Hidden Watering Holes and Speakeasies of San Diego
There’s just something that feels just a little mischievous about having a little secret on an evening out. For that reason, the idea of the speakeasy — a.k.a., a hidden bar — has persisted to the present day. Nearly a century after the repeal of the Great Depression-era prohibition culture that gave rise to these surreptitious saloons, the appeal of the mysterious keeps them alive. So if you’re looking for a little incognito imbibery, then take a look at our undercover overview of the Speakeasy San Diego scene.
False Idol (4.6 miles from the hotel)
Get down with a little 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. Secret Tip: 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
Video credit: @falseidoltiki
Room 56 (5.9 miles away)
Room 56 is the top-secret tavern inside at Moxy San Diego. It hides behind a bookcase, which you will access only after conferring with the resident “librarian” and receiving the highly guarded password. Among its inventive cocktails are the Martha Mary Mercy sour, with St. George All Purpose Vodka, vanilla orgeat, blackberry, and lemon. Secret Tip: the password may be accessible on their rather mysteriously designed webpage. Text it to the number provided in order to ensure you’ll make it inside.
831 Sixth Ave, San Diego, CA 92101
Video credit: @room50six
Noble Experiment (6 miles away)
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. Secret Tip: The entrance of the speakeasy is through a wall of empty kegs, stacked along the wall near the restrooms.
777 G St, San Diego, CA 92101
Video credit: @secretsofsunshine
Prohibition Lounge (6.1 miles away)
Located in the heart of the Gaslamp neighborhood, 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. Secret Tip: Eddie O’Hare’s law office on Fifth Avenue has a hidden entrance.
548 Fifth Avenue San Diego, CA 92101
Video credit: @prohibitionsd
The Grass Skirt (9.3 miles away)
As another entry into the city’s private Polynesian bar scene, The Grass Skirt is festively festooned with torches, Tiki art, and — of course — hula skirts. The menu is brimming with deceptively potent punches and flaming potions, some of which seem to have a mystic effect on the environment itse;f when ordered. And in contrast to many of San Diego’s speakeasies, The Grass Skirt has an excellent food menu full of island-style eats. Secret Tip: check out the freezer at the adjacent poké bar.
Get in the holiday spirit(s) from November 23rd to December 31st when they transform into a winter wonderland during their Sippin’ Santa Pop-Up!
910 Grand Ave, San Diego, CA 92109
Realm of the 52 Remedies (11.7 miles away)
Your journey starts in a white room decorated as a futuristic apothecary, inspired by an ancient manuscript of recipes and remedies stemming from ancient Chinese medicine. Continuing into the drinking den, guests are led down a portal to the past to find opulent seating, dramatic decorations and overhead sculptures to further enhance the spectacle created inside the Realm of 52 Remedies. Secret Tip: The four-seat “Emperor’s Bar” inside the Realm of 52 Remedies offers exclusive access to a collection of premium spirits.
4805 Convoy Street, San Diego, CA 92111
Video credit: @yesquerida
Raised by Wolves (13.2 miles away)
Raised By Wolves is hiding in plain sight inside Westfield UTC Mall. Look for a high-end liquor store that serves as its front-facing façade. Once you’re inside, don’t miss checking out the (very real, and available for purchase) selection of rare spirits. If you can manage to find the entrance, you’ll need to be vetted by the host before you’re permitted to enter. Once you are, you’ll discover a complex and sophisticated cocktail menu inspired by much of what you saw in the entrance. Secret Tip: If you find yourself drawn to the fireplace, that’s a good instinct.
4301 La Jolla Village Drive #2030, San Diego, CA 92122
Video credit: @rock.anne.roll
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