There’s something to be said about a surf city that has taken the world of beer and spirits by storm. With more than 60 microbreweries and handfuls of crafty cocktail bars making a statement around San Diego, the city is swelling with a vivacious drink scene. Here, we raise our glasses to some of our favorite stops for beer, wine, cocktails and ambiance.
Half tasting room, half shop, Bottlecraft spotlights a hefty list of local brews and offers tasting classes for first-time tasters as well as for craft-brew veterans. This place is perfect for people who want to get a taste of San Diego from one hub and gain a little beer education along the way.
A staple among the San Diego bars, Hamilton’s Tavern is a true testament to the beer scene in San Diego. With a ceiling full of beer taps and a loyal patron whom the tavern is named after, Hamilton’s speaks truth to what has not been lost in the city: A no-BS spot to get a great beer among good company.
Stone Brewing Company
Perhaps the most well-known brewery in San Diego — and one of the largest craft breweries in the country — Stone Brewing Co. stays true to its roots with classic ales, lagers, IPAs and, of course, the seasonal brews. With the newly opened Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens at Liberty Station, patrons can drink craft brews, play bocce ball and enjoy the outdoor cinema.
Like a scene straight out of an old speakeasy, behold the dangerous bar and lounge of Noble Experiment. The walls are adorned with skulls, complementing the white-leather seating and dark-wood bar, and its drinks are classic speakeasy, prohibition concoctions.
Craft and Commerce
Located on the edge of Little Italy and donning gold lights and reclaimed wood interiors, Craft and Commerce blends, shakes and serves eclectic cocktail concoctions. Try its beer cocktail Lay Lady Lay, a floral mixture of raspberry lambic, champagne and ginger served in a wine glass with a raspberry.
Don’t be fooled by the late-nite lounge and bar of Starlite because it’s strictly business when it comes to making a mean cocktail. Be sure to try some of its own takes on classics like Timm’s Cup instead of Pimm’s Cup and Starlite Mule instead of Moscow Mule.
Vin De Syrah
It’s cheeky, classy and borderline seductive. Vin De Syrah appeals to both the occasional wine sipper and aspiring sommeliers with a long list of reds and whites that pair perfectly with the garden-like setting of its lounge. Best part is that the happy hour lasts until 8 p.m. for affordable eats and drinks after work.
Top of the Hyatt
By far the tallest lounge in San Diego, Top of the Hyatt also makes for some pretty fine drinking. Whether you’re a weekend guest or a happy-hour hustler, locals can find themselves peering over their beloved city with a drink in hand every night of the week.
Queenstown Public House
For those who can’t decide on a certain alcohol or who want to venture outside their daily norm within a comfortable environment, the Queenstown Public House covers a wide palette of pours, including different types of local beer, international wines, a variety of sangrias and hand-shaken cocktails. The location and quaint feel makes you feel like you’re right at home.