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7 Essential San Diego Bars for Every Type of Traveler

San Diego Restaurants + Bars
by Elisabeth Sherman Mar 23, 2023

San Diego might be known for its pristine beaches and ocean views that will take your breath away, but at the end of the day, visitors to this sunny city might want to relax with a cocktail or a whiskey on the rocks. San Diego bars offer vibes for every type for every traveler – and better yet, the city is home to some of the swankiest cocktail bars in the country. Yes, there are low key, relaxed bars for those casual nights out with friends, and there are reservation-only speakeasies that are perfect for date night. Glamorous settings, energetic dance floors – you’ll find one of everything at these San Diego bars. So the next time you’re visiting and want a break from biking, surfing, swimming, or hiking, stop by one of these San Diego bars for a drink and a snack.

False Idol

This tiki bar is actually hidden inside another bar called Craft & Commerce. Enter through a hidden stainless steel door. Guests pass through a walk-in cooler lined with pineapples nd fake shrunken heads, before entering the dimly lit, cozy space of False Idol. One of the most dramatic features of the bar is the rock wall which periodically shoots out flames and the ceiling is covered in glass buoys suspended inside fishing nets. The drinks menu is includes shareable cocktails as well as a few options that the bar calls “exceptionally strong.”

False Idol: 675 W Beech St, San Diego, CA 92101
Price: $$$

Young Blood

The experience at Young Blood is unlike almost any other bar. It offers a pre-fix cocktail menu for $65. The ticker price includes a glass of sparkling wine and three cocktails that the bartenders customize according to guests’ preferences. With its high ceilings and velvet seats, the glamorous decor at Young Blood adds to the experience. There’s no cocktail menu to

Young Blood: 777 G St, San Diego, CA 92101
Price: $$$

The Cordova Bar

Known for its laid back atmosphere, The Cordova Bar hosts a live DJ on the weekends, and a cozy outdoor patio with fireplaces. When guests are sipping the spicy passion fruit daiquiri, they’re cutting it up on the bar’s dance floor.

The Cordova Bar: 1319 Morena Blvd, San Diego, CA 92110
Price: $

Aero Club

There’s nothing fancy about this local bar, but it doesn’t need elaborate decor to attract big crowds. Aero Club features a pool table and pinball machines, what it’s really known for its whiskey selection. The bar offers around 1000 different types of whiskey.

Aero Club: 3365 India St, San Diego, CA 92103
Price: $

Noble Experiment

This secret speakeasy is hidden behind Neighborhood restaurant. The decor is Gothic-inspired. One wall is lined with fake skulls and the chandelier is designed to look like it’s dripping with candle wax. With very few seats in a small, intimate space, sipping a drink at Noble Experiment feels like an exclusive experience – so be sure to make a reservation because the tables book up quickly.

Noble Experiment: 777 G St, San Diego, CA 92101
Price: $$$

The Whiskey House

An impressive selection of 4,000 whiskeys makes this bar stand out. The bar actually holds the Guinness World Record for the most commercially available whiskeys in the world. Sausages are made in-house everyday, and the food menu also includes charcuterie boards and burgers. There are lots of soft, leather couches to lounge in and the walls are lined with glass cases of whiskey bottles.

The Whiskey House: 420 3rd Ave, San Diego, CA 92101
Price: $$

Polite Provisions

Polite Provisions styles itself not just as a bar but as an old-school apothecary or drug store. In fact, the interior resembles an old neighborhood soda fountain. The bar doesn’t just serve cocktails but “local tonics and elixirs.”  The expansive cocktail menu includes options for every taste: Refreshing cocktails, tropical (“island vibes”) cocktails, cocktails that feature champagne, and even slushy cocktails.

Polite Provisions:  4696 30th St, San Diego, CA 92116
Price: $$

Swan Bar

Guests at this low key bar praise the friendly service. There’s an outdoor patio and delicious bar food like burgers and fries. The simple wood interior and minimalist light fixtures compliment the bar’s relaxed atmosphere.

Swan Bar: 933 Adams Ave, San Diego, CA 92116
Price: $

Where to stay in San Diego

airbnbs in san diego - mission bay alternative

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San Diego is the place to visit if you like to explore and go on adventures. Whether you’re spending the day at the beach or going for a hike, there are so many outdoor activities and other fun things to do in San Diego. And don’t forget to check out the city’s incomparable seafood scene at these essential San Diego restaurants. When it comes to where to stay, San Diego Airbnbs offer views of the bay and cozy living spaces filled with lots of natural light. There are also a wide range of luxury hotels in locations for every type of traveler.

Fairmont Grand Del Mar

A garden of tulips outside the front entrance of the Fairmont Grande Del Mar hotel

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Inspired by the resorts of the Mediterranean, this glamorous hotel features amenities that will make guests feel like celebrities: There are four outdoor pools, a golf course, and a tennis court. Room feather down feather pillows, soaking tubs, and plush bathrobes. There are six restaurants on the property, including Mediterranean and Italian restaurants.

Price: From $593 per night

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Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego

a woman walking near the pool and another person in a lounger by the outdoor pool at the Manchester Gran Hyatt in San Diego

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This luxury hotel in downtown San Diego is just ten minutes away from the San Diego International Airport. At the Top of Hyatt Lounge and Bar, enjoy views of San Diego Bay from 40 stories up. All rooms also offer city or bay views. There is an outdoor pool, eight dining options, and a fire pit where guests like to lounge after spending the day at the spa.

Price: From $191 per night

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The Wayfarer San Diego

The outdoor, beach front pool and hot tub at the Wayfarer hotel

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Located just a mile from Mission Bay Park, The Wayfarer hotel is right on the beach and offers clear views of the ocean. In fact, most of the rooms have a private balcony where youc an enjoy the seabreeze. The outdoor pool and hot tub are just steps from the beach, so you can swim at the hotel and then take a dip in the ocean. A great option for families, there are plenty of nearby activities like biking and surfing.

Price: From $255 per night

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