Food & Drink

San Diego’s New Must-Hit Happy Hours

Published On 11/23/2015 Published On 11/23/2015
Courtesy of Bracero

When you find yourself in a rut at work, nothing can turn your mood around like a little happy hour... until you use that move so many times that you begin to even find yourself in a rut when it comes to where to go for happy hour. WHAT THEN?! Luckily, these nine San Diego establishments have rolled out new ways for you to experience your discounted imbibing.

Courtesy of Auda & Coudayre Photography

Coasterra

Harbor Island

If you’ve spent the entire day slaving away under fluorescent office lights, then step out onto Coasterra’s patio overlooking the bay and let that fresh salt air slap you in the face. If their stunning view of San Diego’s downtown skyline isn’t enough to make you forget about your day then their selection of more than 70 agave spirits might do the trick. Happy g=hour happens Monday through Friday from 3:30-5:30pm in their tequila lounge and on the patio only. Specials include $7 house wines, $7 specialty cocktails, like their margarita de la casa, Deb’s coconut margarita (made with coconut cream, lime juice, and coconut salt), and sangria. Select craft beers on draft are $5, and appetizers like queso fundido are only $7. Nothing improves a mood like an excuse to eat all the cheese.

Farmer and the Seahorse

Farmer & The Seahorse

La Jolla

Brian Malarkey’s newest venture opened in June across from the Torrey Pines Golf Course but only just recently launched happy hour specials on Thursdays and Fridays. From 4-7pm come chill around the fire pit and take advantage of specials like $5 wells, $5 glasses of wine, $5 pints of Ironfist Renegade Blonde, $9 personal pizzas, $8 short rib poutine, and $6 beef and ricotta meatballs.

Courtesy of Bracero

Bracero Cocina De Raiz

Little Italy

When a day of mind-numbing meetings and conference calls has you daydreaming of a much needed vacation south of the border, you can get a taste of that Baja flavor right here in Little Italy during Bracero’s happy hour. Monday through Thursday from 4-6pm get $2 off the entire cocktail list including their aptly named tequila specialties Sentri Pass and Get a Job, $2 off their selection of wines, and $1 off all beers. Since you won’t be unwinding on a Mexican beach anytime soon, feel free to indulge in some $3 street tacos, $7 TJ Style ceviche and chips, and $7 house guacamole.

Courtesy of Crazy Goose

Crazy Goose

Gaslamp

One of the most recent additions to downtown, Crazy Goose has some of the best happy hour deals in the Gaslamp. Monday through Friday from 3-7pm they offer 50% off pretty much everything with alcohol in it, including wells, pints, wines, and bottled beers, not to mention half-off apps as well. This is also the perfect excuse to impress coworkers with your competitive eating skills and attempt TT’s Burger Challenge. You’ll have eight minutes to take down two pounds of Angus beef, 10 strips of bacon, one pound of onion rings, two deep fried pickle spears, cheddar & provolone cheese, garlic aoli, their famous Meet Your Maker hot sauce, lettuce, tomato, and onion, plus a whole pound of seasoned fries. Win or lose you’ll probably be calling in sick the next day. If you manage to pull it off you’ll have office bragging rights for life, not to mention a free meal and your name on the Wall of Flame. If you fail you owe Crazy Goose $45. It could go either way.

Courtesy of Galaxy Taco

Galaxy Taco

La Jolla

If out of this world Mexican food and a large selection of tequilas sounds like a good time to you then stop by Galaxy Taco Monday through Thursday from 3-6pm. Happy hour specials include $8 classic margaritas, $1 off house wines, extra cold draft Modelo Especial, and Galaxy Corn lager made by Benchmark Brewing. Oh, also $1 off tacos! On Tuesdays you can stick around for their post-happy hour tastings at 6pm. Reserve your spot and for $20 they’ll give you two tacos and the opportunity to refine your palate with tastings of tequila, mezcal, wine or beer with Galaxy’s beverage director Mark Broadfoot.

Courtesy of Swell Cafe

Swell Cafe

Mission Beach and Del Mar

There is no reason that happy hour has to be all about the booze. Swell Cafe, in Mission Beach and Del Mar, has a caffeine happy hour to help you overcome that afternoon slump everyday from 3-4pm. Specials like $1 drip coffee, espresso shots, and cold brew, plus $2 lattes and cappuccinos will make sure you’re extra alert throughout the rest of your workday/possibly unable to sleep that night.

Social Tap

Social Tap

East Village

Taking over the Petco Park adjacent space once occupied by Southpaw, Social Tap has Social Hour Monday-Friday from 3-6pm and Sundays from 4-10pm. Well cocktails, beers on draft, and wines are $3-4. Soak them up with everything from $2 tacos to $6 pork sliders. If you have a sweet tooth be sure to drop in on Mondays, and you’ll get a free dessert just for ordering two entrees and two drinks. You deserve a triple chocolate brownie.

Courtesy of The Brew Project

The Brew Project

Hillcrest

The Brew Project is a bar devoted to serving the best craft beers San Diego has to offer, and every drop they pour from their 24 rotating taps has been brewed exclusively in America’s Finest City. Happy hour deals run Monday through Friday from 4-7pm with $5 select drafts, and since they also have a full bar you can get $4 wells and $6 draft wines, too. Don’t have time to stick around? Fine then, just pick something up from their on-site bottle shop and make your own happy hour.

Courtesy of Gregory Pierce Photography

The Nolen

Gaslamp

Everyone knows the two best places to drink in SD are on a patio or on a rooftop, and The Nolen has both. This time of year is perfect to catch the sunset during their daily happy hour from 5-7pm. You’ll have the best view in town while perched on the 14th floor rooftop of the Courtyard by Marriott with views overlooking the Gaslamp, Coronado, and Point Loma. You can’t beat $8 cocktails from the ‘Vintage’ and ‘Our Take’ sections of their beverage menu along with $8 flatbreads to nibble on. For adventurous drinkers, you can also get $8 dealer’s choice cocktails all day every day.

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Sara Norris is a freelance writer and photographer who lives for happy hour. Find her on Instagram at @saraknorris.

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1. Coasterra Restaurant 880 Harbor Island Drive, San Diego, CA 92101

If their gorgeous view of San Diego’s downtown skyline isn’t enough to make you forget about your day then their selection of more than 70 agave spirits might do the trick. Specials include house wines, specialty cocktails, like their margarita de la casa, Deb’s coconut margarita (made with coconut cream, lime juice, and coconut salt), and sangria -- all of which can and should be accompanied with their full appetizers menu.

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2. Farmer & The Seahorse 10996 Torreyana Rd, San Diego, CA 92121

Brian Malarkey’s newest venture opened in June across from the Torrey Pines Golf Course but only just recently launched happy hour specials on Thursdays and Fridays. From 4-7pm come chill around the fire pit and take advantage of specials like $5 wells, $5 glasses of wine and $5 pints of Ironfist Renegade Blonde. Feel free to chow down post-drinks on their menu of organic eats -- you won't regret it.

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3. Bracero Cocina de Raiz 1490 Kettner Blvd, San Diego, CA 92101 (Little Italy)

It might be in Little Italy, but this spot brings modern Mexican cuisine, courtesy of chef Javier Plascencia. Armed with an open kitchen, Bracero serves up small plates and larger entrees like shrimp sopes, carne asada, and short rib tomahawk as well as pickings from a full Baja seafood crudo bar. And with the restaurant’s commitment to honoring its Mexican heritage, you can bet there’s a killer tequila program with a well-rounded selection of around 20 tequilas, 20 mezcals, a variety of bacanoras, raicillas, sotols, and one of the best tequila-based craft cocktail lists in SD.

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4. Crazy Goose Bar & Lounge 789 6th Ave, San Diego, CA 92101

One of the most recent additions to downtown, Crazy Goose has some of the best happy hour deals in the Gaslamp. Monday through Friday from 3-7pm they offer 50% off pretty much everything with alcohol in it. If you're hungry, grub on their full menu of bar eats or specialty burgers.

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5. Galaxy Taco 2259 Avenida de La Playa, La Jolla, CA 92037

Galaxy Taco delivers on its name's magical promise with a 4,000 sq ft space that weaves extravagant colors of dazzling purple, teal, and orange all throughout its booths, wall-length murals, and bar counter. The menu ranges from classic tacos, like the baja fried fish taco, to main courses like the vegetable tamales and chicken enchiladas. And given the group-friendly size of the restaurant, there's also a portion dedicated to shared items, like the totopos and grilled blue corn quesadilla.

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6. The Swell Café 3833 Mission Blvd, San Diego, CA 92109

If you like your caffeine with a side of ocean breeze, this small-batch roaster is just a block from Mission Beach and has a big outdoor patio where you can breathe it all in. Swell is all about sustainable coffee and being as environmentally friendly as possible. Their coffee roaster is near-zero emissions, the place is lit with L.E.D. lights, they encourage "for-here" cups as opposed to the paper or styrofoam kind, and they recycle, which makes them pretty swell.

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7. Social Tap 815 J St, San Diego, CA 92101

Taking over the space once occupied by Southpaw, Social Tap has Social Hour Monday-Friday from 3-6pm and Sundays from 4-10pm. If you have a sweet tooth be sure to drop in on Mondays, and you’ll get a free dessert just for ordering two entrees and two drinks. You deserve a triple chocolate brownie. Yes, you too.

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8. San Diego Brew Project 3683 5th Ave, San Diego, CA 92103 (Mission Hills)

San Diego Brew Project didn't get its name for no reason: the bar and restaurant has local San Diego suds as their focus, with 24 varieties on tap. A breezy front patio with a wrought iron gate serves as a draw, where you can sit outside or head up and in for burgers topped with mac & cheese, sugared doughnuts wrapped in bacon, and thick cut fries piled high with carne asada. A photo of fresh hops hangs in the gray-walled space by a fireplace surrounded by leather couches, but if you can't stay there's a grab-and-go section for takeaway bottles.

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9. The Nolen 453 6th Ave, San Diego, CA 92101

Everyone knows the two best places to drink in San Diego are on a patio or on a rooftop, and The Nolen has both. With unobstructed views of downtown, great happy hour deals and a communal fire pit, this spot's your best bet for next big group outing. It's cocktails only here, and while you can order a classic side car or daquiri, you'd be missing out if you didn't try a an inventive cocktail from their original and barrel-aged menus, like the Master of None with reposado tequila, benedictine, apple brandy and yellow chartreuse.

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