An editor's guide to drinking around town

San Diego

An editor's guide to drinking around town
An editor's guide to drinking around town


Both the agreeable climate, and the fact that nearly everyone here works in bars, make SD a pretty choice place to get a drink. But to make sure you're getting the most out of your tippling time, our SD editor Sara Norris is here with her picks for drinking around the town.

Best Cocktail Bar: Polite Provisions is one of the newest craft cocktail establishments in town, and their creative libations take full advantage of a stock of over 50 bitters. Add in that their 46-tap set up also pours draft cocktails, craft sodas, and even a few spirits, and you've got the makings of a memorable-if-you-weren't-drinking-so-many-cocktails evening.

Best Beer Bar: Named after a beloved 35yr resident of South Park, award-winning Hamilton’s is housed in a building that holds SD's oldest beer and wine license. That's exactly the kind of local history that'll blow your mind after sampling all of the rotating beers on their 28 taps and two cask setups. And if you climb that mountain, then feel free to tackle their 200+ bottles.

Best Local Beer: Amongst the countless brews that come out of San Diego, Green Flash’s Palate Wrecker is making quite a name for itself. This hop-heavy double IPA was originally brewed just to celebrate Hamilton’s second anniversary, but, due to popular demand, they released the taste bud-destroying elixir to the public in January.

Best Brewery: It's almost impossible to choose a favorite, but Ballast Point has a little bit of everything, from award-winning beers, to multiple tasting rooms, to their fantastic Home Brew Mart.

Best Wine Bar: 100 Wines. The name doesn't lie, and this place has vinos for every income level, many available by the glass. Be sure to sip your selection by the fireplace on their patio.

Best Club: You can literally take your night to the next level at Stingaree, with three bars and as many floors where you can bust a move or watch go-go dancers bust one for you. If you’ve got some extra cash, bottle service on the VIP Mezzanine level gives you an eagle-eye view of the dance floor, while the rooftop offers views of the SD skyline, private cabanas, giant Buddha statues, fire pits, and a second DJ.

Easiest Place to Get Laid: In a city where it seems like everybody’s looking to have a good time, with the right amount of game, even the grocery store could be a hot bed of sexual tension. But your odds of scoring only increase the closer you get to the beach. Whether you’re on the boardwalk or strolling up Garnet, try your luck bar-hopping in Pacific Beach, where there's seemingly never a shortage of bikini-clad ladies on vacation looking for a little Summer lovin’.

Best Outdoor Spot: Bring your dog to The Patio and get half-off on any of their five breed-named cocktails. Then use that money you saved to treat Fido to a bowl of Dawg Grog, made with Boneyard Brewery Malted Barley Water, liquid glucosamine, and organic vegetable broth.

Best Place to Day Drink: Bub’s is an open-air sports bar right around the corner from Petco Park, and the perfect place to get a good midday buzz going whether or not you're checking out the Padres. Not only do they have six different 32oz pitchers of “fancy” cocktails and 20+ beers on tap, but they also break out an extensive build-your-own Bloody Mary/mimosa bar on the weekend.

Published on

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
1. Polite Provisions 4693 30th St, San Diego, CA 92116 (Normal Heights)

This bar in north San Diego sticks to its creative guns with a vintage-pharmaceutical space and menu. Polite Provision's got inventive cocktails that take full advantage of its stock of more than 50 bitters, a 46-tap rotating selection of draft beer, and a hefty selection of sprits including bourbon, mezcal, and single-malt scotch, all at a price worth making the drive up for. If you want to fuel up before the real fun begins, you can order a round of slider or appetizers from next-door neighbors Soda & Swine (a smart move, if you ask us).

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
2. 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.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
3. Green Flash Brewery 6550 Mira Mesa Blvd, San Diego, CA 92121 (Mira Mesa)

One day might not be enough to fully enjoy everything Green Flash Brewery has to offer. Take a private or public tour of the brewery (complete with guided tasting) or just relax in the warehouse-style tasting room. And if you want some fresh air while sipping suds, take advantage of the outdoor garden area that's food truck-adjacent.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
4. Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits 10051 Old Grove Rd, San Diego, CA 92131 (Mira Mesa)

In a city with its fair share of breweries, Ballast Point manages to distinguish itself. Not only does it offer a wide variety of beers for every brew patron's palette, it also concocts its own in-house spirits. Originality is the name of the game here and you'll find some distinct and exotic flavors that no other brew crew can duplicate.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
5. 100 Wines Hillcrest 1027 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92103 (Hillcrest)

Mediterranean cuisine with lots of good wine pairings.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
6. Stingaree 454 Sixth Ave, San Diego, CA 92101 (Gaslamp Quarter)

Getting stung has never been so fun. Stingaree offers a luxurious and exciting experience in an atmosphere on par with the most prominent clubs in San Diego. There are three levels -- each of which offers a different atmosphere and ambiance -- and the cherry on top is literally the top. The rooftop area offers an incredible view, sleek decor, and comfortable quarters.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
7. The Patio 4445 Lamont St, Pacific Beach, CA 92109

Munch on braised beef short rib and Portuguese garlic shrimp at this resto on Lamont. The cocktail list features inventive tipples like the Mr. Chow, with gin, sake, cucumber, lime, and a dash of sriracha.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
8. Bub's at the Ballpark 715 J St, San Diego, CA 92101 (East Village)

With its close proximity to Petco Park, Bub's is a perfect spot to booze or dine before, during, or after a Padres game (so, any time). With numerous televisions and a basketball hoop to show off your razor-sharp (or boozily dull) free throw shot, it's a spot any thirsty sports fan can appreciate.