10 Must Try San Diego Hole-In-The-Wall BarsEat + Drink Everyone needs a good dive bar in their life.
Getting dressed up and hitting the hot spots can be fun, but sometimes you crave one of those perfect hole-in-the-wall bars that will happily accept you in even your most casual state.
These pubs provide a laid-back vibe, great food and drink deals and the approval of local San Diegans. From Encinitas to Downtown, practically every neighborhood offers its version of the classic dive bar.
Here are a few of our favorites (we didn’t stop at 10…couldn’t do it!):
Encinitas – Captain Keno’s
Located on the 101, Captain Keno’s allows you to embrace your inner sailor and indulge in a bit of seaside fun without breaking the bank.
In fact, many of their restaurant items fall under the $5 mark, leaving you with a full belly and plenty of extra cash for drinks.
Don’t forget to stop by the ATM; Captain Keno’s is a cash-only establishment.
Cardiff – Kraken
While this seaside dive bar is a popular pit stop for motorcyclists, you’re welcome to visit sans-bike, too.
There’s live music, pool tables and an all-night happy hour on Mondays with $3.25 wells and domestic beers.
If a weekend visit is more to your liking, you can partake in $5 u-call-its from 10 PM to 2 AM on Fridays and Saturdays.
Bay Park – High Dive
With more than 20 local craft beers on tap, High Dive is a beer aficionado’s dream come true!
While you sip your pint, you can try your hand at pinball or catch the game on one of their many televisions.
Feeling hungry? High Dive is also home to some unique burgers, like the jaw-dropping Kraken, which features a one-pound patty topped with gorgonzola cheese, smoked bacon and grilled onions nestled between two toasted sriracha-infused peanut butter & jelly sandwiches.
Now that’s a mouthful!
Pacific Beach – Silver Fox
Who says the party has to stop when the sun comes up?
At the Silver Fox, you can keep the party going thanks to an early morning happy hour from 6 AM to 10 AM with $2 specials on Bloody Marys and screwdrivers. There’s even a $2 beer special everyday!
Come for the great deals and stay for some fun. The PB dive bar keeps you entertained, day or night, with pool tables, dartboards and a pinball machine.
Mission Beach – Beachcomber
Feel free to don your favorite beach attire and visit the coastal Beachcomber for cheap drinks and fun retro music.
This South Mission Beach bar, which is just a block from the water, has been attracting a combination of locals and tourists since the 1940s with its nightly drink specials and special events, such as Bingo Mondays, Trivia Tuesdays and Waikiki Wednesdays.
Ocean Beach – Pacific Shores
Just one block away from the beach, Pacific Shores capitalizes on its proximity to the ocean with an under-the-sea theme. Black light paintings of sea life and giant clam shells on the ceiling showcase the unique seaside decor of this long-time local favorite (it opened in 1941) but it’s the cheap drink specials that keep drawing patrons back for more.
Little Italy – The Waterfront
Proudly billed as San Diego’s oldest tavern, The Waterfront has been serving drinks since shortly after Prohibition ended in 1933. Over the years, the bar has attracted a steady clientele of locals and it currently offers several nightly specials.
Stop in on Mondays for $5 Absolut Mules and 75 cent wings from 6 PM to close or check out Taco Tuesday and Slider Wednesday.
Gaslamp – Star Bar
Need a break from the glitz and glitter of the bustling Gaslamp?
The Star Bar offers a welcome respite from the high priced cocktails at the surrounding bars and clubs with neon lights and cheap drinks.
Just be sure to come prepared as they only accept cash and may have a $5 cover charge on certain nights.
North Park – Live Wire
Having recently celebrated its 24th anniversary, Live Wire is making a name for itself among the best dive bars in San Diego.
Home to both a rockin’ jukebox and an awesome selection of craft beers, this is a chill spot to hang out with some friends, down a pint or two and listen to some tunes.
South Park – Hamilton’s Tavern
Tucked along the main street in South Park, Hamilton’s has a true hole-in-the-wall vibe. With a revolving menu of craft beers, there’s always a new favorite just waiting to be discovered.
If the mood for food happens to strike while you’re visiting, be sure to try their mouth-watering versions of a grilled cheese sandwich. There are nine equally scrumptious varieties on the menu!
Cardiff – Duke’s Cardiff Office
Tucked in a strip mall next door to the legendary VG’s Donuts, you’re likely to find regulars drinking when you pick up your weekend morning donuts. That’s the sign of a good dive bar!
Encinitas – The Saloon
It’s been in Encinitas since 1934. That’s the sign of a good bar. Cold beer, stiff drinks, and an ‘Old #7’ pool table…hard to beat!
Leucadia – Leucadian Pour House
You won’t find the Leucadian on social media…it’s dive bar, after all! Seriously…this is the definition of a dive bar.
Who Did We Miss?
Look, we know that having a favorite hole-in-the-wall bar is a very personal decision, and we know there are many great ones that aren’t on this list.
Please let us know your favorites in the comments… we plan to hit them all!