Beer, beer, and more beer. That’s what we’re always hearing about in San Diego, and that’s great… if you love beer. For some of us, there’s a whole lot more to life than good beer. Delicious wine! Right? A good wine is definitely a treat, but what we’re really trying to get at here, is the lesser known world of exquisite San Diego cocktails. Of course, cocktails, as a rule, are not a new concept. Craft cocktails, though, at least in San Diego, are a hot newer trend, and are on the rise. So whether you’re a San Diego local looking for a guide to some of the trendiest cocktail lounges and restaurants, or visiting for vacation or work, we’ve gathered a comprehensive list, in no particular order, of the most unique, interesting, fun, and even secret, craft cocktail spots in the Gaslamp Quarter.
Palace Bar – You can’t go wrong with laid back, yet upscale feel, at this stunning bar featuring over five hundred Scotches and Whiskeys, the largest collection in the Gaslamp. Not only will you have access to a variety of cocktails, there is also live entertainment every Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights from 7-10pm.
El Dorado – Another great spot for great cocktails paired with great entertainment. What makes this bar unique is it’s strength in the classic drinks. With so many cocktail lounges focusing on unique and new cocktails, it’s refreshing to find excellently executed classic drinks here.
Cat Eye Club – ‘60s styled bar featuring mod decor and a dark and intimate setting. You can expect your cocktail to be presented in unique and one-of-a-kind ceramic pieces. They have constant deals on cocktails only to be found on their Facebook page.
Cowboy Star – This bar is an ode to the old and fabulous Wild West films and the starring cowboys. This bar embodies what the movie stars would do, after they were done shooting – find a bar, and order a drink. When you enter, you’ll be faced with a kick of Western grit, which will be emphasized further in your drink.
Noble Experiment – If you’re allowed in, you’ll be presented with a lavish room equipped with a skull-lined wall, crystal chandeliers, and attentive bartenders who will knock your socks off with spectacular cocktails.
Fairweather – This is truly a hidden gem. Best described as a relaxed, resort-like oasis on the roof of a building overlooking Petco Park. Venture here and leave your worries outside the door. Take a seat, and order one of the best Mai Tai’s you’ll ever have. Or simply tell the bartender to do his worst, which will be your best, yet.
Zymology 21 – Most of us hated chemistry in high school, but this chemistry lab is an entirely new, incredible, experience. Regardless of which drink you order, it will be unique. You can expect your drink to be served in a glass tube or beaker. Shrubs, instead of cocktail mixers, are used, along with organic fermented fruits and vegetables.
So as you see, there’s truly something for everyone in the Gaslamp Quarter, when it comes to craft cocktails. No matter your style, there’s a bar with a drink to match. Whether it’s cowboy swag, posh princess, science nerd, or beach bum, this list should hopefully guide you to your cocktail mecca. With excellent weather all year round, there are constantly new bars, cocktail lounges, and restaurants popping up in the Gaslamp, so we’ll keep our eyes, ears, and taste buds on the lookout for the next greatest craft cocktail oasis. If you have any suggestions based on your own findings, please let us know!