Courtesy of Bracero
Courtesy of Lori Sokolowski
Courtesy of David Harrison
Courtesy of Rustic Root
Courtesy of Omnia
Courtesy of Civico 1845
Courtesy of Breakfast Republic
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1. Quad Alehouse 868 5th Ave, Level 3, San Diego, CA 92101 (Gaslamp Quarter)

You probably would have studied harder in college had your quad study hall doubled as craft beer hall. But better late than never; Quad Alehouse in Downtown has all the trappings of a campus study hall, including a warm wooden interior and the institution’s signature burgundy seal adorning the walls, with the added beer bonus of 28 brews on tap. Chef Ben Miller’s menu is a California take on BBQ bar snacks, juxtaposing seared ahi sashimi with a hickory smoked pulled pork sandwich that’s accompanied by candied roasted tomato and garlic chive aioli. While the beer list is dominated by the stuff of craft West Coast breweries, European draughts are also available.

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

Despite its Little Italy locale, Bracero Cocina de Raiz specializes in modern Mexican cuisine. The two-story restaurant features an open kitchen, a crudo bar bursting with Baja seafood, and a menu composed of hot and cold small plates, tacos, and meaty entrees. The cocktail program pays homage to Mexican drink with a well-rounded selection of tequila and mezcal, plus a variety of bacanoras, raicillas, and sotols.

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3. Burnside 3375 Adams Ave, San Diego, CA 92116 (Normal Heights)

Variety abounds at this Normal Heights resto. The street-food inspired menu spans global cuisine, with everything from a southern style fried chicken sandwich to a bahn mi style sandwich.

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4. Park & Rec 4612 Park Blvd, San Diego, CA 92116 (University Heights)

Park & Rec in University Heights is less about lavish or expensive cocktails and more about life simple pleasures — a good night out in a wide-open space, a game of corn hole, ping pong, or shuffle board, live music, good food, and flowing alcohol. This spot feels like a the backyard barbecue of a good friend, but here you can order a reasonably priced old fashioned or Moscow mule or cup of Pimm's with a burger from neighbors Royale with Cheese.

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5. Rustic Root 535 5th Ave, San Diego, CA 92101 (Gaslamp Quarter)

This American spot in the Gaslamp has delicious cocktails and upscale, creative fare like bao bao sliders and one of San Diego's best burgers.

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6. Omnia 454 6th Ave, San Diego, CA 92101 (Gaslamp Quarter)

For those that need a little Vegas but can't get away for the weekend, Omnia offers a 19,000sqft, tri-level club. The DJs are superb at this gaslamp dance haven.

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7. Civico 1845 1845 India St, San Diego, CA 92101 (Little Italy)

This place serves up Italian favorites but adds a modern edge with its vegan and gluten-free menu. Don't skimp on the vino as the wine list is extensive.

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8. Breakfast Republic 2730 University Avenue, San Diego, CA 92104 (North Park)

True to its name, Breakfast Republic is a morning hotspot whose dishes are all united in their eccentricity. Some of the unique menu offerings include a Vietnamese chicken wing breakfast bowl and breakfast hot dogs, plus more conventional recipes like chilaquiles and shrimp & grits. If eggs are your power breakfast of choice, order the Croque Monsieur Benedict or Mashed Potato Omelet. Meanwhile, sweeter plates like s'mores French toast and Oreo cookie pancakes aren't so much a protein-packed start to the day as they are pure dessert.

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