San Diego has plenty to offer for the new traveler: everything from a world class zoo to a world class coastline. In between all the attractions, you can be sure to find amazing food and even better cocktails. San Diego is also home to some pretty amazing craft and local breweries for the beer lover. Whether you’re looking to go bar hopping in the trendy Gaslamp District or want a more relaxed vibe near the beach, there is something for everyone here. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of the trendiest bars to grab a drink at in San Diego.
1. Pacific Beach Shore Club
4343 Ocean Blvd
No bar in Pacific Beach draws a crowd more consistently, which, given that it’s PB we’re talking about, is a testament to Shore Club. The deck at this day drinking staple gets crowded on basically every sunny day (read: every day). It also hosts Goldfish Race Wednesdays, which is exactly what it sounds like, and pours those famous Red Bull vodka slushies, which pack a hell of a punch.
2. The Beachcomber
The Comber is a San Diego institution; it’s been around since the ‘40s, and it’s easy to see the lasting appeal once you step inside. Dollar drink specials, Bingo Mondays, and a crowd that ranges from retirees to college grads are just part of the charm here.
2901 Mission Blvd
3. The Kraken
2531 S Hwy 101
This is a dive bar in every sense of the word, and the crowd definitely isn’t what you might call “young” — but it is fun. There’s live music literally every day, cheap drinks, a MASSIVE pool area, and a crowd that doesn’t take itself seriously. Let your hair down, throw back a few drinks, and dance to the tunes of a middle-aged cover band.
4. The Nolen
453 Sixth Avenue
The Nolen is located on the roof of the Courtyard by Marriott hotel with a separate entrance to the elevator located to the left of the main entrance of the hotel. However, nothing makes you feel as if you are in a hotel bar when you visit Nolen. This rooftop bar is a sophisticated, high-end bar with a great atmosphere.
5. Float Rooftop Bar
207 Fifth Avenue
With a stylish pool area to enjoy during the day and fire pits to sit around at night, you could easily spend half a day here. The vibe at Float is a bit more casual than at the aforementioned rooftop bars, in a fun, trendy way. You have a bit of a view of the Gaslamp Quarter but this rooftop bar is more about the atmosphere than about the views.
6. Wonderland Ocean Pub
5083 Santa Monica Ave, Ste 2C
People treat weekend brunches at Wonderland like church, and the $10 bottles of champagne until 2pm help make for a pretty loose crowd by mid-afternoon. Just make sure you get in early, or you may never get a table.
7. The Tipsy Crow
770 5th Ave
The Tipsy Crow is the one of most unique bars you’ll ever visit and not because it was formerly a gentleman’s club, but because drink prices fluctuate like stocks. Be sure and keep your eye on the Drink Exchange drink ticker screens posted throughout the bar because drink prices rise or fall depending on demand. One minute that Jack Daniels you ordered might be $5, the next it’s $10. Have no fear because like the stock market, there’s always a Market Crash. During a Market Crash drink prices take a dive drop and the lucky patrons of The Tipsy Crow have 5 minutes to stock up on drinks before prices rise to normal “trading” levels.
8. Starlite Lounge
3175 India St
It’s happy hour seven days a week (5 – 7 p.m.) at this high design yet low-key Mission Hills hangout. Sip $5 draft beers and wells, or enjoy $2 off specialty cocktails while munching on $5 select snacks, including chickpea battered greens and coffee rubbed pulled pork toast.
1660 India St
Enjoy Mediterranean-inspired tapas plates, craft cocktails, wine, beer, and glasses of sangria, all for $5.55 each at this hip (yet casual) Little Italy hangout with a focus on farm to fork fare. Pitchers of sangría are also $25 during happy hour, which runs from 3-6 p.m. daily.
10. Mister A’s
2550 Fifth Ave
Perhaps San Diego’s spectacular happy hour spot! Between 2:30 – 6 p.m. every Sunday through Thursday, snag $7 well drinks and wines by the glass, $11 specialty cocktails and assorted domestic and local craft beers price between $4 to $6.
11. Hello Betty Fish House
211 Mission Ave
It’s located one block from the beach in Oceanside, has a great view of the Oceanside Pier, and the bartenders pour drinks like the world is ending. Strong drinks, beautiful sunsets, and a menu that includes treats like bacon-wrapped stuffed jalapeños and delicious mahi mahi tacos. It’s a great time.