20 of San Diego’s Best Bars to Put on Your Holiday Cocktail Route

Cheers to the best time of the year! It’s officially Holiday Cocktail Season, which we take very seriously around the halls of ThereSanDiego! 🥃 That means we are busy planning out our route around San Diego’s best bars to make sure that we can get to all of our favorite destinations before the season is over!

And you should too, so we figured we’d give you a roundup of our favorite places (old and new) to enjoy the tradition to make it easy for you to plan your route.

Whether you’re on the hunt for an over-the-top Christmas cocktail, need something stiff to get you through your holiday shopping experience, or are looking for the perfect place to take a date for a hot toddy over the holidays, this list has you covered!

San Diego’s Best Bars for Holiday Cocktails

Polite Provisions

Santa’s little helpers have completed their transformation of North Park’s Polite Provisions into tinsel town for their annual feast of all things holiday. This year’s “A Cocktail Carol” features a plethora of holiday-themed drinks to amp up your cheer as well as a cacophony of Christmas décor, blown up in CH Projects’ fashion.

Special seasonal drinks will include creative spins on classic holiday favorites such as Agave Hot ChocolateHoliday CoquitoHouse Mulled Wine, and a S’mores-inspired Eggnog.

All cocktails are an ode to Christmas carols of the past and will be delivered in customized glassware with extra holiday sparkle and indulgent garnishes. So, rally your crew, indulge in a touch of festive mischief, and raise a glass to another magical year of holiday gatherings at Polite Provisions.

California English

This holiday season, yule be delighted by California English‘s English-inspired yuletide elixirs. A relatively unknown newcomer to our list of San Diego’s best bars – you won’t be disappointed. Those cheeky Brits do know how to drink, and the cocktails here are always impressive!

Imbibe on spiked classics like the Holiday Nog with Buffalo Trace Bourbon & bourbon cream, nutmeg, cinnamon and egg white; and new creations such as the Mistletoe with Titos, maraschino, lime and cranberry bitters, Fireside with bourbon, Averna, chile, cinnamon and cardamom; Candy Cane with Titos, peppermint schnapps, Mozart white chocolate; and the Yule Mule with buttered rum, cinnamon, nutmeg, lime juice, apple cider, black walnut bitters and ginger beer. Non-alcoholic delights are also available such as the Cranberry Basil Cooler with cranberry, lime, basil and cranberry bitters. 

Born and Raised

You know that velvet sports coat or glitzy cocktail dress you’re always looking for an excuse to wear? An opulent evening of holiday cocktails at Born & Raised is the perfect excuse to bust out the sequins and shine your shoes.

We recommend getting some of your besties together at the bar for shareable bites like their Charcuterie & Cheese Board – which is easily one of the best in town. And of course, a dirty Martini or bourbon cocktail to pair!

‘Tis the season to get dolled up and hit the town! 

Wormwood

Wormwood absinthe bar and French restaurant is one of our favorite places for a good cocktail in San Diego any time of year, and the holidays are no different!

Don’t expect any over-the-top decorations or Santa mugs here; Wormwood is one of our favorite places in San Diego for a more refined experience, and we don’t expect anything different during the holidays.

Wormwood always feels like we’ve escaped to a cafe in Paris for the evening, which makes it the perfect place for a special holiday drink with friends or someone special. I mean, who wouldn’t like a quick trip to Old Paris for Christmas?!

Nolita Hall

Nolita Hall has one word to say about their holiday lineup: sleigh.

They take their fun very seriously – including their holiday decorations and cocktails. It’s one of our favorite places in San Diego for drinks and conversations with friends, and we plan on being there a lot over the holiday season!

insideOUT

insideOUT went totally over-the-top with their ‘Holiday Oasis’ theme again this year, and it’s amazing! And we just got to try their new holiday food and cocktail menus, and they are outstanding –  you will most definitely leave in the holiday spirit!

Reservations to Holiday Oasis sold out for the season on the first day, but you can walk in for a seat at the bar or in their lounge area on a first-come, first-served basis. Do it – this is a unique, can’t-miss holiday experience!

Bleu Bohèm

Award-winning French food is always a good idea around the holidays, and that’s something that Bleu Bohème has delivered for years. But they may be just as known by regulars for their wine and cocktails (the Basil Martini is a MUST!).

Bleu Bohèm is embracing the holiday season with a selection of cocktails including Ma Cherie, made with Bleu Bohème’s house cherry-infused brandy, port wine and bourbon, served over ice, topped with rich vanilla ice cream and garnished with a Bleu Bohème’s house cherry-infused brandy, port wine and bourbon; and Fig et Fenouil, a combination of fig and fennel infused vodka, St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur, lavender and sparkling wine, each priced at $15.

Craft & Commerce

Little Italy’s Craft & Commerce has decked the halls for a festive season of eating and drinking. And for an extra dose of holiday cheer, visit during happy hour, 4-5 pm Monday through Thursday and 3-5 pm Fridays.

They’ve churned out a new menu of 8 seasonal drinks, such as the Ms. Shugga Plum’s Hot Stuff with white chocolate, marshmallow, orange liquor, Meletti Amaro, Demerara Rum and sugar plum whip, the Santa’s Rootin’ Bootin’ Old Fashioned with bourbon, Amaro Meletti, herbsaint and St. Schmitter’s Root Beer Cordial or the Chwithmuth Twee Oh, Chwithmuth Twee with London Dry Gin, bianco vermouth, elderflower, lemon, and winter bouquet bitters.

Madison on Park

You really can’t go wrong at Madison on Park anytime, but it’s always on our list for a cocktail during the holidays.

This year the specialty cocktail menu includes a Peppermint Espresso Martini, Nogzilla, Snowfall Sour, and Grinchy McGrinchface Shooters!

Raised by Wolves

This is a no-brainer during the holiday season. Raised by Wolves is an incredible bar that’s hidden away from sight at the Westfield UTC Mall in La Jolla, so you can drop in for a drink for two while you’re doing your holiday shopping!

I mean, if anybody needs further proof that San Diego is America’s Finest City, this is it! What other city as one of the top bars in America hidden away in their mall?!

It’s hard to imagine a bar that feels more whimsical and festive than Wolfies does – a perfect place to raise a glass to celebrate the holidays!

The scenery and cocktails are always gorgeous here, but never as much as during the holidays when they’ve decked the halls for the season. Whether you go for a long weekend brunch or evening cocktails, you’ll be in for a ride at Wolfie’s.

Youngblood

Stepping into Youngblood is like taking a boozy trip to Paris with your best friend…who happens to be one of the best bartenders in the world. That sounds like a perfect way to celebrate the holidays to us!

Youngblood isn’t just one of San Diego’s best bars; they’ve also been recognized as one of the best bars in America, and seats are already very limited due to its intimate setting. Make reservations early!

Marisi

La dolce vita meets holiday cheer at Marisi, the Italian gem in La Jolla Village. As you step inside, you’ll be greeted by the warm glow of the bar—a stunning centerpiece that beckons you to unwind with a festive cocktail or savor the rich flavors of Italian wine.

Photo: Kimberly Motos

On the menu during the holiday season is a Hazelnut Manhattan made with Buffalo Trace Bourbon, Reisetbauer Hazelnut, Sweet Vermouth, Meletti Amaro, Mulled Apple Cobbler with Laird’s 7 1/2 year Apple Brandy, Amontillado Sherry, House Mulled Apple Cider, Lemon or Marisi’s signature Hot Chocolate with Cognac, Benedictine, Valrhona Milk Chocolate, brown sugar, and milk served and house-made Green Chartreuse Marshmallow. 

You & Yours Distilling

The crew at You & Yours are absolute pros at whipping up beautiful cocktails that bring out the flavors of the holiday season.

Their urban distillery and tasting room is decked out with holiday cheer, and their hand-crafted holiday cocktails are as tasty as they are beautiful. Their lounge is a cozy, relaxed haven to unwind with friends – sip cocktails, play board games, and engage in conversations – and forget about the clock or any deadlines from the week.

Rare Society

We could have recommended every one of the Trust Restaurant Group’s venues for this list – they are all fantastic for a celebratory cocktail anytime. But Rare Society’s location on Cedros Avenue in Solana Beach has a unique ‘laid-back surf town meets Vegas’ vibe to it that we love (yes, that’s an odd sounding combo…you have to experience it to get it!)!

This is our go-to North County spot for celebrating something special with friends – it never disappoints. Get there early, the bar fills up fast.

The ‘Over the Top Holiday Lounge’

The Over the Top Holiday Lounge is back for its second year atop the Manchester Grand Hyatt, and it’s a must-visit for holiday cocktails with killer views until December 27th!

Find a cozy spot around the warm hearth or sit near the homey pair of bunk beds that set the scene of a nostalgic family vacation, all with epic panoramic views of the San Diego Bay that Top of The Hyatt is known for, paired with a themed food and beverage menu, featuring Maker’s Mark.

The Lodge at Torrey Pines

The Lodge at Torrey Pines is a special place any time of year, but it has a magical feel when decorated with the sights, smells, and flavors of the holidays.

Nestled amidst the breathtaking beauty of nature, the spirit of the holidays at The Lodge is alive with a sense of timeless luxury and tradition. The warm and inviting ambiance are reminiscent of your favorite ski lodge, beckoning you to escape into a winter wonderland that feels like a cozy retreat in the heart of the mountains…but with stunning views of the Pacific Ocean.

Hotel Del Coronado

The Hotel Del Coronado is truly one-of-a-kind during the holidays. The legendary resort shimmers and shines as it transforms into a winter wonderland, complete with ice skating on the beach, giant Christmas trees, thousands of lights, outdoor fire pits to snuggle around, holiday movies on the beach, and much more.

This year’s theme is ‘A Twenties Holiday Affair‘, reflecting back 100 years to the glittering art-deco era of the 1920s. Grab a cocktail, sit by the fire, and soak in the glamour and glitz that only The Del can provide!

The Grass Skirt

We have to have at least one tiki bar on this list! The Grass Skirt has once again gone all out for the holidays, and If ‘rum-soaked’ is your idea of a warm holiday buzz, you’ll want to make sure this is a stop on your list!

Their ‘Sippin Santa’ holiday-themed experience is guaranteed to have you feeling warm and fuzzy. They even have their own Christmas sweater for sale to pick up for your favorite bar-hopping buddies!

See you there!

There you go – a full itinerary of San Diego’s best bars for holiday cocktails that are sure to make your spirits bright this holiday season!

See you there, San Diego! Cheers!

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