: No, we’re going to be bringing in some [bigger] acts. We got music. We’re bringing in a new PA system, a whole new sound system, and fixing the stage.

It’s going to be rad. I’ve already talked to so many of my homies that I’ve toured with forever like, ‘hey, what about a guest night here at the bar?’ And they’ve all agreed, everyone’s supporting it and they all want to come down and play. We’re going to make it a place that all the bands want to come to. Not only just the local bands, either. Of course we’re going to support the local bands because that’s what it’s about.


TP: What are some other plans you have?

MD: We have a vision right now and honestly, the vision changes as we go just because you’re learning on the job. You know, it’s a massive place. We have a huge kitchen. The bar is just as big in the back as it is in the front. So there’s tons of space and it really is something cool. We have an outdoor area we’re going to turn into a kind of a beer garden. We’re really excited. We’re also embracing like all the sports: the Premier Leagues, football, basketball. We have nine TVs. We had the bar open at like 8 o’clock on Saturday to watch all the football games in Europe.

Courtesy of Miles Doughty

TP: You haven’t had it for long, but what have been some of the biggest challenges thus far?

MD: Well, when it rained, we realized we had a bunch of leaks in the roof. Cool. But for the most part, it’s been nothing short of amazing. It’s kind of like the new clubhouse. I’ve been there every day when I’m not on the road. I’ve been at the bar hanging out and chatting with people, chatting with the locals… people that have been going to that bar for 20 years that come in at 10 in the morning and read their paper and, have a beer or whatever they’re drinking and they’re all excited too. 

OB doesn’t like to see crazy change and it’s going through a lot of change lately. I’m just glad that it’s people from the neighborhood that get to do it. 


TP: You said the kitchen’s pretty big. Are you guys going to be serving food?

MD: Oh yeah. Yeah. Full kitchen. We’ll be doing weekends where we’ll embrace brunch and all that stuff with the games. And we have a great new chef that just came in and it’s going to be amazing. A lot of things are happening at once. And we’re trying to keep the bar open through everything. Except for obviously today and tomorrow while we’re painting.


TP: Everyone in OB knows someone that knows you or Kyle and you’re very much woven into the fabric of the culture there. It’s very comforting on a lot of levels. I think having somewhere where they can go and potentially shake your hand or say what’s up or have a quick conversation is incredibly appealing. 

MD: Remember that show, Cheers? It’s kind of like that song where everybody knows your name. Yeah. It’s a spot everybody can come to and embrace each other and have a laugh and have a pint and have a great time, basically.



This article has been edited for length and clarity.

Follow The Harp on Instagram to stay up-to-date with all the improvements and schedule.