10 Must Try San Diego Hole-In-The-Wall Bars 

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, The Kraken, 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 6PM 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.

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!

The Latest
Lilian's Weekend Brunch at The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe
The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe’s beloved signature restaurant Lilian’s is excited to introduce a new weekend brunch on March 2, served on Saturdays and...
Ilan-Lael Spring Workshops
Discover a fresh perspective on beauty, art and nature at Ilan-Lael during this spring’s inspiring workshops hosted by the Ilan-Lael Foundation. Delve into the enchanting...
Cardiff Farmers Market Anniversary
Cardiff Farmer’s Market, the weekly Certified Farmer’s Market hosted by the Cardiff 101 Mainstreet Association, is excited to announce its 1st anniversary with a special...
Wu Tsai QRT.yrd Concert Series
The Conrad’s outdoor Wu Tsai QRT.yrd Concert Series returns with five free concerts in Spring 2024. Plan to meet up with friends at The Conrad...
The Dish
The Dish is your source for the latest menu updates, new cocktail programs, happy hours, and special offers from San Diego’s best restaurants and bars!...
Cyndi Smith and Basem Harb of Fierce & Kind make award-winning spirits that combine passion and purpose with sustainable production.
We got to sit down for a chat with Basem Harb and Cyndi Smith, the dynamic duo behind Fierce & Kind, a San Diego-based brand...