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An orange cocktail garnished with black salt.
Papaya margarita at Kingfisher.
Kingfisher

The Hottest Cocktail Bars in San Diego, January 2022

The newest drinks in the city can be found at these bars

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Papaya margarita at Kingfisher.
| Kingfisher

Seasonal ingredients and fresh flavors are on the menu as bars across town and there’s something for everyone looking to ease into the new year. Welcome 2022 with the latest batch of cocktail releases hitting San Diego.

The Eater Cocktail Heatmap will be updated frequently to highlight new openings or fresh menus that are generating serious buzz around town.

Know of a cocktail spot with a decent amount of heat that should be added to the list? Send us a note!

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; the latest data about the delta variant indicates that it may pose a low-to-moderate risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial transmission. The latest CDC guidance is here; find a COVID-19 vaccination site here.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Frankie's

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406 Pier View Way
Oceanside, CA 92054
(442) 266-2270
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Just up the street from the Oceanside Pier, Frankie’s offers the slow warmth of classic cocktails. At the front the wall opens toward the street and into a small patio with outdoor tables. Warm up with cocktails like the Kerouac Alley, a blend of bourbon, fig, cardamom, and sage.

2. Pacific Coast Spirits

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404 S Coast Hwy
Oceanside, CA 92054
(760) 453-7150
Visit Website

At this Oceanside tasting room you’ll find Pacific Coast Spirits’ small batch, “grain-to-glass” liquors bended into classic, draft, and canned cocktails for dine in and take out. This month enjoy the Fall Back draft cocktail brewed with PCS Immature Brandy, fresh cranberry, pineapple juice, and cinnamon simple syrup.

Draft cocktail.
Pacific Coast Spirits
Pacific Coast Spirits/Instagram

3. The Plot

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1733 S Coast Hwy
Oceanside, CA 92054
(442) 266-8200
Visit Website

The Plot’s front-of-house manager Marisa Johnson has created a new craft cocktail menu that celebrates all things botanical including the Neon Prayers with Lillet Blanc, basil, lemon, and sweet vermouth and the String of Hearts with lillet rose, cardamaro, handcrafted pink peppercorn syrup, aquafaba and lemon.

Cocktail with edible flower.
The Plot
Israel Palacio

4. Campfire

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2725 State St
Carlsbad, CA 92008
(760) 637-5121
Visit Website

Beverage Director, sommelier, and mezcal expert Jeremy Simpson has returned to the classics at Campfire. Enjoy the fragrant Idyllwild with gin, blackberry, pine, amontillado, and lemon Or try the fragrant Over/Under, a blend of mezcal, concord grape, juniper, rose hip, and lemon.

Herbed cocktail on wood table.
Campfire
Devin Castaneda

5. VAGA Restaurant & Bar

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2100 N Coast Hwy 101
Encinitas, CA 92024
(760) 452-3484
Visit Website

Chef Claudette Zepeda’s North County spot has plenty of cocktails to pair with world class food and views. Enjoy the weekend with a Sunday Namaste made with You & Yours Gin, basil, fennel, lemon, and grapefruit or take in the Encinitas breeze with a Sea Bluff made with Hendricks Lunar Gin, cucumber essence, nori, fino sherry, and cardamom bitters.

An outdoor lounge area with an ocean view.
VAGA Restaurant & Bar
VAGA Restaurant & Bar/Facebook

6. Puesto La Jolla

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1026 Wall St
La Jolla, CA 92037
(858) 454-1260
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This winter Puesto introduced their first high-end margarita, That Good Good Cadillac made with Siete Leguas Añejo tequila, Grand Marnier and fresh lime. Or find seasonal flavors in the Passion Fruit Margarita with El Tesoro Blanco Tequila, passion fruit, ginger and lime designed by bar and spirits creative director Beau du Bois.

A margarita garnished with an orange slice. Puesto

7. Realm Of The 52 Remedies

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4805 Convoy St
San Diego, CA 92111
(619) 780-6675
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As the weather cools in San Diego, tea cocktails are all the rage. Sip on a Peach Black Tea punctuated with Jura 10 years single malt scotch, black tea, peach puree, and lemon or find your center with iced chamomile tea blended with Tanqueray No. 10, Bimini overproof gin, Italicus bergamot liqueur, Lo-Fi dry vermouth, and a dash of Luxardo bitter bianco.

8. Wormwood

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4677 30th St
San Diego, CA 92116
(619) 915-6706
Visit Website

Enjoy cocktails with hints of anise and fennel at Wormwood, San Diego’s new absinthe bar. Start off with a Spritz Provence, a refreshing glass of Lo Gentian Amaro, Yellow Chartreuse, and prosecco with an absinthe rinse, rosemary, and olive or sip on the Le Frappe anchored by absinthe with anisette, elderflower, creme de menthe, lime, and a splash of soda.

9. Madison

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4622 Park Blvd
San Diego, CA 92116
(619) 269-6566
Visit Website

Grab a seat on Madison on Park’s heated patio and keep warm with a Paru Tea Bar Hot Toddy made with Okinawa Sugar tea plus Suntory Japanese Whiskey, local honey, lemon, and star anise. New classics by lead bartender Danny Kuehner include the Heavy Metal Drummer which combines Laird’s Bonded apple brandy, St. George spiced pear brandy, lemon, Angostura, and a splash of port.

Golden cocktail on wood table. Haley Hill

10. insideOUT

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1642 University Ave #100
San Diego, CA 92103
(619) 888-8623
Visit Website

This open air restaurant is the perfect spot to take in a happy hour wrapped in glossy red walls and waterfalls. Co-owner and director of cocktails Moe Girton entices with concoctions like the Double Down with Highwest Double rye, chai syrup, Strongwater Amores bitters, and a scorched orange twist. Or keep the evening dry with a Mock Mule spiked with pear cardamom cordial, kefir ginger soda, and a shock of lime.

Open air patio.
insideOUT
insideOUT/Facebook

11. Verbena Kitchen

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3043 University Ave
San Diego, CA 92104
(619) 269-5776
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Verbena Kitchen’s cocktail menu conveys the same level of detail as their food. General manager Dallas Juanes brings his expertise to drinks like The Morning Buzz with cold brew, vodka, condensed almond milk, and cardamom bitters and the popular Verbena Signature Sangria with California pinot noir, fig port, orange liqueur, citrus, and peach.

12. Cocina De Barrio

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3707 Fifth Ave
San Diego, CA 92104
(619) 677-2770
Visit Website

Cocina De Barrio delights with their colorful cocktails. Linger over the La Tia Chata, a tumbler of rumchata with lime and coconut popsicle topper or keep things light with a El Fresco de Granada made with mezcal, pomegranate juice, fresh lime juice, and mint.

13. Cesarina

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4161 Voltaire St
San Diego, CA 92107
(619) 226-6222
Visit Website

With a Bib Gourmand and new full liquor license, Cesarina is celebrating with fresh new cocktails all evoking the warmth of an endless Italian night. Start off with an Maracaibo Spritz, a sparkling glass of vodka, Ramazzotti rosato, prosecco, jamaica, pineapple, and lemon and end the night with the Sara’ Perche’ Ti Amo, a cocktail centered on rye whiskey with Aperol, Amaro Montenegro, Strega, and strawberries.

Pale spritz cocktail on gold table.
Cesarina
Arlene Ibarra

14. ARTIFACT at Mingei

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1439 El Prado
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 704-7523
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A new jewel in Balboa Park, Artifact at the Mingei International Museum brings refined food, but more importantly creative cocktails to the heart of San Diego. Ease into lunch with a light Artifact House Tonic with bvgin, fig, lemongrass, cardamom, and seltzer or close out the afternoon with the Twenty-Eight Blossoms, a rich blend of bourbon, dark cherry, cocoa nib, and thyme shrub.

Floral cocktail.
ARTIFACT at Mingei
Kimberly Motos

15. Camino Riviera

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2400 India St
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 685-3881
Visit Website

Little Italy’s former El Camino has come back to life as Camino Riviera. The interior envelopes you with moody indirect lights, bouncing pink and purple off rattan pendants and palm fronds, that make you forget you are directly under the airport’s flight path. Sip on cocktails by bar managers Eric Johnson and Leigh Russ like the Sacred Leaf with Tito’s vodka, hoja santa, fennel seed, lemon, and a splash of cava or their house Michelada with Mexican lager. lime, and tajin.

16. Wolfie's Carousel Bar

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2401 Kettner Blvd
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 255-7533
Visit Website

This remarkable new Little Italy bar has a 24-seat circular cocktail carousel bar that slowly spins at its center; it’s where curious guests sip on popular signature cocktails like the Fleur de France with vodka, grapefruit, and crème de violette, or the namesake Wolfie’s Connection with cognac, amaretto, raspberry, and a sprig of rosemary.

Wolfie’s Connection cocktail with a curl of lemon.
Wolfie’s Carousel Bar
Kelly Bone

17. KINDRED

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1503 30th St
San Diego, CA 92102
(619) 546-9653
Visit Website

Kindred’s winter menu welcomes the long nights with cocktails like Midnight to Midnight with gin, curacao, cranberry, rosemary, and lemon with a splash of sparkling rose. At brunch find refreshing choices like the Wax Bloom with bourbon, rye, sherry, ginger, bitters, and plum jam.

Cocktail with black garnish.
Kindred
Courtesy Photo

18. The Guild Bar

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500 W Broadway
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 795-6000
Visit Website

The bar within the Guild Hotel has relaunched a classical cocktail menu that pulls from nostalgia but also has a modern eye. Reimagined by lead bartender Robert Chacon in collaboration with bar consultant Lee Zaremba, the bar offers refreshing takes like the Dew Drop with bourbon, ginger, lime, sugar, allspice dram, and pomegranate.

The Guild Bar
Courtesy Photo

19. Kingfisher

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2469 Broadway
San Diego, CA 92102
(619) 432-1014
Visit Website

This brand new restaurant is already impressing on both the food and beverage fronts, with a cocktail menu by David Tye that incorporates Asian ingredients like bitter melon and lychee into drinks that range from refreshing and straightforward to potent and complex.

A tall tropical drink garnished with pineapple.
Jungle Fang.
Kingfisher

20. Punch Bowl Social

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1485 E St
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 452-3352
Visit Website

Bowling, games, and cocktails have returned to the East Village. Celebrate hitting that 7-10 split with a Night in Jaisco made with Reposado tequila, orange syrup, fresh lime, allspice dram. Or keep things sober with a Strawberry Rhubarb Fizz sparkling with house-made strawberry syrup and Fee Brothers rhubarb bitters. 

Strawberry mocktail.
Punch Bowl Social
Courtesy Photo

21. You & Yours Distilling Co.

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1495 G St
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 955-8755
Visit Website

The East Village’s You & Yours continues to impress with its house distilled spirits. Keep cozy with a Hot Graham cocktail, made with whiskey barrel-aged London Dry Gin, cranberry, pomegranate, blood orange, lemon and salted graham cracker rim (served hot). Or try their Rainbow Bunny made with Y&Y Vodka, rainbow carrot, blueberry, lime, and sarsaparilla bitters.

Warm Graham cocktail.
You & Yours Distilling Co.
You & Yours Distilling Co. / Facebook

22. Young Blood

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777 G St
San Diego, CA 92101

Slip away from the holiday parties and into the plush and intimate hideaway of Young Blood. Here guests with reservations can embark on a customized, multi-course cocktail experience in a private space hidden behind Neighborhood restaurant and the Noble Experiment bar.

A dimly-lit bar filled with plush bar stools and booth seating.
Young Blood
Arlene Ibarra

23. Callie

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1195 Island Ave
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 255-9696
Visit Website

This East Village hotspot welcomes its first winter with a delightful cocktail lineup by bar lead James Roe and team. Warm up with the Heat Miser, a blend of bourbon, cacao, maple, urfa pepper, and cinnamon bitters topped with whipped cream or sip on the Stage Fright with rye, smoked eggplant, ginger, lemon, and arak.

Yellow cocktail with peppered rim.
Callie Restaurant
Callie / Facebook

1. Frankie's

406 Pier View Way, Oceanside, CA 92054

Just up the street from the Oceanside Pier, Frankie’s offers the slow warmth of classic cocktails. At the front the wall opens toward the street and into a small patio with outdoor tables. Warm up with cocktails like the Kerouac Alley, a blend of bourbon, fig, cardamom, and sage.

406 Pier View Way
Oceanside, CA 92054

2. Pacific Coast Spirits

404 S Coast Hwy, Oceanside, CA 92054
Draft cocktail.
Pacific Coast Spirits
Pacific Coast Spirits/Instagram

At this Oceanside tasting room you’ll find Pacific Coast Spirits’ small batch, “grain-to-glass” liquors bended into classic, draft, and canned cocktails for dine in and take out. This month enjoy the Fall Back draft cocktail brewed with PCS Immature Brandy, fresh cranberry, pineapple juice, and cinnamon simple syrup.

404 S Coast Hwy
Oceanside, CA 92054

3. The Plot

1733 S Coast Hwy, Oceanside, CA 92054
Cocktail with edible flower.
The Plot
Israel Palacio

The Plot’s front-of-house manager Marisa Johnson has created a new craft cocktail menu that celebrates all things botanical including the Neon Prayers with Lillet Blanc, basil, lemon, and sweet vermouth and the String of Hearts with lillet rose, cardamaro, handcrafted pink peppercorn syrup, aquafaba and lemon.

1733 S Coast Hwy
Oceanside, CA 92054

4. Campfire

2725 State St, Carlsbad, CA 92008
Herbed cocktail on wood table.
Campfire
Devin Castaneda

Beverage Director, sommelier, and mezcal expert Jeremy Simpson has returned to the classics at Campfire. Enjoy the fragrant Idyllwild with gin, blackberry, pine, amontillado, and lemon Or try the fragrant Over/Under, a blend of mezcal, concord grape, juniper, rose hip, and lemon.

2725 State St
Carlsbad, CA 92008

5. VAGA Restaurant & Bar

2100 N Coast Hwy 101, Encinitas, CA 92024
An outdoor lounge area with an ocean view.
VAGA Restaurant & Bar
VAGA Restaurant & Bar/Facebook

Chef Claudette Zepeda’s North County spot has plenty of cocktails to pair with world class food and views. Enjoy the weekend with a Sunday Namaste made with You & Yours Gin, basil, fennel, lemon, and grapefruit or take in the Encinitas breeze with a Sea Bluff made with Hendricks Lunar Gin, cucumber essence, nori, fino sherry, and cardamom bitters.

2100 N Coast Hwy 101
Encinitas, CA 92024

6. Puesto La Jolla

1026 Wall St, La Jolla, CA 92037
A margarita garnished with an orange slice. Puesto

This winter Puesto introduced their first high-end margarita, That Good Good Cadillac made with Siete Leguas Añejo tequila, Grand Marnier and fresh lime. Or find seasonal flavors in the Passion Fruit Margarita with El Tesoro Blanco Tequila, passion fruit, ginger and lime designed by bar and spirits creative director Beau du Bois.

1026 Wall St
La Jolla, CA 92037

7. Realm Of The 52 Remedies

4805 Convoy St, San Diego, CA 92111

As the weather cools in San Diego, tea cocktails are all the rage. Sip on a Peach Black Tea punctuated with Jura 10 years single malt scotch, black tea, peach puree, and lemon or find your center with iced chamomile tea blended with Tanqueray No. 10, Bimini overproof gin, Italicus bergamot liqueur, Lo-Fi dry vermouth, and a dash of Luxardo bitter bianco.

4805 Convoy St
San Diego, CA 92111

8. Wormwood

4677 30th St, San Diego, CA 92116

Enjoy cocktails with hints of anise and fennel at Wormwood, San Diego’s new absinthe bar. Start off with a Spritz Provence, a refreshing glass of Lo Gentian Amaro, Yellow Chartreuse, and prosecco with an absinthe rinse, rosemary, and olive or sip on the Le Frappe anchored by absinthe with anisette, elderflower, creme de menthe, lime, and a splash of soda.

4677 30th St
San Diego, CA 92116

9. Madison

4622 Park Blvd, San Diego, CA 92116
Golden cocktail on wood table. Haley Hill

Grab a seat on Madison on Park’s heated patio and keep warm with a Paru Tea Bar Hot Toddy made with Okinawa Sugar tea plus Suntory Japanese Whiskey, local honey, lemon, and star anise. New classics by lead bartender Danny Kuehner include the Heavy Metal Drummer which combines Laird’s Bonded apple brandy, St. George spiced pear brandy, lemon, Angostura, and a splash of port.

4622 Park Blvd
San Diego, CA 92116

10. insideOUT

1642 University Ave #100, San Diego, CA 92103
Open air patio.
insideOUT
insideOUT/Facebook

This open air restaurant is the perfect spot to take in a happy hour wrapped in glossy red walls and waterfalls. Co-owner and director of cocktails Moe Girton entices with concoctions like the Double Down with Highwest Double rye, chai syrup, Strongwater Amores bitters, and a scorched orange twist. Or keep the evening dry with a Mock Mule spiked with pear cardamom cordial, kefir ginger soda, and a shock of lime.

1642 University Ave #100
San Diego, CA 92103

11. Verbena Kitchen

3043 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92104

Verbena Kitchen’s cocktail menu conveys the same level of detail as their food. General manager Dallas Juanes brings his expertise to drinks like The Morning Buzz with cold brew, vodka, condensed almond milk, and cardamom bitters and the popular Verbena Signature Sangria with California pinot noir, fig port, orange liqueur, citrus, and peach.

3043 University Ave
San Diego, CA 92104

12. Cocina De Barrio

3707 Fifth Ave, San Diego, CA 92104

Cocina De Barrio delights with their colorful cocktails. Linger over the La Tia Chata, a tumbler of rumchata with lime and coconut popsicle topper or keep things light with a El Fresco de Granada made with mezcal, pomegranate juice, fresh lime juice, and mint.

3707 Fifth Ave
San Diego, CA 92104

13. Cesarina

4161 Voltaire St, San Diego, CA 92107
Pale spritz cocktail on gold table.
Cesarina
Arlene Ibarra

With a Bib Gourmand and new full liquor license, Cesarina is celebrating with fresh new cocktails all evoking the warmth of an endless Italian night. Start off with an Maracaibo Spritz, a sparkling glass of vodka, Ramazzotti rosato, prosecco, jamaica, pineapple, and lemon and end the night with the Sara’ Perche’ Ti Amo, a cocktail centered on rye whiskey with Aperol, Amaro Montenegro, Strega, and strawberries.

4161 Voltaire St
San Diego, CA 92107

14. ARTIFACT at Mingei

1439 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101
Floral cocktail.
ARTIFACT at Mingei
Kimberly Motos

A new jewel in Balboa Park, Artifact at the Mingei International Museum brings refined food, but more importantly creative cocktails to the heart of San Diego. Ease into lunch with a light Artifact House Tonic with bvgin, fig, lemongrass, cardamom, and seltzer or close out the afternoon with the Twenty-Eight Blossoms, a rich blend of bourbon, dark cherry, cocoa nib, and thyme shrub.

1439 El Prado
San Diego, CA 92101

15. Camino Riviera

2400 India St, San Diego, CA 92101

Little Italy’s former El Camino has come back to life as Camino Riviera. The interior envelopes you with moody indirect lights, bouncing pink and purple off rattan pendants and palm fronds, that make you forget you are directly under the airport’s flight path. Sip on cocktails by bar managers Eric Johnson and Leigh Russ like the Sacred Leaf with Tito’s vodka, hoja santa, fennel seed, lemon, and a splash of cava or their house Michelada with Mexican lager. lime, and tajin.

2400 India St
San Diego, CA 92101

Related Maps

16. Wolfie's Carousel Bar

2401 Kettner Blvd, San Diego, CA 92101
Wolfie’s Connection cocktail with a curl of lemon.
Wolfie’s Carousel Bar
Kelly Bone

This remarkable new Little Italy bar has a 24-seat circular cocktail carousel bar that slowly spins at its center; it’s where curious guests sip on popular signature cocktails like the Fleur de France with vodka, grapefruit, and crème de violette, or the namesake Wolfie’s Connection with cognac, amaretto, raspberry, and a sprig of rosemary.

2401 Kettner Blvd
San Diego, CA 92101

17. KINDRED

1503 30th St, San Diego, CA 92102
Cocktail with black garnish.
Kindred
Courtesy Photo

Kindred’s winter menu welcomes the long nights with cocktails like Midnight to Midnight with gin, curacao, cranberry, rosemary, and lemon with a splash of sparkling rose. At brunch find refreshing choices like the Wax Bloom with bourbon, rye, sherry, ginger, bitters, and plum jam.

1503 30th St
San Diego, CA 92102

18. The Guild Bar

500 W Broadway, San Diego, CA 92101
The Guild Bar
Courtesy Photo

The bar within the Guild Hotel has relaunched a classical cocktail menu that pulls from nostalgia but also has a modern eye. Reimagined by lead bartender Robert Chacon in collaboration with bar consultant Lee Zaremba, the bar offers refreshing takes like the Dew Drop with bourbon, ginger, lime, sugar, allspice dram, and pomegranate.

500 W Broadway
San Diego, CA 92101

19. Kingfisher

2469 Broadway, San Diego, CA 92102
A tall tropical drink garnished with pineapple.
Jungle Fang.
Kingfisher

This brand new restaurant is already impressing on both the food and beverage fronts, with a cocktail menu by David Tye that incorporates Asian ingredients like bitter melon and lychee into drinks that range from refreshing and straightforward to potent and complex.

2469 Broadway
San Diego, CA 92102

20. Punch Bowl Social

1485 E St, San Diego, CA 92101
Strawberry mocktail.
Punch Bowl Social
Courtesy Photo

Bowling, games, and cocktails have returned to the East Village. Celebrate hitting that 7-10 split with a Night in Jaisco made with Reposado tequila, orange syrup, fresh lime, allspice dram. Or keep things sober with a Strawberry Rhubarb Fizz sparkling with house-made strawberry syrup and Fee Brothers rhubarb bitters. 

1485 E St
San Diego, CA 92101

21. You & Yours Distilling Co.

1495 G St, San Diego, CA 92101