The Aero Club
3365 India St., Midtownwww.aeroclubbar.comFriendly bartenders, unpretentious customers, free wi-fi (yep, that's right), Chinese dominoes, two pool tables, a kick-ass jukebox and reasonably priced drinks. What else do you want in a bar?
1337 India St., Little Italywww.anthologysd.comThis place can get pricey—if you want a view of the stage, you're obligated to spend $15 on food or drinks, in addition to ticket price. Still, the sounds system's pretty fab and they've attracted some gems like Leon Redbone and Charlie Hunter.
2501 Kettner Blvd., Middletownwww.casbahmusic.comAfter 20-plus years, it's still the greatest club in town to see the best in local and national bands that aren't yet arena-popular. The bartenders pour a stiff drink, the smoking patio serves as a scenester meeting place, and there's a lounge that has a jacked-up pool table and old-school arcade games that sometimes work.
1445 India St., Little Italywww.enotecastyle.comA small, impeccably designed wine bar with selections in every price range, delicious paninis and Delirium Tremens on tap. A great place for a date, to say the least.
The Glass Door
1835 Columbia St., Little Italywww.theglassdoorsd.comA great view and high-class atmosphere are the main draws for this bar and restaurant at the Porto Vista Hotel.
675 W. Beech St., Little Italywww.illumebistro.comThis spot's made a name for itself with its inventive happy-hour deals—$1 for your first drink? Hell, yes. But the deals, they doth change, so follow Illume on Twitter to stay in the know.
2812 Kettner Blvd., Little Italywww.kavalounge.comIn what seems to be a doomed location, Kava has an almost cave-like interior and some decently priced specialty cocktails and has booked some decent DJs of the trance / Buddha Bar variety. Good place for a post-Casbah make-out session.
1665 India St., Little Italywww.princesspubandgrille.comIf your appreciation of sports is European in nature, it's time to kiss the princess, little froggy.
1607 India St., Little Italywww.sogno-divino.comBuon Appetito opened this adjoining wine bar for patrons who have no problem waiting 45 minutes for a table at the popular Italian restaurant. But it's become quite popular on its own for folks looking for a light dinner and a glass of wine.
2028 Hancock St., Middletownwww.spinnightclub.comFormerly Club Montage, SPIN is the local spot for big-name traveling DJs to flex their muscles, a three-story monstrosity where the quality of the performances might even make you forget you're paying $11 for a Long Island iced tea.
3175 India St., Middletownwww.starlitesandiego.comHow many times have you gone to Starlite, ordered a Starlite Mule (organic vodka, ginger beer, lime, Angostura bitters) and thought, “Where can I get me one of these cool copper mugs?” Well, now you can—but you'll have to go to Starlite's website to find out how. (Hint: there are pipe cleaners involved).
Tango Wine Co.
2161 India St., Little Italywww.tangowine.comThey've recently added wine-friendly snacks, like a cheese platter (using selections from Venissimo). There's no corkage fee, and the wine-tasting events are popular and affordable.
1471 Kettner Blvd., Little Italywww.unwinesandiego.comWe almost missed this new spot, located at the bottom of Allegro Towers on the outskirts of Little Italy's main drag. It's a perfect summer date-night place with tables-for-two patio seating and tasty cheese plates.
2004 Kettner Blvd., Little Italywww.waterfrontbarandgrill.comOK, this ancient bar isn't right on the water, but it's still kinda salty. Meaning: It's rumored to be filled with middle-aged dads who would rather ogle the female clientele than go directly home to their wives after work.