Our 10 Favorite Cocktail Bars in San Diego Right Now

San Diego has always had a reputation as a ‘party’ town, but it now also has one of the best cocktail scenes on Earth for those looking for quality over quantity. While we’re grateful for the abundance of five-star cocktail bars in San Diego, sometimes having so many choices can make it difficult to come to a decision.

To help you out, we’ve curated a list of our favorite cocktail bars in San Diego at the moment for those nights when you’re on a hot date and want to impress, celebrating something special, or just feel like cleaning up a bit.

Check back often…we’re committed to doing the hard work of keeping up with San Diego’s best cocktails on your behalf, and we’ll keep this list updated as new bars open and new menus are released. It’s a tough job, but somebody has to do it 😉

Born and Raised

You really can’t beat a simple martini or the B&R Old Fashioned (our favorite in San Diego!) at Born and Raised for a classy night out that feels more like a steakhouse experience you’d expect to find in New York rather than San Diego.

Most nights we prefer the open air and Little Italy views at their upstairs bar, but there isn’t a bad seat in the house.

Youngblood

A true speakeasy is one that is hard to find, and if you don’t have friends that will go on a hunt to find the best cocktails in town, you might not know that Youngblood even exists. Hidden in the back of East Village’s recently updated Neighborhood is Nobel Experiment, one of San Diego’s most famous speakeasies.

But having one legendary speakeasy within Neighborhood’s walls wasn’t enough…oh no…so they recently added a second! Youngblood’s 3-course cocktail experience and intimate 16-seat bar, floor-to-ceiling bar shelves, custom lighting, and Parisian carpet will seemingly transport you to a different time and place for the evening.

For $65 you will get a 90-minute slot to enjoy the cocktails of the night, chosen by the talented crew behind the bar. Reservations well in advance are highly recommended and can be made online.

We’re thrilled about this newcomer to the Little Italy scene! The revolving centerpiece after which the bar is named was originally built and immortalized in 1881 by German carousel master carver and builder, Charles I.D. Looff — nicknamed “Wolfie” by friends.

The cocktails are out of this world, the menu is straight from a Parisian bistro, and the revolving centerpiece creates one of most interesting people-watching opportunities in San Diego!

Realm Of The 52 Remedies

When most people think of Convoy district, they think of an abundance of authentic Asian restaurants, but what most don’t know is hidden amongst all of these incredible eateries lies a chic 1920s speakeasy inside of the popular gastropub, Common Theory. What makes 52 Remedies unique is the elaborate hidden entrance designed by Michael Soriano.

The experience begins when you find the hidden entrance and as you make your way towards the bar, you will be transported out of Kearny Mesa and into a completely different realm. The space is elegant yet cozy making it the perfect spot to enjoy light bites and creative cocktails.

Polite Provisions

Located on the corner of 30th and Adams, Polite Provisions is one of  North Park’s most beloved cocktail bars and a bar that helped put San Diego on the cocktail scene map.  Even on busy nights, they keep things flowing with five different cocktails on tap and a cocktail list that will have you torn between classics like their Kentucky Buck or making a rum for it and going for a GPK, crafted with White Rum, Jamaican Rum, Barbados Rum, Passionfruit, Coconut, Pineapple and Lime. No matter what you choose, you will be blown away by the talent behind the bar.

Starlite

Starlite has been a favorite of ours since we first stepped foot in it years ago – it never lets us down. This San Diego gem, nestled on an unassuming corner of India Street in Mission Hills, has some of the best food and cocktails in San Diego and a mid-century modern environment that is simultaneously sophisticated and feels like a very comfortable neighborhood bar at the same time. Being able to pull that off says a lot about the talent of Starlite’s founder Matt Hoyt, whose recent sudden passing makes us even more nostalgic about the great meals and drinks we’ve had here over the years.

Madison on Park

Madison has received plenty of well-deserved praise for its beautiful cocktails and stunning, airy architectural design over the years, and it’s a perennial favorite of ours. Whether you take a seat at their intimate bar or grab a table for dinner, you can’t go wrong.

Tahona

Tahona is a modern Mexican bar known for its Mezcal offerings. This rustic little hacienda aims to honor Mexican culture and its iconic beverage. Here you will find Oaxacan-inspired food along with over 120 various mezcals, hand-selected by their team. Their cocktail menu ranges from refreshing and creative, to spicy and delicious, to stirred and boozy. If you’re a fan of mezcal, we recommend taking part in the tasting experiences; not only is it fun but you also learn a lot as you get to sip on rare and delicious mezcal.

You and Yours Distilling Co.

Gin and vodka lovers unite at this woman-owned distillery located in the heart of East Village. You and Yours offers an open, airy environment to relax and sip on creative, refreshing cocktails. They also offer private distillery tours to groups of 4-10, Wednesday – Friday at 5 pm and Saturday at 5 pm & 6 pm.  Included is a 45-minute educational experience and guided tasting of their current offerings.

See you there!

Keep this list in mind for your next hot date or important celebration – or the next time you simply want to spend your evening exploring San Diego’s best cocktail bars. We’ll keep it updated for you!

If you see us at the bar, be sure to say hi, and when you visit one of these spots, be sure to tag us on Instagram so we can share with our followers.

Stay healthy, San Diego!

PS – To be safe, plan to use your favorite rideshare service to get home safely.