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Looking down on colorful cocktails with dappled light.
The Fishery
Eric Wolfinger

The Hottest Cocktail Bars in San Diego, September 2022

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

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The Fishery
| Eric Wolfinger

Although temperatures are still high, fall has officially arrived and sunset now nips the edge of happy hours. In San Diego, there are many ways to welcome autumn, like tucking into a speakeasy for a classic martini or grabbing a bar stool on the rim of the Pacific and sipping a sparkling spritz.

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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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.

Hamburger Hut

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Along Coast Highway, Hamburger Hut’s new Leucadia location introduces a tiki-inspired cocktail menu. The re-envisioned space, stocked with family-friendly games, offers easy-drinking hurricanes, a negroni slushy, and 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

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

Recently opened along Wall Street, Marisi brings the flavors and sensibilities of the Amalfi coast to La Jolla. VP of bar and spirits Beau du Bois offers a menu of classics cocktails, refined, from a horseshoe-shaped bar where you can sip on a Bellini made with clarified white peach or a gin and tonic enhanced with a splash of white port.

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.

Deep rose colored cocktail with single ice cube and dark purple leaf garnish.
Portable Magic at The Fishery
Eric Wolfinger

Everyday brunch deserves everyday drinks. San Diego’s newest daytime spot offers classic mimosas and a light cocktail menu with drinks like the Motor Bike with fresh watermelon juice, jalisco blanco, amaro and ginger.

Five colorful cocktails on light wood table with green booth behind them.
Madi
Diana Sciacca

Fairplay

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While Fairplay’s menu revolves around beer (and sports) the Fernside team also offers a tight menu of quality cocktails. Cheer your team on while sipping on a spicy pineapple paloma or enjoy a Long Division with smoky mezcal, bitter aperol, and lemon.

Black tile bar with orange bar stools.
Fairplay
Kimberly Motos

Dolly’s at Hoxton Square

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This open-air bar from Matt Bone (Old Man Bar, Reading Club) and Will Pidd (Young Blood, J&Tony’s) atop Hoxton Manor 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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Fall into the refreshing cocktail menu at Kettner Exchange by bar director Claire Sexton. 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

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 during Dark Ages when the soundtrack switches from heavy metal to rock and the bar starts slinging classic cocktail “of recent decades past” like the espresso martini.

Cocktails cheering against pink wallpaper.
Kindred
Arlene Ibarra

Carnitas' Snack Shack - Embarcadero

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Sure your drink will come in a plastic cup, but it will be thoughtful and come with one of the best views in San Diego. Enjoy San Diego Bay-themed cocktails like the Carrier Canon with muddled cucumber and mint spiked with gin, pink with Aperol, and sparkly with a splash of bubbles.

Plastic cup cocktail with ocean view.
Carnitas’ Snack Shack
Kelly Bone

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 Chai Maple Old Fashion made with their whiskey barrel-rested London Gin.

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.

Commodore’s Club at Old Harbor

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With reservations in hand, slip inside the 20-seat speakeasy tucked inside the East Village’s Old Harbor Distilling Company. Cocktails highlight the range of house spirits, like a classic dirty martini made with their Adventure Series Gin to the Pearl Diver with Voyager Cast Rum, lime, orange, gardenia mix, and bitters.

Looking down on cocktails and napkins.
The Commodores Club
Courtesy Photo

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.

Hamburger Hut

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

Along Coast Highway, Hamburger Hut’s new Leucadia location introduces a tiki-inspired cocktail menu. The re-envisioned space, stocked with family-friendly games, offers easy-drinking hurricanes, a negroni slushy, and 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

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

Marisi

Recently opened along Wall Street, Marisi brings the flavors and sensibilities of the Amalfi coast to La Jolla. VP of bar and spirits Beau du Bois offers a menu of classics cocktails, refined, from a horseshoe-shaped bar where you can sip on a Bellini made with clarified white peach or a gin and tonic enhanced with a splash of white port.

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.

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

The Fishery

Deep rose colored cocktail with single ice cube and dark purple leaf garnish.
Portable Magic at The Fishery
Eric Wolfinger

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.

Deep rose colored cocktail with single ice cube and dark purple leaf garnish.
Portable Magic at The Fishery
Eric Wolfinger

Madi

Five colorful cocktails on light wood table with green booth behind them.
Madi
Diana Sciacca

Everyday brunch deserves everyday drinks. San Diego’s newest daytime spot offers classic mimosas and a light cocktail menu with drinks like the Motor Bike with fresh watermelon juice, jalisco blanco, amaro and ginger.

Five colorful cocktails on light wood table with green booth behind them.
Madi
Diana Sciacca

Fairplay

Black tile bar with orange bar stools.
Fairplay
Kimberly Motos

While Fairplay’s menu revolves around beer (and sports) the Fernside team also offers a tight menu of quality cocktails. Cheer your team on while sipping on a spicy pineapple paloma or enjoy a Long Division with smoky mezcal, bitter aperol, and lemon.

Black tile bar with orange bar stools.
Fairplay
Kimberly Motos

Dolly’s at Hoxton Square

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

This open-air bar from Matt Bone (Old Man Bar, Reading Club) and Will Pidd (Young Blood, J&Tony’s) atop Hoxton Manor 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

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

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