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Sip and Socialize or Loud and a Crowd

A Twenty-Something's Guide to San Diego Nightlife

Whether you're a seasoned local or just in town for a visit, the nightlife of a twenty-something year-old can be broken down into two categories: sip and socialize, or loud and a crowd. Needless to say, each involves having a drink in your hand, but the closer we get to that 30 year mark we find ourselves searching for a place to sit down and relax.

By: Bridget Meschen

Sip and Socialize - Loud and a Crowd

Grabbing a drink and catching up with friends (without having a beer spilled down your back) seems like a bit of a novelty, but never fear! There are plenty of hidden gems throughout San Diego. Hence, the following is a list of a few go-to, youth friendly bars in San Diego for those completely new to the scene or those looking to change up their routine.

Sip and Socialize

Seven Grand

First on the list is perfect for the sip and socialize type of evening. Seven Grand is located on University Avenue in North Park, and it is a whiskey bar with quite the attitude. Clad in plaid carpet, dark wood paneling and red leather booths, the atmosphere is a tad classier than your favorite dive bar, but dress is casual and service is extremely friendly. Don't be overwhelmed by the international wall of whiskey, they have detailed drink menus at the bar and they serve much more than whiskey. Cheapest drink for a tight budget is a specialty house cocktail at $5, but it is well worth it if you want to sit and enjoy good spirits and company. Happy Hour is 4:00 to 8:00 PM on Monday through Sunday, and patrons are usually within the 20-30 year-old range. So, grab a glass of scotch and pretend you're Ron Burgundy.

Mr. Peabody's

Next on the list is off the beaten track. Mr. Peabody's is an open seating restaurant/bar with full table service. There is a location in Encinitas, but the one hidden on Friars Road in Linda Vista deserves recognition. It exudes the feel of a neighborhood hangout, and it is the perfect place to catch a football game, while indulging in a large bar menu and cheap drink deals. Happy hour on Tuesday or Friday is a good time to stop by, but the $3.25 mouthwatering turkey tacos on Monday night might cause you to question your Taco Tuesday loyalties. Overall, a great place to chill after a long day of work or class. Order a pitcher of beer and a couple of entrées to split, and enjoy a drama-free night with a low bar tab!

Loud and a Crowd

Shifting gears to those in need of something a bit more rowdy, the following suggestions are sure to provide the typical, upbeat atmosphere of loud and a crowd.

Pacific Beach Alehouse

Due to nearby campuses of USD and SDSU, Mission and Pacific Beach are a hotbed for college-aged shenanigans. There is a never-ending list of options in the area, but a big favorite tends to be PB Alehouse in Pacific Beach. Open until 2:00 AM, it is not uncommon to find a line out the door on a good night. A major attraction to Alehouse is the breathtaking rooftop terrace with its own bar, and the cozy outdoor patio with fire pits. This multi-level establishment offers a mix of experiences, including a dance floor. It is also a fantastic restaurant and microbrewery, so if you're looking to avoid an evening of bar-hopping, consider arriving early for a bite to eat before joining the party.

Beachcomber and The Pennant

The tried and true of the young and the reckless: Beachcomber and The Pennant. If you are in your twenties and have not experienced either dive bar on a Thursday night, you're missing a rite of passage in San Diego. If you are willing to brave the crowds, the best deals can be found on Thursday night from 9:00 to 11:00 PM. Drinks are so cheap you will ask the bartender to repeat the total. At Comber beers are $1, select well drinks are $2, and $4 will buy you a pitcher of a domestic draft. You can find quite the competitive game of shuffleboard taking place at the The Pennant, and a packed dance floor at Beachcomber. With the two locations practically next to each other, it's a popular spot to begin and end a big night out.


More importantly, this is nowhere near a complete list of the go-to worthy bars in San Diego. Other honorable mentions of both categories go to Tipsy Crow in the Gaslamp Quarter and Small Bar in University Heights.

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