The Best Bars in San Diego

San Diego , Eating and Drinking , Shortlists
The Best Bars in San Diego
Sit back and relax!
Experience the best of San Diego’s night-life with these 7 brilliant bars…

Bali Hai:

Bali Hai San Diego

Image credit: Bali Hai


A view like no other, sit back and relax (cocktail in hand!) as you admire the breath-taking San Diego bay and the impressive views of the downtown skyline. A favourite with locals for over 60 years, the self-proclaimed ‘Polynesian paradise’ is famous for its delicious cocktails; in particular, the Bali Hai Mai Tai. With over 2 million sold, this is a drink that comes with a warning, ‘quite possibly the strongest drink you’ll ever consume’! The menu is separated into categories, from mid-medium potency to strong libations. Are you up for the challenge?


Coasterra Restaurant:

Coasterra Restaurant San Diego

Image credit: Coasterra


Another great place to sit outside and marvel at spectacular panoramic views of the illuminated city. The Mexican inspired eatery serves traditional dishes such as crispy nachos, stuffed enchiladas and sugary churros to delight your taste buds. Coasterra also has a wide-ranging drinks menu. With over 70 agave spirit’s, indulge in one of their speciality cocktails! A restaurant that has been over 10 years and $15 million in the making, it’s definitely worth a visit, but make sure you get a seat outside and admire the beautiful scenery, or you’ll regret it!


Noble Experiment:

Noble Experiment San Diego


One of San Diego’s best kept secrets; an intimate speakeasy hidden behind a wall of old beer kegs in the depths of the Neighbourhood restaurant. With a maximum capacity of around 35 people, the only way in is with a reservation, if you can get one! Head to the website to find the reservation number that allows you to enter a world shrouded in secrecy. The dimly lit bar boasts a unique, mysterious atmosphere, that makes it different from anywhere else in the city. The elaborate gothic style décor draws you in, with its digital artwork, extravagant ceiling paintings and golden skulls lining the walls. The traditional cocktails are made by experienced mixologists who add a creative twist, so you can definitely expect something strong!


Ironside Fish & Oyster Bar:

Ironside Fish & Oyster Bar San Diego

Image credit: San Diego magazine

Oyster in one hand, cocktail in the other; this nautical bar specialises in incredible seafood. The ever-changing menu includes ‘simple fish’, ‘fancy fish’ and ‘not fish’ meaning there really is something for everyone. If you’re not sure what to have, why not try the flavoursome giant lobster roll or the more traditional crispy battered fish & chips? Get a table near the piranha wall (a wall adorned with hundreds of toothy piranha skulls) to really appreciate the fun décor. Enjoy a tasty cocktail from the 50+ range, or Ironside's happy hour with a twist, which means mouth-watering oysters for $1!


Hamilton’s Tavern:

Hamilton's Tavern

Perfect for those looking for a great beer, Hamilton’s tap selection exceeds over 30 refreshing options, as well as hundreds of bottles to choose from. Serving up tasty homemade pub food like burgers and sausages, the food is delicious. The dish they’re famed for though, is their award winning grilled cheese variety; crusty sourdough sandwiches with a side of chunky chips. Always packed thanks to its delicious offerings and lively atmosphere, you’re guaranteed a good night, with a pool table, shuffleboard and retro jukebox at your disposal. Our tip: they regularly host complimentary BBQ’s, and introduce a new brew every second Saturday (the old taps are hung from the ceiling), so check it out beforehand and try and get there if you can!



Fairweather San Diego

Image credit: San Diego magazine


A rooftop retreat with a view! Enjoy gorgeous cocktails from way up high, as you overlook the renowned Petco Park. Located above the Rare Form restaurant, you can bring some of their tasty snacks upstairs with you and unwind on the outdoor patio. The bright blue and white tiled bar, along with the cocktail menu made up of “drinks from sunny places” reflect the warmth of the city perfectly. With over 30 cocktails to choose from, make sure you make the right decision and try ‘Monkey’s Junk’ a creamy coconut concoction with a tipple of rum. If you’re feeling flush, you can even opt for a $300 ‘Dealer’s Choice’ with a serving of friendly advice on the side! Fairweather also serves beer and rum, although it’s the cocktails that you’ll come back again for!


Crazy Goose Bar & Lounge:

Crazy Goose Bar & Lounge

Image credit: Crazy Goose Bar & Lounge


The Crazy Goose is fairly new on the San Diego scene, and has been open for less than year. Offering a mix that will suit everyone, this family run business prides itself on serving great tasting, great value food. Whether you’re looking for a juicy beef burger, or a healthy quinoa alternative, the ingredients are all fresh, organic and locally sourced. Back to the drinks, Crazy Goose offers 15 taps of ice cold beer, an extensive range of refreshing cocktails, and a happy hour to rival the rest of the bars in the Gaslamp (with 50% off from 3-7pm on weekdays).


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San Diego , Eating and Drinking , Shortlists