The trendy North Park neighborhood of San Diego is not just for beer lovers, this young hip area is full of creativity when it comes to restaurants and specialty cocktails as well as boutiques, art galleries and shops. The epicenter of North Park is located at the intersection of 30th Street & University Avenue but extends about 10 blocks each way so there’s plenty of fun places to grab food and drink within walking distance. Come for a drink and stay for the day, you’ll have plenty to keep you entertained! If you’d like someone to show you around this eclectic neighborhood, consider a San Diego Tour – they’ll combine some popular cocktail stops with bites of food and entertaining local history!
Photo credit – Lyudmila Zotova
Located on the corner of 30th & Adams, this neighborhood gem has one of the best cocktail selections in all of San Diego. Their apothecary-style décor is impeccably designed with a speakeasy vibe to complement the drinks they serve. Noting themselves as a manufacturer of local tonics, elixirs, and cures, they have a stock of more than 50 bitters that they use to create some very special cocktails. With 46 taps, they pour everything from draft cocktails, beer and wine as well as house-made sodas. If you’d like to learn the art of cocktail making yourself, sign-up for one of their fun cocktail classes. Due to their liquor license, this spot is 21+. They don’t have a kitchen onsite but partner with Soda & Swine next door where you can order at their counter and have the food brought to your table (a smart move if you ask us)!
Photo credit – True North Tavern
As their bartenders say “what’s better than water” well a cocktail of course! A great place to catch a game or enjoy the sunshine on two outdoor patios with friends or family, this neighborhood joint offers up a casual environment with a fabulous cocktail menu. Our favorite is the Return of El Guapo complete with a Mexican inspired spicy jalapeño kick and tajin rim. If you happen to stop by for Sunday brunch, don’t miss their Sunday Pitchers – served to a minimum of 2 people, our favorite is the Kings Goblet! They offer an excellent food menu and nightly events & entertainment.
Photo credit – Seven Grand
Opening their doors 8 years ago in North Park right off University Ave., this whiskey bar was born out of a love for great whiskey and specialty cocktails and has quickly earned a place amongst the top spots in San Diego. They started in Los Angeles and now have 4 locations (2 others in Austin & Denver). Offering over 500 types of whiskey, they have a dark hunting lodge feel that might remind you of a secret society. Speaking of secret societies, check out the Seven Grand Whiskey Society – although not secret, it’s really cool – a unique membership program gets you invited to a bi-weekly tasting hosted by varying master distillers and brand ambassadors, all you have to pay is for the cost of the tasting! Some details to help you plan your visit – 21+, no food menu (we suggest grabbing a quick bite at one of the many fabulous North Park restaurants nearby) but they do offer live music every Thursday – Saturday, a cozy outdoor patio as well as a happy hour with discounts on beer and cocktails.
Photo credit – El Comal
If Mexican is what you are craving check out this neighborhood gem serving up some of the best margaritas and most authentic Mexican food in San Diego for over 24 years! This family owned and operated spot serves up fresh food and drinks using flavors from all over Mexico – you’ll feel like a guest in a cozy home kitchen when you walk in and smell the sauces and meats that have been simmering all day. One of our favorites is the Mango Margarita served up in a martini glass with tajin on the rim!
Photo credit – West Coast Tavern
A laid-back urban tavern set in one of North Park’s most historic buildings, this neighborhood stop provides amazing food alongside some pretty awesome craft cocktails, beer and wine. Their specialty cocktail list features an assortment of liquors creatively made into classic and seasonal libations. Our favorites are the Foreign Affair and the Stallion, a take on a Moscow Mule with Captain Morgan white rum and blackberry. They offer an excellent happy hour all week from 4:00 – 7:00 pm with a variety of cocktails and food specials including their Mule or Donkey pitchers for just $20!
Photo credit – Breakfast Republic
For some of the best brunch cocktails in San Diego, consider a stop at the North Park location of Breakfast Republic. They have 5 different varieties of Bloody Marys as well as a full list of breakfast cocktails. Our favorite is the Horchata Cold Brew made with Fugu Horchata Vodka and house-made cold brew coffee – ask for it with a side of cream! We also love the Jurassic Bloody Mary, served with a garnish of jurassic pork bacon and house pickles. They have a cult-like following with the locals, so consider arriving early so you don’t have to wait (they are open 7:00 am – 3:00 pm daily)!
Photo credit – Bar Solace
Located in the heart of North Park, this gem of a place (or should we say places) will be sure to please. Delighting guests for over 20 years, they offer brunch 7 days a week as part of their Urban Solace brand and starting at 4:00 pm they begin serving their dinner menu under the Bar Solace brand. They serve an extensive cocktail list all day/night and are known for their Dealer’s Choice cocktails, where bartender’s will create you the perfect drink. A favorite off their regular cocktail menu is the St George Fizz Royale – a drink that will pair well with sweet or savory foods.
Photo credit – Café 21
No matter which meal you’re craving (they serve breakfast lunch and dinner 7 days a week), this is the place for you if farm to table, delicious fresh food is what you want. They’ve partnered with local farms sourcing only organic ingredients that they transform into some amazing food and craft cocktails. One of our favorites is the Gin – Sprint Time that tastes a little something like spring in your glass. We recommend checking out their great happy hour served from 3:00 – 6:00 pm every day for some tasty food bites to pair with your cocktails. We guarantee you’ll enjoy the soothing atmosphere and might even find yourself staying for the live music – rotating artists play every night!
We know you want to check out these wonderful places yourself – grab some friends and book a tour with So Diego Tours. In addition to sampling some great cocktails, you’ll get to taste fabulous food and learn how a run-down area like North Park blossomed into the trendy place it is today. Want to keep exploring? Check out our favorite North Park breweries or browse our list of things to do in North Park.