Fun Things To Do In San Diego

Best Cocktail Bars in San Diego

Best Cocktail Bars in San Diego

San Diego’s cocktail bar scene is one of the most creative and lively in the world. There are hundreds of drinking dens – beach side terraces, swish wine bars, downtown microbreweries, rooftop bars – in every corner of the city. On par with Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco, San Diego offers some of the best cocktail bars in the country. From house made liqueurs to locally sourced produce, these establishments make drinking cocktails an art form, celebrated across everything from the interiors down to signature menus. To help you, we’ve put together a list of our favorite cocktail bars in San Diego for summer 2024—perfect for date nights, special celebrations, or just a fun night out.

California English

British pub meets California cuisine. Renowned chef, cookbook author, and television personality Richard Blais, known for co-hosting FOX’s Next Level Chef with Gordon Ramsey and Nyesha Arrington, brings his vision to life by using locally sourced produce and ingredients to create a space that feels like home for both neighbors and travelers. The bar, managed by Lee Carre, a 14-year veteran of the Truluck’s restaurant group, features alchemist cocktails, British beers, drafts, and classic cocktails. Highlights include the Stiff Upper Lip with Navy Strength Plymouth gin, Not Your Average Tea with Earl Grey tea and blood orange juice, Her Majesty with Empress gin and craft tonic, and Center Court with Pimms No. 1, ginger beer, and fruit juices. Visit California English for a taste of England in Sorrento Valley, San Diego.

Address: 9276 Scranton Rd, San Diego, CA 92121

Jeune et Jolie

You’d be forgiven for thinking the only reason to visit Jeune et Jolie was for its charming, pink interior, but this San Diego gem offers so much more. At this French-inspired restaurant and cocktail bar, you can indulge in a sophisticated culinary experience with either a specialized 4-course meal or an à la carte menu. Choose to dine inside the elegant, Parisian-inspired space or outside on the garden patio under the stars. Their cocktail menu features unique blends made with fresh produce like raspberry, celery, passion fruit, and bay leaves. Highlights include the Golden Cadillac with grapefruit, pastis, bergamot, vanilla, and cream, and their refreshing spritz with raspberry eau de vie, chablis, celery, and sparkling water. In addition to these signature drinks, they offer classic margaritas, espresso martinis, and old fashioneds. For a taste of Paris in Carlsbad, California, Jeune et Jolie is a must-visit destination.

Address: 2659 State St Suite 102, Carlsbad, CA 92008

Lala

A fresh addition to San Diego’s bar scene, Lala opened its doors at the beginning of 2024. Catering to serious mixology enthusiasts, this hidden gem in San Diego’s Little Italy is both a cocktail lounge and restaurant. Designed by renowned NYC interior designer Gretchen Kamp, Lala aims to honor forgotten drinks that laid the foundation for modern cocktails. The menu features tropical blends with a fruity twist on classics like the Aperol Spritz and the classic Martini. Expect delightful concoctions such as chamomile-infused gin, house-infused coconut whiskey, passion fruit puree, house-made peppadew pepper brine, and violet bitters. From its lavish furnishings to its expertly curated menu of high-end cocktails, Lala offers never-seen before concoctions to match your personality.

Address: 1919 India St, San Diego, CA 92101

Lafayette Hotel

Tucked away within Lafayette Hotel in North Park, San Diego, The Pool Bar has long been a hot spot in San Diego’s cocktail bar scene. Guests can lounge by the checkered pool surrounded by a garden of citrus and jasmine to enjoy refreshing drinks and appetizers with a view. The bar’s exterior is inspired by the picturesque Amalfi Coast in Italy. They have a carefully curated selection of cocktails perfectly balanced with seasonal fruits and premium liquors. Enjoy delicious combinations like pineapple rum, coconut, passion fruit, and orange lime with tequila.

Address: 2223 El Cajon Blvd, San Diego, CA 92104

Wolfie’s Carousel Bar

Originally built in 1881 by German carousel master carver and builder Charles I.D. Looff, Wolfie’s Carousel Bar in Little Italy, San Diego, is a must-visit destination. Renowned for its intricate and whimsical hand-carved carousel bar and 1800s-inspired interior design, Wolfie’s offers an array of fresh cocktails and fine wines. Highlights include wines from France, Spain, and Napa, as well as unique cocktails like the bourbon and burnt sugar blend, a strawberry apricot gin cocktail with egg whites, and a spiced apple brandy rye. Be sure to indulge in the cuisine while you’re there. Their French menu features a delectable selection including oysters, escargots in garlic herb butter, moules frites, beef bourguignon, steak frites, and more.

Address: 2401 Kettner Blvd, San Diego, CA 92101

Botanica

Botanica, a new hybrid bar-gallery-restaurant in North Park, San Diego, is a gin-infused paradise flaunting gin and genever-based cocktails paired with pintxos-style, global cuisine crafted by Michelin-pedigreed chefs. With digital frames hanging over lime green, velvet-lined banquettes, Botanica doubles as a gallery, showcasing physical and digital NFT art that guests can purchase. This innovative concept is the first of its kind in San Diego. The core menu features unique interpretations of four classics: the Negroni, Martini, French 75/Spritz variation, and the timeless Gin and Tonic, alongside eight seasonally inspired cocktails featuring a variety of spirits. The 13th cocktail on the menu will be ever-changing and dedicated to one of the resident artists. Traditional favorites are also available, but for those feeling adventurous, their curated cocktails are a must-try.

Address: 3139 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92104

Captain’s Quarters

Captain’s Quarters in Pacific Beach is a nautical-themed speakeasy that transports guests to an adventure on the high seas, with atmosphere-setting scenes of stormy seas and sunsets. Opened by Matt Spencer, the owner of The Grass Skirt, this whimsical, intimate space offers a gin infused cocktail experience. Beverage director Eric Johnson’s menu features three gin and tonics on tap, including one with yuzu tonic, and a range of cocktails from a classic dirty martini to the citrusy Ecto Cooler. Other spirits shine in creations like the tiki-inspired Island Bird and the Gunwale Old Fashioned. From their bespoke, nautical setting to their hand-made concoctions like the Captain’s Cold Brew Martini or an Sunny In Singapore with vodka and elderflower, this beachside speakeasy is not to be missed.

Address: 910 Grand Ave Ste 105-107, San Diego, CA 92109