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The Pick Up at George’s at the Cove
Courtesy Photo

The Hottest Cocktail Bars in San Diego, May 2022

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

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The Pick Up at George’s at the Cove
| Courtesy Photo

Gear up for summer while sipping on the latest batch of cocktail releases hitting San Diego. Enjoy longer with espresso martinis and shimmering lemonade spiked with lemongrass and vodka.

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.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Matsu

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626 S Tremont St
Oceanside, CA 92054
(760) 338-8902
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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.

2. Beshock Ramen

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2525 El Camino Real UNIT 211
Carlsbad, CA 92008
(442) 615-2325
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Known throughout San Diego for their ramen, Beshock offers excellent cocktails as well. The lavender hue of Falling For Ube comes from a blend of coconut milk and house made ube syrup with a kick of rum and squeeze of lime. Or stick to a classic profile like the Tokyo Negroni with Japanese Roku gin, Kampari, Sweet vermouth and luxardo liqueur.

Bold purple cocktial.
Beshock’s Falling for Ube
@twovegannuts

3. Herb & Sea

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131 W D St
Encinitas, CA 92024
(760) 704-8300
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Encinitas’ Herb & Sea welcomed neighbors Ironsmith Coffee Roasters to collaborate on new menu items, including cocktails. Enjoy the new Carajillo featuring Ironsmith Coffee espresso and Licor 43, Mediterranean citrus, and botanical liquor as a before or after dinner treat. 

Coffee cocktail with charred cinnamon.
Carajillo Cocktail
Kimberly Motos

4. Cross Street

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12925 El Camino Real
San Diego, CA 92130
(858) 793-5757
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Cross Street recently 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

5. Joya Kitchen

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10275 Science Center Dr #150
San Diego, CA 92121

Perched on the edge of Torrey Pines, the new Joya Kitchen offers a massive indoor/outdoor space for cocktail lunches and happy hour. The menu offers after work wind-down cocktails like a Passion margarita with Casamigos Reposado, agave, passionfruit, and jalapeno and the Transfusion with 50 Bleu Vodka, grape, lime, ginger, and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Pink cocktail with a lime.
Joya Kitchen
Kelly Bone

6. Cutwater Spirits

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9750 Distribution Ave
San Diego, CA 92121
(858) 672-3848
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Simmer in the summer sun with new cocktails at Cutwater Spirits Tasting Room & Kitchen by Beverage Ambassador Laura Price. Enjoy the Shiso-jito with white rum, coconut, green tea, and fragrant shiso leaves.

7. Queenstown Bistro

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4545 La Jolla Village Dr #9028
San Diego, CA 92122
(858) 623-2748
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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

8. The Marine Room

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2000 Spindrift Dr
La Jolla, CA 92037
(858) 459-7222
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Under new executive chef Mike Minor, the La Jolla landmark has revamped its cocktail project, releasing fresh signature cocktails ranging from a passion fruit mezcal margarita and a mocktail take on a classic paloma as well as the Thank You Sonny Chiba, bartender Dan Gurga’s tribute to the famed Japanese actor that combines Toki whisky with aperol, grapefruit, orgeat, and lemon.

Three cocktails in front of an ocean-view window. The Marine Room

9. George's at the Cove

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1250 Prospect St
La Jolla, CA 92037
(858) 454-4244
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Long summer nights perched on the cliffs of La Jolla can now last longer with an espresso martini. Between May 16th and 22nd George’s is partaking in the 7 city Mr. Black Martini Fest. Come enjoy a classic martini infused bittersweet Arabica coffee, or the Pick Up a whisky  spiked Mr. Black with rosemary and orange bitters.

Espresso Martini
George’s at the Cove
Courtesy Photo

10. Puesto La Jolla

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1026 Wall St
La Jolla, CA 92037
(858) 454-1260
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Puesto now offers a completely additive-free tequila cocktail menu. Bar and spirits creative director Beau du Bois has created the Carajillo with Licor 43, Oaxacan coffee, Mr. Black cold brew coffee liqueur and reposado tequila, and their Frozen Puesto Perfect with fresh squeezed lime, agave, and an optional Grand Marnier float.

Collection of four cocktails on marble table
Puesto cocktails
Mandie Geller

11. Realm Of The 52 Remedies

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4805 Convoy St
San Diego, CA 92111
(619) 780-6675
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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 theamed spring/summer menu with odes to films like 13 Assassins with 10yr single malt Scotch whisky and blood orange under delicate baby breath flowers.

12. Convoy Music Bar

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4646 Convoy St #112
San Diego, CA 92111

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

13. The Luau

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7123 El Cajon Blvd
San Diego, CA 92115
(619) 467 - 7334
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San Diego’s newest tiki bar has emerged on the East College/Rolando end of El Cajon Boulevard. Shimmy up to the thatched bar and start the evening with the Luau Shooter made with rum, curaçao, orgeat syrup, pineapple, lime, and a splash of soda or grab a seat on the patio and share a bowl of Pele’s Poison Punch with light and dark rum, bourbon, fruit juice, and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

14. Madison

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4622 Park Blvd
San Diego, CA 92116
(619) 269-6566
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Grab a seat on Madison on Park’s patio star or end your day with their Carajillo made with Licor 43, espresso and orange peel. Lead bartender Danny Kuehner  designs new classics like Heavy Metal Drummer which combines Laird’s Bonded apple brandy, St. George spiced pear brandy, lemon, and Angostura with a splash of port.

Coffee cocktail with dried orange and striped shoes.
Carajillo at Madison
Playbook Digital

15. Red Fox Room and Steakhouse

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2200 El Cajon Blvd
San Diego, CA 92104

Light once again streams through the Red Fox’s stained glass and falls into the iconic red booths filled with folks enjoying cocktails and live piano entertainment. Throwback cocktail classics include Tokyo Tea, a melon-flavored Long Island Iced Tea, and the French Martini with Grey Goose, Chambord and pineapple juice.

Stained Glass of a Red Fox.
Stained Glass
Red Fox Room

16. 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 Summer is Coming, a tropical treat built with barrel aged tequila, serrano agave, caramelized pineapple, lime, and strawberry accented with chili bitters.

Outdoor cocktails with twist.
Verbena Kitchen
Kelly Bone

17. Tribute Pizza

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3077 N Park Wy
San Diego, CA 92104
(619) 450-4505
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Renowned for their food, North Park’s Tribute Pizza has an equally stellar cocktails program. From the simplicity of the Toki Chino, Japanese whisky with sparkling water, to The Drunk Monkey with house infused banana rum, walnut bitters, and macadamia orgeat.

Clear cocktail with long lemon peel.
Toki Chino at Tribute Pizza
Kelly Bone

18. KINDRED

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1503 30th St
San Diego, CA 92102
(619) 546-9653
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Kindred’s spring menu welcomes refreshing cocktails like the Floating Temple with Blanco tequila and Americano Bianco Apéritif with a triangle of watermelon with lime, chamoy, smoked salt, and firewater bitters.

Watermelon cocktail on marble table.
Floating Temple
Arlene Ibarra

19. Kingfisher

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2469 Broadway
San Diego, CA 92102
(619) 432-1014
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This recently-opened 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. Lola 55 Tacos & Cocktails

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1290 F St
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 542-9155
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Lola 55 recently launching brunch complete with new brunch cocktails like the Vegan Bloody Maria with reposado tequila, ancho reyes, house bloody maria mix, and lemon.

Bloody Maria
Lola 55 / Facebook

21. You & Yours Distilling Co.

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1495 G St
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 955-8755
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East Village’s You & Yours recently hit five years of distilling their iconic gins and local vodka (and more). Founder Laura Johnson downtown tasting room crafts excellent cocktails like the Liquid Sunshine with Y&Y vodka, orange, turmeric, ginger. macadamia nut milk, and black peppercorn.

22. Callie

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1195 Island Ave
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 255-9696
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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 tumbler includes the leftover carrots from the restaurant’s signature Crunchy Egyptian Carrots, juiced and blended with mezcal, pasilla mixed and pineapple.

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

23. La Conde - San Diego

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570 K St
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 795-0502
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Perhaps the only place in San Diego serving cocktails in a skull, the recently opened La Conde makes a big impact. Fawn over a delicate glass of turquoise curaçao bubbling with dry ice spiked with bourbon, lemon, and agave commanding you to Make a Wish or embrace you inner Gladiator with mezcal and ancho liqueur fizzling with grapefruit soda.

Cocktail served in skill gripped by blue talon.
The Gladiator
La Conde / Facebook

1. Matsu

626 S Tremont St, Oceanside, CA 92054

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.

626 S Tremont St
Oceanside, CA 92054

2. Beshock Ramen

2525 El Camino Real UNIT 211, Carlsbad, CA 92008
Bold purple cocktial.
Beshock’s Falling for Ube
@twovegannuts

Known throughout San Diego for their ramen, Beshock offers excellent cocktails as well. The lavender hue of Falling For Ube comes from a blend of coconut milk and house made ube syrup with a kick of rum and squeeze of lime. Or stick to a classic profile like the Tokyo Negroni with Japanese Roku gin, Kampari, Sweet vermouth and luxardo liqueur.

2525 El Camino Real UNIT 211
Carlsbad, CA 92008

3. Herb & Sea

131 W D St, Encinitas, CA 92024
Coffee cocktail with charred cinnamon.
Carajillo Cocktail
Kimberly Motos

Encinitas’ Herb & Sea welcomed neighbors Ironsmith Coffee Roasters to collaborate on new menu items, including cocktails. Enjoy the new Carajillo featuring Ironsmith Coffee espresso and Licor 43, Mediterranean citrus, and botanical liquor as a before or after dinner treat. 

131 W D St
Encinitas, CA 92024

4. Cross Street

12925 El Camino Real, San Diego, CA 92130
Cocktail with pineapple leaves.
No Fly List
James Tran

Cross Street recently 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.

12925 El Camino Real
San Diego, CA 92130

5. Joya Kitchen

10275 Science Center Dr #150, San Diego, CA 92121
Pink cocktail with a lime.
Joya Kitchen
Kelly Bone

Perched on the edge of Torrey Pines, the new Joya Kitchen offers a massive indoor/outdoor space for cocktail lunches and happy hour. The menu offers after work wind-down cocktails like a Passion margarita with Casamigos Reposado, agave, passionfruit, and jalapeno and the Transfusion with 50 Bleu Vodka, grape, lime, ginger, and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

10275 Science Center Dr #150
San Diego, CA 92121

6. Cutwater Spirits

9750 Distribution Ave, San Diego, CA 92121

Simmer in the summer sun with new cocktails at Cutwater Spirits Tasting Room & Kitchen by Beverage Ambassador Laura Price. Enjoy the Shiso-jito with white rum, coconut, green tea, and fragrant shiso leaves.

9750 Distribution Ave
San Diego, CA 92121

7. Queenstown Bistro

4545 La Jolla Village Dr #9028, San Diego, CA 92122
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.

4545 La Jolla Village Dr #9028
San Diego, CA 92122

8. The Marine Room

2000 Spindrift Dr, La Jolla, CA 92037
Three cocktails in front of an ocean-view window. The Marine Room

Under new executive chef Mike Minor, the La Jolla landmark has revamped its cocktail project, releasing fresh signature cocktails ranging from a passion fruit mezcal margarita and a mocktail take on a classic paloma as well as the Thank You Sonny Chiba, bartender Dan Gurga’s tribute to the famed Japanese actor that combines Toki whisky with aperol, grapefruit, orgeat, and lemon.

2000 Spindrift Dr
La Jolla, CA 92037

9. George's at the Cove

1250 Prospect St, La Jolla, CA 92037
Espresso Martini
George’s at the Cove
Courtesy Photo

Long summer nights perched on the cliffs of La Jolla can now last longer with an espresso martini. Between May 16th and 22nd George’s is partaking in the 7 city Mr. Black Martini Fest. Come enjoy a classic martini infused bittersweet Arabica coffee, or the Pick Up a whisky  spiked Mr. Black with rosemary and orange bitters.

1250 Prospect St
La Jolla, CA 92037

10. Puesto La Jolla

1026 Wall St, La Jolla, CA 92037
Collection of four cocktails on marble table
Puesto cocktails
Mandie Geller

Puesto now offers a completely additive-free tequila cocktail menu. Bar and spirits creative director Beau du Bois has created the Carajillo with Licor 43, Oaxacan coffee, Mr. Black cold brew coffee liqueur and reposado tequila, and their Frozen Puesto Perfect with fresh squeezed lime, agave, and an optional Grand Marnier float.

1026 Wall St
La Jolla, CA 92037

11. Realm Of The 52 Remedies

4805 Convoy St, San Diego, CA 92111

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 theamed spring/summer menu with odes to films like 13 Assassins with 10yr single malt Scotch whisky and blood orange under delicate baby breath flowers.

4805 Convoy St
San Diego, CA 92111

12. Convoy Music Bar

4646 Convoy St #112, San Diego, CA 92111
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.

4646 Convoy St #112
San Diego, CA 92111

13. The Luau

7123 El Cajon Blvd, San Diego, CA 92115

San Diego’s newest tiki bar has emerged on the East College/Rolando end of El Cajon Boulevard. Shimmy up to the thatched bar and start the evening with the Luau Shooter made with rum, curaçao, orgeat syrup, pineapple, lime, and a splash of soda or grab a seat on the patio and share a bowl of Pele’s Poison Punch with light and dark rum, bourbon, fruit juice, and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

7123 El Cajon Blvd
San Diego, CA 92115

14. Madison

4622 Park Blvd, San Diego, CA 92116
Coffee cocktail with dried orange and striped shoes.
Carajillo at Madison
Playbook Digital

Grab a seat on Madison on Park’s patio star or end your day with their Carajillo made with Licor 43, espresso and orange peel. Lead bartender Danny Kuehner  designs new classics like Heavy Metal Drummer which combines Laird’s Bonded apple brandy, St. George spiced pear brandy, lemon, and Angostura with a splash of port.

4622 Park Blvd
San Diego, CA 92116

15. Red Fox Room and Steakhouse

2200 El Cajon Blvd, San Diego, CA 92104
Stained Glass of a Red Fox.
Stained Glass
Red Fox Room

Light once again streams through the Red Fox’s stained glass and falls into the iconic red booths filled with folks enjoying cocktails and live piano entertainment. Throwback cocktail classics include Tokyo Tea, a melon-flavored Long Island Iced Tea, and the French Martini with Grey Goose, Chambord and pineapple juice.

2200 El Cajon Blvd
San Diego, CA 92104

Related Maps

16. Verbena Kitchen

3043 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92104
Outdoor cocktails with twist.
Verbena Kitchen
Kelly Bone

Verbena Kitchen’s cocktail menu conveys the same level of detail as their food. General manager Dallas Juanes brings his expertise to drinks like Summer is Coming, a tropical treat built with barrel aged tequila, serrano agave, caramelized pineapple, lime, and strawberry accented with chili bitters.

3043 University Ave
San Diego, CA 92104

17. Tribute Pizza

3077 N Park Wy, San Diego, CA 92104
Clear cocktail with long lemon peel.
Toki Chino at Tribute Pizza
Kelly Bone

Renowned for their food, North Park’s Tribute Pizza has an equally stellar cocktails program. From the simplicity of the Toki Chino, Japanese whisky with sparkling water, to The Drunk Monkey with house infused banana rum, walnut bitters, and macadamia orgeat.

3077 N Park Wy
San Diego, CA 92104

18. KINDRED

1503 30th St, San Diego, CA 92102
Watermelon cocktail on marble table.
Floating Temple
Arlene Ibarra

Kindred’s spring menu welcomes refreshing cocktails like the Floating Temple with Blanco tequila and Americano Bianco Apéritif with a triangle of watermelon with lime, chamoy, smoked salt, and firewater bitters.

1503 30th St
San Diego, CA 92102

19. Kingfisher

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

This recently-opened 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. Lola 55 Tacos & Cocktails

1290 F St, San Diego, CA 92101
Bloody Maria
Lola 55 / Facebook

Lola 55 recently launching brunch complete with new brunch cocktails like the Vegan Bloody Maria with reposado tequila, ancho reyes, house bloody maria mix, and lemon.

1290 F St
San Diego, CA 92101

21. You & Yours Distilling Co.

1495 G St, San Diego, CA 92101