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Orange counter high chairs next to a transparent railing overlooking the San Diego Bay.
Rooftop bar with a view at Garibaldi.
Diana Rose

13 Enticing Rooftops for Eating and Drinking in San Diego

Brunch under the sun or sip under the stars

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Rooftop bar with a view at Garibaldi.
| Diana Rose

The sun is out. You know what to do next, San Diego. Head to your nearest or dearest rooftop and let the summer partying begin.

At these elevated dining rooms and bars, the troubles of the day might feel like miles away. And the hardest question you’ll have to answer is what kind of drink would best match your brunch-with-a-view: mule, mai tai, or margarita? Some places we’ve selected for this map are swanky, some are super casual, and all bring together the best of what San Diego has to offer to its diners: sunshine, insane vistas, and fresh, seasonal dining.

Note: map points are listed north to south.

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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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Set above the Mission Pacific hotel in downtown Oceanside, this chill hotspot is a new hangout for coastal North County. Diners can enjoy Baja-inspired bites, craft cocktails, and bottle service, along with views of the beach and ocean beyond. What goes well with a rooftop cocktail? A rooftop dip. Non-hotel guests can access the pool with a day pass (which can be bought at ResortPass).

Umbrellas, landscaping and lounge seating at Oceanside’s Rooftop Bar.
Rooftop Bar.
Rooftop Bar

2. George's at the Cove

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1250 Prospect St
La Jolla, CA 92037
(858) 454-4244
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Anniversaries, birthdays, engagements. George’s multi-level dining establishment has long been a go-to spot for celebrations. But the upstairs terrace is especially suited for impromptu cocktails with the girls or drinks with the dudes. The best time to visit the Ocean Terrace is, of course, sunset. But every other time is a close second.

A packed rooftop bar at Georges, with people in the foreground and views of the Pacific Ocean and palm trees in the distance.
Ocean Terrace at George’s.
George’s at the Cove

3. Catania

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7863 Girard Avenue #301 F3
La Jolla, CA 92037
(858) 551-5105
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Like so many places in coastal Italy, where beautiful people eating delicious food can spy the sun setting over the sea, Catania excells at merging a pristine rooftop setting with high-caliber dining. Selections from the recently updated seasonal menu: a bright crudo appetizer, with local tuna, kumquat, capers, and a spring onion citrius agromato, and a richer pasta dish: sunchoke agnolotti with roasted mushrooms, shallot sofrito, truffle oil, and pecorino.

A street facing bar of the rooftop terrace at Catania.
Catania’s So Cal views set the scene for its Southern Italy inspired dining.
Diana Rose Photography

4. Cannonball

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3105 Ocean Front Walk
San Diego, CA 92109
(858) 228-9304
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At this rooftop cocktail and sushi bar above the boardwalk, diners can choose from the traditional and the adventurous. There’s sake and creative craft cocktails. Simple nigiri and inventive rolls. Two of their cocktail offerings: the Sunny & 75, with gin, guava, elderflower and sparkling wine, and the sweetly spicy Midway Margarita. Whatever you order, rest assured it comes with an amazing ocean view.

5. Kairoa Brewing Company

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4601 Park Blvd
San Diego, CA 92116
(619) 295-1355
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This peppy, two-story brewery serves housemade beers, wine cocktails, hard seltzers, and mimoas — plus an array of quality small plates, larger shareable dishes and entrees —in the heart of food forward University Heights. The terrace has a few sections (shaded, sunny, fire pits, lounge seating and more), so diners can get whatever kind of experience and vibe they’re craving. (As long as there’s space or one is willing to wait for a table. That wait, by the way, is worth it!)

The top story bar at Kairoa, with the University Heights sign in the background.  The sun is setting and dusk has settled. In the foreground, people drink cocktails.
The top story bar at Kairoa.
Kairoa Brewing Company

6. Starlite

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3175 India St
San Diego, CA 92103
(619) 358-9766
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The rooftop patio and bar at this local gem has been a favorite outdoor dining spot for the entirety of its 15 years. Whether you’re pairing a cocktail with its standout burgers or a seasonal dish, Starlite offers an open-air setting that manages to still feel cozy.

Rooftop patio at Starlite bar. Starlite

7. Mister A's

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2550 Fifth Ave 12th floor
San Diego, CA 92103
(619) 239-1377
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The 12th floor views from this legendary Bankers Hill establishment are Instagram (and postcard) worthy. Recently sold to its longtime operations director, the iconic restaurant may be getting some updates to its design and menu but the skyline views will definitely remain.

8. Pali Wine Co.

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2130 India St
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 569-1300
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This Santa Barbara winery opened its San Diego tasting room a few years ago, and the location, just a few blocks removed from the action-packed center of Little Italy, on a slightly quieter stretch of India Street, is the ideal, peaceful perch for watching planes come in. Dining and drinking options are plentiful, from their Santa Rita and Sonoma sourced wines to brunch fare (including a smoked salmon Bennie bowl and churro French toast with a spiced orange sauce). A second location is in the works for Hillcrest, this time with a broad patio rather than rooftop seating.

9. Kettner Exchange

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2001 Kettner Blvd
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 255-2001
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This show-stopping two-level restaurant continues to be one of Little Italy’s anchor spots, with its vast rooftop dining area and bar proving to be equally popular with the brunching crowd and nightlife seekers.

Rooftop patio at Kettner Exchange. Kettner Exchange

10. Born and Raised

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1909 India St
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 202-4577
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You could say this standard setting steakhouse has two personalities: downstairs, the main dining room is packed with glamour, whle the rooftop terrace is breezy and fun. Both ooze with Art Deco elegance from ceiling to floor.

The rooftop patio at night with columns made to look like trees with twinkling lights and a black and white striped floor. Zack Benson

11. Garibaldi

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901 Bayfront Ct Suite 1
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 436-1081
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This rooftop restaurant serves inventive Italian meals and classic San Diego views. In the works: A Mother’s Day brunch with options including an “Italian Momelet” (omelet with asparagus, cipollini onion, pancetta, spring pea, and mint pesto), a chestnut flour crepe, and bottomless Aperol Spritz and Prosecco. The standard menu has a variety of handmade pastas, local seafood, wild game, and herbs grown in their own sunkissed garden. 

Orange bar chairs on the balcony of Garibaldi overlooking the San Diego Bay. Diana Rose Photo

12. The Nolen

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453 Sixth Ave #7007
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 796-6536
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Some restaurants also have a rooftop component. Not The Nolen. This place is 100 percent rooftop. What you’ll find at this towering 14th floor East Village restaurant and bar: views for miles, and food and cocktails that announce: Summer! Like the Damnit Janet, with vodka and flavors of watermelon, lychee and rose water. Happy hour is Monday to Wednesday from 5 to 7 p.m. and Sunday afternoons.

A rooftop bar at dusk. The Nolen

13. Lumi

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366 Fifth Ave
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 329-5864
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This Gaslamp Quarter perch spans 5,000-square-feet of rooftop revelry, with the colorful outdoor space serving as the setting for a menu from celebrity chef Akira Back comprised of fresh seafood, from sushi to ceviche, prepared with Peruvian and Japanese ingredients and techniques.

1. The Rooftop Bar

201 N Myers St, Oceanside, CA 92054
Umbrellas, landscaping and lounge seating at Oceanside’s Rooftop Bar.
Rooftop Bar.
Rooftop Bar

Set above the Mission Pacific hotel in downtown Oceanside, this chill hotspot is a new hangout for coastal North County. Diners can enjoy Baja-inspired bites, craft cocktails, and bottle service, along with views of the beach and ocean beyond. What goes well with a rooftop cocktail? A rooftop dip. Non-hotel guests can access the pool with a day pass (which can be bought at ResortPass).

201 N Myers St
Oceanside, CA 92054

2. George's at the Cove

1250 Prospect St, La Jolla, CA 92037
A packed rooftop bar at Georges, with people in the foreground and views of the Pacific Ocean and palm trees in the distance.
Ocean Terrace at George’s.
George’s at the Cove

Anniversaries, birthdays, engagements. George’s multi-level dining establishment has long been a go-to spot for celebrations. But the upstairs terrace is especially suited for impromptu cocktails with the girls or drinks with the dudes. The best time to visit the Ocean Terrace is, of course, sunset. But every other time is a close second.

1250 Prospect St
La Jolla, CA 92037

3. Catania

7863 Girard Avenue #301 F3, La Jolla, CA 92037
A street facing bar of the rooftop terrace at Catania.
Catania’s So Cal views set the scene for its Southern Italy inspired dining.
Diana Rose Photography

Like so many places in coastal Italy, where beautiful people eating delicious food can spy the sun setting over the sea, Catania excells at merging a pristine rooftop setting with high-caliber dining. Selections from the recently updated seasonal menu: a bright crudo appetizer, with local tuna, kumquat, capers, and a spring onion citrius agromato, and a richer pasta dish: sunchoke agnolotti with roasted mushrooms, shallot sofrito, truffle oil, and pecorino.

7863 Girard Avenue #301 F3
La Jolla, CA 92037

4. Cannonball

3105 Ocean Front Walk, San Diego, CA 92109

At this rooftop cocktail and sushi bar above the boardwalk, diners can choose from the traditional and the adventurous. There’s sake and creative craft cocktails. Simple nigiri and inventive rolls. Two of their cocktail offerings: the Sunny & 75, with gin, guava, elderflower and sparkling wine, and the sweetly spicy Midway Margarita. Whatever you order, rest assured it comes with an amazing ocean view.

3105 Ocean Front Walk
San Diego, CA 92109

5. Kairoa Brewing Company

4601 Park Blvd, San Diego, CA 92116
The top story bar at Kairoa, with the University Heights sign in the background.  The sun is setting and dusk has settled. In the foreground, people drink cocktails.
The top story bar at Kairoa.
Kairoa Brewing Company

This peppy, two-story brewery serves housemade beers, wine cocktails, hard seltzers, and mimoas — plus an array of quality small plates, larger shareable dishes and entrees —in the heart of food forward University Heights. The terrace has a few sections (shaded, sunny, fire pits, lounge seating and more), so diners can get whatever kind of experience and vibe they’re craving. (As long as there’s space or one is willing to wait for a table. That wait, by the way, is worth it!)

4601 Park Blvd
San Diego, CA 92116

6. Starlite

3175 India St, San Diego, CA 92103
Rooftop patio at Starlite bar. Starlite

The rooftop patio and bar at this local gem has been a favorite outdoor dining spot for the entirety of its 15 years. Whether you’re pairing a cocktail with its standout burgers or a seasonal dish, Starlite offers an open-air setting that manages to still feel cozy.

3175 India St
San Diego, CA 92103

7. Mister A's

2550 Fifth Ave 12th floor, San Diego, CA 92103

The 12th floor views from this legendary Bankers Hill establishment are Instagram (and postcard) worthy. Recently sold to its longtime operations director, the iconic restaurant may be getting some updates to its design and menu but the skyline views will definitely remain.

2550 Fifth Ave 12th floor
San Diego, CA 92103

8. Pali Wine Co.

2130 India St, San Diego, CA 92101

This Santa Barbara winery opened its San Diego tasting room a few years ago, and the location, just a few blocks removed from the action-packed center of Little Italy, on a slightly quieter stretch of India Street, is the ideal, peaceful perch for watching planes come in. Dining and drinking options are plentiful, from their Santa Rita and Sonoma sourced wines to brunch fare (including a smoked salmon Bennie bowl and churro French toast with a spiced orange sauce). A second location is in the works for Hillcrest, this time with a broad patio rather than rooftop seating.

2130 India St
San Diego, CA 92101

9. Kettner Exchange

2001 Kettner Blvd, San Diego, CA 92101
Rooftop patio at Kettner Exchange. Kettner Exchange

This show-stopping two-level restaurant continues to be one of Little Italy’s anchor spots, with its vast rooftop dining area and bar proving to be equally popular with the brunching crowd and nightlife seekers.

2001 Kettner Blvd
San Diego, CA 92101

10. Born and Raised

1909 India St, San Diego, CA 92101
The rooftop patio at night with columns made to look like trees with twinkling lights and a black and white striped floor. Zack Benson

You could say this standard setting steakhouse has two personalities: downstairs, the main dining room is packed with glamour, whle the rooftop terrace is breezy and fun. Both ooze with Art Deco elegance from ceiling to floor.

1909 India St
San Diego, CA 92101

11. Garibaldi

901 Bayfront Ct Suite 1, San Diego, CA 92101
Orange bar chairs on the balcony of Garibaldi overlooking the San Diego Bay. Diana Rose Photo

This rooftop restaurant serves inventive Italian meals and classic San Diego views. In the works: A Mother’s Day brunch with options including an “Italian Momelet” (omelet with asparagus, cipollini onion, pancetta, spring pea, and mint pesto), a chestnut flour crepe, and bottomless Aperol Spritz and Prosecco. The standard menu has a variety of handmade pastas, local seafood, wild game, and herbs grown in their own sunkissed garden. 

901 Bayfront Ct Suite 1
San Diego, CA 92101

12. The Nolen

453 Sixth Ave #7007, San Diego, CA 92101
A rooftop bar at dusk. The Nolen

Some restaurants also have a rooftop component. Not The Nolen. This place is 100 percent rooftop. What you’ll find at this towering 14th floor East Village restaurant and bar: views for miles, and food and cocktails that announce: Summer! Like the Damnit Janet, with vodka and flavors of watermelon, lychee and rose water. Happy hour is Monday to Wednesday from 5 to 7 p.m. and Sunday afternoons.

453 Sixth Ave #7007
San Diego, CA 92101

13. Lumi

366 Fifth Ave, San Diego, CA 92101

This Gaslamp Quarter perch spans 5,000-square-feet of rooftop revelry, with the colorful outdoor space serving as the setting for a menu from celebrity chef Akira Back comprised of fresh seafood, from sushi to ceviche, prepared with Peruvian and Japanese ingredients and techniques.

366 Fifth Ave
San Diego, CA 92101

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