Food & Drink

San Diego’s Sipping Scene: 15 Must-Try Cocktail Bars!

San Diego is a city that is known for its sunny beaches and laid-back lifestyle. But beyond the surf and sand, San Diego also boasts a thriving cocktail scene.

From classic cocktail bars to trendy speakeasies, there are plenty of places to enjoy a well-crafted drink in this city.

Whether you're a local or just visiting, exploring the best cocktail bars in San Diego is a must. With so many options available, it can be overwhelming to choose where to go.

That's where we come in. We've scoured the city to find the top cocktail bars that offer a unique experience, exceptional drinks, and excellent service.

Our list includes everything from upscale bars with a sophisticated atmosphere to more casual spots with a relaxed vibe.

Each bar has its own distinct style and menu, so there's something for everyone. Whether you prefer a classic martini or a creative concoction, you'll find it at one of these bars.

So, whether you're looking for a night out with friends or a romantic date spot, we've got you covered.

Grab a seat at the bar, sit back, and sip on one of the best drinks in San Diego.

1. Polite Provisions

Polite Provisions
4696 30th St, San Diego, CA 92116 (Google Maps)

Polite Provisions is a stylish and retro cocktail bar that offers craft cocktails and microbrews. The bartenders are passionate about their work and create unique drinks with quality ingredients.

The atmosphere is lively and the decor is apothecary-esque, adding to the charm of the place.

The bar is also connected to a Chinese restaurant where you can order food to enjoy with your drink.

If you're looking for a fun night out with friends and great drinks, Polite Provisions is definitely worth checking out.

2. Aero Club Bar

Aero Club Bar
3365 India St, San Diego, CA 92103 (Google Maps)

Aero Club Bar is a top-notch cocktail bar that offers an extensive selection of whiskeys and cocktails.

The bartenders are skilled and attentive, making your drinks quickly and with precision. This no-frills bar has a pool table, pinball room, and outdoor patio.

On Thursdays through Sundays, the Space Cat BBQ food truck serves up some delicious smoked BBQ. The atmosphere is diverse, with each section having its own ambiance, and the prices are reasonable.

Aero Club Bar is a must-visit for whiskey lovers and anyone looking for a laid-back bar with excellent service.

3. Raised by Wolves

Raised By Wolves
4301 La Jolla Village Dr #2030, San Diego, CA 92122 (Google Maps)

Raised by Wolves is an upscale cocktail bar with a speakeasy theme. The entrance is hidden behind a spinning fireplace, adding to the mystery and allure of the experience.

The decor is old-world with oak-clad walls, creating an opulent atmosphere.

The cocktail menu is impressive, with a variety of options to choose from, including non-alcoholic drinks. The service is outstanding and the staff is friendly and accommodating.

Reservations are recommended due to the popularity of the bar. Raised by Wolves is a must-visit for anyone looking for a unique and memorable cocktail experience.

4. Starlite

3175 India St, San Diego, CA 92103 (Google Maps)

Starlite is a retro-style California cocktail lounge that offers creative signature drinks and decent bites.

The moody lighting and comfortable seats create a great ambiance that's perfect for social events, date nights, or conversations with friends.

The bar's bartender, Ava, is known for making excellent drinks that are worth trying. The menu offers a selection of delicious food, including grilled octopus, burgers, and bone marrow.

The staff is incredibly friendly and attentive, making for a great overall experience. Starlite is a hidden gem that's definitely worth checking out.

5. Young Blood

Young Blood
777 G St, San Diego, CA 92101 (Google Maps)

Young Blood is a hidden gem for cocktail enthusiasts. With no set menu, their dedicated mixology bartenders ask for your preferences and create unique cocktails based on them.

The drinks are well garnished, paired with appropriate glassware, and each one is very different from the other.

The decor and ambience are great, making for a memorable experience. The only downside is the small tables, but opting for the bar is recommended.

Young Blood is definitely worth checking out for those looking for a unique cocktail experience.

6. Sidecar Bar

Sidecar Bar
1310 Morena Blvd, San Diego, CA 92110 (Google Maps)

Sidecar Bar is a must-visit for cocktail enthusiasts. The bartenders are top-notch and serve up delicious drinks that are sure to impress.

The atmosphere is cozy and vibrant, with a mix of arcade games, darts, and pool.

The food truck outside serves up some tasty treats, making it the perfect spot for a night out with friends.

With its laid-back vibe and friendly staff, Sidecar Bar is definitely worth checking out.

7. You & Yours Distilling Co

You & Yours Distilling Co
1495 G St, San Diego, CA 92101 (Google Maps)

You & Yours Distilling Co is a stylish craft distillery and cocktail bar that offers unique and flavorful drinks.

The bartenders are knowledgeable and friendly, and the atmosphere is chic yet laid-back.

The cozy seating and modern decor make it a great spot to relax with friends or for a small reception.

The gin and vodka are a must-try, and the female-owned establishment is definitely worth checking out.

8. Prohibition Lounge

Prohibition Lounge
548 Fifth Ave, San Diego, CA 92101 (Google Maps)

Prohibition Lounge is a stylish and swanky speakeasy that offers seasonally inspired cocktails in a cozy and intimate atmosphere.

The bartenders are skilled and friendly, and they are happy to create custom cocktails that will leave you wanting more.

The live music adds to the ambiance, and the red-hued haunt with a 1930s vibe is the perfect spot for a night out with friends or a romantic evening.

The cover charge and pricier drinks are worth it for the unique experience that Prohibition Lounge offers.

9. Realm Of The 52 Remedies

Realm Of The 52 Remedies
4805 Convoy St, San Diego, CA 92111 (Google Maps)

Realm Of The 52 Remedies is a hidden gem of a cocktail bar with a unique atmosphere and idiosyncratic cocktails. The knowledgeable and passionate staff provide top-notch service.

The food is delicious, with a heavier focus, and pairs well with the cocktails. The ambiance is incredible and well-themed, with a speakeasy vibe. Reservations are recommended as it can get busy quickly. The two-hour rule is enforced, so plan accordingly.

The decor is exquisite, with intricate details that transport patrons to another world. The drinks are stiff and creative, with a movie-themed menu that includes options for whiskey and tropical cocktail enthusiasts.

The appetizers are excellent, especially the Shrimp Arancini and Fried Quails. The 18% gratuity is included in the bill. The bar is perfect for a night out with friends or a romantic date.

10. El Dorado Cocktail Lounge

El Dorado Cocktail Lounge
1030 Broadway, San Diego, CA 92101 (Google Maps)

El Dorado Cocktail Lounge is a hidden gem in the heart of the city.

With a diverse atmosphere and music selection, this cocktail bar offers a great place to unwind and enjoy a night out. The friendly staff and reasonable prices make it a must-visit spot.

But the real star of the show here are the drinks. From classic cocktail variations to seasonal concoctions, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

So if you're looking for a great place to have a drink with friends, look no further than El Dorado Cocktail Lounge.


Bar By Red Door
729 W Washington St, San Diego, CA 92103 (Google Maps)

BAR by RED DOOR is a chic and cozy cocktail bar that offers a great atmosphere, tasty cocktails, and delicious small plates.

Their farm-to-glass craft cocktails are a must-try, and the friendly staff is knowledgeable and attentive.

On weekends, customers can enjoy live entertainment and even turn it into a dance party. The owner is also known for coming out of the kitchen to talk to every table.

This spot is perfect for a date or a night out with friends. Don't miss out on their brunch, which is served in a casual and relaxed environment.

12. The Bar at Moniker General

The Bar At Moniker General
2860 Sims Rd, San Diego, CA 92106 (Google Maps)

The Bar at Moniker General is a versatile cocktail bar that offers a relaxing atmosphere for both socializing and studying.

The venue features live music and a selection of wines to enjoy.

The cocktails are the highlight of the bar, with a great variety of flavors to choose from. Moniker's catering service is also worth checking out for events.

If you're looking for a spot to unwind or catch up with friends, The Bar at Moniker General is a great choice.

13. Room 56

Room 56
831 Sixth Ave, San Diego, CA 92101 (Google Maps)

Room 56 is an upscale and intimate cocktail bar that offers a unique and sophisticated experience. With a speakeasy feel, the atmosphere is perfect for a night out with friends or a romantic date.

The mixologists are highly skilled and offer a wide range of creative and delicious cocktails to choose from.

The music is classic jazz, adding to the overall classy vibe of the place. Reservations are highly recommended due to the popularity of the bar.

If you're looking for a memorable and top-notch cocktail experience, Room 56 is definitely worth a visit.

14. Nunu's

3537 Fifth Ave, San Diego, CA 92103 (Google Maps)

Nunu's is a legendary dive cocktail bar that delivers stiff drinks and awesome bartenders. The bar has a smoking patio and serves yummy burgers that are affordable on the tightest budget.

The atmosphere is laid back and approachable, making it perfect for a quick drink before a night out or hanging out with friends.

The bartenders are friendly and accommodating, and the service is excellent. The ambiance is dimly lit with a great dive bar appeal that is fun.

The food is excellent, and the drinks are well made. Nunu's is a must-go-to bar for anyone looking for a chill spot to enjoy craft beer and great pub grub.

15. Taste & Thirst

Taste & Thirst
715 Fourth Ave, San Diego, CA 92101 (Google Maps)

Taste & Thirst is a lively cocktail bar that offers a great happy hour from 3pm to 8pm on Thursdays.

The drinks are half off and they have a range of interesting cocktails and drop shots to choose from. The beer selection is also impressive.

The atmosphere is chill and the staff is friendly and attentive. The food is reasonably priced and the appetizers are a good choice.

The music can be loud, but there is a jukebox to play your favorite tunes. Taste & Thirst is a great spot to unwind and enjoy some drinks and good food.