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A rainbow of colorful cocktails against a dark background.
Kettner Exchange’s summer specials
James Tran

The Hottest Cocktail Bars in San Diego, August 2022

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

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Kettner Exchange’s summer specials
| James Tran

Summer is here and so are the warm-weather cocktails. San Diego’s bars are ready with cool relief from brunch to late-night hours. Enjoy longer days sipping from a rocks glass spiked with cherry blossom tea gin or welcome the afternoon gin fizz floating with aquafaba.

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!

Note: Map points are not ranked.

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; it may pose a risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial COVID transmission.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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Communal

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The cafe, which offers much more than coffee, has launched its summer menu. Head in for an Oceanside Summer, its take on a pina colada spiked with Sabe gold rum or enjoy a flight of seasonal spritzes like rose vanilla and elderflower with prosecco.

Pineapple cocktail with leaves and gold shaker.
Communal
Let’s Frolic Together

The four and eight-course Japanese menus at Oceanside’s Matsu is the star, save a space on your table for the excellent cocktails. Chill with a Kaku-Hi, a shimmering blend of icy Japanese whisky, sparkling water, and lemon oil; or, try the Kitsunu made with Etsu gin, citrusy yuzu, and a hint of shiso leaf.

Wrench and Rodent Seabasstropub

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This season, general manager Reira Moon and chef Grant Prill have introduced new house cocktails at the sushi restaurant which utilize light spirits, such as soju, with accents like rosé-infused syrup, black currant, and yuzu.

Three floral cocktails on raw concrete surface.
Wrench and Rodent Seabasstropub
Courtesy Photo

Jeune et Jolie

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Strawberries, cherries, and watermelon color the new summer cocktail menu by bar manager Rachel Debber. Enjoy the Pasteque with tequila and watermelon, accented by cardamom, or take a breather with the Fraise, with a pile of pebble ice cooling a mix of bourbon, Campari, strawberries, and rhubarb.

Pink cocktail with pebble ice and baby breath.
Fraise at Jeune et Jolie
Courtesy photo

Hamburger Hut

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Reopening along Coast Highway, Hamburger Hut’s new Leucadia location introduces a tiki-inspired cocktail menu. The re-envisioned space mixes family-friendly games with easy-drinking hurricanes and a negroni slushy, or, get heady with a Neptune Sunset made with rye whisky, Braulio, rhubarb honey, and grapefruit oil.

Pink cocktail with flowers against dark background
Neptune Sunset at Hamburger Hut
Kimberly Motos

Waverly

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This North County hotspot has refreshed its drink menu just in time for warm summer hangs. Bartender Chris Nguyen recently introduced the Red Moon, a riff on the classic Army & Navy, with cherry blossom tea gin spiked with red bean orgeat, lemon, and apricot.

Pale coupe glass against waxy leaves.
Red Moon at The Waverly
Joann Van Noy

Cross Street

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Cross Street opened at Del Mar Highlands with an impressive cocktail menu by Jesse Ross (Sycamore Den, Fernside). Favorites include the citrusy No Fly List with Blanco tequila, cocchi americano, yuzu, pineapple, lime, agave, and soda. Or try their spin on an Old Fashioned, the Oak & Sesame, a blend of American and Japanese whiskies and house-toasted black sesame with a kiss of amaro.

Cocktail with pineapple leaves.
No Fly List
James Tran

Gravity Heights

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Offices may not be running at full capacity, but office park-bound Gravity Heights is as busy as ever. Snag a table early and enjoy the namesake Heights Fizz with gin, orange, and mint topped with a fluffy aquafaba head. Or get Coco Loco with rum, bananas, pineapple, and ginger.

Looking down at a pink cocktails with mint and lemon on top of menu.
Gravity Heights
Kelly Bone

Queenstown Bistro

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An outdoor respite in the heart of the UTC Mall, Queenstown Bistro recently partnered with Hera the Dog Vodka to introduce two new cocktails with a portion of the proceeds going to San Diego’s all-breed dog rescue The Animal Pad. Choices include the Hair of the Dog, their take on a bloody Mary, and Posh Pooch a summer lemonade with house-made lemongrass syrup, St. Germain, and splash of sparkling white wine.

Pale yellow cocktail on white table.
Queenstown Bistro
Kelly Bone

Realm Of The 52 Remedies

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Tea-infused cocktails lace through the Eternal Remedies menu at Convoy’s Realm of the 52 Remedies. Highlights include the Earl Grey featuring Kasama Filipino rum with Jura 10yrs single malt scotch, saline water, honey, and cinnamon cream. Or explore their Asian cinema-themed seasonal menu that includes an ode to the Japanese film 13 Assassins made with 10-year single malt Scotch whisky and blood orange under delicate baby breath flowers.

Cocktail with a large branded ice cube glowing in yellow light.
Realm Of The 52 Remedies
James Tran

Convoy Music Bar

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Accessed from an alleyway behind one of Convoy’s busiest strip malls, this cocktail haven is an elegant 40-seat space fashioned after Tokyo’s listening bars. With a premium sound system and DJs providing nightly mood music, the bar features a menu of cocktail classics made with Asian flavors and ingredients.

A negroni cocktail garnished with an orange rind.
Convoy Music Bar’s negroni variation.
Salsa Digital

The Fishery

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The growing cocktail program by Eddie Avila continues to impress. Known for his milk punch, the latest version is infused with Beto gin, Italicus rosolio, bergamot, Luxardo bitter bianco, and Rare Tea Co. chamomile flowers. Other recent releases include An Olive Grove in Nice, with vodka, grapefruit, and Vicario olive leaf liqueur.

Pale cocktail with large branded ice cube on wood table.
The Fishery Punch
The Fishery / Facebook

Dolly’s at Hoxton Square

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Just in time for summer, Dolly’s has appeared on the rooftop of Hoxton Manor. This new open air bar from Matt Bone (Old Man Bar, Reading Club) and Will Pidd (Young Blood, J&Tony’s) focuses on natural wine and classic cocktails like the Pidd’s Cup with aromatized wines, cucumber, gin and ginger and Tokyo Blond Old Fashioned with Japanese whisky, orgeat, and nocino. Or find out if they really do, and the menu states, make the World’s Best Negroni.

Soy sauce cocktail.
Dolly’s at Hoxton Square
Courtesy Photo

MOTHERSHIP

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Kindred's Permanent Vacation nights proved so popular they got their own spin off bar. Immerse yourself in a fanciful world of intergalactic spaceship meets strange new world with titillating cocktails like the Homing Beacon, a swirl of rum and apricot brandy with cascara, coconut and a float of hibiscus.

Pink and white cocktails on blue background.
Homing Beacon at Mothership
Kimberly Motos

Kettner Exchange

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Enjoy the long summer nights with the refreshed cocktail menu at Kettner Exchange by bar director Claire Sexton. New favorites includes the Cherry Valance with gin and white peppercorn and the Miami Slice with rum, vanilla, coconut, and lime.

Dark pink cocktail with flowers on dark marble table.
Kettner Exchange
James Tran

Charles + Dinorah at The Pearl Hotel

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The recently reopened restaurant at the Pearl Hotel is shaking up their cocktail menu. Ease into the evening with an L.A. Tea, an iced gin and matcha drink made creamy with coconut milk or spice up the night with a Before I Say Good-Chai with masala chai, coffee liqueur, coconut cream and amaretto.

Five cocktails against a bamboo background.
Charles+Dinorah
Emily Rinaldo

KINDRED

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Enjoy the South Park bar’s breezy indoor/outdoor space with refreshing cocktails like the Mint Condition with gin, Sicilian mint amaro, and frothy aquafaba . Or, stop by late Fridays and Saturdays for Dark Age Summer with 80’s tunes and cocktail classics like Sex on the Beach.

Cocktails cheering against pink wallpaper.
Kindred
Arlene Ibarra

You & Yours Distilling Co.

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You & Yours recently celebrated five years of distilling their iconic gins and local vodka (and more) in the East Village. Founder Laura Johnson’s downtown tasting room crafts excellent cocktails like the Summer Salad with Y&Y vodka and pineapple, yellow bell pepper, orange, lemon, and cayenne chili oil.

Cocktails on white marble table.
You & Yours Distilling Co.
Courtesy photo

This East Village restaurant is destination-worthy for its food as well as a fine cocktail list from bar lead James Roe and team. The bar and kitchen have merged their missions in the new De La Montaña cocktail. The bright orange sipper includes leftover carrots from the restaurant’s signature crunchy Egyptian carrots dish, juiced and blended with mezcal, pasilla, and pineapple.

Carrot cocktail on wood table.
Callie’s De La Montaña
Words and Pictures Co.

Communal

Pineapple cocktail with leaves and gold shaker.
Communal
Let’s Frolic Together

The cafe, which offers much more than coffee, has launched its summer menu. Head in for an Oceanside Summer, its take on a pina colada spiked with Sabe gold rum or enjoy a flight of seasonal spritzes like rose vanilla and elderflower with prosecco.

Pineapple cocktail with leaves and gold shaker.
Communal
Let’s Frolic Together

Matsu

The four and eight-course Japanese menus at Oceanside’s Matsu is the star, save a space on your table for the excellent cocktails. Chill with a Kaku-Hi, a shimmering blend of icy Japanese whisky, sparkling water, and lemon oil; or, try the Kitsunu made with Etsu gin, citrusy yuzu, and a hint of shiso leaf.

Wrench and Rodent Seabasstropub

Three floral cocktails on raw concrete surface.
Wrench and Rodent Seabasstropub
Courtesy Photo

This season, general manager Reira Moon and chef Grant Prill have introduced new house cocktails at the sushi restaurant which utilize light spirits, such as soju, with accents like rosé-infused syrup, black currant, and yuzu.

Three floral cocktails on raw concrete surface.
Wrench and Rodent Seabasstropub
Courtesy Photo

Jeune et Jolie

Pink cocktail with pebble ice and baby breath.
Fraise at Jeune et Jolie
Courtesy photo

Strawberries, cherries, and watermelon color the new summer cocktail menu by bar manager Rachel Debber. Enjoy the Pasteque with tequila and watermelon, accented by cardamom, or take a breather with the Fraise, with a pile of pebble ice cooling a mix of bourbon, Campari, strawberries, and rhubarb.

Pink cocktail with pebble ice and baby breath.
Fraise at Jeune et Jolie
Courtesy photo

Hamburger Hut

Pink cocktail with flowers against dark background
Neptune Sunset at Hamburger Hut
Kimberly Motos

Reopening along Coast Highway, Hamburger Hut’s new Leucadia location introduces a tiki-inspired cocktail menu. The re-envisioned space mixes family-friendly games with easy-drinking hurricanes and a negroni slushy, or, get heady with a Neptune Sunset made with rye whisky, Braulio, rhubarb honey, and grapefruit oil.

Pink cocktail with flowers against dark background
Neptune Sunset at Hamburger Hut
Kimberly Motos

Waverly

Pale coupe glass against waxy leaves.
Red Moon at The Waverly
Joann Van Noy

This North County hotspot has refreshed its drink menu just in time for warm summer hangs. Bartender Chris Nguyen recently introduced the Red Moon, a riff on the classic Army & Navy, with cherry blossom tea gin spiked with red bean orgeat, lemon, and apricot.

Pale coupe glass against waxy leaves.
Red Moon at The Waverly
Joann Van Noy

Cross Street

Cocktail with pineapple leaves.
No Fly List
James Tran

Cross Street opened at Del Mar Highlands with an impressive cocktail menu by Jesse Ross (Sycamore Den, Fernside). Favorites include the citrusy No Fly List with Blanco tequila, cocchi americano, yuzu, pineapple, lime, agave, and soda. Or try their spin on an Old Fashioned, the Oak & Sesame, a blend of American and Japanese whiskies and house-toasted black sesame with a kiss of amaro.

Cocktail with pineapple leaves.
No Fly List
James Tran

Gravity Heights

Looking down at a pink cocktails with mint and lemon on top of menu.
Gravity Heights
Kelly Bone

Offices may not be running at full capacity, but office park-bound Gravity Heights is as busy as ever. Snag a table early and enjoy the namesake Heights Fizz with gin, orange, and mint topped with a fluffy aquafaba head. Or get Coco Loco with rum, bananas, pineapple, and ginger.

Looking down at a pink cocktails with mint and lemon on top of menu.
Gravity Heights
Kelly Bone

Queenstown Bistro

Pale yellow cocktail on white table.
Queenstown Bistro
Kelly Bone

An outdoor respite in the heart of the UTC Mall, Queenstown Bistro recently partnered with Hera the Dog Vodka to introduce two new cocktails with a portion of the proceeds going to San Diego’s all-breed dog rescue The Animal Pad. Choices include the Hair of the Dog, their take on a bloody Mary, and Posh Pooch a summer lemonade with house-made lemongrass syrup, St. Germain, and splash of sparkling white wine.

Pale yellow cocktail on white table.
Queenstown Bistro
Kelly Bone

Realm Of The 52 Remedies

Cocktail with a large branded ice cube glowing in yellow light.
Realm Of The 52 Remedies
James Tran

Tea-infused cocktails lace through the Eternal Remedies menu at Convoy’s Realm of the 52 Remedies. Highlights include the Earl Grey featuring Kasama Filipino rum with Jura 10yrs single malt scotch, saline water, honey, and cinnamon cream. Or explore their Asian cinema-themed seasonal menu that includes an ode to the Japanese film 13 Assassins made with 10-year single malt Scotch whisky and blood orange under delicate baby breath flowers.

Cocktail with a large branded ice cube glowing in yellow light.
Realm Of The 52 Remedies
James Tran

Convoy Music Bar

A negroni cocktail garnished with an orange rind.
Convoy Music Bar’s negroni variation.
Salsa Digital

Accessed from an alleyway behind one of Convoy’s busiest strip malls, this cocktail haven is an elegant 40-seat space fashioned after Tokyo’s listening bars. With a premium sound system and DJs providing nightly mood music, the bar features a menu of cocktail classics made with Asian flavors and ingredients.