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Vistal Bar + Restaurant

20 Essential San Diego Happy Hours

Bar bites and drink deals for the discerning diner

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A highlight of the working week for many, happy hour is that oft looked forward to meetup time with friends –– the perfect excuse to loosen the metaphorical tie, undo that top button and kick back with a well-deserved cocktail, or two.

From a stylish taqueria with tequila flights in North County to a beloved neighborhood wine bar in South Park (with a little bit of everything sprinkled in between), here are 20 of San Diego’s most essential Happy Hours.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Casero Taqueria

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2674 Gateway Rd #195
Carlsbad, CA 92009
(760) 405-4195
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Happy hour runs all day Tuesday at Casero in Carlsbad with $1 off all draft beers and starters (try the empanada trio and guacamole), $2 off the signature margarita, select wines and imported beer, including San Miguel.

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2. Home & Away

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485 S Coast Hwy 101
Encinitas, CA 92024
(760) 704-8311
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Stop by Home & Away for happy hour details Monday through Friday and get into $2.50 tacos and $4 grilled cheese, $6 cocktails (Old Fashioned, Margarita, Mojito), $4 beers and $6 wines from 3 to 6 p.m.

3. Alce 101

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243 N Hwy 101 Ste 7
Solana Beach, CA 92075
(858) 704-4465
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Dig into skirt steak fajita sliders and carnitas street tacos ($7 to $9), plus signature margarita the ALCE Moose ($10), Colimita Lager ($5) and select wine ($9) from 4 to 6 p.m. at this hip Solana Beach haunt.

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4. George’s Level2

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1250 Prospect St
La Jolla, CA 92037
(858) 454-4244
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Frame happy with hour some one of the prettiest views in San Diego, Monday through Friday from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m and Level2’s sundowner approved cocktail list - it has everything from an Aperol Spritz and G&T to a Pisco Punch ($9) - plus a plate of chef Trey Foshee’s famous fish tacos, which are just $3 a pop.

Seating overlooking the water Courtesy Photo

5. Catania

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7863 Girard Avenue #301 F3
La Jolla, CA 92037
(858) 551-5105
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With its door/outdoor dining room, outdoor bar and killer views Catania is another great happy hour option in La Jolla. Highlights from the menu (weekdays, 3 to 6 p.m.) range from $9 house cocktails and $7 house wines to a gorgonzola cheese plate ($6) and Wagyu carpaccio ($8).

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6. Common Theory

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4805 Convoy St
San Diego, CA 92111
(858) 384-7974
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Common Theory has not one but two happy hours. The first runs 3 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, with dishes like $12 duck fat fries, $10 crispy chicken wings, plus $5 house wines and a progressive discount off beers running down from $3 to $1. During the late-night (Thursday through Saturday, 10 p.m. to 1 p.m.) versions there’s an $8 burger and $7 Convoy chili on the menu.

Seating at the bar Courtesy Photo

7. The Grass Skirt

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910 Grand Ave
San Diego, CA 92109
(858) 412-5237
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Any time is right for Tiki, especially on Monday when happy hour runs all day here (5 to 6 p.m. the rest of the week) with food and drink deals, including $8 Korean wings, $5 drafts and $10 off punch bowls. There’s always Afternoon Delight on Sundays, too, for $5 bao buns and $8 cocktails from 3 to 5 p.m.

grass skirt bar Jim Sullivan

8. Madison

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4622 Park Blvd
San Diego, CA 92116
(619) 269-6566
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Look forward to $8 cocktails, $7 wines, plus appetizers including Portobella fries ($7), skirt steak with chimichurri ($11), during Madison’s happy hour, which runs Tuesday through Friday from 4 to 6:30 p.m.

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9. Kairoa Brewing Company

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4601 Park Blvd
San Diego, CA 92116
(619) 295-1355
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Get $5 Kairoa pints and $6 wine by the glass during happy hour at this New Zealand-inspired brewpub. Running weekdays from 4 to 6 p.m. additional deals include two tacos for $5, a $4 sausage roll, and $5 shrimp buttie.

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10. Moniker General

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2860 Sims Rd
San Diego, CA 92106
(619) 255-8772
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Moniker Margaritas and Oaxaca Old Fashioneds are both $7, Mexican Beer $5, and chips and salsa $3 during Moniker’s happy hour which runs 3 to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday in Liberty Station.

Interior of Moniker General Courtesy Photo

11. Starlite

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3175 India St
San Diego, CA 92103
(619) 358-9766
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Enjoy a Tim’s Margarita (there’s $2 off all specialty cocktails), select glass of red or white wine ($8) during Starlite’s happy hour, which runs daily until 6 p.m. Bites like the spicy seeded taco “meat” tostadas and chickpea battered greens are just 5.50 each, too.

Starlite Courtesy Photo

12. Il Dandy

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2550 Fifth Ave STE 120
San Diego, CA 92103
(619) 310-5669
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Il Dandy’s swish Aperitivo is still one of the hottest “happy hours” in town. Enjoy a selection of $6 draft beers, $7 wines, and $9 specialty cocktails, plus bites including a yellowtail carpaccio, fried pasta cake, and squid ink and peas arancini, from $6 to $12 in the bar and patio area only from 4 to 5:30 p.m.

Courtesy of Il Dandy

13. The Rose

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2219 30th St
San Diego, CA 92104
(619) 281-0718
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Pick through the brilliant selection of bottles at South Park’s beloved natural wine bar, which runs a weekday happy hour from 4:30 to 6 p.m. when there’s $2 off flatbreads and everything by the glass.

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14. Zinqué [Zin-Kae]

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2101 Kettner Blvd
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 915-6172
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All dishes and drinks ring in under $10 during the daily happy hour at this trendy LA transplant. Bites range from pork belly tacos, flatbreads, and salami toasts to mini quiche bites and fries. Wines by the glass are all $8 except the rosé, which is $9, beers are $5 and aperitifs (Sangria and Spritzes) $8.

15. Vistal Bar + Restaurant

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901 Bayfront Ct Suite 1
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 535-0485
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Cozy up around the fire pit for Vistal’s sunset happy hour (Sunday through Thursday, 4 to 6 p.m.) with an $8 bartenders cocktail of the day or $7 beer or $6 glass of wine, plus plates like steamed black mussels and fries, or the Snake River Wagyu cheeseburger (both $16).

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16. Animae

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969 Pacific Hwy
San Diego, CA 92132
(619) 432-1225
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The ultimate hi-lo dining experience, Animae’s Spirited Away happy hour runs Monday through Friday from 4:30 to 6 p.m. dish specials include spam musubi ($8) and a steelhead trout poke ($11). For cocktails, there’s the Plum Wine Spritz with Cava, and the Thai Tai with milk-washed rum (both $10).

Haley Hill

17. Lola 55

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1290 F St
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 542-9155
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Lola 55’s margaritas are delicious, and their signature Marg is just $4 each ($8 for a double) during happy hour, Sunday through Friday from 2 to 6 p.m. Modelo, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are $4 each then, too.

Burgers and plates at taste and thirst Courtesy Photo

18. Métl Bar & Restaurant

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748 Fifth Ave
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 546-6424
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Happy hour runs daily from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at downtown’s Métl bar with $4 off the local pint of the day, $2 off drafts, $4 well drinks and house wine, plus $3 mimosas. Bites include tacos (fish, carnitas) and sliders for $3.50.

Arlene Ibarra

19. 5th & Sky Rooftop Gardens & Lounge

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701 Fifth Ave
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 814-2225
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Head up to 5th & Sky Rooftop Gardens & Lounge for golden hour weekdays from 4 to 6 p.m. for $7 cocktails, including a Rye Revolver and Rose Sangria, plus elevated bar bites like tostadas ($8) and pork belly and yellow watermelon pops ($12).

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20. ALBACA

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2000 2nd St
Coronado, CA 92118
(619) 522-3150
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ALBACA’s happy hour runs 3 to 5 p.m Sunday through Thursday with $6 draft beers, $10 Baja wines, and $10 cocktails plus bar bites, including duck carnitas fries, and local tuna Alta poke (both $10). There are also mezcal tastings on the outside patio every Tuesday at 7 p.m.

Courtesy Photo

1. Casero Taqueria

2674 Gateway Rd #195, Carlsbad, CA 92009
Facebook

Happy hour runs all day Tuesday at Casero in Carlsbad with $1 off all draft beers and starters (try the empanada trio and guacamole), $2 off the signature margarita, select wines and imported beer, including San Miguel.

2674 Gateway Rd #195
Carlsbad, CA 92009

2. Home & Away

485 S Coast Hwy 101, Encinitas, CA 92024

Stop by Home & Away for happy hour details Monday through Friday and get into $2.50 tacos and $4 grilled cheese, $6 cocktails (Old Fashioned, Margarita, Mojito), $4 beers and $6 wines from 3 to 6 p.m.

485 S Coast Hwy 101
Encinitas, CA 92024

3. Alce 101

243 N Hwy 101 Ste 7, Solana Beach, CA 92075
Yelp

Dig into skirt steak fajita sliders and carnitas street tacos ($7 to $9), plus signature margarita the ALCE Moose ($10), Colimita Lager ($5) and select wine ($9) from 4 to 6 p.m. at this hip Solana Beach haunt.

243 N Hwy 101 Ste 7
Solana Beach, CA 92075

4. George’s Level2

1250 Prospect St, La Jolla, CA 92037
Seating overlooking the water Courtesy Photo

Frame happy with hour some one of the prettiest views in San Diego, Monday through Friday from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m and Level2’s sundowner approved cocktail list - it has everything from an Aperol Spritz and G&T to a Pisco Punch ($9) - plus a plate of chef Trey Foshee’s famous fish tacos, which are just $3 a pop.

1250 Prospect St
La Jolla, CA 92037

5. Catania

7863 Girard Avenue #301 F3, La Jolla, CA 92037
Facebook

With its door/outdoor dining room, outdoor bar and killer views Catania is another great happy hour option in La Jolla. Highlights from the menu (weekdays, 3 to 6 p.m.) range from $9 house cocktails and $7 house wines to a gorgonzola cheese plate ($6) and Wagyu carpaccio ($8).

7863 Girard Avenue #301 F3
La Jolla, CA 92037

6. Common Theory

4805 Convoy St, San Diego, CA 92111
Seating at the bar Courtesy Photo

Common Theory has not one but two happy hours. The first runs 3 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, with dishes like $12 duck fat fries, $10 crispy chicken wings, plus $5 house wines and a progressive discount off beers running down from $3 to $1. During the late-night (Thursday through Saturday, 10 p.m. to 1 p.m.) versions there’s an $8 burger and $7 Convoy chili on the menu.

4805 Convoy St
San Diego, CA 92111

7. The Grass Skirt

910 Grand Ave, San Diego, CA 92109
grass skirt bar Jim Sullivan

Any time is right for Tiki, especially on Monday when happy hour runs all day here (5 to 6 p.m. the rest of the week) with food and drink deals, including $8 Korean wings, $5 drafts and $10 off punch bowls. There’s always Afternoon Delight on Sundays, too, for $5 bao buns and $8 cocktails from 3 to 5 p.m.

910 Grand Ave
San Diego, CA 92109

8. Madison

4622 Park Blvd, San Diego, CA 92116
Courtesy Photo

Look forward to $8 cocktails, $7 wines, plus appetizers including Portobella fries ($7), skirt steak with chimichurri ($11), during Madison’s happy hour, which runs Tuesday through Friday from 4 to 6:30 p.m.

4622 Park Blvd
San Diego, CA 92116

9. Kairoa Brewing Company

4601 Park Blvd, San Diego, CA 92116
Facebook

Get $5 Kairoa pints and $6 wine by the glass during happy hour at this New Zealand-inspired brewpub. Running weekdays from 4 to 6 p.m. additional deals include two tacos for $5, a $4 sausage roll, and $5 shrimp buttie.

4601 Park Blvd
San Diego, CA 92116

10. Moniker General

2860 Sims Rd, San Diego, CA 92106
Interior of Moniker General Courtesy Photo

Moniker Margaritas and Oaxaca Old Fashioneds are both $7, Mexican Beer $5, and chips and salsa $3 during Moniker’s happy hour which runs 3 to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday in Liberty Station.

2860 Sims Rd
San Diego, CA 92106

11. Starlite

3175 India St, San Diego, CA 92103
Starlite Courtesy Photo

Enjoy a Tim’s Margarita (there’s $2 off all specialty cocktails), select glass of red or white wine ($8) during Starlite’s happy hour, which runs daily until 6 p.m. Bites like the spicy seeded taco “meat” tostadas and chickpea battered greens are just 5.50 each, too.

3175 India St
San Diego, CA 92103

12. Il Dandy

2550 Fifth Ave STE 120, San Diego, CA 92103
Courtesy of Il Dandy

Il Dandy’s swish Aperitivo is still one of the hottest “happy hours” in town. Enjoy a selection of $6 draft beers, $7 wines, and $9 specialty cocktails, plus bites including a yellowtail carpaccio, fried pasta cake, and squid ink and peas arancini, from $6 to $12 in the bar and patio area only from 4 to 5:30 p.m.

2550 Fifth Ave STE 120
San Diego, CA 92103

13. The Rose

2219 30th St, San Diego, CA 92104
Facebook

Pick through the brilliant selection of bottles at South Park’s beloved natural wine bar, which runs a weekday happy hour from 4:30 to 6 p.m. when there’s $2 off flatbreads and everything by the glass.

2219 30th St
San Diego, CA 92104

14. Zinqué [Zin-Kae]

2101 Kettner Blvd, San Diego, CA 92101

All dishes and drinks ring in under $10 during the daily happy hour at this trendy LA transplant. Bites range from pork belly tacos, flatbreads, and salami toasts to mini quiche bites and fries. Wines by the glass are all $8 except the rosé, which is $9, beers are $5 and aperitifs (Sangria and Spritzes) $8.

2101 Kettner Blvd
San Diego, CA 92101

15. Vistal Bar + Restaurant

901 Bayfront Ct Suite 1, San Diego, CA 92101
Courtesy Photo

Cozy up around the fire pit for Vistal’s sunset happy hour (Sunday through Thursday, 4 to 6 p.m.) with an $8 bartenders cocktail of the day or $7 beer or $6 glass of wine, plus plates like steamed black mussels and fries, or the Snake River Wagyu cheeseburger (both $16).

901 Bayfront Ct Suite 1
San Diego, CA 92101

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16. Animae

969 Pacific Hwy, San Diego, CA 92132
Haley Hill

The ultimate hi-lo dining experience, Animae’s Spirited Away happy hour runs Monday through Friday from 4:30 to 6 p.m. dish specials include spam musubi ($8) and a steelhead trout poke ($11). For cocktails, there’s the Plum Wine Spritz with Cava, and the Thai Tai with milk-washed rum (both $10).

969 Pacific Hwy
San Diego, CA 92132

17. Lola 55

1290 F St, San Diego, CA 92101
Burgers and plates at taste and thirst Courtesy Photo

Lola 55’s margaritas are delicious, and their signature Marg is just $4 each ($8 for a double) during happy hour, Sunday through Friday from 2 to 6 p.m. Modelo, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are $4 each then, too.

1290 F St
San Diego, CA 92101

18. Métl Bar & Restaurant

748 Fifth Ave, San Diego, CA 92101
Arlene Ibarra

Happy hour runs daily from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at downtown’s Métl bar with $4 off the local pint of the day, $2 off drafts, $4 well drinks and house wine, plus $3 mimosas. Bites include tacos (fish, carnitas) and sliders for $3.50.

748 Fifth Ave
San Diego, CA 92101

19. 5th & Sky Rooftop Gardens & Lounge

701 Fifth Ave, San Diego, CA 92101
Courtesy Photo

Head up to 5th & Sky Rooftop Gardens & Lounge for golden hour weekdays from 4 to 6 p.m. for $7 cocktails, including a Rye Revolver and Rose Sangria, plus elevated bar bites like tostadas ($8) and pork belly and yellow watermelon pops ($12).

701 Fifth Ave
San Diego, CA 92101

20. ALBACA

2000 2nd St, Coronado, CA 92118
Courtesy Photo

ALBACA’s happy hour runs 3 to 5 p.m Sunday through Thursday with $6 draft beers, $10 Baja wines, and $10 cocktails plus bar bites, including duck carnitas fries, and local tuna Alta poke (both $10). There are also mezcal tastings on the outside patio every Tuesday at 7 p.m.

2000 2nd St
Coronado, CA 92118

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