clock menu more-arrow no yes
Pacific Standard
Pacific Standard
Audrey Ma

14 New Spots with Great Cocktails in San Diego

So many cocktails, so little time

View as Map
Pacific Standard
| Audrey Ma

From one of the most underrated scenes to one of the countries most thriving, thanks to progressive restaurateurs, hospitality collectives and talented visionaries San Diego’s cocktail culture is booming.

Below, you'll find everything from hot-ticket tiki tipples and beachside libations to sophisticated pre and post-dinner cocktails at some of the city’s newest neighborhood go-to restaurants... not to mention enlightened new beverage programs from some of the San Diego's finest local (and transplanted) barkeeps!

Read More
Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Trust restaurant

Copy Link
3752 Park Blvd
San Diego, CA 92103
(619) 795-6901
Visit Website
Trust mixologist Juan Sanchez’ list of specialty cocktails includes classics like a Wild Turkey Rye Old Fashioned, Whiskey Sour and Tom Collins at this statement restaurant within the Mr. Robinson building. For more modern sips try his numbered Trust Cocktails, which range from the Pisco sour-esque #1 (Beefeater, Aperol, Dolin Blanc, lemon, egg white) to #3 with rum and pineapple.

2. Pacific Standard

Copy Link
2137 Pacific Highway
San Diego, CA 92101
Cocktail pro Dino Balocchi (Chicago's Longman & Eagle, Dirty Laundry in Los Angeles) has built a solid drinks list at Giselle Wellman’s new coastal-inspired eatery. Ranging from pre-dinner aperitifs and brunch sippers to punch bowls, for those seeking tiki there’s a Oaxacan Old Fashioned while the Dock & Tai makes for a fun take on the classic Mai Tai.

3. Miss Bs Coconut Club

Copy Link
3704 Mission Blvd
San Diego, CA 92109
(858) 381-0855
Visit Website
Signature cocktails at this breezy Mission Beach hangout include vodka and pamplemousse draft, Havana Good Time, which comes in a pineapple mug or shareable flamingo-shaped punch bowl. There's also a version of the classic painkiller, a house-bottled and carbonated Cuba Libre, while the Caribe Welcome (a rum and apricot brandy refresher) comes in a whole young coconut.

4. Et Voilà! French Bistro

Copy Link
3015 Adams Ave
San Diego, CA 92116
(619) 209-7759
Visit Website
The cocktail menu at North Park’s romantic new French Bistro runs the gamut from classics (White Negroni, Sazerac, Celery Gimlet and Manhattans) to more dainty fare such as the Venetian Spritzer (Sauvignon Blanc, Aperol, seltzer splash and orange slice) plus the Lunaire with grapefruit, Pavan, rosewater and Champagne. Comprising twelve cocktails in total each one is well priced at $11 a piece.

5. Herb & Wood

Copy Link
2210 Kettner Blvd
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 955-8495
Visit Website
Lead bartender Willem Van Leuven’s sophisticated cocktails come in two categories at this sexy new upscale Little Italy eatery – refreshing and direct. From the aperitif style Gin & Lavender to his Tequila & Grapefruit take on a Paloma,the herb-driven cocktail menu is comprised of twelve reimagined classic tipples with a subtle twist.

6. CUCINA sorella

Copy Link
4055 Adams Ave
San Diego, CA 92116
(619) 281-4014
Visit Website
Sophisticated Italian inspired sippers grace the menu at this newly opened Kensington showcase from Tracy Borkum’s Urban Kitchen Group. From the Benedictine based Monk’s Drink and housemade sangria to the Paloma Siciliana (Fortaleza Tequila, blood orange, soda, lemon, Peychaud Bitters) all pair perfectly with Chef de Cuisine Daniel Wolinsky’s handmade pasta plates.

7. Mess Hall

Copy Link
2820 Historic Decatur Rd
San Diego, CA 92106
(619) 255-8360
Visit Website
There are six cocktails on menu at this buzzy new spot in Liberty Station, from the summer special Market Rosé Cocktail – a delicate blend of rosé, Lillet, lemon juice, grenadine and peach bitters topped with club soda – and a classic Malahat White Rum Daiquiri to the Buffalo Trace Bourbon Kentucky Bee. Each one costs $12 and can be enjoyed in the dining area or outside on the pup-friendly patio.

8. Leña Craft Mexican

Copy Link
909 Prospect St #290
La Jolla, CA 92037
(858) 263-4190
Visit Website
Lena’s "eco-gastronomy" philosophy extends to its 8-strong cocktail list, with ingredients that include organic small-batch vodka, liqueur from the Yucatan and housemade tepache, a fermented beverage made from pineapples. Specialty sippers include Tamarindo Mezcal Sour, the Palomita and Flor de Jamaica with Caprock Gin, Jamaica agua fresca, St. Germaine, mint, strawberry and soda.

9. Madison on Park

Copy Link
4622 PARK BLVD SAN DIEGO, 92116
San Diego, CA
(619) 269-6566
Visit Website
Design-delight Madison serves up a solid cocktail list, including an original take on the classic Vieux Carre made with Rittenhouse Rye Whiskey, Cynar and Ancho Reyes Chili Liquor, plus pre-Prohibition classic Clover Club which comprises Ford's Gin, Martini & Rossi Dry Vermouth and Peychaud's Bitters. Brunch-time tipples include The Running Rabbit (Sherry, Campari, Absinthe, Champagne) and Radler made with Frida Kahlo Blanco Tequila, grapefruit, lime, cilantro and Sculpin IPA.

10. George's Level2

Copy Link
1250 Prospect St
La Jolla, CA 92037
(858) 454-4244
Visit Website
Mixologist Stephen Kurpinsky and beverage director Joshua Kasumovic have turned Level2 into a destination for serious drink devotees with their revived cocktail menu. Compromising craft versions of the classics interspersed with contemporary concoctions, here you can sip on everything from proprietary and true cocktails to punches and sours. Standouts include the Pisco Punch ($13); Last Word ($15) No. 3 London Dry Gin, Luxardo Maraschino liqueur, green chartreuse and Vegetal vodka infusion, the CSA Box ($15) lime, tomato, Worcestershire, Cholula, black pepper and house pickled vegetable.

11. The Nolen

Copy Link
453 6th Ave
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 796-6536
Visit Website
Andrew Larson’s cocktail menu at this stylish rooftop hotel bar comes in three parts: Nolen Originals, Barrel-Aged and Keep It Classic. Larson explored a love of shrubs, tinctures and syrups for his debut 21-strong cocktail menu, highlights of which include the Beauty Mark (gin, Campari, Tawny Port) and Smokey & The Bourbon (bourbon, mezcal, allspice dram, demerara syrup, bitters and smoking gun). While the turquoise hued and rum-based Pacific Wave is finished with pamplemousse, Blue Curaçao and cardamom bitters.

12. BANKERS HILL BAR + Restaurant

Copy Link
2202 4th Ave
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 231-0222
Visit Website
Zack Gray brings a wealth of experience to his roll as new bar manager at this award-winning neighborhood restaurant. Gray’s revamped cocktail list features two gin-forward tipples in s ‘refreshing & shaken’ selection: Bees of Bennett Valley with fennel pollen infused gin and Sloe Ryed with James E. Pepper Rye and Spirit Works Sloe Gin. While for ‘strong & stirred’ concoctions absinthe makes an appearance in Hemingwayish and The Final Countdown.

13. Barbusa

Copy Link
1917 India St
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 238-1917
Visit Website
Bar Managers Max Petrich and Wendy McGlinnen’s Sicilian inspired cocktail menu relies on seasonal and fresh ingredients combined with boutique bitters and Italian-forward liqueurs like grappa and amaro. From Kumquat and Blood Orange Mojitos to riffs on the traditional Aperol Spritz and the Galapagos cocktails, there are the fresh-fruit based libations available in virgin form too.

14. Carnitas' Snack Shack - Embarcadero

Copy Link
1004 N Harbor Dr
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 696-7675
Visit Website
Bar manager Mai Pham's new craft cocktail program at the Embarcadero outpost of Carnitas Snack Shack features a fun mix of originals ($12) and classics ($10), plus brunch sippers (Bloody Mary’s and the like) on weekends. Post up at the 28 seat bar for a spot of bayside day drinking, Eater recommendations include the Brit Beachcomber (gin, Campari, pineapple, Falernum, lime) and Jalisco Maid with Blanco Tequila, cucumber, mint, lime and sea salt.

1. Trust restaurant

3752 Park Blvd, San Diego, CA 92103
Trust mixologist Juan Sanchez’ list of specialty cocktails includes classics like a Wild Turkey Rye Old Fashioned, Whiskey Sour and Tom Collins at this statement restaurant within the Mr. Robinson building. For more modern sips try his numbered Trust Cocktails, which range from the Pisco sour-esque #1 (Beefeater, Aperol, Dolin Blanc, lemon, egg white) to #3 with rum and pineapple.
3752 Park Blvd
San Diego, CA 92103

2. Pacific Standard

2137 Pacific Highway, San Diego, CA 92101
Cocktail pro Dino Balocchi (Chicago's Longman & Eagle, Dirty Laundry in Los Angeles) has built a solid drinks list at Giselle Wellman’s new coastal-inspired eatery. Ranging from pre-dinner aperitifs and brunch sippers to punch bowls, for those seeking tiki there’s a Oaxacan Old Fashioned while the Dock & Tai makes for a fun take on the classic Mai Tai.
2137 Pacific Highway
San Diego, CA 92101

3. Miss Bs Coconut Club

3704 Mission Blvd, San Diego, CA 92109
Signature cocktails at this breezy Mission Beach hangout include vodka and pamplemousse draft, Havana Good Time, which comes in a pineapple mug or shareable flamingo-shaped punch bowl. There's also a version of the classic painkiller, a house-bottled and carbonated Cuba Libre, while the Caribe Welcome (a rum and apricot brandy refresher) comes in a whole young coconut.
3704 Mission Blvd
San Diego, CA 92109

4. Et Voilà! French Bistro

3015 Adams Ave, San Diego, CA 92116
The cocktail menu at North Park’s romantic new French Bistro runs the gamut from classics (White Negroni, Sazerac, Celery Gimlet and Manhattans) to more dainty fare such as the Venetian Spritzer (Sauvignon Blanc, Aperol, seltzer splash and orange slice) plus the Lunaire with grapefruit, Pavan, rosewater and Champagne. Comprising twelve cocktails in total each one is well priced at $11 a piece.
3015 Adams Ave
San Diego, CA 92116

5. Herb & Wood

2210 Kettner Blvd, San Diego, CA 92101
Lead bartender Willem Van Leuven’s sophisticated cocktails come in two categories at this sexy new upscale Little Italy eatery – refreshing and direct. From the aperitif style Gin & Lavender to his Tequila & Grapefruit take on a Paloma,the herb-driven cocktail menu is comprised of twelve reimagined classic tipples with a subtle twist.
2210 Kettner Blvd
San Diego, CA 92101

6. CUCINA sorella

4055 Adams Ave, San Diego, CA 92116
Sophisticated Italian inspired sippers grace the menu at this newly opened Kensington showcase from Tracy Borkum’s Urban Kitchen Group. From the Benedictine based Monk’s Drink and housemade sangria to the Paloma Siciliana (Fortaleza Tequila, blood orange, soda, lemon, Peychaud Bitters) all pair perfectly with Chef de Cuisine Daniel Wolinsky’s handmade pasta plates.
4055 Adams Ave
San Diego, CA 92116

7. Mess Hall

2820 Historic Decatur Rd, San Diego, CA 92106
There are six cocktails on menu at this buzzy new spot in Liberty Station, from the summer special Market Rosé Cocktail – a delicate blend of rosé, Lillet, lemon juice, grenadine and peach bitters topped with club soda – and a classic Malahat White Rum Daiquiri to the Buffalo Trace Bourbon Kentucky Bee. Each one costs $12 and can be enjoyed in the dining area or outside on the pup-friendly patio.
2820 Historic Decatur Rd
San Diego, CA 92106

8. Leña Craft Mexican

909 Prospect St #290, La Jolla, CA 92037
Lena’s "eco-gastronomy" philosophy extends to its 8-strong cocktail list, with ingredients that include organic small-batch vodka, liqueur from the Yucatan and housemade tepache, a fermented beverage made from pineapples. Specialty sippers include Tamarindo Mezcal Sour, the Palomita and Flor de Jamaica with Caprock Gin, Jamaica agua fresca, St. Germaine, mint, strawberry and soda.
909 Prospect St #290
La Jolla, CA 92037

9. Madison on Park

4622 PARK BLVD SAN DIEGO, 92116, San Diego, CA
Design-delight Madison serves up a solid cocktail list, including an original take on the classic Vieux Carre made with Rittenhouse Rye Whiskey, Cynar and Ancho Reyes Chili Liquor, plus pre-Prohibition classic Clover Club which comprises Ford's Gin, Martini & Rossi Dry Vermouth and Peychaud's Bitters. Brunch-time tipples include The Running Rabbit (Sherry, Campari, Absinthe, Champagne) and Radler made with Frida Kahlo Blanco Tequila, grapefruit, lime, cilantro and Sculpin IPA.
4622 PARK BLVD SAN DIEGO, 92116
San Diego, CA

10. George's Level2

1250 Prospect St, La Jolla, CA 92037
Mixologist Stephen Kurpinsky and beverage director Joshua Kasumovic have turned Level2 into a destination for serious drink devotees with their revived cocktail menu. Compromising craft versions of the classics interspersed with contemporary concoctions, here you can sip on everything from proprietary and true cocktails to punches and sours. Standouts include the Pisco Punch ($13); Last Word ($15) No. 3 London Dry Gin, Luxardo Maraschino liqueur, green chartreuse and Vegetal vodka infusion, the CSA Box ($15) lime, tomato, Worcestershire, Cholula, black pepper and house pickled vegetable.
1250 Prospect St
La Jolla, CA 92037

11. The Nolen

453 6th Ave, San Diego, CA 92101
Andrew Larson’s cocktail menu at this stylish rooftop hotel bar comes in three parts: Nolen Originals, Barrel-Aged and Keep It Classic. Larson explored a love of shrubs, tinctures and syrups for his debut 21-strong cocktail menu, highlights of which include the Beauty Mark (gin, Campari, Tawny Port) and Smokey & The Bourbon (bourbon, mezcal, allspice dram, demerara syrup, bitters and smoking gun). While the turquoise hued and rum-based Pacific Wave is finished with pamplemousse, Blue Curaçao and cardamom bitters.
453 6th Ave
San Diego, CA 92101

12. BANKERS HILL BAR + Restaurant

2202 4th Ave, San Diego, CA 92101
Zack Gray brings a wealth of experience to his roll as new bar manager at this award-winning neighborhood restaurant. Gray’s revamped cocktail list features two gin-forward tipples in s ‘refreshing & shaken’ selection: Bees of Bennett Valley with fennel pollen infused gin and Sloe Ryed with James E. Pepper Rye and Spirit Works Sloe Gin. While for ‘strong & stirred’ concoctions absinthe makes an appearance in Hemingwayish and The Final Countdown.
2202 4th Ave
San Diego, CA 92101

13. Barbusa

1917 India St, San Diego, CA 92101
Bar Managers Max Petrich and Wendy McGlinnen’s Sicilian inspired cocktail menu relies on seasonal and fresh ingredients combined with boutique bitters and Italian-forward liqueurs like grappa and amaro. From Kumquat and Blood Orange Mojitos to riffs on the traditional Aperol Spritz and the Galapagos cocktails, there are the fresh-fruit based libations available in virgin form too.
1917 India St
San Diego, CA 92101

14. Carnitas' Snack Shack - Embarcadero

1004 N Harbor Dr, San Diego, CA 92101
Bar manager Mai Pham's new craft cocktail program at the Embarcadero outpost of Carnitas Snack Shack features a fun mix of originals ($12) and classics ($10), plus brunch sippers (Bloody Mary’s and the like) on weekends. Post up at the 28 seat bar for a spot of bayside day drinking, Eater recommendations include the Brit Beachcomber (gin, Campari, pineapple, Falernum, lime) and Jalisco Maid with Blanco Tequila, cucumber, mint, lime and sea salt.
1004 N Harbor Dr
San Diego, CA 92101

Related Maps