Food & Drink

18 San Diego Bars Open on Christmas Day

Sara Norris Published On 12/18/2015 Published On 12/18/2015
Courtesy of Lori Sokolowski

The holidays sometimes mean you need a drink -- but sometimes the eggnog grandma is pushing isn’t exactly what you had in mind. Whether you’re separated from family this Christmas or looking to separate from family this Christmas, these San Diego drinkeries are ready to welcome you with open arms.

Sara Norris/Thrillist

Sycamore Den

Normal Heights
Cozying up around the golden fireplace will instantly make SD feel a little more like Christmas, even if it is 65 degrees outside.
 

Lion’s Share

Downtown
Nothing says "happy holidays" like delicious cocktails and exotic meats. At least the place isn't serving reindeer.

Courtesy of Spiked

Spiked at Harrah’s

Valley Center
Guarantee yourself a spot on Santa’s naughty list for next year and gamble away that Christmas cash grandma gave you... or win big and send grandma on a cruise. It could go either way.
 

Lamplighter

Mission Hills
It’s officially the last day of the year that it’s acceptable to obnoxiously belt out Christmas songs. Get after it.

Sara Norris/Thrillist

Sandbar

Mission Beach
Only in Southern California can you get away with drinking at an oceanfront rooftop bar on Christmas Day. Be sure to send some jealousy-inducing selfies to the fam while you’re sipping that marg.
 

100 Wines

Hillcrest
Go ahead. Order yourself a whole bottle. Merry Christmas.

Sara Norris/Thrillist

Tavern at the Beach

Pacific Beach
Depending on how well that family dinner went you can stop by to knock back a few or go all out and tap a whole keg for your table.
 

Toronado

North Park
With a beer list a mile long there's bound to be something festive on tap. If not, you still have an infinite number of non-holiday brews to choose from.

The High Dive

High Dive

Bay Park
Nothing reminds you of home like a bar that keeps its Christmas lights up all year long.
 

Hamilton’s Tavern

South Park
See if you can still name Santa’s reindeer after working your way through this tap list.

Wonderland Ocean Pub

Wonderland

Ocean Beach
Who wouldn’t want to spend Christmas with this crew?
 

barleymash

Gaslamp
If Santa neglected to bring you the bacon blue cheese fries you asked for, go here.

Sara Norris/Thrillist

Coin-Op

North Park
Christmas was way more fun as a kid, so take your inner child out for some Mortal Kombat II and an adult beverage.
 

El Dorado

Downtown
It has My Favorite Things on the cocktail menu. So at least you’ll get one thing you wanted this year.

Sara Norris/Thrillist

Duck Dive

Pacific Beach
Have yourself a merry little Christmas Day surf and then come by Duck Dive for a refreshing beverage.
 

PB Shore Club

Pacific Beach
Come by wearing a onesie and get half off your drinks. Best. Christmas. EVER.

Sara Norris/Thrillist

Indigo Grill

Little Italy
Get all international this year and celebrate the birth of Jesus Christo with a tequila shot and some chicharrones.
 

Shakespeare Pub & Grille

Mission Hills
Do up Christmas like a Brit and celebrate Jolly Old Saint Nick out on the piss.

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Sara Norris will be freezing her tush off in New Mexico this Christmas but wishes you all a happy holiday anyway.

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1. Sycamore Den 3391 Adams Ave, San Diego, CA 92116 (Normal Heights)

If the San Diego backdrop of beaches and palm trees has somehow got you itching for a getaway, look no further than Sycamore Den. This masculine, woodsy bar feels like a hidden hunting lodge getaway right on Adams. The '70s vibe comes complete with mounted guns, stone and wood lining, and polished leather booths, and the drinks match with a menu that's got a heavy emphasis on whiskey, rye, and bourbon (in craft cocktails and on their own).

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2. The Lion's Share 629 Kettner Blvd, San Diego, CA 92101 (Gaslamp Quarter)

Don't let the mounted, stuffed peacock, mismatched chandeliers, and surreal paintings in this place distract you from the food (easier said than done, we know). This quirky hunter's den-like space in City Walk satisfies your carnivorous side with modern dishes featuring game-y meats like antelope, wild boar and elk -- you know, stuff a lion would actually eat. Better for adventurous eaters, The Lion's Share's unexpected offerings pair well with their handful of whiskey cocktails or, if you're feeling extra brave, a sample from their selection of absinthe.

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3. Spiked at Harrah's 777 Harrah's Rincon Way, San Diego, CA

This hip spot in Harrah's Resort and Casino serves edgy takes on classic cocktails and is only a short drive out of the SD.

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4. The Lamplighter 817 W Washington St, San Diego, CA 92103 (Mission Hills)

This award-winning karaoke bar and local institution on Washington Street is the place to go in town for botched renditions of Ace of Base, the best people-watching ever, and strong, cheap cocktails.

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5. Sandbar 718 Ventura Pl, San Diego, CA 92109

Located right on scenic Ventura Beach, Sandbar offers award-winning tacos, along with a selection of tasty burgers and seafood and 66 high-end tequilas and mezcals -- including its own hand-selected barrel of tequila from Herradura Tequila distillery in Guadalajara, Mexico. Best of all, you can imbibe with a view of the sunset over the Pacific.

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6. 100 Wines Hillcrest 1027 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92103 (Hillcrest)

Mediterranean cuisine with lots of good wine pairings.

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7. Tavern at the Beach 1200 Garnet Ave, San Diego, CA 92109 (Pacific Beach)

Tavern at the Beach can be found in Pacific Beach, offering a great beer selection, taps at the table, and a menu with double battered bacon.

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8. High Dive Bar & Grill 1801 Morena Blvd, San Diego, CA 92110

The name of this Bay Park restaurant might hint at an old dive, but its food and drinks offerings, as well as its kid-friendly menu, suggest a more community-friendly vibe. Those who wander in are immediately greeted by hanging Christmas lights and flashing pinball machines that echo the space's energy, all supported by an especially friendly and attentive staff. As if that weren't convincing enough, 20 craft beers on tap and an extensive burger list (the breakfast burger is a hit) will definitely transform you into one of High Dive's regulars.

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9. Hamilton's Tavern 1521 30th St, San Diego, CA 92102 (South Park)

Named after Herman Hamilton, a member of the illustrious Montford Point Marines, Hamilton's Tavern is the oldest beer and wine-licensed location in San Diego. The folks at this South Park alehouse want patrons to feel right at home while picking through their super-extensive beer list, which features more than 200 different bottles and a rotating selection of suds on 28 taps.

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10. Wonderland Ocean Pub 5083 Santa Monica Ave , San Diego, CA 92107 (Ocean Beach)

Overlooking the O.B. Pier, the longest concrete pier on the coast, it's no wonder that Wonderland Ocean Pub is an Ocean Beach favorite. The tavern is named after a short-lived amusement park in the area that was open 1913-1916, but these days all the amusement comes from the a breezy, seafood version of an American pub menu (with cocnonut calamari and oysters on the half-shell next to fish & chips and short-rib burgers) and classic cocktails garnished with a view.

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11. Barleymash 600 5th Ave, San Diego, CA 92101 (Gaslamp Quarter)

Barleymash sports a pub-ish vibe with brick walls, a 360-degree stone-topped bar, and mad flatscreens.

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12. Coin-Op 3926 30th St, San Diego, CA 92104 (North Park)

Take everything awesome about being a kid in the '80s, add a killer craft cocktail list and 20 craft beers on draft and you’ve got Coin-Op, the arcade/bar combo that just opened up in North Park with pinball and more than a dozen vintage games on rotation like Donkey Kong, Street Fighter, and Frogger. Score!

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13. El Dorado 1030 Broadway, San Diego, CA 92101 (East Village)

El Dorado's is known for their delicious and ever changing seasonal cocktails, that's why you should get yourself down there for happy hour to snag one for $5. If you have like work and can't make HH, treat yourself anyways and have a few.

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14. Duck Dive 4650 Mission Blvd, San Diego, CA 92109 (San Diego)

Duck Dive is an American Gastropub knocking it out of the park in two categories: gourmet food and drinks that include micro-brews and speciality cocktails.

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15. PB Shore Club 4315 Ocean Blvd, San Diego, CA 92109 (Pacific Beach)

Right on the Pacific Ocean, Shore Club's got great bar fare as well as boozy slushies sure to cool you down on any summer (or any other season) day. There's an open air rooftop patio, and the kitchen is open late night, slinging greasy yet elevated eats (think in terms of sauteed lobster tacos) from 9pm until close. It’s a good thing, too, because you can work up quite the appetite during those Wednesday night goldfish races, which don’t start until 10pm.

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16. Indigo Grill 1536 India St, San Diego, CA 92101 (Little Italy)

This sweet Latin American bistro in the heart of Little Italy serves colorful small plates from land and sea. Can't choose what to get? Try one of their Anticucho boards which give you a little bit of everything (grilled meat, hummus, chimichurri, and flatbread) for $20.

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17. Shakespeare Pub & Grille 3701 India St, San Diego, CA 92103 (Little Italy)

We all know The Bard loved the brew, so stop by his namesake pub to nosh on English eats and sip cool ales.

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