Romantic Bars in San Diego
Credit: Arlene Ibarra

Slip on Your Little Black Dress—These 7 Bars in San Diego Are Perfect for a Little ‘Roleplay’

Spice Things Up With Your S/O at These Moody Hotspots

Ready for a sexy night out in San Diego? From the Gaslamp Quarter to La Jolla, San Diego’s bar scene is full of unique gems that set the scene for a sultry evening out on the town. That said, if you’re hoping to spark some romance and spice things up, what better place to visit than a speakeasy? These immersive and moody establishments can easily transport you to another time and place, encouraging you to let loose and maybe even dabble in some innocent (or maybe not so innocent) roleplay. Ready to get into character? Here’s our list of the seven most romantic bars and speakeasies in San Diego. It’s time to break out that little black dress.

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Young Blood

Romantic Bars in San Diego - Young Blood
Credit: Arlene Ibarra

Young Blood is without a doubt one of the most exclusive speakeasies in San Diego. Upon arrival, guests must walk through a fake refrigerator and down a short hallway before reaching the bar. The marble sculptures and crystal glassware create a timeless atmosphere while the high ceilings ensure that a sense of grandiosity remains. A complimentary welcome glass of champagne is the perfect pregame to help you loosen up and channel your inner dominatrix (or sexy librarian, if that’s more your thing). The cocktails are just as stunning as the decor, ranging from classic Negronis that are dressed to the nines to craft libations topped with caviar. For 90 minutes, lovebirds can cozy up in one of the velvet booths for a little privacy or pretend they just met for a passionate evening of spontaneous roleplay.


Raised by Wolves

Romantic Bars in San Diego - Raised by Wolves
Credit: Arlene Ibarra

Raised by Wolves in La Jolla is the perfect place to warm up with a whiskey tasting. The Old-World decor transports couples to a more glamorous time while the bright, round bar serves as the focal point at the center of the room. Whether you choose to cozy up in a plush booth or grab two barstools, you’re guaranteed some great people-watching (which might serve as some inspiration for your roleplay). When it comes to cocktails, the Rattlesnake Venom is surprisingly refreshing–it’s made with rum, lime, dates and pineapple juice. If you’re looking for something extra extravagant, go for one of the reserve cocktails like the $800 Vintage Old Fashioned. If that doesn’t set the mood, we don’t know what will.





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After walking through the hexagon doorway, guests are greeted by stone walls, dim lighting and tufted leather booths. Though there are plenty of places to post up for a quick cocktail, Starlite also operates as a full restaurant, making it the ideal spot for an appetizer to your main event. The Alaskan Gentleman is a bourbon-forward concoction made with coffee and hand-whipped maple cream; despite its name, it’s the perfect drink for an evening of bad behavior. If bubbles are more your game, sit at the glowing bar and whisper sweet nothings in each other’s ears while sipping on a glass of prosecco. The stars will quickly align…you’ll see. 


Oculto 477

Known as the temple of cocktails, Oculto 477 encourages you to worship your partner from head to toe with its occult decor and spooky vibes. Considering it is located right next door to a cemetery, Oculto 477 is the perfect place to explore some spirits–in your cocktails, that is. The innovative mixologists never fail to impress in both presentation and taste, but the Manzatini served in a miniature bathtub is a must-order that might even inspire a romantic bubble bath later in the evening. Oculto 477 also makes a mean mocktail that can be personalized with some of your favorite seasonal ingredients. 



Megan Jane Burgess
Credit: Megan Jane Burgess

The recently opened Botanica is North Park’s premier spot to enjoy a boozy evening of flirty fun with your boo.The botanical-inspired setting features velvet green booths and curtains, and the exterior of the building is even adorned in whimsical green artwork. Embark on a culinary journey with the chef’s choice omakase for a tasty introduction to six different dishes. The La Belle is a beautiful cocktail made with Genever, sparkling wine, aloe vera liqueur, amaro and lemon, but the tableside G&T cart allows you to create your own masterpiece. If you’re hoping to “wine down” after some cocktails, order a bottle of red to get into the roleplaying spirit. 


Madam Bonnies

There’s nothing like some smooth jazz and craft cocktails to start a spark. Madam Bonnies is a Gaslamp speakeasy located in a historic building that has been around since the 1920s. This elegant jazz club is said to be haunted, adding a somewhat spooky feel to your sultry evening. If you’re a gin fan, go for The Kisser cocktail–a refreshing drink made with gin, elderflower, agave and a few other fruity ingredients. You can also come early for happy hour, which runs Tuesday through Saturday from 4:30 to 6 p.m., to enjoy some discounted sliders, fries and well drinks. 


Fifth & Rose

Romantic Bars in San Diego - Fifth & Rose
Credit: Pendry San Diego

Located within the Pendry San Diego in the Gaslamp Quarter, Fifth & Rose is a modern cocktail bar with an upscale vibe. The color scheme is primarily black and white, making Fifth & Rose the ultimate backdrop for a classic red lip-and-little black dress combo. You’ll find cozy candles and stunning red roses on each table, setting the scene for a candlelit cocktail soiree. Start with the Fifth and Rosemary for a zesty and fresh libation made from tequila, rosemary, passionfruit and sparkling wine. If you’re hungry, spice things up with shishito peppers or indulge in some caviar service with blinis and cream.

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Allie Lebos graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2017 with a BA in Communication. While in school she was a staff writer at The Daily Nexus for nearly two years. Since graduating she has written for The Palisades Magazine, as well as Hidden Hills Magazine. Currently living in Santa Monica, Allie loves to indulge in good food, hot yoga, and daily walks along the beach; writing articles on travel, special events, as well as features on local businesses and individuals.




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