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The Best Happy Hour in 10 San Diego Neighborhoods

Thrillist logo Thrillist 7/30/2021 Erin Jackson and Mary Beth Abate

a bowl of food on a table

© Draft Republic
Where happy hour deals are concerned, San Diego restaurants and bars really know how to bring it. But, deciding where to go can sometimes cut into your deeply discounted eating and drinking time, and that’s simply unacceptable. To help narrow down the multitude of options, we’re presenting 15 choices for happy hour that slay the competition in their respective neighborhoods: a glass of wine sitting on top of a table © OB Brewery

Ocean Beach

Ocean Beach Brewery

Happy hour: Monday–Friday 3–6 pm

Take advantage of relaxing rooftop vibes just a stone’s throw from the Ocean Beach Pier at OB Brewery. During happy hour, they serve craft beers for $3 off, and take $2 off “Happytizers” like Tres Tres Nachos—house-fried tortilla chips topped with spicy, beer-brined chicken breast, house-made nacho beer cheese, sour cream, and pico de gallo—along with all the free hippie vibes and glorious sunsets you can handle.

South Beach Bar & Grille 

Happy hour: Monday-Friday 3-6pm, plus other daily specials

Craving tacos? This beachfront taco shop is where you want to be for mahi, wahoo, or classic Baja tacos priced at $2.95 apiece, and a full complement of cheap drinks, ranging from shots ($7 for Patron Silver) to mimosas ($4), Mai Tais ($7) and margaritas ($5 for traditional, $7 for coconut with pineapple).

a close up of a sandwich on a plate © DAVANTI ENOTECA

Little Italy

King and Queen Cantina

Happy hour: Monday–Friday 11 am–6 pm and 9 pm–close; Saturday–Sunday 2–6pm and 9 pm–close

King and Queen Cantina brings the atmosphere of a Latin cantina to Little Italy—with plenty of happy hour options and skyline views of downtown. Bottled beers are $5; house wines, well drinks, and sangria are $8; and rocks margaritas in flavors like tamarindo, cucumber, and pomegranate are $10. More than two dozen food options, from oysters on the half shell to smashed burgers run $6-10.

Davanti Enoteca 

Happy hour: Daily 3–6 pm

Davanti Enoteca might not immediately spring to mind when you’re craving a happy hour deal, but that’s probably because you’re not aware of the bacon jam-, confit tomato-, arugula-, aioli-, and griddled cheese curd-topped burger that can be yours (with shoestring fries) for $11 during happy hour ($5 off the regular price). Add a boozy drink of your choice, like draft beer, house wine, wells, sangria, or a martini (priced between $5 and $7) and you’re good to go.

a room full of tables and chairs © Draft Republic

La Jolla

Draft Republic

Happy hour: Tuesday–Friday, 3–6 pm, Saturday–Sunday, 2–6 pm, plus great daily specials

Sports fans love this place for its 100” projection screen, along with pool tables, ping pong, and retro video games to provide ample entertainment during commercial breaks and for the non-sports minded folks. Happy hour deals include $2 off drafts, $6 select wines and well drinks, and a half dozen snacks at $7, or any burger or sandwich, a draft, fries, and a small house salad for a measly $19.95. Check the Carlsbad location’s website for their happy hour and daily deals.

a slice of pizza sitting on top of a wooden cutting board © Photo courtesy of The Presley

Liberty Station

Dirty Birds

Happy hour: Monday–Friday, 3-6pm, plus great daily specials

A perennial favorite on various “Best Wings'' lists, Dirty Birds offers 37 different wing sauces,  and at happy hour half price, you can afford to try all of them, plus you can add select pitchers of beer for half price too. Daily specials include $18.95 all-you-can-eat wings on Mondays after 6 pm and all-day happy hour on Tuesdays. Check out their weekend special—$3 Mimosas, $12 champagne bottles, $5 Stella pints, $15 Stella pitchers, $18 buckets, and $5 Svedka shots. Other Dirty Birds can be found in Pacific Beach, College Area, and Ocean Beach, plus a newly opened UCSD venue, which has an abbreviated menu and different daily specials.

The Presley

Happy hour: Monday–Friday 3–6 pm

The Presley makes the most of its nearly 2,100-square feet of dedicated outdoor dining area and features classic American fare and playful beverages incorporating twists on classic cocktails. Happy hour specials include $5 Buena Cerveza, Presley lager and house wines, plus all flatbreads are just $10.

a bunch of food on a plate © Photo courtesy of STK

Gaslamp Quarter

STK Steakhouse

Happy Hour: Monday–Friday, 3–6:30 pm

Head to this sleek, modern take on a traditional steakhouse to unwind and save on bites like beef tartare and a giant wagyu meatball for just $7, or tuna tartare tacos, crispy calamari, and jalapeño pickled shrimp cocktail all for $8. Dynamic speciality cocktails are half-off during happy hour and glasses of Justin Cabernet and Whispering Angel Rose are $10.

Upper East

Happy hour: Monday–Thursday, 5–7 pm

This rooftop pool bar is beautiful day or night, but for a luxe experience at bargain prices, their happy hour pours $8 cocktails, $6 draft beers and house wines, and $5 canned beers. On Wednesdays, they do $5 Aperol spritzes at 5 pm, $6 spritzes at 6 pm, and $7 spritzes at 7 pm, plus trivia with prizes from 6:30–8:30 pm. Feeling flush with cash? Poolside loungers and private cabanas can be booked through the chief concierge at 619-819-9583 for a daily fee, which includes pool access and amenities.

a group of people standing in front of a building © The Blind Burro

East Village

The Blind Burro

Happy hour: Monday, Wednesday–Friday, 3–6 pm 

The Blind Burro serves authentic south of the border street food with a modern flair and flaunts an extensive collection of tequilas, mezcals, bacanoras, and raicillas. Hit them up at happy hour for $4.50 Buena Cerveza, $5 house wine and well drinks, and $6 house margs, plus TJ dogs and fries, corn and poblano flautas, crispy calamari, and more for $5-10 each. Taco Tuesdays run from 6 pm to closing and include $8, $9, and $10 taco twofers, $6 margaritas and $9 Dobel Diamante tequila shots, and Thursdays feature $17 bottomless sangria from 6 pm to close.

Half Door Brewing Co.

Happy hour: Monday–Friday, 4–6 pm (except on Padres home game days).

This charming Irish countryside pub serves up more than fifteen fresh brews that range from saisons to barleywines, along with wells and wine for $5, specialty cocktails for $8, and bites like mac and cheese, truffle fries and the Infamous Bowl (crispy chicken, roasted corn, cheddar cheese, onion ale gravy, and garlic mash potatoes) for $5-12.

a bowl of food on a plate © The Rabbit Hole

Normal Heights

The Rabbit Hole

Happy hour: Monday–Friday, 5–7 pm

Chill sports-watching with great food and giant games bring Normal Heights locals to The Rabbit Hole for $6 select local drafts and house wine by the glass, $7 select specialty cocktails, and a short list of half-priced appetizers, at workday-friendly hours.

a pizza sitting on top of a wooden table © Blade 1936

Oceanside

Blade 1936

Happy hour: Tuesday all day; Wednesday–Sunday 4–6 pm

Housed in the old Oceanside Blade-Tribune and News building, Blade 1936 offers modern takes on Neapolitan cuisine, along with stunning ocean views. Sip house wines for $6.50 or the cocktail of the month for $8, alongside sharable bites like margarita pizza and arancini Siciliani for $7-11.

University Heights

Cantina Mayahuel

Happy hour: Monday all day; Tuesday–Friday 12–6 pm

Introduce yourselves to tequila’s sexier, smokier cousin at Cantina Mayahuel, where over 100 different mezcals, sotols, bacanoras, and racillas line the wall behind the bar and happy hour is one of the longest in the city. Modelo Negro and Tecate cans are a mere $3; margaritas, palomas, and shots are just $5.50 and can be made with tequila blanco, reposado, or mezcal joven. Order a couple of plates of street tacos at three for $8 and you’ve got the quintessential San Diego happy hour experience.

a person sitting at a table with a plate of food © Puesto

Mission Valley

Puesto Cervecería 

Happy hour: Monday, Wednesday–Friday, 3–5 pm

The Puesto empire has expanded again with Puesto Cerveceria in Mission Valley, where they’ve opened their first brewery, focusing on Mexican lagers. Happy hour specials include $1.50 off all tacos, $9 Puesto Perfect Margaritas, $5 Puesto drafts, and half-priced snacks & shareable plates like chicken or potato taquitos, esquite, and chicharrones.

Want more Thrillist? Follow us on InstagramTwitterPinterestYouTubeTikTok, and Snapchat.Mary Beth Abate is a San Diego-based freelance writer by way of Chicago and Los Angeles. Her hobbies include yoga, pickling and fermenting stuff, reading cookbooks and drinking fabulous gin. Keep up with her experiments @MaryBeth_Abate.

Erin Jackson is a contributor for Thrillist. 

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