When a brewery messes up a batch of beer, down the drain it goes. If a keg of beer gets too old to sell, down the drain it goes. Millions of gallons of beer get wasted every year, but ReBru Spirits is addressing the problem by collecting beer headed for the drain and distilling it into vodka, gin, and whiskey. Their adjacent pizza spot, HottMess, kicks up their sustainability focus another notch by using spent grain from nearby breweries to create wood-fired pizza perfection. If pizza's not your thing, that's a little weird, but you're in luck—SideYard BBQ slings brisket, pulled pork, and other smoked faves as the third leg of the ReBru compound. Try one of the constantly rotating specialty cocktails like the Sigsbee, made with gin, grapefruit liqueur, rosemary syrup, lime juice, and a fresh rosemary sprig garnish.
How to order: Open for online orders, and make an appointment to pick up on Monday, Wednesday, or Friday. Open for BBQ and tours on Saturday and Sunday from 11 am to 6 pm.
This coastal city's food and drink Renaissance over the past few years has yielded some serious gems, and Dija Mara is one of the crown jewels. The unassuming location provides a lot of things nowhere else really does: Balinese-inspired fusion food, Oceanside's only all-natural wine program, and a wide array of low-ABV cocktails. From pork belly skewers to ceviche, all the food is prepped to pair with something from their extensive drinks list, including hard-to-find wines from around the world, local craft beer, and signature cocktails like the "Dija Monkey" or "Beets by Bali."
How to order: Open Tuesday through Saturday from 5–9 pm, plus Sunday brunch from 11 am–2:30 pm and dinner from 5-9 pm. Outdoor dining and takeout available.
Alternative beverages like hard seltzer have swept the craft beverage category off its feet, and hard kombucha is definitely along for the ride. From JuneShine to Boochcraft, San Diego has embraced the craze wholeheartedly, but it's Local Roots that keeps us on our toes with flavors like their best-selling Boochmosa (a riff on the classic brunch cocktail), Purple Haze (blueberry and ginger), and Island Vibes (pineapple and coconut). Their sizable tasting room, dubbed "The Boochyard," has even more flavors on draft, including traditional non-alcoholic kombuchas. Their cans are easy to find in off-premise outlets like Ralph's, Whole Foods, and more, but a visit to The Boochyard is a quintessential San Diego stop that shouldn't be missed.
How to order: Visit the Boochyard Monday through Friday, 3–8 pm, and Saturday and Sunday noon–8pm, or order online for local delivery.
This wine shop-slash-bar focuses on carrying small, sustainable brands to bring flavors from around the world to the heart of Little Italy. With hundreds of bottles to choose from and an expert staff of oenophiles ready to chat all things wine, Vino Carta makes diving into the wine world easy and fun for newbies and experts alike. The bar hosts plenty of tastings and winemaker visits, but the well-stocked bottle shop means you're unlikely to leave empty-handed. Be sure to keep up with their Instagram page for things like paella pop-ups, exclusive seasonal arrivals, and rotating food trucks.
How to order: Open Thursday through Sunday from noon to midnight, and Sunday through Wednesday noon–10pm, or use their contact form to request suggestions and specific wines.
Neighborhood was way ahead of its time when it opened in San Diego’s East Village ‘hood in 2007 before shuttering for a massive renovation in 2019. But two years and $2 million later, the swanky spot has reopened with not one, but two “hidden” speakeasies within the walls. The first, Noble Experiment, arguably launched San Diego’s reputation as a cocktail destination, and recently ditched the menu in favor of unique creations individually mixed for every customer. Newcomer Young Blood adds to the mystique with a prix-fixe cocktail menu starting at around $65, as well as a collection of rare libations not likely to be found anywhere else.
How to order: Neighborhood is open 11:30 am—midnight daily. Noble Experiment is first-come, first-served from 6 pm–midnight daily. Make reservations for Young Blood via OpenTable.
From the hospitality experts that brought us Kettner Exchange, The Grass Skirt, and more comes the Waverly, a breezy, bright beachside eatery with a cocktail menu crafted by some of the best bartenders in San Diego. The beverage program is specifically designed to provide options for all times of day, so there’s no shame in snagging a rum-infused cold brew in the morning and switching to mezcal in the evening. The Kona Old Fashioned with bourbon, macadamia nut, and mole is a wonderful twist on the classic, but their stunning selection of wine, beer, and non-alcoholic options means all their bases are covered.
How to order: Make reservations online. Open Tuesday through Sunday from 9 am–10 pm.