The Coolest Speakeasies in San Diego
Nearly a century after the repeal of the Prohibition Era of the 1920’s that gave rise to secret speakeasies (a.k.a. hidden bars), the 2020’s are once again seeing an influx of these surreptitious saloons, alive and thriving here in San Diego! There’s just something exciting about having the secret password to a hidden entrance that others aren’t aware of, isn’t there? So if you’re looking for a couple of clandestine cocktails in “America’s Finest City,” then let’s embark on an undercover overview of the best speakeasies in San Diego.
Le Jardin (7.8 miles)
The details surrounding this soon-to-open North Park spot are almost as sub rosa as how to get in. What DO we know? As one might guess from the name, the partially open-air space is set to be distinctly French-inspired, as is the cocktail menu. The focus here will be on absinthe, the notoriously enticing anise-flavored green liqueur that supposedly launched a thousand fever-fueled creative sessions during France’s impressionist art era. Watch this space — we’re not sure when Le Jardin will open, but you’ll want to be there when it does.
4677 30th St, San Diego, CA 92116
The Grass Skirt (3.6 miles)
Located just minutes from our hotel in nearby Pacific Beach, The Grass Skirt is a popular spot within the city’s Polynesian bar scene. You’ll know you’re in the right place when you enter a space festively fashioned with torches, tiki art, and — of course — hula skirts. The menu is brimming with deceptively potent punches and flaming potions, as well. And in contrast to other San Diego speakeasies, The Grass Skirt has an excellent food menu full of island-style eats. If visiting over the holidays, watch this location transform into “Sippin Santa” for a special tropical twist on Christmas. To get in, check out the freezer of the adjacent poké bar.
910 Grand Ave, San Diego, CA 92109
Captain’s Quarters (just opened)
The above-mentioned Grass Skirt has opened up a new concept just adjacent to their original hush-hush hideaway in Pacific Beach. Captain’s Quarters is a swashbuckler’s paradise, with pirate-themed décor, drinks, and attitude. It’s one of the city’s newest clandestine taverns, but given its pedigree, it’s also poised to become one of the most popular. So grab some grog, peer out one of the portholes, and get ready to have your rigging raised. Trying to find the entrance? Check your eyepatch and look at the tile a little more closely.
910 Grand Ave, San Diego, CA 92109 (3.6 miles)
Oculto 477 (3.8 miles away)
On the hunt for a location that’s truly unique? Oculto 477 should be at the top of your list. The name breaks down thusly: oculto — meaning “hidden” — and the number 477 paying homage to the same number of “occupants” of Old Town’s El Campo Santo Cemetery. That makes this the only cemetery-adjacent speakeasy in the world that we know of. A dress code and etiquette code are politely enforced (gentlemen, no baseball hats or flip-flops), and there’s a dedicated mezcal tasting room. The menu is arranged based on the style of cocktail, whether “sippers” or punch bowls. The entrance is hidden inside Tahona. We won’t tell you exactly where, though — in this case, finding it is half the fun. We will tell you to make sure you’ve studied up on the 7 deadly sins beforehand, however.
2414 San Diego Ave, San Diego, CA 92110
False Idol (6.3 miles away)
Get down with some more sneaky tiki at False Idol. This hush-hush hideaway is home to more than 200 varieties of rum, as well as a flaming volcano that can “erupt” at any minute (although rumor has it that ordering a “Alkala the Fierce” cocktail can spur the lava gods into action). A grotto, wood carvings, and a waterfall are just a few of the other creative and immersive details here. A walk-in refrigerator in the back of Little Italy’s Craft & Commerce Restaurant may hold a clue.
675 W Beech St, San Diego, CA 92101
Prohibition Lounge (7 miles away)
Located in the heart of the Gaslamp Quarter, the appropriately named Prohibition Lounge is styled as a vintage law office owned by a man by the name of Eddie O’Hare. There’s a distinctly film noir feel about the joint, so fans of Dashiell Hammett and Humphrey Bogart will feel right at home. Once inside, you’ll be immersed in a secret underground location with an old-time ambiance and masterfully crafted cocktails. Eddie O’Hare’s law office on Fifth Avenue has a clandestine entrance.
548 Fifth Avenue San Diego, CA 92101
Noble Experiment (7.4 miles)
On the hunt for an intimate and exclusive bar serving unique libations among a wall of skulls? Noble Experiment — one of the city’s longest-running covert cocktail clubs — is waiting for you. However, when you go, you’ll want to make a reservation WELL in advance. That’s the only way to get a seat in the immaculately appointed space, located inside Neighborhood eatery in East Village. The entrance of the speakeasy is through a wall of empty kegs stacked near the restrooms.
777 G St, San Diego, CA 92101
Young Blood (7.4 miles)
Wait…a speakeasy inside another speakeasy?! That’s exactly what Youngblood is! Hidden inside Noble Experiment, this small space is a glamorous one-room bar with only 30 seats. Admire the stunning decor with attention paid to the smallest of details. Secret Tip: Enter through a faux-refrigerator door just beyond the tiled vestibule.
777 G St, San Diego, CA 92101
Acid Vault (8.3 miles)
Located inside the equally-worth-the-visit Amplified Ale Works, Acid Vault leans into a trippy, psychedelic vibe. You’ll notice it the moment you enter. Swirling colors, black-light imagery, and plush surfaces blend into each other in a symphony of ‘60s-style vibes. Signature drinks like the “Rebel Dottie” and “Sage Advice” promise insight at the bottom of a glass. Curated music shows from some of the city’s best entertainers complete the ambience. Insider tip: to enter this trippy locale, you’ll need to order a specific drink.
1429 Island Ave, San Diego, CA 92101
Realm of the 52 Remedies (10.5 miles away)
Your journey starts in a white room decorated as a futuristic apothecary, inspired by an ancient manuscript of traditional Chinese medicinal recipes. Continuing into the drinking den, guests are led down a portal to the past to find opulent seating, dramatic decorations, and overhead sculptures, all of which further enhance the spectacle created inside The Realm. The four-seat “Emperor’s Bar” inside the Realm of 52 Remedies also offers exclusive access to a collection of premium spirits.
4805 Convoy Street, San Diego, CA 92111
Estancia in Bloom (12.1 miles)
Developed as a collaboration between Native Poppy florists and Estancia La Jolla, this pop-up pub is billing itself as a “botanical speakeasy”. Not only is the space filled with fragrant flowers of all varieties, but the colorfully curated craft cocktail menu is also infused with plant essences. Estancia in Bloom will be operating out of the property’s Greenfinch Bar from 4-10 daily through the end of the year — at which point it will drift away like petals on the breeze.
9700 N Torrey Pines Rd, La Jolla, CA 92037
Settled on the speakeasies in San Diego you’d like to visit? Swing by our Special Offers page, and pick the perfect offer for your next stay. Then plan the ultimate San Diego getaway!