Undercover Imbibing: San Diego’s Secret Bars
Although San Diego is well-known for our world-famous attractions, nightlife and scenery, there’s also a secret side to the city that only locals are privy to: secret bars. The concept of the speakeasy enjoyed its most widespread expression during the Prohibition era. And even though the necessity for covert cocktails may have passed when the 21st Amendment did, the classic cool of these hush-hush holes-in-the-wall has never gone out of style. Feel like undertaking a little clandestine cloak-and-dagger carousing? Here’s where to find San Diego’s secret speakeasies.
The Grass Skirt (0.6 miles from the hotel)
The Grass Skirt — one of the more popular spots within the city’s Polynesian bar scene — is festively festooned with torches, tiki art and other island-inspired décor. The drinks menu is loaded with potent punches and potions, all guaranteed to lull you into breezy bliss. The Grass Skirt also has an excellent food menu full of tasty tropical eats you’ll love. Even better, it’s within walking distance of our front door. Insider Info: Check out the freezer at the adjacent poké bar to find your way inside.
910 Grand Ave, San Diego, CA 92109
Oculto 477 (7.4 miles away)
This tucked-away tavern echoes the vibe of the Prohibition-era taverns of the past, as well as incorporating a spooky air borrowed from an adjacent cemetery. A dress code is politely enforced, so dress sharp when you plan your visit. The menu is arranged according to cocktail style, and there’s also an impressive mezcal tasting selection. Insider Info: The entrance is hidden in Tahona, but we can’t tell you exactly where.
2414 San Diego Ave, San Diego, CA 92110
Vin de Syrah (10.3 miles away)
Venture down the rabbit hole in this “Alice in Wonderland” themed secret establishment. Nestled in the Gaslamp Quarter, the softly lit drinking den at Vin de Syrah shows off grass-colored carpeting, exposed brick walls, chandeliers, and Victorian armchairs that feel just a bit too big. Speaking of drinks, this lounge’s wine and cocktail menus are among the best in San Diego, featuring exotic European reds and whites and whimsical craft cocktails. Insider Info: The entrance may be a bit…camouflaged. Happy hunting!
901 5th Avenue, San Diego, CA 92101
Noble Experiment (10.6 miles away)
Noble Experiment is one of the city’s longest-running covert cocktail clubs. This exclusive bar serves lively libations in a truly unique environment you’ll have to experience to truly understand. When planning your trip, you’ll want to make a reservation well in advance of your visit — it’s the only way to get a seat inside this enigmatic establishment. Simply showing up won’t get you inside. And if you’re REALLY feeling adventurous, rumor has it that there’s even a second, even more exclusive speakeasy located inside Noble Experiment. But we’re not telling. Insider Info: The entrance of the speakeasy is through a wall of empty kegs near the restrooms.
777 G St, San Diego, CA 92101
Realm Of the 52 Remedies (10.7 miles away)
Infused with the mystical air of a traditional Eastern-medicine apothecary, 52 Remedies never disappoints on atmosphere. Guests brave enough to venture past the vestibule discover a bar brimming with opulent seating, dramatic decorations, and overhead sculptures, all of which further enhance the spectacle created within. Insider Info: The four-seat “Emperor’s Bar” offers exclusive access to a collection of premium spirits.
4805 Convoy Street, San Diego, CA 92111
Room 56 (10.8 miles away)
The entrance to the top-secret tavern at Room 56 hides behind a bookcase, which you can access only after conferring with the resident “librarian” and receiving the closely guarded password. Once inside, don’t pass up the Martha Mary Mercy sour, with St. George all-purpose vodka, vanilla orgeat, blackberry, and lemon. Insider Info: Rumor has it that the password may be accessible on the bar’s mysteriously designed webpage.
831 Sixth Ave, San Diego, CA 92101
Prohibition Lounge (11.2 miles away)
No rundown of the city’s slickest speakeasies would be complete without a mention of the aptly-named Prohibition Lounge. Located in the heart of the Gaslamp Quarter, the bar hides behind the façade of the law offices of Eddie O’Hare. There’s a distinctly film noir feel about the joint, so fans of Dashiell Hammett and Humphrey Bogart will feel right at home. Insider Info: Eddie O’Hare’s office has a secret entrance on Fifth Avenue.
548 Fifth Avenue San Diego, CA 92101
Make Your Way to San Diego’s Speakeasies
Once you’ve decided which of these wonderfully weird watering holes you’d like to experience for yourself, take a look at Pacific Terrace’s Special Offers page to ensure that you get the best rates on your stay.