The 10 Hottest Bars in San Diego This Summer

By Darlene Horn | May 26, 2015 By Darlene Horn  |  May 26, 2015

Whether you want the best place for a post-beach cocktail or a spot to show out-of-town guests what San Diego is all about, here's your hit list for the bars to drink in this summer. 

  • Photo by: David Harrison

    Park & Rec

    Why It’s Hot: There’s no shortage of cool hangouts in University Heights, but this newest destination takes several existing buildings and the space between them to create a unique drinking destination with several cozy nooks and an awe-inspiring courtyard.

    Must-Drink: Bean Me Up, Biscotti! — bourbon, coffee liqueur, biscotti liqueur and orange bitters.

    Insider Tip: Grab something to eat at the bar’s in-house snack shack. Food created by Royale with Cheese includes burgers, grilled cheese and tater tots.

    4612 Park Blvd.; 619-795-9700

  • Photo by: Fairweather


    Why It’s Hot: The second of Consortium Holding’s bar-within-a-bar concept boasts views of Petco Park’s baseball field and surrounding park. The tiki-inspired theme continues onto the drink menu, featuring rum-based drinks with a tropical flair.

    Must-Drink: Trinidad Sunset, a mix of three different rums with crème de cassis and fresh juice.

    Insider Tip: If you’re feeling the hunger pangs, go downstairs to Rare Form, an eatery specializing in handcraft sandwiches like the pork-belly BLT.

    795 J St.; 619-255-255-6507

  • Photo by: Blind Lady Ale House

    Blind Lady Ale House

    Why It’s Hot: It's a laid-back neighborhood bar with an awesome beer selection that brings in people from all over the city. In the past, Will Ferrell has been quoted as saying it’s his favorite place in town for a beer. 

    Must-Drink: Automatic's The Darkest Thing You Have.

    Insider Tip: Come with an empty stomach for their oft-talked-about thin-crust butternut squash pizza and irresistible pommes frites.

    3416 Adams Ave.; 619-255-2491

  • The Noble Experiment

    Why It’s Hot: This well-hidden speakeasy has limited capacity, but attentive bartenders aim to please anyone who can find a way in. Once inside, a lavish room with a skull-lined wall and dripping crystal chandeliers instantly sets the tone. 

    Must-Drink: Go with “Dealer’s Choice,” based on whatever the bartender's feeling at the moment.

    Insider Tip: You have to push on a wall of beer kegs to enter the bar from within its host restaurant, The Neighborhood. 

    777 G St.; 619-888-4713

  • El Dorado Cocktail Lounge

    Why It’s Hot: While others focus on unique cocktails with flippant names and unusual hooks, this bar’s strong suit is its menu of perfectly executed classics.

    Must-Drink: Sidecar (cognac, Cointreau, lemon), Manhattan (rye, sweet vermouth, bitters).

    Insider Tip: Check the calendar for live music, dancing and the occasional movie.

    1030 Broadway; 619-237-0550

  • Photo by: Common Theory Public House

    Common Theory Public House

    Why It’s Hot: The newest place on Convoy — started by two UCSD beer-loving grads — aims to fill in the niche for Asian food like pork-belly katsu with hoisin molasses and frogs' legs served alongside beers from smaller local craft breweries.

    Must-Drink: The Bruery’s Sainson De Lente, Alesmith’s Speedway Stout.

    Insider Tip: Parking in front is notoriously tight. Be prepared to stow your car somewhere along Convoy Street and walk to the bar.

    4805 Convoy St.; 858-707-7016

  • Tiger!Tiger!

    Why It’s Hot: It’s no wonder that the sister bar to Blind Lady Ale House (also in North Park) serves up the same local brews, but this time with hefty hunger-busting sandwiches filled with steak and egg and a host of other items from local farms.

    Must-Drink: Wit’s End by Ritual, Boon-Framboise Tart Raspberry Lambic.

    Insider Tip: Head over for their weekend brunches and housemade donuts.

    3025 El Cajon Blvd.; 619-487-0401

  • Hamilton’s Tavern

    Why It’s Hot: With a 75-year-old beer and wine license — one of the oldest in the city — this former dive bar has transformed into one of the premier places for ales.

    Must-Drink: Monkey Paw’s New Belgium Buzzed Monkey, Alpine Ale.

    Insider Tip: The bar is named after South Park resident Herman Hamilton, an American veteran pilot who frequents the bar.

    1521 30th St.; 619-238-5460

  • The Regal Beagle

    Why It’s Hot: This bar’s winning formula is a rotating roster of local and hard-to-find beers on tap and an extensive selection of grilled sausages from T & H Prime Meat and Sausage. Crowd-pleasing German garlic and veal bratwursts are enhanced by the bar’s massive mustard selection that will keep your taste buds happy.

    Must-Drink: Green Flash Serrano Stout, Pizza Port Sticky Icky.

    Insider Tip: Start the week off right with their Monday mini-corn dog specials for 25¢.

    3659 India St.; 619-297-2337

  • Polite Provisions

    Why It’s Hot: Looking like a drugstore fountain shop, this full-service bar — run by Erick Castro as part of CH Projects — offers cocktails and housemade sodas in an immaculately decorated setting featuring intricate penny tiles throughout the space.

    Must-Drink: Johnny Utah (blanco tequila, lime juice and housemade celery soda), Fancy Lad Cream Soda (vanilla bean, baking spice, seltzer).

    Insider Tip: Feel the hunger pangs? Order food from Soda & Swine next door and have it delivered at the bar.

    4696 30th St.; 619-677-3784

Places Mentioned

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Blind Lady Ale House

BarNormal Heights
Atmo.25 Decor24 Service22 CostM
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El Dorado Cocktail Lounge

Cocktail BarEast Village
Atmo.24 Decor21 Service21 CostI
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Polite Provisions

BarNorth Park
Atmo.25 Decor27 Service21 CostM
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Noble Experiment

BarEast Village
Atmo.26 Decor27 Service24 CostE
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Hamilton's Tavern

BarSouth Park
Atmo.23 Decor20 Service21 CostI

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