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Fun Places to Get a Drink in San Diego

Where to grab a drink when you’re in the area.

San Diego is one of the premier tourist destinations in the United States.

italian red wine at san diego bars counter

The lovely weather, beautiful beaches, and bustling bar scene make it a fun destination no matter what type of vacation you want.

I visited San Diego recently and found myself drawn to the bar scene.

Throughout my vacation, I visited as many bars as I possibly could.

It seemed like each new bar had its unique personality and appeal.

So whether you’re looking for a place to watch the game or a lively nightspot for dancing, you’ll find the perfect spot on this list of the best bars in San Diego.


Madison

4622 Park Blvd, San Diego, CA 92116
Phone: 619-269-6566
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Madison is an exquisite bar near the corner of Madison Ave and Park Blvd in the University Heights neighborhood.

The bar features a stunning interior design with lively colors but also a spacious terrace if you prefer outdoor seating to enjoy San Diego’s great weather.

Madison serves incredible Mediterranean food.

Their diverse menus include everything from shish kabob and gnocchi to skirt steak, various salads, and more.

However, as its name will hint to you, I would recommend ordering their famous pork chop.

The pork was perfectly cooked, and the accompanying broccolini, asparagus, and roasted cherry tomatoes were fresh and flavorful.

Furthermore, the dish had olive oil and balsamic drizzle, making it even juicier to eat.

In addition to the great food, Madison naturally also has a wide selection of beverages, including cocktails, wines, and barrel-aged drinks.


Noble Experiment

777 G St, San Diego, CA 92101
Phone: 619-888-4713
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I love speakeasies.

There is something adventurous about walking through a random door and into a hidden bar.

Noble Experiment is one of the finest speakeasies in San Diego.

It’s situated on the corner of Eight Ave and G St in the Gaslamp Quarter, not far from the Balboa Theatre and Petco park.

Once inside, you’ll be greeted by a classy chandelier above you, a wall of skulls to your side, and numerous old paintings of renowned people.

And the decor doesn’t stop there, as there are many more interesting details I won’t spoil for you.

In addition to the unique ambiance, Noble Experiment also has some of the best bartenders in the business.

They will make you a cocktail based on your preferences.

I ordered a gin-based cocktail, and it was excellent.

Notably, as the bar is on the small side, so it’s advisable to make reservations if you plan on coming with a group of friends.


Sycamore Den

3391 Adams Ave, San Diego, CA 92116
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I always try to find cocktail bars when visiting a new city.

I find that the city’s culture inspires cocktails, and Sycamore Den is the perfect place to taste the culture of San Diego.

This retro bar is in the Normal Heights neighborhood on 34th street and Adams Ave.

It is close to the Snapdragon Stadium and Pancho Villa Farmer Market.

Sycamore Den has a vintage vibe with its dark wood furnishings and leather couches.

The bar is known for its excellent cocktails and friendly bartenders.

I ordered an Old Fashioned, and it was perfect.

In addition, they offer cheese and charcuterie boards that pair well with their signature cocktails.


The Nolen

453 Sixth Ave #7007, San Diego, CA 92101
Phone: 619-796-6536
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If you are in the mood for a cocktail but would like some fancier digs than the Sycamore Den, check out the Nolen.

The Nolen is a hotel rooftop bar in Downtown San Diego.

You can find it on the corner of Island Ave and Sixth Ave.

This cocktail is a great place to check out the city skyline after exploring some of the restaurants around San Diego.

It is also an excellent place for a date.

The Nolen has an extensive cocktail menu with something for everyone.

I ordered a vodka martini, and it was excellent.

The bartenders are very knowledgeable and can make you a custom cocktail if you can’t find anything on the menu that you like.

The Nolen also has a small food menu with snacks and light fare.

However, that’s more than enough if you’re looking to grab a quick bite.


Aero Club Bar

3365 India St, San Diego, CA 92103
Phone: 619-297-7211

The Aero Club Bar is a great place to get a drink before or after exploring Little Italy.

It’s on the corner of India St and W Fir St.

This bar is also close to the San Diego Chinese Historical Museum and Waterfront Park.

The Aero Club Bar is a casual bar with a relaxed atmosphere.

They have an excellent selection of whiskey.

I ordered a whiskey sour, and it was divine.

Plus, the bar has a variety of arcade games, so you can have a good time while enjoying your cocktail.


False Idol

675 W Beech St, San Diego, CA 92101
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False Idol is one of the most fantastic bars in San Diego.

It is a tiki bar located in the Little Italy neighborhood on the corner of W Beech St and Kettner Blvd.

This bar is close to the San Diego Maritime Museum and the Santa Fe Depot.

False Idol has a Polynesian vibe with its thatched roofs and tiki statues.

The cocktails are excellent, and I ordered a Mai Tai.

The bartenders are very knowledgeable and can make you a custom cocktail if you can’t find anything on the menu that you like.


KINDRED

1503 30th St, San Diego, CA 92102
Phone: 619-546-9653
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If you are looking for excellent cocktails in a gorgeous setting, then Kindred is the place for you.

It is in the South Park neighborhood on the corner of 30th St and Beech St.

This bar is also close to the San Diego Museum of Art and Balboa Park.

Kindred has a beautiful garden setting with an outdoor patio.

The cocktails are excellent, and I ordered a gin and tonic.

I appreciate the high-quality gin that the bartender used.

The kitchen serves up the best vegan food I have ever had at a bar. I was blown away by the quality.


Part Time Lover

3829 30th St, San Diego, CA 92104
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If you want to jam out to some vintage tunes, check out Part Time Lover in the North Park neighborhood.

It is on 30th St between University Ave and N Park Way.

This bar is close to the Morley Field Sports Complex and the North Park Community Park.

Part Time Lover has a relaxed atmosphere with an attached record store.

The DJ is always playing vinyl records.

The cocktails are excellent, and I tequila sunshine and was happy as a clam.

You should visit Part Time Lover if you want to drink excellent cocktails and listen to great music.


Polite Provisions

4696 30th St, San Diego, CA 92116
Phone: 619-269-4701
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Polite Provisions has fabulous decoration that rivals any other bar I’ve come across.

It is on 30th St between Madison Ave and Adams Ave, close to the Normal Heights Community Park and the San Diego Firehouse Museum.

Polite Provisions has a vintage apothecary theme.

The cocktails are excellent, and I ordered an old fashioned.

I love the classic cocktails that they make here.

The bartenders are very friendly and polite, hence the bar’s name. I felt like I was in good hands.


Prohibition Lounge

548 Fifth Ave, San Diego, CA 92101
Phone: 619-501-1919
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Prohibition Lounge is a hip speakeasy in the East Village.

It is on 5th Ave between Market St and Island Ave, close to the Gaslamp Quarter and the San Diego Padres Stadium.

The bar has a speakeasy theme with live jazz music.

The cocktails are excellent, and I ordered a Negroni. I love the classic cocktails that they make here.

The high-quality cocktails and excellent music make Prohibition Longue one of the best bars in San Diego.


Realm Of The 52 Remedies

4805 Convoy St, San Diego, CA 92111
Phone: 619-780-6675
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Realm Of The 52 Remedies is a great place to get a drink in the Kearny Mesa neighborhood.

It is on Convoy St and Ronson Road. This bar is also close to Olive Grove Park and Lindbergh neighborhood park.

Realm Of The 52 Remedies has an Asian-fusion theme with creative cocktails.

The cocktails are excellent, and I ordered a Mezcal Mule.

I love the creative cocktails that they make here.

I enjoyed the medicine-themed decoration. It was a new take I had not seen before in a bar.


The Cordova Bar

1319 Morena Blvd, San Diego, CA 92110
Phone: 619-230-5950
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If you are in the Morena neighborhood, check out The Cordova Bar.

It is on Morena Blvd near Morena Blvd and Viola Street intersection, close to the Tecolote Canyon Natural Park and Mission Bay.

The Cordova Bar has a comfortable and homey atmosphere.

The cocktails are excellent, and I ordered a margarita.

The Cordova Bar is a great place to catch up with friends or meet new ones.

You can catch the Sea World Fireworks from the patio if you are lucky.


O’Brien’s

4646 Convoy St, San Diego, CA 92111
Phone: 858-715-1745
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O’Brien’s is a charming bar near Convoy St and Opportunity Rd intersection, close to Mitsuwa Marketplace and the Miramar neighborhood.

The bar is known for the wide variety of microbrews, as you can find just about any beer here.

The drinks on offer are split into three categories, tap, bottle, and pub grub.

I was particularly attracted to their tap drinks, as they have many fruity flavors alongside the more traditional beers.

Ultimately, I opted for their Smooth Collider because it sounded cool, but it also featured an interesting blend of a smoothie sour ale with vanilla, strawberry, and banana.

Furthermore, O’Brien’s also offers an extensive selection of appetizers, soups, burgers, sandwiches, and salads.

And as a fan of sports, I was glad to see they had no shortage of large TVs to watch the big games live.


Park & Rec

4612 Park Blvd, San Diego, CA 92116
Phone: 619-795-9700
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If you are looking for a big night in the University Heights neighborhood, check out Park & Rec.

It is on Park Blvd between Adams Ave and Madison Ave.

This bar is also close to the San Diego Zoo and Balboa Park. Park & Rec has a fun and lively atmosphere.

You can play various games, including ping pong, cornhole, and giant Jenga.

Plus, there is a DJ, and the dance floor gets busy as the night progresses.

Ask the bartender to surprise you with a hand-crafted cocktail.

I promise you won’t be disappointed.


Sidecar Bar

1310 Morena Blvd, San Diego, CA 92110
Phone: 619-230-5715
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If you want to listen to live music after visiting Mission Bay, check out Sidecar Bar in the Morena neighborhood.

This bar is on Morena Blvd near the intersection of Morena Blvd and Tecolote Rd.

It is minutes from the University of San Diego and Fiest Island Park. Sidecar Bar has a great selection of cocktails and beers.

I absolutely loved their Pina Colada. Moreover, you can get them at a discount during happy hour. They also have a stage for live music.

I saw a great jazz band when I was there.


Final Thoughts

San Diego has many amazing bars that offer everything from all manner of cocktails to great live music. Moreover, there’s a perfect spot for everyone.

Whether you’re looking for a relaxing, quiet atmosphere or something more lively and entertaining.

So the next time you find yourself in the area, consider adding some of these bars to your itinerary.

Here are some amazing places to eat where you can bring your own booze if you want, too!

Did we leave a bar out of this list? Let us know in the comments below, and we’ll make sure to check them out!


Best Bars in San Diego

  1. Madison
  2. Noble Experiment
  3. Sycamore Den
  4. The Nolen
  5. Aero Club Bar
  6. False Idol
  7. KINDRED
  8. Part Time Lover
  9. Polite Provisions
  10. Prohibition Lounge
  11. Realm Of The 52 Remedies
  12. The Cordova Bar
  13. O’Brien’s
  14. Park & Rec
  15. Sidecar Bar

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Written by Brian N

Brian has been an influencer in the food and beverage industry for over 20 years. He not only loves to eat and drink at restaurants on a regular basis, he also knows the business inside and out.