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7 Baseball Season Pre-Game Spots

in Downtown

With so many exceptional bars and eateries within—yes—pitching distance, it’s no wonder Petco Park allows baseball fans to exit and re-enter the stadium at any time, and to bring food inside. That means you can enjoy the spoils of the neighborhood before, after, and even during a game. And there are many places to do just that. Here are seven options, from divey to classy and a few in between.

By: San Diego Magazine
Bub’s at the Ballpark

Bub’s at the Ballpark

715 J St, San Diego, CA 92101

You’d have to be standing in the batter’s box at Petco Park to get any closer to the Padres than at this sports obsessed downtown bar. (And, located at J Street and Seventh Avenue, Bub's at the Ballpark is close enough that you could almost catch a fly ball while sitting on a barstool inside.) The plethora of flat-screen TVs means you won’t miss an out. Just in case you still felt the atmosphere lacking for baseball ambience, the menu is packed to capacity with items like the Padres Power Bowl and the Ballpark Nachos. The dishes known to the non-sporting world as appetizers can be found in the menu’s First Base section.

Altitude Sky Lounge

Altitude Sky Lounge

660 K St, San Diego, CA 92101

Before heading to the park, why not take in the view from this patio bar 22 stories above the field? Located directly across Tony Gwynn Drive from Petco Park, the open-air lounge provides a view of the entire infield—in an atmosphere at least a notch classier than any ballpark—and is well within earshot of the roar of the crowd. Altitude Sky Lounge opens two hours before Padres day games—so you might even catch the pregame warm-ups.

Tivoli Bar and Grill

Tivoli Bar and Grill

505 Sixth Ave, San Diego, CA 92101

The comfortably divey atmosphere at Tivoli Bar and Grill draws rambunctious crowds before Padres games. Don’t let the humble surroundings of beer posters fool you. The food served by this establishment, inside a 130-year-old building in the Gaslamp Quarter, is far better than you’d expect at a true dive. Pollo asado tacos and carne asada fries, anyone? The prices are more than reasonable, with game day specials like cheap drafts and pitchers. The joint still sports the original bar from when the building was converted from a boarding house into a saloon in 1885. Built in Boston, the bar was shipped around Cape Horn in the days long before the Panama Canal.

The Blind Burro

The Blind Burro

639 J St, San Diego, CA 92101

You’ll find everything from domestic beers and wine to craft cocktails and an impressive tequila menu at this hip Baja-style eatery a block from the park. The Blind Burro menu features lots of Mexican favorites with plenty of fresh ingredients, two types of guacamole, and way too many tacos to try in one sitting (including lobster, beef tongue, and local fish). Look for game day specials.

Social Tap

Social Tap

815 J St #101, San Diego, CA 92101

This game-day mainstay prides itself on being one of the prime pre- and post-game hangouts for Padres fans. As Social Tap's back porch looks into Petco Park, it’s easy to see why fans would feel at home here. That’s just the beginning, though. Patrons can get their fix of the home team on any of three patios or inside watching 27 TVs up to 110 inches.

Nason’s Beer Hall

Nason’s Beer Hall

570 J St, San Diego, CA 92101

Those looking for more refined surroundings will be drawn to this elegant bar at the Pendry San Diego, a 317-room hotel just two blocks from Petco Park. Beginning with their Padres opening day pre-game party, patrons at Nason's Beer Hall can avail themselves of an impressive local and international beer selection, classic cocktails, and gourmet eats including house-made barbecue potato chips, a jerky flight, lager mussels and local fish.

The Nolen

The Nolen

453 Sixth Ave, San Diego, CA 92101

The Nolen is another option for anyone seeking to enjoy a few moments before or after the game in a setting far from the average sports bar or ballpark bleachers. This much-lauded rooftop bar and lounge is perched 14 stories above the Gaslamp District. There are no hotdogs here—but with prosciutto-wrapped shrimp, tuna poke, and chili-glazed meatballs, foodie baseball fans should do alright.

Trevor Hoffman

Petco Park Eats

The area around Petco Park is stacked with delicious food and drink options. And just to make your decision process even tougher, so is the park itself. Petco Park can safely brag that it has some of the best ballpark food of any stadium—just ask Baseball Hall of Famer Trevor Hoffman. Locals will recognize that the ice cream sandwiches, double-bacon cheeseburgers, craft beer, pulled pork sandwiches, fish tacos, sushi, and other items are all from beloved local establishments.

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