4th & B
345 B St., Downtownwww.4thandb.comLess a bar than a concert venue, 4th & B is a mid-sized hall that bridges the gap between smaller joints like The Casbah and stadiums like Viejas Arena.
1330 G St., East Villagewww.fiftysevendegrees.comA little hard to find—look for the string of white Christmas lights. The name comes from the ideal temperature at which to store wine. The focus is more on the drink than the scene, and the wine list is huge.
660 K St., East Villagewww.altitudeskybar.comIn last year's issue, we described this as the perfect bar from which to throw ice cubes at the Padres. Correction: there's no way you're throwing arm is that good. Instead, you'll hit some poor sap waiting in line for the cheap seats. So, just keep your ice where it belongs—in your drink (the white sangria's nice).
500 Fourth Ave., Downtown619-232-8100www.aubergineon4th.comIt's closed for renovations, and sources tell us the owners of the Crobar chain have bought the property. Expect the cool Bells & Whistles design and gymnasium-style dance floor to be gone once it reopens.
Bare Back Bar & Grill
624 E St., Downtownwww.barebackgrill.comIf Bondi is Downtown's Australian hangout, then the Bare Back is its Kiwi counterpart. And here's a shocker: Burgers in New Zealand? Not all that different from burgers in the U.S.
Basic Urban Kitchen & Bar
410 10th Ave., East Village619-531-8869www.barbasic.comHere it is, the third year we've included Basic in the Bars & Clubs issue and we've never once mentioned that they serve pizza until 2 a.m. Still digging the converted warehouse décor.
919 Fourth Ave., Downtownwww.belosandiego.comThis popular dance club mostly hosts house DJs on the weekends, and it's called Belo because you have to walk down a set of stairs to get there. Get it?
The Bitter End
770 Fifth Ave., Downtownwww.thebitterend.comThe front room is classy and plush, filled with the typical Downtown crowd. However, the back area dirties it up a bit with live rock bands several nights a week.
333 Fifth Ave., Downtownwww.thebondi.comDespite being in the Gaslamp, everything here's pretty authentic, right down to the jarrah-wood tables and the fact that draught beers are served the Australian way: Pony (5-ounce pour), Middy (10-ounce) and Schooner (16-ounce).
555 Fourth Ave., Downtownwww.cafesevilla.com When you're always packed, you don't mess with a good thing, and Sevilla hasn't changed much during the past decade. This tourist trap has great happy-hour prices on Spanish tapas and a delicious white sangria that's like a meal in itself.
416 Third Ave., Downtownwww.candelas-sd.comUpscale Mexican restaurant that has a lounge where DJs spin various house genres Thursdays through Saturdays. Also a small bar up front.
The Cask Room
550 Park Blvd., East Villagewww.caskroom.comWine casks serve as décor at this small wine bar. The Cask must have gotten the memo that every wine bar must serve paninis, as the sandwiches have been added to the menu, which also features an interesting beer selection.
929 Broadway, East Villagewww.myspace.com/cheecheeclubSome dives have personality; others just have cheap drinks. The Chee-Chee is the latter. “Seedy” is the key word here, so don't expect Grey Goose bottle service. However, you won't find a less expensive cocktail anywhere Downtown.
901 Fourth Ave., Downtownwww.confidentialsd.comAs far as clubs go, it's a quaint and lovely designed alternative to the multi-floor mega clubs that fill Downtown. And since it's not technically the hottest spot in town anymore, they've been offering some great deals lately, including extended happy hours on weekdays ('til 8 p.m.) and half-off all drinks on Tuesdays.
Restaurant & Bar369 10th Ave., East Villagewww.thecornersd.comDespite the at-times incongruous music (Journey, anyone?), The Corner is otherwise first-rate, with its elegant-warehouse feel, chill vibe and tasty burgers. And it has dominoes for your bones-throwing pleasure.
Croce's Jazz Bar
802 Fifth Ave., Downtownwww.croces.com The bar named after one of the most underrated folk singers ever attracts a good mix of out-of-towners and local hardcore jazz fans, there for the live music and old-school ambiance.
731 Fifth Ave., Downtownwww.decos.tvEver wonder what Miami would look like if it were plopped down in the Gaslamp? Indoor and outdoor dance floors, yo.
Dick's Last Resort
345 Fourth Ave., Downtownwww.dickslastresort.comIf there's an institution in the Gaslamp Quarter, this chain joint is it. But leave the little black dresses and collared, striped shirts at home—the trademark rude servers won't be impressed.
200 Harbor Drive, Downtownwww.dizzysjazz.comOne of the few places to hear genuine jazz. The address is somewhat misleading; better to think of it as being at the corner of J Street and Second Avenue, in the San Diego Wine and Culinary Center.
Downtown Johnny Brown's
1220 Third Ave., Downtown619-232-8414This spot kind of snuck up on us. Previously the go-to burger joint to celebrate, or commiserate, on election nights (located in the Civic Center Concourse), DJB's is becoming a hangout for craft-brew connoisseurs.
528 F St., Downtownwww.myspace.com/doubledeucesdDD was struggling along in its first year of operation until January, when it installed a permanent mechanical bull. Now it goes off. Country and '80s rock, with DJ dance music on busy weekend nights, and, hey, there's a public stripper pole for those in the mood.
Dussini's Loft Bar
275 Fifth Ave., Downtownwww.dussini.com A mellow yet sophisticated spot—located upstairs from the Old Spaghetti Factory. While the unusual fireplace (10 feet long, 2 feet tall) doesn't hold much appeal in summer, you can cool your heels (er, drink) on the “ice” bar.
East Village Tavern & Bowl
930 Market St., East Villagewww.bowlevt.comThis stylish cross between a sports bar and a bowling alley has TVs on nearly every wall, the food is head and shoulders above the typical pub grub, and if you can get dibs on a lane, throwing a few gutterballs is always a good time.
1030 Broadway, East Village619-237-0550www.eldoradobar.comWikipedia tells us that El Dorado is the legend of a Colombian tribal chief who covered his body in gold dust before diving into at's a place where sauced hipsters covered in sweat dive into the Gaslamp's moistest of dancefloors. While there, give a tip of the hat to Otis, the bar's watchful albino bison.
Elephant & Castle
1355 N. Harbor Drive, Downtownwww.elephantcastle.comThis British Pub-themed restaurant and bar brings in lots of tourist mesmerized by its view of the San Diego Bay.
815 J St., Downtownwww.elvitralrestaurant.comThe patio at this upscale Mexican restaurant borders Petco Park, bringing in a mixed crowd of executive-types, post-game crowds and non-locals with a bar carrying an unbelievable selection of 250 tequilas.
Envy / Eden @ The Ivy Hotel
600 F St., Downtownwww.ivyhotel.comRemember the Ivy Hotel in 2007 B.R. (Before Recession), when there were lines down the block to get into the subterranean Envy or the rooftop, poolside Eden? Nowadays, the ultra-chic Ivy clubs are fine with just, well, chic. They've stepped up service, offer drink specials and are actually letting people who aren't models through the door.
Faces Night Club
835 Fifth Ave., Downtownwww.facessd.comHey, wait a second—how come the DJs can wear hats but the patrons can't?
544 Fifth Ave., Downtownwww.thefield.comHow many places in San Diego can you order a boxty and a Smithwicks and peruse a copy of The Irish Herald? Well, how many?
639 J St., East Villagewww.thefleetwood.comThis under-the-radar spot offers a nice atmosphere to grab a drink and watch a Padres game. The beer selection is lacking, but the specialty cocktails are genuine. And if you're clubbing Downtown, “The Wood” lounge area in the back has the perfect vibe to start out the night.
Fleming's Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar
380 K St., Downtownwww.flemingssteakhouse.comAlthough billed as a wine bar, it's full-service. Roughly 70 percent of the wines are from the West Coast.
FOX Sports Grill
1 Park Blvd., Downtownwww.foxsportsgrill.comAfter a few martinis, it'll be easy to forget you're contributing to Rupert Murdoch's world-domination plans.
330 G St., Downtownwww.fumari.com/fumari-loungeMany hookah bars play exotic music. Not this one. This one's all dance-y-like.
421 Market St., Downtownwww.funkygarcias.comShame on them for perpetuating the lazy-drunken-Mexican stereotype, but at least there are some good drink specials. And we also love this “welcome” blurb on the website: “texto about funkys bla bla bba kasd jkdjka sjd. sdkjdkasdj asdjaksd sadjaksdj asdkjaskdj asdkj sdka skdja skdjkj asdkjaskdj aksjd asjdkjaskld askdj asd kdsjaksdjkasjd askdjaskdjaksjdlsd.” Well said, Funky.
868 Fifth Ave., Downtownwww.gaslamptavern.comThough the beer selection is limited, the tavern is a good place for a beverage at happy hour or late Saturday afternoon, with its open walls behind the bar bringing in a fresh breeze.
Grant Grill Cocktail Lounge @ U.S. Grant Hotel
326 Broadway, Downtownwww.grantgrill.comIf you want to do cocktail hour in style, this is the place to go. The décor reminds us of a fancy bar you'd find in Manhattan in the 1950s—the setting for a J.D. Salinger short story, perhaps? Yeah, the drinks are pricey; just consider it an ambiance surcharge.
823 Fifth Ave., Downtownwww.yourgrape.comSit on the front patio, chomp on a cigar and choose from an almost overwhelming selection of wine flights. Oh, and buy some vino to-go from the new retail-sales list.
Hard Rock Hotel/Float/207
207 Fifth Ave., Downtownwww.hardrockhotelsd.comThe names have changed since we last wrote about the two Hard Rock clubs. But the inside? Not so much. Both Float and 207 are purdy to look at, whether you're talking about the interior or the crowd. Not bad for cookie-cutter corporate joints.
708 Fourth Ave., Downtownwww.hennesseystavern.com/san_diegoFor those of you who like Irish pubs that play “Sweet Home Alabama” and offer burger specials.
618 Fifth Ave., Downtownwww.henryspub.comThe only bar in the Gaslamp with three Finnish counterparts, also called Henry's. It's also where Lady Dottie and The Diamonds swing through every Wednesday to give the Gaslamp a kick in the ass.
House of Blues
1055 Fifth Ave., Downtownwww.hob.com/sandiegoThe faux delta spirit and overpriced drinks are made up for with a killer sound system and nice happy-hour prices. Another drawback in the bar / restaurant area: They don't get Channel 4, so no Padres games, but if you're in there when the concert lets out, you can laugh at all the people as they get slowly shuffled through the bar.
The Jewel Box
805 16th St., East Village619-236-8685 We asked the bartender if anything had changed in this working-person's bar in the past year. Nope, she said, still the same cheap drinks and nasty bathrooms. Favorite sticker behind the bar: “You cum like a girl.”
672 Fifth Ave., Downtownwww.jimmyloves.com
ner jazz and, later, bands doing covers of hits from the '70s and '80s. Wait, is that Gary Numan?
379 Fourth Ave., Downtownwww.joltnjoes.comThe place to go when you want to play some pool—there are a bunch of tables on the second floor. Also has an outdoor patio that overlooks Dick's Last Resort.
1157 Columbia St., Downtownwww.karlstrauss.comThere are three other San Diego County locations beside Downtown, and all of them have Cask Night every Thursday when cask beers (“small batches, one-offs and tricked-out versions of current beers”) are $3.50 till the cask runs dry.
One Market Place, Downtownwww.kinlounge.comYeah, we pretty much avoid this place, since it's at the Manchester Grand Hyatt, but it's a nice, poolside alternative to the rest of Downtown. They've had some growing pains (a ridiculously rude security staff and experimentations with “silent discos”), but it's coming into its own and will one day be a contender.
560 Fourth Ave., Downtownwww.taco619.comWe're kinda partial to this spot as a Taco Tuesday destination: excellent $2 street tacos, $2 TJ dogs and $2 Tecates.
653 Fifth Ave., Downtown619-238-5463More than 100 varieties of tequila? Now, is that really necessary? It is? Well, then, cool.
1065 Fourth Ave., Downtownwww.thelocalsandiego.comIt's weird to see a beach bar that's actually nowhere near the beach, but this spot keeps the tanned masses happy with surf memorabilia, ultra-loud hip-hop and top-40 on the weekends and plentiful open space for dancing.
616 J St., East Villagewww.jsixrestaurant.comIt should come as no surprise that a poolside Downtown bar would draw a disproportionate number of bleach-blondes and patrons dressed either to the nines or in shorts and flip-flops. Added bonus: foosball.
615 Eighth Ave., Downtownwww.luckyds.comThe only bar in town with its own hostel, D's opened last year, then closed, then re-opened with plans to add live music and a more upscale look than its previous incarnation.
777 Fifth Ave., Downtown www.maloneystavern.com With a dark, spacious subterranean bar that sits below a smaller ground-level pub, Maloney's is marked by shelves of books—yes, books—and pithy quotes on the walls wherever you look.
Mr. Tiki Mai Tai Lounge
801 Fifth Ave., Downtownwww.cohnrestaurants.comYes, it's gaudy, but it's also unique. Where else can you share a Killa Kilauea bowl with a friend (several rums, many fruit juices)? The menu has recently shifted toward a South Pacific-SoCal blend.
777 G St., East Villagewww.neighborhoodsd.comFeels more North (or South) Park than Downtown with its 27 beers on tap, including the lovely Hitachino White Nest Ale, which pairs nicely with the sweet potato fries.
Nicky Rotten's Bar & Burger Joint
560 Fifth Ave., Downtownwww.nickyrottens.comEleven burger varieties await you for $9 apiece (with fries) at this Irish pub-looking bar, or you can order pasta and pizza from the adjoining Sloppy Joey's, which looks kinda like an ice-cream parlor.
615 Broadway, Downtownwww.obec.tvThis multi-level, multi-room behemoth has been around longer than just about every club in town and still manages to pull them in with lines down the block. Probably because they have fairly good DJs, B-list celebrities and a dress code that we can get behind (no sandals, no baseball caps, etc.).
852 Fifth Ave., Downtownwww.onyxroom.com, www.thinroom.comDo yourself a favor and check out the Tuesday-night jazz jam in the downstairs Onyx Room. You won't be disappointed—unless you hate jazz, that is.
428 F St., Downtownwww.patricksii.com “Booze and blues” is what you get here, where there's no messin' around with food or anything other than alcohol and live blues, soul and rock 'n' roll. Weekend cover starts at $3.
Phi Bar & Bistro / Phi Terrace Bar
509 Ninth Ave., East VillageThe larger bar on the first floor of the new Indigo Hotel is simple and comfortable, but still elegant. The much smaller outdoor-terrace bar on the ninth floor is super chill (Shush! Don't tell no one!) and, from one end, offers a view of home plate at Petco Park.
You can't get into this speakeasy without the password, and just for fun, we're not going to tell you where to get it or even where this place is. Do your own sleuthing.
Red C Lounge
756 Fifth Ave., Downtownwww.myspace.com/redcloungeThis subterranean dance club is itty-bitty, but good things—and good grooves—sometimes come in small packages.
420 E St., Downtownwww.redcirclesd.comThe first thing you notice are the cushy, curly bar stools. The second thing you notice is the live Latin or smooth—or Latin and smooth—jazz. Later-than-most happy hour goes till 10 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, when the entire menu is half-price.
Red Pearl Kitchen
440 J St., Downtownwww.redpearlkitchen.comThe long tables in the bar area make this a good spot for after-work drinks and appetizers. Speaking of apps, the menu includes a few really nice versions of dim sum favorites (the steamed BBQ pork buns are especially tasty).
Rock Bottom Brewery
401 G St., Downtownwww.rockbottom.comConsidering this is part of a nationwide chain, the food at Rock Bottom is uncommonly good, even if their brews could use a more little punch. This location is always crowded on the weekends, so good luck finding a table.
The Shout House
655 Fourth Ave., Downtownwww.theshouthouse.comA recent Saturday evening saw this place jam-packed and lively, with the dueling pianists battling over John Cougar Mellencamp. Or was that John Cougar pre-Mellencamp?
536 Market St., Downtownwww.sidebarsd.comThe place is a little cooler since the recent facelift from faux-bro to faux-chic (the birdcages on the roof and nude paintings are a nice touch), but San Diego's first mega club has been feeling the pinch lately, so they've been offering up some great specials on bar food (build-your-own burgers) and fu-fu drinks.
SIN Nite Club
526 F St., Downtownwww.sinsandiego.tvLiving up to its name, SIN is perhaps trying to appeal to the lowest common denominator by hosting Girls Gone Wild nights. It's cozy for the grinding and booty-dancing types, which makes for a P.B.-esque experience, but the dark interior and big bar lends just a dash of Downtown swank.
Siren @ Se Hotel
1047 Fifth Ave., Downtownwww.sehotel.comHoly drink prices, Batman! Your wallet might be empty after just two cocktails at this rooftop lounge. But, hey, the bartenders look like models and very pretty people flock to to the pool on Sunday afternoons.
762 Fifth Ave., Downtown
The Stage tries to introduce the Gaslamp to local bands, and it projects trippy visuals onto the wall above the performance area (aka, the “stage”).
423 E St., DowntownIt's the dive that time forgot—and that's a good thing in this neighborhood.
634 Broadway, Downtownwww.myspace.com/staticloungeandcafeRecent theme nights for the 18-and-up set include Baywatch Beach Fest, Booty Camp (discounts for girls in booty shorts) and Sexy Bubble Bath Gogo Dancer Party—did they decide to eliminate alcohol because too many middle-aged men were showing up? One wonders.
454 Sixth Ave., East Villagewww.stingsandiego.com Stingaree is like the ShamWow of Downtown nightclubs. With three levels of gorgeous interior, four bars and a purdy waterfall, at first you're, like, “Wow.” But unless you hook up with that hottie you've been eye-fucking all night, then you'll likely leave feeling like you've been cheated—it's great at soaking up all the money from your pockets.
1125 Sixth Ave., Downtownwww.stoutsd.comThis subdued spot features two levels with ample seating, great pub food and a populist attitude with just the right amount of class. Only downside: Good luck with parking.
Suite & Tender @ Se Hotel
1047 Fifth Ave., Downtownwww.suiteandtender.comSe might boast some of the most expensive rooms Downtown, but there's not an ounce of pretension in Suite & Tender's comfy bar/lounge. From 5 to 8 p.m. specialty cocktails are half-price (try the Grace) and “bottomless” glasses of wine (servers at the ready to refill) a mere $20.
SWAY @ The Keating
432 F St., Downtownwww.thekeating.comA bar designed by the company that does work for Ferrari could be a sleek and smooth disaster of red barf, but we love this subterranean bar for its stone walls, Italian tapas until 2 a.m. and the fact that not a lot of people have the place on their radar. Oh shit, we just gave it away.
901 Fifth Ave., Downtownsyrahwineparlor.comA cozy underground (literally) spot that might take you a little work to find (hint: look for the grass). But any effort's worth it. The wine list is top-notch and the specialty cocktails are nice (like the Caprese Martini).
Taste and Thirst on Fourth
719 Fourth Ave., Downtown619-955-5995 www.tasteandthirst.comThis bar/restaurant has been open since January. Happy hour: 3 to 8 p.m. daily. T-bone steak dinner for $10 on Tuesdays.
756 Fifth Ave., Downtownwww.tequila100.netFormerly Alhambre's, this casual Gaslamp bar and Mexican restaurant takes its name from the number of tequilas on the menu (duh).
310 10th Ave., East Villagewww.tiltedkilt.comIf you love large TV screens and even larger boobs, get thyself to the Tilted Kilt without delay. It's like Hooters without the shame.
505 Sixth Ave., Downtown619-232-6754An ideal place to chill on the front patio and grouse with friends about how the Padres just lost their seventh game in a row.
Top of the Hyatt
One Market Place, Downtown619-232-1234Go here only if you don't think people should be treated equally under the law—the owner helped fund last year's Prop. 8.
Toscana Café and Wine Bar
238 Fifth Ave., Downtownwww.toscanacafe.netWe went to check it out after closing, but, hey, it looks nice peering through the window. Wine tasting on Thursdays.
Urban Bar & Grill
827 Fifth Ave., Downtownwww.urbanbarandgrill.com Nothing wrong with a late-night happy hour from 11 p.m. till closing time.
755 Fifth Ave., Downtownwww.voyeursd.com Undoubtedly the hottest club Downtown right now and not just for its all-black interior and hipster crowd. They just unveiled a six-figure über-sound system from Berlin, and they're booking the best national DJs, who at one time would have skipped San Diego. Just get there early.
600 Fifth Ave., Downtownwww.thewhiskeygirl.com Not only can you order just about any kind of whiskey; you can also mount the bar and have it poured down your gullet by a genuine “whiskey girl.” Now, that's livin' large.
421 West B St., Downtown
The future of the upscale W became murky when news of its owner's loan default hit the stands. So, drink while you still can.
Xavier's Bar & Grill
750 Fifth Ave., Downtownwww.xaviersbarngrill.comAn odd little place with a serious Hollywood fetish, comfy stools that resemble director's chairs and movie posters everywhere.
1023 Fourth Ave., Downtownwww.yardhouse.comThere has to be a reason this chain restaurant is always packed. Oh yeah, it's because they have more than 100 beers on tap.