About Madam Bonnie's

The History

To say that the Hotel Lester building has an ethnically varied and very colorful past would be a major understatement! Hotel Lester has been the scene of less socially acceptable activities since the 1920’s. Between 1921 and 1923, one of the most colorful residents, Bertha “Bonnie” White, arrived in San Diego. She was born in a two-room shack on a “dry” ranch in Cokeville, Wyoming. Her grandfather, Samuel Whitney Richards, was a first cousin of Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon church. Ironically, Bonnie’s intention was to open a “respectable” brothel. Her great-niece describes her as “one determined woman,” as Bonnie needed to provide for a very large extended family.

Bonnie was listed in the 1930 City Directory as “proprietress” of a hotel. Her permanent tenants were four gentlemen. During earlier times, the “hotel” was reputed to have a wire or a creaking mechanism under the 13th step to alert the ladies upstairs to police raids, enabling them to make a timely escape down the back exterior stairway!

Bonnie was later joined by her sister, Grace, who became weary of the business shortly after her arrival, and married John Dupont who was a member of one of the richest families in America. Bonnie’s business lasted until 1940, when a new police chief, who was less amenable to this type of “hotel,” took office.

Our menu centers around rotisserie-style cooking, paired with la carte offerings featuring the best of San Diego’s local ingredients. The tastefully appointed bar and lounge boast the largest continuous bar in Gaslamp. Copper finishes, hanging gardens and period lighting help usher one into another place and time. Our inspired cocktails boost new ideas while playing with, and paying homage to tradition.
A place for all, where one can enjoy the best San Diego has to offer!






411 Market Street
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 310-5436


Tuesday – Friday | 5pm – Close
Saturday & Sunday | 1pm – Close

Happy Hour

Tuesday – Saturday 4:30pm – 6:30pm
Located in the Bar & Lounge



Laurent Fine dining,
107 Duncan Avenue, New York
Open: 09:00 am – 01:00 pm