Secret Sips: The Coolest San Diego Speakeasies
Once upon a time, popping out for a drink was a very risky affair. Prohibition was in effect in the United States beginning in 1920, effectively banning alcohol consumption. Because of this, an entire subculture of speakeasies (a.k.a. undercover bars) popped up practically overnight. Those in search of a little liquid recreation had to sneak their sips surreptitiously if they wanted to knock back a few with their friends. Even though Prohibition was repealed in 1933, the appeal of these hugh-hugh hideaways never went away. Today, these incognito inns will instantly transport you back to the debauchery of the Jazz Age, all on the right side of the law. Want the low-down on San Diego speakeasies? Here’s your insiders’ guide.
Oculto 477 (3.9 miles)
Oculto 477 is the world’s first cemetery-adjacent speakeasy! Those with a flair for the macabre will love this location. The “477” in the name is a tribute to the 477 souls interred at the Old Town cemetery right next door. The drinks are potent, the vibe is just a little creepy, and the company is undeniably unique. Fair warning: Dress codes and etiquette codes are politely enforced (no baseball hats or flip-flops, please). But once you locate the entrance, don’t miss enjoying the dedicated mezcal tasting room and punch bowls.
2414 San Diego Ave, San Diego, CA 92110
Noble Experiment (4.3 miles)
This hidden hotspot made its name by mixing up unique libations among a wall of skulls. As one of the city’s longest-running covert cocktail clubs, Noble Experiment can always be counted on for supremely stealthy debauchery you’ll remember for years to come. However, a word of advice: 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. When you arrive, you just might uncover the entrance through a wall of empty kegs stacked near the restrooms. But we’re not telling.
777 G St, San Diego, CA 92101
Bar Three Piece (4.4 miles)
Seven Grand Whiskey Bar is famous for their robust selection of the eponymous spirit. Still, if you’d like something a little different, head to the back. There you’ll find Bar Three Piece, home to over 250 patiently curated bottles of vintage spirits. Enjoy Nicaraguan cigars paired with your drink of choice. Even better, if you have a personal favorite, Bar Three Piece offers a Private Bottle Locker Program, which allows you to purchase your own bottle and have it held in a locker for your private indulgence upon each visit.
3054 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92104
MOTHERSHIP (5.9 miles)
MOTHERSHIP is a space-inspired speakeasy that explores bold, tropical, out-of-this-world flavors in an ambience that’s truly atmospheric. Once you discover it, you’ll step into a sci-fi-lovers paradise; one with a creative design and undeniable vibe that’s made it one of the most-talked-about spots among locals since opening in 2022. Need to find your way inside? Open the door at the corner of Juniper and 30th Street. Then, just make like an astronaut and explore. You’ll find your way.
2310 30th St, San Diego, CA 92104
Realm of the 52 Remedies (6.4 miles)
Your adventure begins inside a futuristic apothecary with décor inspired by an ancient manuscript of traditional Chinese elixir recipes. Guests are led to the drinking den to discover sumptuous seating, an intriguing ambience, and a mixology menu of potent potions. If you’re lucky, you may even score a seat at their speakeasy-within-a-speakeasy. The four-seat “Emperor’s Bar” inside The Realm offers exclusive access to a collection of premium spirits.
4805 Convoy Street, San Diego, CA 92111
The Grass Skirt (7.7 miles)
The Grass Skirt is one of the most popular spots within the city’s Polynesian bar scene. You’ll know you’re in the right place when you enter a space festively festooned with torches, tiki art, and — of course — hula skirts. The menu is brimming with deceptively potent punches and flaming potions, as well. And in contrast to other San Diego speakeasies, The Grass Skirt has an excellent food menu full of island-style eats. So come hungry, and leave satisfied.
910 Grand Ave, San Diego, CA 92109
Captain’s Quarters (7.7 miles)
The above-mentioned Grass Skirt has branched out to incorporate a new speakeasy just next to their original secret spot in Pacific Beach. Captain’s Quarters is a buccaneer’s bacchanal, with pirate-themed décor, drinks, and atmosphere. It’s one of the city’s newest clandestine taverns, but given its pedigree, it’s also poised to become very popular. So grab a grog, peer out the portholes, and get ready to swashbuckle…secretly.
910 Grand Ave, San Diego, CA 92109
Raised by Wolves (11.6 miles away)
Raised by Wolves is hidden in plain sight. Tucked into a liquor store as a front, look for a revolving wall attached to a hidden fireplace. Once inside, you’ll be immersed in nostalgia — vivid frescoes, polished cabinets and marble-tiled floors are everywhere you look . The rotating bar is where seasoned bartenders will mix up creative cocktails, so grab a seat and order up from their extensive menu of artisanally handcrafted beverages.
4301 La Jolla Village Dr #2030, San Diego, CA 92122
San Diego County Fair (18.6 miles)
No, that’s not a misprint. The San Diego County Fair may be primarily known for carnival rides, midway games, agricultural displays and deep-fried snacks on sticks, but they’re about to welcome an entirely new category of amusements: a pair of on-site speakeasies that will cater to the undercover bar enthusiast in all of us. The Secret ‘Stache and Destination Unknown might not be obvious to the casual observer, but ask around a bit, and we’re sure you’ll find someone who can point you in the right direction.
2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd, Del Mar, CA 92014
Need a place to stay while you explore San Diego’s speakeasies? Days Inn San Diego Hotel Circle is the ideal “home base”. Our central location, welcoming accommodations, and competitive rates will have you sitting pretty from the start. Check our Special Offers for all the latest San Diego travel deals, plan your stay today!