Best Cocktail Bars in San Diego, CA [2021]


Best Cocktail Bars in San Diego

San Diego is one of the finest places on the West Coast (and maybe the world) to enjoy a cocktail in a hip new bar. The Gaslamp Quarter offers an incredible selection of bars and watering holes with expert mixologists. If you’re looking for a speakeasy old-fashioned or a new modern concoction, San Diego will always deliver.

As the city reopens fully and regulars and visitors head out for evening libations, there are several places you should investigate for the most spectacular new cocktails. This guide will show you the places to head for the ultimate night out, whether it’s a night with friends or a hot first date.

Related: Gaslamp Quarter San Diego Events Calendar [2021]

Fifth and Rose at The Pendry

Fifth & Rose at the Pendry Hotel

The Fifth and Rose is a classic cocktail bar located in the elegant Pendry Hotel. This bar is the perfect choice for a date with candlelit fare and fresh roses adorning each table. The bartenders are known for creating exquisite and unique cocktails, including their Northern Lights, Winter in Singapore, and Moulin Rose. The Fifth and Rose will offer a sophisticated night out for any occasion. The Fifth and Rose location on J Street in the Gaslamp Quarter makes it perfect for exploring the other offerings on our list as well. 

Looking to impress your date in the Gaslamp Quarter? Stop by Sparks Gallery to view our art exhibitions or rent our venue for a private party or event

Altitude Sky Lounge

Altitude Sky Lounge

The Altitude Sky Lounge is an incredibly fun bar with rooftop views of the San Diego skyline. The bar is on the roof of the Gaslamp Marriott Hotel, 22 stories above the beautiful city. The bar itself is expansive, with lounge couches, firepits, and nooks for intimate conversation. The panoramic views in the LGBTQ-friendly bar are matched only by the novel cocktail menu that will impress even the most discerning patrons. Their cocktails include the Solartini, Millionaire Mojito, and Electric Screwdriver.

The Noble Experiment Speakeasy

Noble Experiment

The Noble Experiment is a hidden speakeasy on the eastern edge of the Gaslamp Quarter. Those that can find their way in the secret door on G Street will be rewarded with an amazing time in an eclectically decorated cocktail bar. Although the bar is a little more hush-hush than others, patrons can still reserve a spot on a busy night for Noble Experiment and should be able to find it easily with a little detective work.  

Shout House Piano Bar

The Shout House

The Shout House piano bar is as fun as the name suggests. Shout House offers patrons much more than cocktails. They have a full menu of burgers, pizza, and appetizers as well. It’s perfect for a fun dinner on the town for those with an appetite. Their bar wizards can whip up their flagship cocktails like Blue Suede Shoes, Californication, and Raspberry Beret. This is perfect for not-so-quiet nights out and catching shows like dueling pianos, rock and roll singalongs, and more. 

Dobson’s Bar & Restaurant

Dobson’s Bar & Restaurant

Dobson’s Bar and Restaurant is located in Spreckels Theater in the Gaslamp Quarter. For 36 years, the establishment has been known for its fine dining and cocktails to die for. Perfect for a fancy night on the town, customers can expect Dobson’s to deliver on delectable cocktails, entrees, and apps like Linguini au Crevettes and Shrimp & Mushroom Ajillo. The cocktail menu includes drinks like their utterly classy Showtime and Intermission. Dobson’s is the perfect place to head before or after catching a show at the theater.

The Nolen Rooftop Bar

The Nolen

The Nolen is an incredibly beautiful establishment featuring a rooftop bar atop the Courtyard Marriott. The panoramic views span from Petco Park to Coronado bridge, making it an airy and exciting place to imbibe. The Nolen is an excellent place to grab a bite and a drink before heading further into the Gaslamp. Their modern cocktail selection includes unique drinks like Smoke and a Smile, Storyville, and You Had Me at Aloe. This bar is located across from the Pendry Hotel and Fifth and Rose, so you can check out both menus before choosing your favorite. 

Related: The 10 Best Corporate Event Spaces In San Diego

The Smoking Gun SD

The Smoking Gun San Diego
The Smoking Gun SD

This restaurant and cocktail bar combo provides some of the best eats and drinks in the Gaslamp. Known for traditional American fare like burgers, wings, and cheesesteaks, The Smoking Gun is the perfect stop after a Padres game. Located in the heart of the Gaslamp, the bar is also an amazing stop on a night out for lovingly made cocktails like their Revolver, One in a Melon, and A Salt With a Deadly Weapon. The restaurant is becoming a San Diego classic and provides great hospitality. 

Juan Tequila Bar & Restaurant

Juan Tequila Bar & Restaurant

The Juan Tequila Restaurant and Bar is perfect for those who love tequila and mezcal cocktails. The highly reviewed bar provides an elegant ambiance and even better drinks for patrons. They have a full list of tiki drinks and Mexican-inspired cocktails. Their classic Juan Solo marg will pair perfectly with their authentic tacos. This bar will be one of your new go-tos if you love quality Mexican food and drinks.

Rustic Root Restaurant & Rooftop Bar

Rustic Root SD

Last but certainly not least, Rustic Root provides comfort food and cocktails with a unique California twist. They offer a full dinner menu with seafood entrees, salads, and vegetarian pasta. Enjoy comfort food like southern corn fritters and fried chicken with one of their signature cocktails: The Matriarch, A Lover’s Flannel, or The Bold and Beautiful.

Need the perfect venue rental in the Gaslamp Quater for your event? Sparks Gallery’s urban location is in the center of downtown, among many lovely cocktail bars and restaurants.

Downtown San Diego offers cocktail lovers some of the best options around. The Gaslamp Quarter is a famous location for hosting parties from around the world as well. We are pleased to welcome you to our neighborhood on your next outing. 

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