Food & Drink

The coolest bars and restaurants in town

Thrillist 47 San Diego

It's time for a new edition (easy there, Bobby Brown) of the Thrillist 47, giving you the best new and new-ish places to eat and drink. Some had to go (Burlap, we hardly knew ye!), while other hot spots could not be denied (welcome, Bang Bang!). Have a look at the list (organized by hood, this isn't a ranking) and make the most of your next night out.

EAST VILLAGE/GASLAMP/MARINA DISTRICT/ DOWNTOWN

The Blind Burro Thrillist 47 San Diego

1) The Blind Burro
639 J St; 619.795.7880
This group-friendly Mexican joint features huge communal tables, a “South-of-the-border street food” menu loaded with tapas-style shareables, and over 100 kinds of tequila, mezcal, and Bacanora.
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Frauds and Swindlers Thrillist 47 San Diego

2) Frauds and Swindlers
820 5th Ave; 619.814.5700
Aidan Demarest and David Whitton of LA's Neat and Villains Tavern have brought their cocktail expertise to SD with the opening of Frauds and Swindlers; a bar with a dark, moody atmosphere and a killer list of craft cocktails that fit the morally ambiguous vibe.
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Searsucker Thrillist 47 San Diego'

3) Searsucker
611 5th Ave; 619.233.7327
This wide-open neighborhood spot encourages relaxation with unfinished tables, mismatched chairs, and fluffy couches, and eating with serious cuisine from Top Chef alum Brian Malarkey.
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Cat Eye Club Thrillist 47 San Diego

4) Cat Eye Club
370 7th Ave; 619.330.9509
Located in the back room of East Village’s Blind Burro, the Cat Eye Club is the reincarnation of a stylish '60s lounge, and don't worry: that burro is totes blind, so he has a really hard time finding the entrance.
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Bailiwick Thrillist 47 San Diego

5) Bailiwick
756 5th Ave; 619.795.3036
Probably the least-weird thing to ever come out of Florida, Bailiwick's the re-imagining of a St. Petersberg cocktailery that churns out drinks like the suped-up Blood & Sand: Ilegal reposado mezcal, blood orange liqueur, fresh orange, grapefruit, and agave nectar.
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Saltbox Thrillist 47 San Diego

6) Saltbox
1047 5th Ave; 619.515.3003
The upstairs of this bi-level resto/"gastrolounge" slings "social plates" like whole fried bass served as a build-your-own taco platter, while below lies a marble-topped booze dispensary and meandering lounge.
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Bang Bang Thrillist 47 San Diego

7) Bang Bang
526 Market St; 619.677.2264
This visually spectacular Asian-influenced den of madness is just waiting to put bacon in your dessert and set your drinks on fire. Oh, and of COURSE they have the biggest disco ball on the West Coast.
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The Lion's Share Thrillist 47 San Diego

8) The Lion's Share
629 Kettner Blvd; 619.564.6924
Antelope sliders with smoked Gouda and bourbon-glazed wild boar ribs are common fare at this snug hideaway dedicated to exotic meats and "meticulously crafted" cocktails.
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NORTH PARK/UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS/NORMAL HEIGHTS/HILLCREST

Soda & Swine Thrillist 47 San Diego

9) Soda & Swine
2943 Adams Ave; 619.269.SODA (7632)
S&S's build-your-own menu's centered around their large, meaty balls, allowing you to choose a spherical meat, sauce, and cheese, meaning just how crazy you get depends on how large and meaty your own balls are.
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URBN Thrillist 47 San Diego

10) URBN
3085 University Ave; 619.255.7300
This cavernous, industrial-themed offshoot of the tiny "mom & pop" pizza joint of the same name dishes out the same top-notch pies with mouth-watering additions like the "Sausage and Peppers" w/ Gorgonzola-stuffed cherry peppers/fresh mozz.
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Polite Provisions Thrillist 47 San Diego

11) Polite Provisions
4686 30th St; 619.677.3784
The dudes behind Craft & Commerce/ UnderBelly/ Noble Experiment have continued their tradition of hiring the nation's best talent, bringing in Bourbon & Branch/Rickhouse vet Erick Castro from SF to come up with the most ambitious drink program San Diego's ever seen.
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Sycamore Den Thrillist 47 San Diego

12) Sycamore Den
3391 Adams Ave
Because the technology still doesn't exist to travel back in time and drink with a younger version of your dad (or Crispin Glover, for that matter), Sycamore Den is the next best thing, a 1970s dad-inspired watering hole with yellow-tinted lighting, lava stone accents, and wood paneling hearkening back to a time when nobody was cooler than your old man. Not even Crispin Glover.
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Great Maple Thrillist 47 San Diego

13) Great Maple
1451 Washington St; 619.255.2282
Not just a common compliment among syrup makers, Great Maple's a fancied-up '60s diner with a bit of European flair from the guys who brought you Hash House a-Go-Go and The Tractor Room.
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Carnitas' Snack Snack Thrillist 47 San Diego

14) Carnitas' Snack Snack
2632 University Ave; 619.294.7675
From the former Kensington Grill chef (and 2009 Cali Resto Assn. Chef of the Year!) and his babe of a partner, CSS's daily rotating porcine menu is loaded with ingredients sourced from local farms.
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100 Wines Hillcrest Thrillist 47 San Diego

15) 100 Wines Hillcrest
1027 University Ave; 619.491.0100
100 is loaded with a mysterious, unknowable number of vinos (OK, it's 100), and a Mediterranean-leaning menu of shareable comestibles from steak carpaccio to phyllo-crusted sweetbreads.
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Donut Bar Thrillist 47 San Diego

16) Donut Bar
631 B St; 310.625.5571
About the time you’re stumbling home from the bar at the unfortunate hour of 3a, things are just getting started at downtown's Donut Bar as they plot to pull you deeper into an unhealthy existence with Maple Bacon Bars and other creations that don't fit the whole "bar" theme going on in this sentence.
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LITTLE ITALY

UnderBelly Thrillist 47 San Diego

17) UnderBelly
750 W Fir St; 619.269.4626
This cozy, no-frills joint pays “homage to the ramen gods of Tokyo” with signature dishes like the maniacally meaty UnderBelly Ramen with char-su belly, applewood bacon, and Kurobuta sausage.
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Queenstown Public House Thrillist 47 San Diego

18) Queenstown Public House
1557 Columbia St; 619.546.0444
In case repeated viewings of Flight of the Conchords DVDs aren't fulfilling your kiwi quota, the dudes behind Bareback Grill and Ragland Public House have rolled out Queenstown Public House, bringing you burger goodness inspired by an out-of-the-way joint the owners uncovered in New Zealand.
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Craft & Commerce Thrillist 47 San Diego

19) Craft & Commerce
675 W Beech St; 619.269.2202
Headed up by Noble Experiment's founding duo, C&C's "simple American" eats include a fried chicken feast with a buttermilk slaw, mashed potatoes & spicy vinegar.
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Prepkitchen Thrillist 47 San Diego

20) Prepkitchen
1660 India St; 858.792.7737
The third and largest iteration (with a full bar!) of Prep serves taste bud tempters like a pastrami sandwich with Gruyere/caramelized onions/apple horseradish slaw.
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Monello Thrillist 47 San Diego

21) Monello
750 W Fir St, Ste 102 B; 619.501.0030
The Milanese couple behind Bencotto doubled-up with Monello, where they get to serve traditional street food from their homeland. Don't skip the flatbread-wrapped porchetta.
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ENCINITAS/CARLSBAD

Blue Ribbon Artisan Pizzeria Thrillist 47 San Diego

22) Blue Ribbon Artisan Pizzeria
897 S Coast Hwy 101; 760.634.7671
Locally-sourced ingredients get turned into pies like the fennel sausage/artisan pepperoni "My Father's", which could easily be followed by "Placing A Lot Of Confidence In Lipitor".
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The Craftsman New American Tavern Thrillist 47 San Diego

23) The Craftsman New American Tavern
276 N El Camino Real; 760.452.2000
Apparently the team behind Blue Ribbon Artisan Pizza really like having obvious names, because at The Craftsman New American Tavern they're shockingly serving their take on American tavern food. Apparently that includes plenty of Tennessee moonshine cocktails.
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The Pacific Coast Grill Thrillist 47 San Diego

24) The Pacific Coast Grill
2526 Hwy 101; 760.479.0721
The beachy-rustic space is covered with cobblestones and aged wood, though you might start looking like Ron yourself after ripping through all six of their specialty margs.
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Solterra Wine Kitchen Thrillist 47 San Diego

25) Solterra Wine Kitchen
934 N Coast Hwy 101; 760.230.2970
Gone are the days of having to journey into the countryside for a little swish and spit (well, the classy version; technically you can do that anywhere) -- Leucadia has an urban winery right on the 101: Solterra Winery and Kitchen, offering everything from wine tastings and bottles to-go, to an all-you-can-eat Mediterranean tapas buffet.
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Bier Garden Thrillist 47 San Diego

26) Bier Garden
641 S Coast Hwy; 760.632.2437
Despite the name, the Bier Garden of Encinitas is not your typical German-themed hall of suds, going beyond beer (and cruelly eschewing short-dressed serving wenches) to mix up booziness like this Hardy Bloody Mary, served with a boatload of garnishes (beef sticks, pickles, etc...), a float of stout, and a beer chaser. And yes -- they do still bring the beer, with a deep roster of San Diego brews.
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Solace and Moonlight Lounge Thrillist 47 San Diego

27) Solace and Moonlight Lounge
25 East E St; 760.753.2433
With a ground floor full of reclaimed wood booths, and a lofty lounge boasting a massive communal table, S&M doles out deliciousness in the form of Dungeness-crab-filled Brik served with spiced aioli & fried lemon.
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The Compass Thrillist 47 San Diego

28) The Compass
300 Carlsbad Village Dr; 760.434.1900
Improve your social skills by trying all of the 20 craft beers on tap, wines like the damn-well-better-be Tasti Chardonnay, and a healthy selection of whiskeys that includes a whopping seven varieties of Jameson.
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DEL MAR/SOLANA BEACH/RANCHO SANTA FE

Sea and Smoke Thrillist 47 San Diego

29) Sea and Smoke
2690 Via de la Valle Suite D210; 858.925.8212
From the dude behind Moonlight Lounge and Urban Solace (oh, those cinnamon rolls...) Del Mar's Sea and Smoke is living up to its name with more smoke than Snoop's tour bus and more sea creatures than... well, sea creatures don't really ride buses, but that's just fine.
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Real Food & Spirits Thrillist 47 San Diego

30) Real Food & Spirits
124 S Solana Hills Dr; 858.793.7325
This bar/eatery (beatery? No, no... that doesn't sound good...) is keeping it Real by doing everything in-house, right down to grinding out an 80/20 mix of 100% Angus and applewood-smoked bacon to make their Real Spirit Burger.
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Pizza Port Solana Beach Thrillist 47 San Diego

31) Pizza Port Solana Beach
135 N Hwy 101 Solana Beach; 858.481.7332
This low-ceiling'd, woody joint is best know for its “Anti-Wimpy Gourmet Pizzas” and sunken beerbratory, where they create magic like Swami's IPA, Cardiff Chronic, and the double brown Ale Nino, whose high ABV'll have you doing things even local weatherwoman Chrissy Russo can't predict.
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POINT LOMA/OLD TOWN/MISSION HILLS/OCEAN BEACH

Slater's 50/50 Thrillist 47 San Diego

32) Slater's 50/50
2750 Dewey Rd Bldg 193; 619.398.2600
50/50 boasts 50 flat screens and 111 taps, but the biggest draw's a burger made from 50% Sterling Silver beef and 50% ground Mohawk bacon. Try their award-winning "Peanut Butter and Jellousy Burger", which comes with vanilla freaking ice cream.
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Wonderland Ocean Pub Thrillist 47 San Diego

33) Wonderland Ocean Pub
5083 Santa Monica Ave #2C; 619.255.3358
Named for the historic Wonderland Amusement Park, this beachfront bar will keep you entertained with 24 beers on tap, a bevy of games, and cheese-stuffed burgers topped with the likes of fried onions and Spam.
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Stone Brewery at Liberty Station Thrillist 47 San Diego

34) Stone Brewery at Liberty Station
2816 Historic Decatur Rd #116; 619.269.2100
The beer barons at Stone are ensuring that the former U.S. Naval training center at historical Liberty Station will no longer be showcasing much in the way of discipline, given the sheer volume of hoppy goodness flowing through what's essentially a 55,000sqft beer amusement park featuring an on-site brewhouse, an outdoor movie courtyard with 12 taps, a patio with 30 more taps, and a store offering growlers & kegs to-go, all under the watchful eye of a giant looming gargoyle disapprovingly presiding over the former Naval mess hall.
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Sessions Public Thrillist 47 San Diego

35) Sessions Public
4204 Voltaire St; 619.756.7715
The menu was designed by a top-secret chef (protected by a confidentiality agreement for extra mystery!) who arrived at crab cakes w/ celery root slaw, as well as the particularly decadent Lobster Scallop Cioppino.
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Gabardine Thrillist 47 San Diego

36) Gabardine
1005 Rosecrans St; 619.398.9810
With a Rumpelstiltskin-spun menu by Chad White (that means it's straight gold, son!) stuffed so full of “Portuguese-esque seafood bar cuisine”, they probably should have called it Herringbone.
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Fathom Thrillist 47 San Diego

37) Fathom
1776 Shelter Island Dr; 619.222.5835
Their relatively minimalist menu is comprised mostly of hand-helds like the World Famous Fathom EXPLODO: a bacon-wrapped Vienna beef dog loaded w/ pepper jack, mustard, and house kimchi that's made “in-your-face” with a triple-dose of fresh garlic/ginger.
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Brooklyn Girl Thrillist 47 San Diego

38) Brooklyn Girl
4033 Goldfinch St; 619.296.4600
No, Brooklyn Girl is not a new American Girl doll that comes with a fixie unicycle, a bottle of kombucha, and a DIY arm-tat kit. It's an eclectically decor'd neighborhood eatery where patrons are served as-local-as-possible New American fare on Amish-built tables.
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Christopher's on Congress Thrillist 47 San Diego

39) Christopher's on Congress
2539 Congress St Ste A; 619.450.4154
Leveraging skills honed while selling wine, the bros behind Christopher's carefully conspired on the vino list to include a large selection of moderately priced by-the-glass varieties, as well as a by-the-bottle reserve list that tips the scale with a $2000 1964 Chateau Mouton Rothschild.
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LINCOLN PARK/BARRIO LOGAN

Supernatural Sandwiches Thrillist 47 San Diego

40) Supernatural Sandwiches
1620 National Ave; 619.356.1992
Not to be confused with the most popular activity at Santana-themed swingers conventions, Supernatural Sandwiches are the tucked-away creation of four 'wich aficionados with hyper-local leanings and the humble dream of making “sea-to-sandwich”... sandwiches.
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Felix's BBQ with Soul Thrillist 47 San Diego

41) Felix's BBQ with Soul
342 Euclid St; 619.546.9120
Smokin' & grillin' all the BBQ you know/lust after (baby backs, beef short ribs, smoked tri-tip, pulled pork, etc.) in their “genuine hickory wood-burning pit”, Felix also marinates its Alabama chicken wings for 24hrs before frying 'em up.
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LA JOLLA/PACIFIC BEACH/MISSION BEACH

The Promiscuous Fork Thrillist 47 San Diego

42) The Promiscuous Fork
6984 La Jolla Blvd; 858.454.3663
Whether you get the Surf & Turf Grilled Cheese with housemade crab Louie, pastrami, aged white cheddar & provolone on sourdough, or the bacon-wrapped BBQ shrimp po' boy with Baconnaise & white cheddar on an Amoroso roll, you'll leave happy. And fat.
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The Baked Bear Thrillist 47 San Diego

43) The Baked Bear
4516 Mission Blvd Ste C; 858.886.7433
A baked bear is not how Smokey copes with the stress of preventing forest fires; it's a made-to-order ice cream sandwich shop in Pacific Beach where you can design your own dessert combo like, for example, this mint chocolate chip nestled between warm, fresh-made waffles, making it perfectly acceptable breakfast food.
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Cannonball Thrillist 47 San Diego

44) Cannonball
3105 Ocean Front Walk; 858.228.9283
While it may LOOK like a pool with its aqua-tiled walls and lane dividers hanging above the bar, please don't actually do a cannonball into Cannonball, because you'll likely injure someone just trying to enjoy themselves at San Diego's largest (and arguably most picturesque) oceanfront rooftop bar.
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The Patio Thrillist 47 San Diego
The Patio

45) The Patio
4445 Lamont St; 858.412.4648
Outfitted with a living wall and tables made from Torrey Pines, TP is keeping Pacific Beach sated with shareable global bites to be washed down with mold-breaking cocktails. Don't skip brunch or you'll miss out on Jack Daniels Dutch pancakes.
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FURTHER AFIELD

Phil's BBQ Thrillist 47 San Diego

46) Phil's BBQ
9816 Mission Gorge Rd; 619.449.7700
Phil's BBQ slings award-winning baby back and beef ribs, mesquite grilled BBQ chicken, and sandwiches like the pulled pork BBQ Broham to go with 20 mostly local drafts.
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Coop's West Texas BBQ Chula Vista Thrillist 47 San Diego

47) Coop's West Texas BBQ Chula Vista
534 Broadway; 619.476.2203
Coop's took over front-of-the-house operations for Center Cut (who thankfully still sling booze in the back), with BBQ favorites including brisket, ribs, and five-fromage mac 'n cheese.
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