Best Bars in the Gaslamp
On weekends, the Gaslamp District becomes San Diego’s nightlife epicenter. Here are a few of downtown’s most interesting watering holes.
Altitude Sky Lounge (660 K St. at 7th). Bars on hotel rooftops have proliferated since Petco Park opened in 2004. This bar on the Gaslamp Marriott’s roof is one of the city’s hottest. It offers panoramic views, specialty martinis, a bird’s-eye view into the ballpark, plus a fire-pit, live DJ, palm trees, couches, and no cover. Those who dine at Soleil@K or stay at the Gaslamp Marriott can bypass the queue. Very reasonable happy hour Mon.–Fri. 5–7 p.m. and all day Sunday; bar food from Soleil@K.
Two other great rooftop bars with no cover (albeit pricey drinks) are Beach Bar (421 W. B St.) at the W Hotel, with sand floor (flip-flops optional) or LoungeSix atop the Hotel Solamar (616 J St.) for a less noisy experience and no line, around the hotel’s rooftop pool.
Bondi (333 5th Ave. between J and K). Australian bar-restaurant (more celebrated as a bar). Stylish decor, terrific Australian beer and wine selection, often live music.
House of Blues (1055 5th Ave. between Broadway and C). San Diego’s best and most intimate concert venue; free house bands on nights without major concerts booked.
Palace Bar (311 Island Ave. between 3rd and 4th). Not a city hotspot (in fact, you may not even find a server!), but its location in the 19th-century Horton Grand Hotel and its permanent exhibit of turn-of-the-century photos of the Asian Pacific Historic District (San Diego’s Chinatown) are worth a visit. (Please call ahead, 619-544-1886, if you have a group wishing to go and want to ensure it will be open.)
Many Gaslamp restaurants listed in the dining articles also have lively bars. Try Croce’s (live jazz every night), Sevilla (nightclub adjacent to the restaurant, with dancing from salsa to hip hop), the Field Irish Pub, or any of the places listed as having good happy hours (such as Currant, Confidential, Basic Urban Kitchen, and La Puerta). As an alternative to the hotel bars without walking very far, consider also the San Diego Wine and Culinary Center (200 Harbor Dr.) for reasonable flights of local wines with pleasant seating and a light menu.
Alyssa Goldstein SepinwallLast Updated: December 18, 2009 10:20 AM