Cocktail at a San Diego Bar

San Diego Things to Do: Top Bars in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter

The nightlife in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter is an amazing thing to experience. Our latest San Diego Travel Blog article, ‘San Diego Things to Do: Top Bars in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter’ showcases some of the top choices bars in downtown San Diego.

Written by
Karen Fields

If you’re not a fan of mega nightclubs and internationally acclaimed DJ’s but you do like mixing with the beautiful people, enjoying hand crafted cocktails, fantastic music then you will no doubt be a fan of some of the best Bars in the Gaslamp Quarter. 

San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter is home to many great restaurants, night clubs and bars. Our latest San Diego Travel Blog article – ‘San Diego Things to Do: Top Bars in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter’ is a guide for some of the best Bars we recommend that you plan to explore during your next visit to San Diego. 

This list of ‘top picks’ includes a variety of Bars, Breweries, Hookah Bars, Piano Bars and even a couple of Speakeasy’s for you to choose from to spend some time enjoying a cocktail, or two, some great music, people watch and some tasty food.

About the Gaslamp Quarter: This 16 square-block area of downtown San Diego is home to a variety of great restaurants, coffee shops, nightclubs, retail stores, comedy clubs, theaters and more. The San Diego Convention Center, Seaport Village, San Diego Bay and Petco Park are also located just blocks from the Gaslamp Quarter. The historical architecture of the buildings in this vibrant neighborhood add to its undeniable charm. 

Now, on to the list of ‘Top Bars in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter!’

Location: 600 5th Avenue (between G St & Market St), San Diego, CA 92101
Telephone: 619-255-7373
Distance from The Keating Hotel: 2 Blocks

Barleymash is a true American Sports Bar, celebrating the richness of Southern California culture with a progressive attitude. San Diego visitors and locals come to Barleymash to enjoy a warm, modernist setting that offers more than 20 beers on tap from San Diego’s best micro and nano-breweries. This San Diego Bar is stocked with other fine liquors too for distinguished palettes. Garage door-style windows open the interior space to the sunny Gaslamp District outside, and 3 large communal tables foster a sense of gathering, so prepare to meet new friends and neighbors.

Location: 611 5th Avenue (between Market Street and G Street), San Diego, CA 92101
Telephone: 619-233-7327
Distance from Downtown San Diego Hotel: 2 Blocks

Searsucker is one of the top restaurants in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter but it is also home to one of the most popular Bars in Downtown. You won’t find many Bars like Searsucker, which offers an airy design of 7,000 square-feet and beautifully designed Bar is a gathering place for the beautiful people of San Diego. Searsucker is also among the best restaurants in downtown San Diego. Guests can enjoy a fantastic dinner and then move to the spacious Bar area to enjoy local, domestic and import beers, wines and perfectly hand-crafted cocktails.

Shout House
Location: 655 4th Avenue (between G Street and Market Street), San Diego, CA 92101
Telephone: 619-231-6700
Distance from The Keating Hotel: 2 Blocks

Come for a great laugh, a lot of singing and drinks at The Shout House. Shout House features dueling piano players who perform on two face-to-face grand pianos and belt out classic rock ‘n roll, pop songs and top hits from the 1950’s to the present while the crowd is encouraged to sing along. The songs and entertainment at Shout House are audience driven, with the use of multiple teams to make sure that the competitions last all night.  Combine the greatest tunes of all times with over-the-top showmanship, energy, and comedy, and you’ve got a night to remember within blocks of The Keating Hotel. The best nights to enjoy Shout House are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

Noble Experiment
Location: 777 G Street, San Diego, CA 92101
Telephone: 619-888-4713
Distance from The Keating Hotel: 4 Blocks

If you can keep a secret keep reading…if not, please scroll down and ignore this entry on this list of ‘Top Bars in Gaslamp Quarter.’ Noble Experiment is a very popular speakeasy that is hidden behind a false wall of hollow Beer Kegs that opens with an easy push in the right spot. The fake wall opens to a tiny waiting area where you are met by a hostess who will or may not grant you access to the ‘real’ bar that is behind one more door. If you are granted access to the Noble Experiment Bar, you’ll immediately notice the beautifully decorated walls, well stocked bar and the equally beautiful Bartenders who are true expert mixologists. May we suggest that you do not order a specific cocktail but rather tell the Bartender your favorite alcohol or describe a few flavors that you enjoy and let them deliver a specially crafted cocktail you are sure to enjoy and may not ever be able to duplicate at any other bar.

Myst Lounge
Location: 756 Fifth Avenue, San Diego, CA 92101
Telephone: 619-487-9993
Distance from our Downtown San Diego Hotel: 1/2 Block

Do you enjoy a relaxing Hookah, fantastic cocktails and great music? Swing by Myst Lounge for your fix. Myst is an upscale Hookah Lounge, Bar and Restaurant that is styled after some of the best venues in Las Vegas and New York. In addition to great Hookah and music guests can enjoy a tasty selection from Executive Chef, Joey Holtz’s Mediterranean inspired menu. As for the Bar experience, Myst serves a wide variety of hand crafted, signature cocktails and a selection of top local brews.

Whiskey Girl
Location: 702 5th Avenue, San Diego, CA 92101
Telephone: 619-236-1616
Distance from The Keating Hotel: 1 Block

Live Music. Top DJ’s. Great cocktails. That’s about all you need to know about Whiskey Girl – but there is more. As one of the longest running entertainment venues in Gaslamp Quarter, Whiskey Girl remains one of the most popular bars in the Gaslamp Quarter. In addition to a full selection of cocktails, wine and bottle beers and the best of domestic and locally crafted beers. Whiskey Girl also offers a complete menu of classic American lunch and dinner as well as Sunday Brunch.

The Lion’s Share
Location: 629 Kettner Blvd, San Diego, CA 92101
Telephone: 619-564-6924
Distance from The Keating Hotel: 9 Blocks
This is a ‘part bar, part restaurant, all good’ place to spend a few hours at night with a selection of custom, hand crafted cocktails, or an old favorite like a Lemon Drop, Martini or the perfect Margarita. Choose from a great selection of items on the limited food menu of tasty creations, enjoy the classically ‘moody’ (their words not ours, but we agree) atmosphere and thank us later.

Juan Tequila Bar & Restaurant
Location: 535 4th Avenue, San Diego, CA 92101
Telephone: 619-458-9455
Distance from The Keating Hotel: 3 Blocks

This is probably one of the more ‘restaurant bars’ on the list right behind Searsucker, but like we stated in the beginning of our article, this list of selected venues is a mix of unique, eclectic and memorable bars and restaurants. Juan Tequila Bar is a great place to test the skills of the bartenders to create the perfect Margarita, or Mezcal drink. Come with an appetite and enjoy some of the best Tacos, Pork Belly Tacos (yes, you read that correctly), Queso Fundido which is melted Monterrey Cheese Casserole with Mushroom or Chorizo or Chicharrons which is fried Pork Skin with Habanero Dipping Sauce…Yum!

Half Door Brewing
Location: 903 Island Avenue, San Diego, CA 92101
Telephone: 619-232-9845
Distance from The Keating Hotel: 6 Blocks
Great Beer. Great Bar. This true ‘Irish Pub’ establishment is not your fancy, social climber type digs. Offering on-site brewed beers, and a selection of other breweries finest offerings. The food items we tried were as good as the beer they served…favorite items included; Truffle Fries, Sausage Flatbread, Steak & Gorgonzola Flatbread, Bangers & Mash and do not leave without trying the Fish & Chips…and did we mention the Truffle Fries?  

Location: 548 5th Avenue, San Diego, CA 92101
Telephone: 619-501-1919
Distance from The Keating Hotel: 2 Blocks

Yep, we’ll wrap up the list with a secret spot…and by that we mean a ‘real’ secret spot. Prohibition is a Speakeasy, and not just any Speakeasy.  Prohibition is the original Speakeasy in San Diego. Most patrons walk past our doorway several times before realizing that the ‘door’ is the door. Once you have located the door, remember to keep it a secret. Step past the waiting area and into the bar and you will be transported back to the 1920’s when enjoying an adult beverage could get you placed in the pokey – unless you were imbibing in the illegal consumption in a well hidden Speakeasy like Prohibition. Again, we stepped up to the bar without a specific drink in mind but instead told the mixologist, ‘We like Rum, cinnamon, and something sweet.’ After a bit of pouring, cutting of fruit of some kind, a sprinkle of this and that, I was handed a cocktail that goes right on my ‘Top 3’ list of all-time best cocktails I’ve ever had.

This latest San Diego Travel Blog article; 'San Diego Things to Do: Top Bars in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter' highlights just a few of the very best Bar (and sometimes, restaurants) you should check out during your next visit to San Diego. There are many more great Bars to experience who offer live music, great drinks and food in the Gaslamp Quarter – now it is on you to come and discover them for yourself.

Visit our San Diego Visitors Guide for more recommendations for all there is to do, see and experience when visiting San Diego.

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