San Diego has been called “The Craft Beer Capital of America”—but the scene goes beyond that. Sure, there are more than 150 breweries, but there are cocktail lounges, nightclubs and rooftops at the ready for partiers. Let’s raise a glass to San Diego’s bar scene.
2865 Fifth Avenue, Balboa Park, 619.323.2000, purebrewing.org
Pure Project’s Balboa Park location is an upscale tap room featuring 20 taps. It’s open daily, and the outdoor patio is a great place to sip and relax. Pure Project also has a brewery and tap room in Miramar, with a new location in Carlsbad opening in the spring.
1450 El Prado, Balboa Park, 619.696.1966, panama66.com
Located at the San Diego Museum of Art, Panama 66 is a counter service restaurant and bar that serves local, indie draft beer as well as cocktails and wine. There is a live jam session every Wednesday night.
Barrio Logan Iron Fist
1985 National Avenue, Suite 1131, Barrio Logan, 619.255.5815, ironfistbrewing.com
This family-owned taproom frequently displays local art in support of the community and has 30 different beers to fall in love with. Kids and pets are welcome, and it’s great for a chill Sunday afternoon.
Border X Brewing
2181 Logan Avenue, Barrio Logan, 619.501.0503, borderxbrewing.com
Specializing in Mexican-inspired brews including a Horchata Golden Stout with flavors of vanilla bean and cinnamon, Border X Brewing has a yummy Tuesday night taco and craft beer pairing.
4622 Park Boulevard, University Heights, 619.269.6599, madisononpark.com
Madison on Park is a sophisticated, modern bar that specializes in beautiful, hand-crafted cocktails including a delicious vegan milk punch. It has a unique build-your-own old fashioned with a choice of spirit, sweetener and bitters.
Chinatown Bar and Grill
4727 University Avenue, City Heights, 619.795.4478, chinatownbarandgrill.com
Owned by former Aero Club owner Bill Lutzius, Chinatown Bar and Grill is City Heights’ best tavern. The two-story tavern boasts a rooftop patio, a massive bar, 10 taps and a full pub menu.
House of Blues
1055 Fifth Avenue, Gaslamp, 619.299.2583, houseofblues.com
House of Blues is a well-known rock and blues chain featuring live music and great drinks in the heart of Downtown.
Pendry, Oxford Social Club
435 Fifth Avenue, Gaslamp, 619.738.7040, theoxfordsd.com
The Oxford Social Club is a sophisticated hotel nightclub with carefully curated cocktails and music program. The guest list ensures free entrance before 11 p.m., and it’s a perfect place to cut loose on the dance floor.
435 Fifth Avenue, Gaslamp, 619.738.7200, lionfishsd.com
Lionfish is the host of some of Downtown San Diego’s most sought-after events, such as Sake To Me Thursdays (half-off bottle of sake and $5 sake bombs); Vino Sundays (half-off bottles of wine all evening) and happy hour daily from 5 to 7 p.m.
Mezé Greek Fusion
345 Sixth Avenue, Gaslamp, 619.550.1600, gaslampmeze.com
Mezé is a popping, Downtown restaurant and bar that specializes in homemade cocktails. It has five different bottomless champagne cocktails, which is perfect for Saturday brunch.
353 Fifth Avenue, Gaslamp, 619.233.5979, cafesevilla.com
This Spanish-style tapas bar and nightclub features live music and dancing seven days a week. The Cava Sangria is a must for a refreshing, traditional taste of Spain.
Hard Rock Hotel
207 Fifth Avenue, Gaslamp, 619.702.3000, hardrockhotelsd.com
The Hard Rock is home to a few bars including the 207 and Float. 207 is a hip lounge offering a wide variety of wine, beer and liquor with an outdoor terrace. Float is the hotel’s stylish, rooftop bar featuring lively music every night.
East Village is San Diego’s largest downtown neighborhood and encompasses 130 blocks between Seventh Avenue and 17th Street. More than 700 businesses are located in this thriving urban enclave, including restaurants, hotels, art galleries and Petco Park, the home of the San Diego Padres.
817 W. Washington Street, Hillcrest, 619.298.3624, facebook.com/lamplightersd
The Lamplighter is a chill, neighborhood dive bar by day with karaoke every night. It’s open every day and only accepts cash.
1051 University Avenue, Hillcrest, 619.578.9349, richssandiego.com
San Diego’s largest and most popular gay nightclub specializes in theme nights Wednesday through Sunday. The cover varies depending on the night.
308 University Avenue, Hillcrest, 619.491.0400, urbanmos.com
Urban MO’s is a friendly hangout spot with a spacious dance floor and festive theme nights.
4646 Convoy Street, Kearny Mesa, 858.715.1745, obrienspub.net
O’Brien’s is a great spot to watch live soccer games and sip on a vast selection of microbrews.
Proud Mary’s Southern Bar and Grill
5550 Kearny Mesa Road, 858.278.0800, proudmaryssd.com
Proud Mary’s is a unique hotel bar with an Southern ambiance. It has live blues music Wednesday through Saturday and an award-winning bourbon slushy.
5662 La Jolla Boulevard, La Jolla, 858.459.0747, beaumontseatery.com
Situated in the neighborhood of Bird Rock, Beaumont’s has local live music every Thursday through Saturday night in a laid back yet contemporary atmosphere with classic cocktails, beer and wine.
We Olive and Wine Bar
1158 Prospect Street, La Jolla, 858.551.8250, weolive.com
This oceanview wine bar specializes in olive oil and wine tastings above the beautiful La Jolla Cove, with half-off glasses every wine Wednesday and discounted glasses and bottles of rosé all day Thursdays.
Raised by Wolves
4301 La Jolla Village Drive, Suite 2030, University City, 619.629.0243, raisedxwolves.com
Raised by Wolves is a dazzling, hidden bar behind a fireplace wall with a mile-long cocktail list. It’s a fabulous experience with the best selection of scotch and bourbon.
1917 India Street, Little Italy, 619.238.1917, barbusa.com
This modern Sicilian restaurant has happy hour daily from 3 to 6 p.m. with beer flights, wine and signature cocktails.
2001 Kettner Boulevard, Little Italy, 619.255.2001, kettnerexchange.com
Kettner Exchange’s rooftop cabanas offer a variety of drink options including classic cocktails including the refreshing “you had me at aloe” and private, self-serve beer taps. It’s great for a birthday or celebration.
3175 India Street, Mission Hills, 619.358.9766, starlitesandiego.com
Starlite is a relaxed, stylish bar that specializes in Instagram-worthy craft cocktails. The outside patio is a perfect seating option for a sunny San Diego day.
3402 Adams Avenue, Normal Heights, 619.284.7666, rosieogradyspub.com
Rosie O’Grady’s is a Chicago-style bar with trivia, karaoke, live music and sports on 12 HDTVs. It has over 70 beers to choose from, and it’s great for a Saturday-night hang.
4079 Adams Avenue, Kensington, 619.284.2848
The Ken Club is an absolute classic, as it is one of San Diego’s oldest bars to feature local live music. It has a unique, metal yoga night followed by great beer.
4696 30th Street, North Park, 619.269.4701, politeprovisions.com
Polite Provisions is a stylish speakeasy lounge that specializes in craft cocktails for the soul, including cocktail and spirit classes.
3926 30th Street, North Park, 619.255.8524, coinopsd.com
Coin-Op is the first arcade bar in San Diego featuring classic arcade games with chill vibes. It has great happy hour weekdays from 4 to 7 p.m. and free play all day on the last Sunday of the month.
3054 University Avenue, North Park, 619.269.8820, sevengrandbars.com
Seven Grand is an intimate whiskey bar with selected products from North America to Asia. It has live music and hosts private whiskey tastings for all group sizes.
3036 El Cajon Boulevard, North Park, 619.295.7900, lipssd.com
Lips is a club run by drag queens specializing in nightly shows and a variety of cleverly named cocktails and martinis. It’s known for hosting fabulous bachelorette and birthday celebrations.
Tony’s Martini Bar
5034 Newport Avenue, Ocean Beach, 619.223.0558, tonyob.com
Tony’s, one of the oldest bars in the region, offers a relaxed 1940s-style cocktail lounge with comfy booths, outdoor patio and award-winning drinks.
Sunshine Company Saloon
5028 Newport Avenue, Ocean Beach, 619.222.0722, sunshineob.com
The Sunshine Company Saloon, an OB institution since 1974, features an outside patio, an upstairs ocean view deck, all UFC, pool tables, big screens and more than 100 beers.
The Arizona Cafe
1925 Bacon Street, Ocean Beach, 619.223.7381, theazcafeob.com
The Arizona Café is the place to enjoy award-winning food (served until 1 a.m.), watch sports, play pool, and enjoy happy hour from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.
The Holding Company
5046 Newport Avenue, Ocean Beach, 619.341.5898, theholdingcompanyob.com
The Holding Company is a three-story music venue, bar and restaurant located on Newport Avenue in Ocean Beach. It features seasonal craft cocktails, award-winning recipes and brunch on the weekends, all served up with the best ocean views in OB.
2467 Juan Street, Old Town, 619.260.8124, oldtowntequilafactory.com
The Tequila Factory offers special edition tequila with rooftop views of historic Old Town.
4190 Mission Boulevard, Pacific Beach, 858.750.2512, elprezpb.com
El Prez is a trendy beachside bar with food and drink specials Monday through Saturday including tequila Thursdays. The rooftop bar is the best place to watch the waves and enjoy the sunshine.
The Duck Dive
4650 Mission Boulevard, Pacific Beach, 858-273-3825, theduckdive.com
The Duck Dive is a beachy, neighborhood bar that always feels like summer, with surf-inspired art and a handcrafted surf ceiling. It’s a great spot on Wednesdays after the chefs visit the local farmer’s market to gather fresh ingredients for the $5 farmers cocktail.
1165 Garnet Avenue, Pacific Beach, 858.999.0158, moonshinebeachsd.com
Moonshine Beach is the place to be for country music and 32-ounce buckets of White Claw slushies. It has a massive wooden dance floor, perfect for line dancing.
Baja Beach Cafe
701 Thomas Avenue, Pacific Beach, 858.230.6315, bajabeachcafe.com
Baja Beach Cafe has mega, shareable margaritas with an awesome two-for-one happy hour.
Moniker Cocktail Co.
2860 Sims Road, Suite 104, Liberty Station, 619.255.8772, monikercocktailco.com
Moniker Cocktail Company is located inside a trendy general store complete with cocktails and coffee. It’s the perfect place to co-work or simply hang out.
2816 Historic Decatur Road, Suite 116, Liberty Station, 619.269.2100, stonebrewing.com
Known for its famous IPA, Stone features indoor and outdoor bars complete with a bocce ball court and an outdoor cinema. With special events including beer pairing and movie nights, it’s an ideal spot for a date night.
South Park/Golden Hill
1503 30th Street, South Park, 619.546.9653, barkindred.com
Kindred is a mesmerizing vegan bar featuring death-metal tunes that specializes in aesthetically pleasing and delectable cocktails.
2236 Fern Street, South Park, 619.284.6784, whistlestopbar.com
Whistle Stop is the ultimate live music venue and bar, with $5 pints and wells every day until 8 p.m.
1808 W. Washington Street, Mission Hills, blondebarsd.com
Blonde is a neighborhood dive bar with awesome deejays and theme nights. It has many drink options including alcoholic kombucha and signature cocktails.
Park & Rec
4612 Park Boulevard, University Heights, 619.795.9700, parkandrecsd.com
Park & Rec has craft cocktails, live music, multiple bars, private events, games, awesome hospitality, neighborhood bar and an adult playground.
4826 Park Boulevard University Heights, 619.795.7998, smallbarsd.com
This cozy watering hole has a chill vibe with craft beer and bar food, including fried pickles. Check out the strawberry letter 23—strawberry-infused white rum, rich strawberry syrup and fresh lime.
9990 AleSmith Court, Miramar, 858.549.9888, alesmith.com
This San Diego-based, artisanal microbrewery has year-round as well as specialty and seasonal brews to choose from. AleSmith also offers tours of its brewing facility Friday through Sunday.
Board and Brew
201 Oak Avenue, Carlsbad, 760.434.4466, boardandbrew.com
Board and Brew is a local chain known for its specialty sandwiches and craft beer. Its surf-themed space is a nice spot to refuel before hitting the waves.
8670 Miramar Road, Miramar, 858.586.0540, brewskissd.com
Brewski’s is an arcade bar with free pool and select arcade games. It has late-night happy hour Sunday through Thursday, with over 20 draft beers to choose from.
1185 E. Main Street, El Cajon, 619.966.9905, thelandingelcajon.com
The Landing is a friendly, neighborhood dive bar with dollar-off specials every day of the week including bottomless mimosas and bloody Mary’s all day Sunday.
Creative Creature Brewing
110 Magnolia Avenue, El Cajon, 619.201.8180, creativecreaturebrewing.com
Right in the heart of El Cajon, this small-batch craft beer brewery specializes in 100% all-grain beer with no extracts or concentrates. It’s open every day, and also serves nonalcoholic beverages.
Chula Vista Brewery
294 3rd Avenue, Chula Vista, 619.616.8806, chulavistabrewery.com
Chula Vista Brewery is an inviting, neighborhood brewery with a variety of tasty and cleverly named brews. It has interactive events including weekly millennial loteria every Tuesday.
Bar Sin Nombre
253 Third Avenue, Suite 100, Chula Vista, 855.237.8392, facebook.com/barsinnombreCV
Known for its award-winning micheladas, Bar Sin Nombre is a hip, local spot with vintage video games and an extensive rare beer list.
Shake and Muddle
303 H Street, Suite 109, Chula Vista, 619.816.5429, shakeandmuddle.com
Shake and Muddle is a new, modern bar with a vast cocktail menu that specializes in fusion mixology and handmade bitters.