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 Farmer & The Seahorse
James Tran

The Hottest Cocktail Bars in San Diego, September 2021

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

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 Farmer & The Seahorse
| James Tran

It’s been a wild ride for San Diego bars. Since the end of California’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy, bars are now open at full capacity but as a bonus, to-go cocktail service will be allowed to continue at least until the end of the year.

As we move towards fall, the weather is still nice enough to keep parklets and patios full of cocktail-seekers. Plus, as people head back to their offices, happy hour has seen a resurgence across the city.

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!

The latest CDC guidance for vaccinated diners during the COVID-19 outbreak is here; dining out still carries risks for unvaccinated diners and workers.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. The Rooftop Bar

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201 N Myers St
Oceanside, CA 92054
(760) 512-3331
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Views and good cocktails reside at the Rooftop Bar at Oceanside’s brand new Mission Pacific Hotel. Chill out with drinks like the La Fortuna with strawberry infused aperol, prosecco, St-Germain, and Martini Fiero or spice it up with Pina Mia with serrano tequila, pineapple infused mezcal, cilantro, lime, and tajin.

2. Pacific Coast Spirits

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404 S Coast Hwy
Oceanside, CA 92054
(760) 453-7150
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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. House favorites include the Skeleton Kru with PCS white rye whiskey, lemon, brown sugar syrup, Giffard Peche, and tiki bitters.

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3. The Plot

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1733 S Coast Hwy
Oceanside, CA 92054
(442) 266-8200
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A gem in Oceanside, 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 Baby Michael with champagne, orgeat, lemon, and bitters.

The Plot
Israel Palacio

4. Campfire

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2725 State St
Carlsbad, CA 92008
(760) 637-5121
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Joining the power line-up at Jeune et Jolie and Campfire in Carlsbad comes sommelier and mezcal expert, Jeremy Simpson. Simpson, formally of LA’s Bar Caló and Bestia, has refreshed the bar program with cocktails like the Clipper Ship with gin, kiwi, dashi, sea lettuce, and lime.

Devin Castaneda

5. Piña

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345 S Coast Hwy 101
Encinitas, CA 92024
(760) 704-8831
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The former Patio restaurant in Encinitas has newly transformed into Piña and is now featuring craft cocktails, margaritas, and lots of open air seating. Drinks include classics like a Paloma with tequila ocho blanco, lime, and grapefruit with a squirt float and the namesake Pina Marg with house infused spicy tequila, cointreau, and lime with a tajin rim.

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6. Understory

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12841 El Camino Real Suite 209-210
San Diego, CA 92130
(858) 925-7022
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Located in the heart of the new Del Mar Highlands’ Sky Deck, Understory Bar, serves a wide range of craft cocktails like the Satanic Nightjar with Ford’s gin, turmeric, lemongrass, and mint. Or try the Potenilla with vodka, ginger beer, and rose water topped with a Le Parfait Paris macaroon.

Understory
Kimberly Motos

7. Farmer & The Seahorse

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10996 Torreyana Rd Ste 240
San Diego, CA 92121
(858) 260-5400
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Enjoy happy hour at the charming and quirky Farmer & The Seahorse. Chris D’ Apice and his bar team are serving up a handful of new libations to carry guests through the long summer. Highlights of the new menu include the easy-drinking Swim Fan with housemade cilantro syrup, tequila, mezcal, lime juice with serrano and a Mai Tai with white rum, pineapple juice, orgeat, orange curacao, lime juice and dark aged spiced rum.

8. Green Acre Campus Pointe

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10300 Campus Point Dr
San Diego, CA 92121
(858) 450-9907
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The large garden grounds of Green Acre Campus Pointe are now open for an all-new Backyard BBQ happy hour series on Thursdays and Fridays. The refreshing menu offers cocktails like the Summer Shandy with Green Acre house blonde ale, organic lemonade and salt and an Aperol Spritz with Aperol, Cava Codorníu, and strawberries.

Green Acre
James Tran

9. Saiko Sake and Sushi Bar

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2884 University Ave
San Diego, CA 92104
(619) 677-3907
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The North Park sushi bar already has a notable sake program and now they’re getting serious about cocktails under bar manager Ben Marquart (Counterpoint) whose menu is stacked with Asian flavors and includes Samurai Sisters made with Roku Gin, fennel and cucumber-infused dry vermouth, sake, mirin, and lemon zest and the Honzo Special with white rum, matcha, ginger, honey, lemon, and egg white.

Cocktails at Saiko Sushi Arlene Ibarra

10. Barrel & Board

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1027 University Ave
San Diego, CA 92103
(619) 902-4646
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An exciting new space in the heart of Hillcrest, Barrel & Board’s cocktail menu pays homage to the power woman of pop. Enjoy a Donna Summer-inspired Last Dance with Ilegal Joven Mezcal, Luxardo maraschino liqueur, Green Chartreuse, fresh lime juice or honor Lizzo with a Bombay Bramble with a gin, muddled blackberries, lemon, and demerara syrup. Their mocktail menu is as equally thoughtful and fun.

11. Common Stock

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3805 Fifth Ave
San Diego, CA 92103
(619) 310-5298
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Common Stock recently introduced a new lineup of summer sips. Their menu of classic cocktails is joined by seasonal choices like The Chai’d Car with chai-infused bourbon, lemon, and smoked vanilla syrup or classics including the Last Word with a gin, lime, maraschino liqueur, and chartreuse cocktail.

12. Trust

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3752 Park Blvd
San Diego, CA 92103
(619) 795-6901
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Trust’s bar manager Jessica Stewart has taken inspiration from the Balboa Park’s signature landmarks while developing the newest cocktail menu. Sip on the Friendship Garden, a savory twist on a whiskey sour that combines bourbon and toasted sesame with strawberries, lemon, and Aperol or relax with a Reflection Pond, featuring Persian cucumber and matcha tea with Japanese vodka.

Trust
Courtesy Photo

13. Civico by The Park

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2550 Fifth Ave UNIT 120
San Diego, CA 92103
(619) 310-5669
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Civico By the Park recently introduced an Aperol Spritz Bar. Explore the range of this bittersweet liqueur from the classic Aperol with prosecco to the earthy Bergamotto with orange bitters and Amaro Montenegro. The drinks are best enjoyed during aperitivo “hour” (4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.) along with a special antipasti menu.

Civico
James Tran

14. Wolfie's Carousel Bar

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2401 Kettner Blvd
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 255-7533
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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 signature cocktails like the The Lumiere with gin, elderflower, and chartreuse or the namesake Wolfie’s Connection with cognac, amaretto, and raspberry.

Wolfie’s Carousel Bar 
James Tran

15. KINDRED

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1503 30th St
San Diego, CA 92102
(619) 546-9653
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Traveling to the Bahamas is still only a dream from some, but South Park’s Kindred has joined forces with Nassau’s craft cocktail bar Bon Vivants. Every Thursday Bon Vivants will take over Kindred’s PERMANENT VACATION menu.  Classics like the Spinal Tap, a pretty pink blend of gin, strawberry liquor, rhubarb, pear, key lime, and tiki bitters will be available as well. Later this year Kindred will also be opening a second location, Mothership, also in South Park.

Kindred

16. Star Bar

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423 E St
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 234-5575

While it still carries the hallmarks of a classic dive, its new ownership is also ushering in a fresh chapter for the downtown bar. General Manager Christian Johnson has revamped the cocktail menu with classics like Ranch Water, a chilled bottle of Topo Chico spiked with vodka, gin, or tequila, and the Tokyo Highball with Suntory Whiskey, ginger beer and orange. They also offer cereal milk cocktails topped with Coco Puffs or Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

Star Bar
Kelly Bone

17. Lola 55

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1290 F St
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 542-9155
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For three years Lola 55 has been serving some of the best tacos in San Diego, but their cocktail menu should not be overlooked. Save space on your patio table for a Palomita Picosita with three pepper infused tequila, grapefruit chamomile, lime juice, and chamomile salt or the Coco Verdita with spiked fresh coconut and mint.

Lola 55
Kelly Bone

18. Métl Bar & Restaurant

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748 Fifth Ave
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 546-6424
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Still young when COVID-19 hit, Métl Bar & Restaurant was determined to stay open. After shifting to takeout, a chance incident turned their hobby into a major part of their menu: Boozy Ice Cream. Available on their patio or packed in pints to-go, the egg custard or homemade cashew milk-based ice creams come in flavors such as Coffee Horchata with mezcal, coffee liqueur, cinnamon rice milk, and chocolate chips. Cocktails, like the Neon Knights with Ilegal Joven Mezcal, hibiscus, pineapple and lime are available on site or to-go as well. The team recently opened a second North Park location, Metl Bar Creamery & Cafe, with a focus on brunch and a boozy ice cream bar.

19. You & Yours Distilling Co.

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1495 G St
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 955-8755
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Celebrating its fourth anniversary this year, the East Village’s You & Yours continues to impress with their vodka and gins. Enjoy the house spirits in cocktails like Rhubarbie’s Dream House with Sunday gin, rhubarb, raspberry, butters, and pink peppercorn served on their patio or order spirits and cocktails (batched or canned) ahead for pick-up.

20. Young Blood

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777 G St
San Diego, CA 92101

Waiting beyond the recently revamped Neighborhood and Noble Experiment is the latest CH Projects offering, a plush and intimate hideaway where guests with reservations can embark on a customized, multi-course cocktail experience.

Inside Young Blood cocktail bar Arlene Ibarra

21. J & Tony’s Discount Cured Meats And Negroni Warehouse

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631 Ninth Ave
San Diego, CA 92101
(855) 634-7664
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Just named as one of Esquire Best Bars in America for 2021, this East Village cocktail house from CH Projects is one of the group’s most low-key spots. Though the drinks are serious, the atmosphere is welcoming and relaxed.

The bar at J & Tony’s Lucianna McIntosh

22. ReBru Spirits / Kove

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1735 National Ave
San Diego, CA 92113

Flanking the Barrio Logan Thorn Brewery, Sideyard and the new Kove tasting garden offer different experiences. In Sideyard you’ll find a line up of cocktails utilizing ReBru—a onsite distillery rescuing about-to-expire beer. Enjoy a JohnDaily with ReBru vodka, lemon and sun tea with a pizza and roasted cauliflower steak. Or head to the otherside of the brewery and settle with in Kove hard Yerba Mate. The naturally caffeinated brews come in a variety of flavors like the minty mojito and the new Sweet Peach Heat.

Kove
Arlene Ibarra

23. Serēa

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1500 Orange Ave
Coronado, CA 92118
(619) 435-6611
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Bask in the Pacific breeze at the Hotel Del and sip on a sunny cocktail from a list that includes beauties like the Lei Low with rum, blood orange Solerno, orgeat, lime juice, and guava foam and the Marine Layer, a layered cocktail with smoky mezcal, creamy coconut, and rosemary skewered blackberries.

Serea Coastal Cuisine

24. Shake & Muddle

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303 H St UNIT 109
Chula Vista, CA 91910
(619) 816-5429
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Tucked into Chula Vista’s historic Third Avenue, Shake & Muddle has launched a new cocktail lineup created by mixologist Jeff Mackay. Summer highlights include Berry the Rabbits, with 400 Rabbits Mezcal, fresh lemon, housemade gomme syrup, pineapple juice and muddled berries. The extensive cocktail menu offers an array of signature shots, tropical concoctions, and five different styles of Old Fashioneds.

Shake & Muddle
Courtesy Photo

1. The Rooftop Bar

201 N Myers St, Oceanside, CA 92054

Views and good cocktails reside at the Rooftop Bar at Oceanside’s brand new Mission Pacific Hotel. Chill out with drinks like the La Fortuna with strawberry infused aperol, prosecco, St-Germain, and Martini Fiero or spice it up with Pina Mia with serrano tequila, pineapple infused mezcal, cilantro, lime, and tajin.

201 N Myers St
Oceanside, CA 92054

2. Pacific Coast Spirits

404 S Coast Hwy, Oceanside, CA 92054
Facebook

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. House favorites include the Skeleton Kru with PCS white rye whiskey, lemon, brown sugar syrup, Giffard Peche, and tiki bitters.

404 S Coast Hwy
Oceanside, CA 92054

3. The Plot

1733 S Coast Hwy, Oceanside, CA 92054
The Plot
Israel Palacio

A gem in Oceanside, 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 Baby Michael with champagne, orgeat, lemon, and bitters.

1733 S Coast Hwy
Oceanside, CA 92054

4. Campfire

2725 State St, Carlsbad, CA 92008
Devin Castaneda

Joining the power line-up at Jeune et Jolie and Campfire in Carlsbad comes sommelier and mezcal expert, Jeremy Simpson. Simpson, formally of LA’s Bar Caló and Bestia, has refreshed the bar program with cocktails like the Clipper Ship with gin, kiwi, dashi, sea lettuce, and lime.

2725 State St
Carlsbad, CA 92008

5. Piña

345 S Coast Hwy 101, Encinitas, CA 92024
Facebook

The former Patio restaurant in Encinitas has newly transformed into Piña and is now featuring craft cocktails, margaritas, and lots of open air seating. Drinks include classics like a Paloma with tequila ocho blanco, lime, and grapefruit with a squirt float and the namesake Pina Marg with house infused spicy tequila, cointreau, and lime with a tajin rim.

345 S Coast Hwy 101
Encinitas, CA 92024

6. Understory

12841 El Camino Real Suite 209-210, San Diego, CA 92130
Understory
Kimberly Motos

Located in the heart of the new Del Mar Highlands’ Sky Deck, Understory Bar, serves a wide range of craft cocktails like the Satanic Nightjar with Ford’s gin, turmeric, lemongrass, and mint. Or try the Potenilla with vodka, ginger beer, and rose water topped with a Le Parfait Paris macaroon.

12841 El Camino Real Suite 209-210
San Diego, CA 92130

7. Farmer & The Seahorse

10996 Torreyana Rd Ste 240, San Diego, CA 92121

Enjoy happy hour at the charming and quirky Farmer & The Seahorse. Chris D’ Apice and his bar team are serving up a handful of new libations to carry guests through the long summer. Highlights of the new menu include the easy-drinking Swim Fan with housemade cilantro syrup, tequila, mezcal, lime juice with serrano and a Mai Tai with white rum, pineapple juice, orgeat, orange curacao, lime juice and dark aged spiced rum.

10996 Torreyana Rd Ste 240
San Diego, CA 92121

8. Green Acre Campus Pointe

10300 Campus Point Dr, San Diego, CA 92121
Green Acre
James Tran

The large garden grounds of Green Acre Campus Pointe are now open for an all-new Backyard BBQ happy hour series on Thursdays and Fridays. The refreshing menu offers cocktails like the Summer Shandy with Green Acre house blonde ale, organic lemonade and salt and an Aperol Spritz with Aperol, Cava Codorníu, and strawberries.

10300 Campus Point Dr
San Diego, CA 92121

9. Saiko Sake and Sushi Bar

2884 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92104
Cocktails at Saiko Sushi Arlene Ibarra

The North Park sushi bar already has a notable sake program and now they’re getting serious about cocktails under bar manager Ben Marquart (Counterpoint) whose menu is stacked with Asian flavors and includes Samurai Sisters made with Roku Gin, fennel and cucumber-infused dry vermouth, sake, mirin, and lemon zest and the Honzo Special with white rum, matcha, ginger, honey, lemon, and egg white.

2884 University Ave
San Diego, CA 92104

10. Barrel & Board

1027 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92103

An exciting new space in the heart of Hillcrest, Barrel & Board’s cocktail menu pays homage to the power woman of pop. Enjoy a Donna Summer-inspired Last Dance with Ilegal Joven Mezcal, Luxardo maraschino liqueur, Green Chartreuse, fresh lime juice or honor Lizzo with a Bombay Bramble with a gin, muddled blackberries, lemon, and demerara syrup. Their mocktail menu is as equally thoughtful and fun.

1027 University Ave
San Diego, CA 92103

11. Common Stock

3805 Fifth Ave, San Diego, CA 92103

Common Stock recently introduced a new lineup of summer sips. Their menu of classic cocktails is joined by seasonal choices like The Chai’d Car with chai-infused bourbon, lemon, and smoked vanilla syrup or classics including the Last Word with a gin, lime, maraschino liqueur, and chartreuse cocktail.

3805 Fifth Ave
San Diego, CA 92103

12. Trust

3752 Park Blvd, San Diego, CA 92103
Trust
Courtesy Photo

Trust’s bar manager Jessica Stewart has taken inspiration from the Balboa Park’s signature landmarks while developing the newest cocktail menu. Sip on the Friendship Garden, a savory twist on a whiskey sour that combines bourbon and toasted sesame with strawberries, lemon, and Aperol or relax with a Reflection Pond, featuring Persian cucumber and matcha tea with Japanese vodka.

3752 Park Blvd
San Diego, CA 92103

13. Civico by The Park

2550 Fifth Ave UNIT 120, San Diego, CA 92103
Civico
James Tran

Civico By the Park recently introduced an Aperol Spritz Bar. Explore the range of this bittersweet liqueur from the classic Aperol with prosecco to the earthy Bergamotto with orange bitters and Amaro Montenegro. The drinks are best enjoyed during aperitivo “hour” (4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.) along with a special antipasti menu.

2550 Fifth Ave UNIT 120
San Diego, CA 92103

14. Wolfie's Carousel Bar

2401 Kettner Blvd, San Diego, CA 92101
Wolfie’s Carousel Bar 
James Tran

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 signature cocktails like the The Lumiere with gin, elderflower, and chartreuse or the namesake Wolfie’s Connection with cognac, amaretto, and raspberry.

2401 Kettner Blvd
San Diego, CA 92101

15. KINDRED

1503 30th St, San Diego, CA 92102
Kindred

Traveling to the Bahamas is still only a dream from some, but South Park’s Kindred has joined forces with Nassau’s craft cocktail bar Bon Vivants. Every Thursday Bon Vivants will take over Kindred’s PERMANENT VACATION menu.  Classics like the Spinal Tap, a pretty pink blend of gin, strawberry liquor, rhubarb, pear, key lime, and tiki bitters will be available as well. Later this year Kindred will also be opening a second location, Mothership, also in South Park.

1503 30th St
San Diego, CA 92102

Related Maps

16. Star Bar

423 E St, San Diego, CA 92101
Star Bar
Kelly Bone

While it still carries the hallmarks of a classic dive, its new ownership is also ushering in a fresh chapter for the downtown bar. General Manager Christian Johnson has revamped the cocktail menu with classics like Ranch Water, a chilled bottle of Topo Chico spiked with vodka, gin, or tequila, and the Tokyo Highball with Suntory Whiskey, ginger beer and orange. They also offer cereal milk cocktails topped with Coco Puffs or Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

423 E St
San Diego, CA 92101

17. Lola 55

1290 F St, San Diego, CA 92101
Lola 55
Kelly Bone

For three years Lola 55 has been serving some of the best tacos in San Diego, but their cocktail menu should not be overlooked. Save space on your patio table for a Palomita Picosita with three pepper infused tequila, grapefruit chamomile, lime juice, and chamomile salt or the Coco Verdita with spiked fresh coconut and mint.

1290 F St
San Diego, CA 92101

18. Métl Bar & Restaurant

748 Fifth Ave, San Diego, CA 92101

Still young when COVID-19 hit, Métl Bar & Restaurant was determined to stay open. After shifting to takeout, a chance incident turned their hobby into a major part of their menu: Boozy Ice Cream. Available on their patio or packed in pints to-go, the egg custard or homemade cashew milk-based ice creams come in flavors such as Coffee Horchata with mezcal, coffee liqueur, cinnamon rice milk, and chocolate chips. Cocktails, like the Neon Knights with Ilegal Joven Mezcal, hibiscus, pineapple and lime are available on site or to-go as well. The team recently opened a second North Park location, Metl Bar Creamery & Cafe, with a focus on brunch and a boozy ice cream bar.

748 Fifth Ave
San Diego, CA 92101

19. You & Yours Distilling Co.

1495 G St, San Diego, CA 92101

Celebrating its fourth anniversary this year, the East Village’s You & Yours continues to impress with their vodka and gins. Enjoy the house spirits in cocktails like Rhubarbie’s Dream House with Sunday gin, rhubarb, raspberry, butters, and pink peppercorn served on their patio or order spirits and cocktails (batched or canned) ahead for pick-up.

1495 G St
San Diego, CA 92101

20. Young Blood

777 G St, San Diego, CA 92101
Inside Young Blood cocktail bar Arlene Ibarra

Waiting beyond the recently revamped Neighborhood and Noble Experiment is the latest CH Projects offering, a plush and intimate hideaway where guests with reservations can embark on a customized, multi-course cocktail experience.

777 G St
San Diego, CA 92101

21. J & Tony’s Discount Cured Meats And Negroni Warehouse

631 Ninth Ave, San Diego, CA 92101