Beyond being a craft beer capital,
San Diego is booming in the craft
cocktail realm as well. A fleet of
boundary-pushing barkeeps at the
city’s watering holes, speakeasies,
bars and lounges can be found
serving up everything from the
classics to the experimental.
Shake things up with an inventive seasonal
cocktail, or try a drink sourced from
guest bartenders across the country.
2001 Kettner Blvd., Little Italy
THE LION’S SHARE
This dimly lit bar tucked away in the Marina
District is just the place for creative and
expertly crafted cocktails. It’s the preferred
watering hole of the city’s top bartenders.
629 Kettner Blvd., downtown
Cure what ails you at this apothecary-styled
bar with a staggering selection of cocktails
(including several options on draft), along
with champagne and beer cocktails.
4693 30th St., North Park
Here, imbibers can explore 20 types of
tequila and 20 types of mezcal sourced
from different agave varietals. Order the
refreshing Agua Chile with St. George
Chile Vodka, Campari, lime, watermelon
and sea salt.
1490 Kettner Blvd.
Tropical drinks from
sunny places are the
name of the game at
this open-air bar overlooking Petco Park.
Try the Monkey’s
Junk, a frozen
cocktail with bananas,
coconut and cacao-infused rum.
795 J St., East Village
Favorite Local Distillery: Old Harbor.
like a cool
Best new American gin I’ve had.
San Diego’s Craft Cocktail Culture:
Young and fun. We’re collectively
deviating from the high-brow bow ties
and suspenders. We’re a laid-back city.
The cocktail scene should seek to mimic the greater culture.
Trends: More karaoke and cocktails? Sure. More rock and roll?
Yes. More games, arcade and/or analog? Please! More tiki?
Obviously. None are new. All are relevant and seem to be the
trend in San Diego.
Local Dive Bar: Turf Club.
Preferred Mixology Bar: Noble Experiment.
Secret Ingredient: The infinite varieties of whole fruit brandies.
SAN DIEGO DISTILLERIES
While distilling may be an age-old tradition,
there’s a new generation of craft spirit-makers
Ballast Point Spirits
The craft beer kings now make
premium spirits, including
rum, vodka, gin and whiskey.
Malahat Spirits Co.
Delicious award-winning small-batch spiced rum, white rum
and ginger rum, named for the
schooner that carted the contraband liquor during Prohibition.
Liberty Call Distilling
Connoisseurs will appreciate
their handcrafted whiskey, rum
Kill Devil Spirit Co.
These “rebellious geeks” make
unfiltered vodka, gin and a caf-
feinated, 90-proof moonshine.
Old Harbor Distilling Co.
This downtown warehouse
produces outstanding gin
made with herbs plucked
from Suzie’s Farm.
MEET TOP BARMAN ANTHONY SCHMIDT
Co-owner of Rare Form and Fairweather