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Serious Fun: A Day Drinking Guide

10 great places to enjoy an adult beverage in the morning and afternoon–not just at night

Nightlife glows in San Diego. Additionally, the city’s year-round sun-and-sand vibe will also have you seeking out bars and restaurants suitable for daytime drinks and noshes. Downtown, as well as up and down the coast, offers a bevy of barstools and beachside tables ready to quench your thirst. Here are 10 cool spots to enjoy a margarita, sip a Bloody Mary or discover local craft beer and cocktails.

Barleymash

Where: 600 Fifth Ave #6916, San Diego, CA 92101

On any night of the week, the biggest downtown crowds flock to Barleymash. At Fifth and Market, the spacious pub is located in the geographic heart of the Gaslamp Quarter (now part of a new pedestrian-friendly Promenade). Watch the big game on an abundance of TVs. Savor the progressive pub grub. Or, enjoy the people watching inside or outside the bar’s retractable garage-style windows.

Brigantine

Where: 3263 Camino Del Mar, Del Mar, CA 92014

The Del Mar Brigantine is a special location in this seafood-and-oyster-bar chain. Its indoor and outdoor space sits on a hill above the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club (with two horse-racing seasons during the year). Order a Bloody Mary, nosh on grilled marinated swordfish and keep tabs on the winners at the nearby racetrack.

Crackheads

Where: 430 Carlsbad Village Dr, Carlsbad, CA 92008

Find the outdoorsy fun at this playfully named sandwich counter/cocktail bar in Carlsbad. Located near a Coaster train stop and built from reclaimed shipping containers, it’s a lively Happy Hour spot where people order egg sandwiches (hence the name), and try spirited adult beverages like the Cracksicle (which tastes like an ice cream bar) or a DQ Orange Julius.

Casa de Reyes

Where: 2754 Calhoun St, San Diego, CA 92110

Old Town is a historic park setting near downtown San Diego where Mexican mariachis roam and traditional folklorico dancing dancing enlivens the vibe. Casa de Reyes serves Mexican fare with flair. Order your specialty margaritas–using 100-percent blue agave tequila–by the glass, pitcher or in a 21-ounce collector’s glass.

JRDN

Where: 723 Felspar St, San Diego, CA 92109

JRDN restaurant occupies an outdoor patio at Tower23 hotel in Pacific Beach. It’s a hip location offering views of the ocean and front-row seats to a colorful parade of humanity on the PB boardwalk. Along with sushi rolls or a lobster BLT, enjoy the beachy ambiance with a special cocktail list that includes a gin-infused Churchill’s Chokehold or an Appleton rum Puddle Jumper.

Lahaina Beach House

Where: 710 Oliver Ct, San Diego, CA 92109

Look up “beach bar” in a dictionary (a cool, modern dictionary) and you could aptly find a photo of Lahaina. Locals love the spot as a place to drink outdoors on the wooden beachside deck and catch the day’s sunset. Nothing fancy here, just cold beer, big burritos and an authentic-as-there-is beach vibe, on the border of Pacific and Mission beaches.

Mike Hess Brewery

Where: 879 W Harbor Dr Suite W14-E, San Diego, CA 92101

Seaport Village is a revamped collection of downtown shops and eateries; one of the most picturesque places to sip and survey its bayside surroundings is Mike Hess Brewing. Two dozen craft beers are matched on the menu with an extensive list of tacos. Try to score a spot on the second-floor balcony that offers views of Navy ships, recreational boaters and the bustling Embarcadero.

Ortega's Mexican Bistro

Where: 141 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92103

Ortega’s is a Mexican Bistro in the heart of Hillcrest’s thriving LGBTQ scene. The restaurant’s dining experience focuses on Puerto Nuevo lobster and tableside-made guacamole. At the Cantina Bar, try a pomegranate Margarita or choose from a wide selection of tequilas, spirits and Mexican beers.

South Beach Bar & Grille

Where: 5059 Newport Ave, San Diego, CA 92107

Don’t get geographically spun around, but South Beach restaurant is located in laid-back Ocean Beach. At the end of palm-lined Newport Avenue near the Pacific Ocean, people come in droves for the renowned Mahi fish tacos. Wash them down at Happy Hour with a South Beach Mai Tai or a Patron slushie.

The Kitchen at MCASD

Where: 700 Prospect St, San Diego, CA 92037

The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego in ritzy La Jolla has a lush courtyard eatery that serves as a perfect complement to the distinguished museum. Look through the galleries, then grab a table and enjoy a tea, smoothie or choose from boozy cocktail options like a traditional Bloody Mary or something from the eclectic wine list.

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