We’ll let you in on a secret… or 13. We often speak about San Diego’s thriving nightlife, but did you know our region is full of hidden bars too? If you’re looking to step out of your comfort zone (perhaps into a refrigerator), check out these local, unique speakeasies — and because we can’t keep a secret, we’re going to clue you in on how to find them.
Vin de Syrah | 901 Fifth Ave., Gaslamp Quarter
Enter: If you’re asking which way you ought to go from here, find the staircase on Fifth Avenue that will take you below ground to find wonderland.
We’re all mad here for this “Alice in Wonderland” inspired spirit and wine cellar. Located downtown, Vin de Syrah serves a variety of exotic wines, cheeses, and desserts. Its specialty cocktail list rotates seasonally to make you curiouser and curiouser.
Raised by Wolves | 4301 La Jolla Village Dr., Westfield UTC
Enter: Step inside the liquor store + cozy up next to the fireplace.
You may have entered the upscale bottle shop Raised by Wolves on your last shopping trip to UTC, but deeper inside is a secret cocktail bar. Encompassed by a glass dome + water fountain, these wolves must have been raised with sophisticated and delicious cocktails.
The Grass Skirt | 910 Grand Ave., Pacific Beach
Enter: Check out the kitchen in the poke shop next door — its fridge might have a door in the front and back.
In the heart of PB, this Polynesian-inspired lounge has an interior full of tikis, torches, and hula skirts. To get on island time, try accompanying your tropical cocktail with a variety of Hawaiian-inspired dishes + pupus.
Captains Quarters | 910 Grand Ave., Pacific Beach
Enter: Let the octopus pull you to the right when you get to this address.
This nautical-themed lounge would be next door to The Grass Skirt — ya know, if they had actual doors. Inspired by captain’s quarters inside 17th century ships, its menu focuses on gin cocktails and seafood dishes.
False Idol | 675 W. Beech St., Little Italy
Enter: The stainless steel door in Craft and Commerce isn’t designed to keep people out.
Like The Grass Skirt, False Idol is a tiki bar known for its 200+ varieties of rum. This colorful speakeasy serves up tropical cocktails and fiery drinks — seriously, some of the drinks are served on fire.
Oculto 477 | 2414 San Diego Ave., Old Town
Enter: Confess to the host at the Tahona Bar that you have a reservation for Oculto 477.
If you’re looking for an eerier experience, check out Oculto 477 — located next to the El Campo Santo Cemetery in Old Town. The upscale menu is full of prohibition era drinks + guests are expected to follow the nine etiquette rules, like being open to the experience.
Prohibition Lounge | 548 Fifth Ave., Gaslamp Quarter
Enter: You’re not prohibited from using the unassuming door on Fifth Avenue next to El Chingon.
If you’ve ever dreamed of transporting into “The Great Gatsby,” Prohibition Lounge in the Gaslamp Quarter will take you back in time. The 1920’s inspired ambiance, cocktails, music + dress code is sure to give you one of those rare smiles.
Noble Experiment | 777 G St. San Diego, Gaslamp Quarter
Enter: If you’re in The Neighborhood, you’re literally next door to Noble Experiment.
One part flashy, one part creepy — this downtown bar is hidden inside a restaurant. With a glowing chandelier + wall of skulls, the interior almost overshadows its menu of swanky drinks.
Young Blood | 777 G St. San Diego, Gaslamp Quarter
Enter: This cool bar is hidden behind fake refrigerator doors.
This secret bar is next to Noble Experiment, another secret bar. Inside, you’ll find a flashier, more relaxed environment, but you won’t find a menu. When you make a reservation, you’ll get a prix fixe bar experience that changes, and is often catered to each guest.
Realm of 52 Remedies | 4805 Convoy St., Kearny Mesa
Enter: Head to the Convoy District — there might not be a sign, but we have a Common Theory of where to find its white door.
Learning about Chinese medicine may be as easy as going out for a drink. This speakeasy names its drinks “remedies,” offers a menu of Asian dishes to accompany your drinks, and hopes to help build health + longevity.
X | 248 Third Ave., Chula Vista
Enter: Instead of heading into Lime in the Coconut, look for the glowing palm tree sign.
Tropical-themed bar Lime in the Coconut has built a menu around island-inspired cuisines that are served inside its vibrant lounge. But, there’s a darker hideaway where you can get something X-tra. Make a reservation if you want the password.
The Hive | 1025 Prospect St., Ste. 250
Enter: One of the photos at Beehive Balcony is not like the other.
This year, Beehive Balcony landed in La Jolla, but people are buzzing about something else. Recently, its speakeasy “The Hive” opened, where the drinks and honey are flowing. If you want to explore this colony, make a reservation and head to its Instagram for the password.
Forbidden Cove | 7576 Clairemont Mesa Blvd. Kearny Mesa
Enter: Check in with the host and ask about a tiki with special unlocking powers.
Located inside Kilowatt Brewing, this tiki-themed lounge is full of mystery, cocktails, and craft beer. If you want to get in, it helps to make a reservation.