10 over-the-top cocktails in San Diego

Flight of margaritas old town

Cheers to all the margaritas, spicy watermelon in the lower right corner. | Photo via @thesandiegoscout

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Making the perfect drink is an art, and we can’t take our eyes off these local cocktails + mocktails that push boundaries.

If you’re looking for over-the-top drinks, you’ll find them in San Diego. As we celebrate #DrinkUpSanDiego, we’re rounding up 10 drinks that look too good to be true. But as you know, sipping is believing, and you can really find these at local bars + restaurants.

Bloody mary with whole chicken

How the cluck are you supposed to drink this? | Photo via @mindfulnesstravelco

🐔 The Barn Yard, Farmer’s Table

At this point, it’s not too surprising to get more than celery with a Bloody Mary, but nothing is off limits at this restaurant with locations in La Mesa, Little Italy, Bay Park + Chula Vista. If you’re feeling adventurous, try “The Barn Yard.” It’s a pitcher of specialty Bloody Mary topped with a whole chicken.

🔥 Sunakora’s Bowl, False Idol

This cocktail is comin’ in hot — literally, it’s on fire. If you’re brave enough to find this local speakeasy, we recommend you bring friends and try Sunakora’s Bowl. The jungle mix is too big to drink solo, but it will leave you with an experience you’ll want to share with everyone.

Power Up Punch Coin Op

This looks like a kids’ drink, but packs an adult punch. | Photo via @drink_sandiego

🪙 Power Punch, Coin-Op Game Room

This one is served with a side of nostalgia. Coin-Op in North Park + downtown is known for its old-school arcade games, and its signature Power Punch — peach, pear, passionfruit + apricot liqueurs mixed with Smirnoff vodka, citrus, and cranberry — is served in a juice pouch to take you back to your childhood days of drinking Capri Sun.

💋Kiss of Steel, KINDRED

This vegan-friendly bar in South Park has its XXX Cocktail menu featuring all non-alcoholic drinks, and there’s plenty to choose from. Coffee lovers will get buzzed — from caffeine only — with the Kiss of Steel, though we’re interested (and frightened) by the Zombie Prescription mocktail.


Try a flight of margs — spicy watermelon on the lower middle column. | Photo via @michelles.motivations

🌶️ Spicy Watermelon Margarita, Cafe Coyote

It should come as no surprise that this Mexican restaurant offers a variety of margaritas, but this one sets your tongue ablaze. By now, you might have spiced up your margaritas with jalapeños, but this glowing drink will have you seeing red + feeling the heat from the Ghost 100% Blue Agave Tequila.

Pro tip: The Spicy Watermelon Margarita comes as a part of Cafe Coyote’s colorful margarita flight if you can’t fully commit to the spice.

🧸 Gummibear Juice, Herb & Wood

We’re not sure how gummy bears got on the menu at celeb chef Brian Malarkey’s eatery in Little Italy, but we’ve got a sweet spot for this rum-based drink. It might be the first time we’ve heard of “gummibear juice rum,” but if it’s anything like its candied-counterpart, we think we’ll be able to bear it.

Flamingo drinks from Miss B's Coco Club

Why drink from a glass when you could have a flamingo? | Photo via @pranees_food.adventure

🦩 Havana Good Time, Miss B’s Coconut Club

If you’re sitting at this beachside restaurant, you’re probably already Havana good time. The Caribbean-inspired restaurant along Mission Beach takes this vodka-based cocktail and serves it in a giant copper flamingo that’s just as fun as it is Instagrammable.

🧢 El Niño, El Chingon

Downtown San Diego has no shortage of bars, but if you’re looking for a treat before a Padres game, we recommend an over-the-top dedication to Fernando Tatís Jr. This drink is packed with vodka, Peach Schnapps + Blue Curaçao — and like all of El Chingon’s “Bad Ass Cocktails” — it comes with a candy straw, Tajín rim, and a paleta on top.

campfire S'mores spiked cocktail at sugar factory

This thing is huge, will you really need s’more? | Photo via Sugar Factory

🍫 Campfire Spiked S’mores Milkshake, Sugar Factory

This sweet concoction has all the fixings of a night around the campfire and s’more. Marshmallows, chocolate + graham crackers are just the start — you’ll also get ice cream blended with espresso and whiskey. Don’t worry, the whiskey can easily be removed to make an non-alcoholic version, so the only buzz you’ll feel will come from the sugar.

🍍 Virgin Lavender Colada, Duke’s La Jolla

There’s no better way to enjoy a view of the Pacific Ocean — like the one you’ll find at Duke’s — than to hang 10 with a drink in hand, including the ones on the zero proof menu. This fruity purple colada packs in tropical flavors without adding any alcohol, though you can totally add rum if that’s your flavor.

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