Best nightclubs in San Diego California
Nightlife in San Diego: Best Bars, Clubs, & More
Though San Diego may be known for its beaches, taco shops, and cotton candy sunsets during the day, after hours, the SoCal beach city turns into a bar-hopping hotspot for tourists and locals alike. It may not have Los Angeles or New York City's status for late-night shenanigans, but its Gaslamp Quarter and beachfront bars offer plenty to keep you occupied until the 2 a.m. closing hour.
From craft cocktails in speakeasies to rooftop views of Petco Park, San Diego can be as laid-back or elegant as you make it. As one of the only cities in America that can offer beach, city, and suburban vibes wrapped into one town, San Diego has nightlife options for the 9 p.m. bedtimes, the 2 a.m. foodies and the sunrise Uber riders—just pick your poison.
It’s no secret that America’s Finest City is great for long days of lounging on the sand and taking in the Pacific coastline, but if you find the sun has not completely drained your energy come nightfall, San Diego’s bar scene is as much of a must-see as its beaches. From rooftops to goldfish races and baseball games to arcade games, the city’s bars highlight some of San Diego’s best views and experiences.
Here are a few of the drinking holes you absolutely must grab a cocktail at while you’re out on the town:
*Altitude Sky Lounge: Located on the top of the Marriott in downtown San Diego, you can take in a Padres game here from 22 stories above Petco Park. This place rocks for bachelor parties and having strippers in San Diego come out would be a great party idea.
*Craft & Commerce: As the name suggests, this specialty bar mixes up some of the best craft cocktails in Little Italy.
*Maverick’s: You can’t do a trip to San Diego without spending at least one night on an outdoor patio in Pacific Beach—this is the spot for that.
*Raised By Wolves: This La Jolla speakeasy has a rotating fireplace. Need we say more?
*Coin-Op: Pour yourself a pint and indulge in some pinball or beer pong at this bar and Gameroom in North Park.
*Pacific Beach Shore Club: This PB beachfront dive hosts goldfish races every Wednesday night.
While San Diego can be a night town, it’s not particularly known for its club scene. There are a few big names—OMNIA, Parq—where you’ll find a rowdier bunch of San Diegans than your typical night owls who just hop from bar to bar in the Gaslamp Quarter. But for the most part, the scene is at the bars, which tend to transition into dance floors as the night progresses.
Some bigtime parties that aren’t necessarily the first on everyone’s radar are the night cruises. Hornblower and Flagship Cruises do an array of booze cruises through the San Diego harbor. You’ll get an Instagram-worthy view of the downtown skyline, an open dance floor and plenty to drink for the cost of your ticket, which will guarantee you a good time. If you’re prone to seasickness though, stick to the clubs shoreside.
Even though the bar scene is most popular, if you’re looking for a guaranteed banger of a night, the club scene is your best bet. Just note, most clubs do charge a cover, so if you want the big dance parties, be prepared to dish out some cash.
Check out some of these popular clubs below:
*OMNIA Nightclub: Probably the most well-known on the club scene in San Diego, this downtown gem’s disco ball display will have you on your feet all night.
*PARQ Nightclub: This Gaslamp hotspot doubles as a farm-to-table restaurant, but come the midnight hour, it’s all about the late-night beats.
*Moonshine Beach: For all the cowboys out there, this PB country music destination will have you grinding your boots all night to the latest country hits.
*Trailer Park After Dark: Though this isn’t your typical “club” per se, it has more of a lounge feel than your average bar—you can rent out a trailer with bottle service inside this unconventional East Village favorite.
Late Night Restaurants
Now here’s something San Diego is great at. The city is located a quick 15 miles from the Mexican border, which makes it a hub for authentic Mexican food. On top of that, the variety of eats in the beachside city is comparable to other foodie destinations like New York City and Chicago.
It’s no shock to anyone that even the worst of food tastes best the closer you get to 3 a.m., but bad food isn’t a concern in San Diego. Wherever you choose to satisfy your late-night cravings, you surely won’t go wrong, but here are a few of the best eateries the city has to offer after a night on the town:
*Mike’s Taco Club: Authentic Mexican food with a hole-in-the-wall vibe just steps from the water in Ocean Beach.
*Brian’s 24: This is your classic 24/7 diner, serving up comfort food to all the night owls in downtown San Diego.
*Werewolf: If you want some classic American bar food in the Gaslamp Quarter, this is a go-to.
*Soda & Swine: With locations in Liberty Station, North Park, and La Jolla, the specialty meatballs here are the tastiest end to a night out.
*La Puerta: Right in the heart of Gaslamp, this Mexican joint is a party in and of itself just for the quality of their California burritos, quesadilla, and overflowing shrimp tacos.