We Found the Best Places to Drink and Eat Your Appetizers Happily
Written By: Jordan Ligons and Kari Voyln San Diego Happy Hour
Act like Trey Songz and “Say Aah” to happy hour drink specials in and around America’s Finest City. Whether it is a tough day at work or a reason to rejoice—we’ve all been there. Just around the time that five o’clock shadow hits, you could be hitting one of these 10 restaurants to quench your thirst and wind down. Watch the sunset with your group of besties and clink to the quickly approaching weekend and, please, do not be afraid to turn into the salsa-dancing woman emoji by the end of the night. Celebrate happy hour, the best hour, at one of these spots near you.
There’s nothing more San Diego than a modern, coastal feel. Lionfish brings love of the sea with a modern twist to San Diego’s exciting Gaslamp District. Now featuring a delicious new happy hour menu, Lionfish is sure to quench anyone’s thirst for something delicious. On Monday through Friday, from 5 to 7 p.m., enjoy a delicious menu of treats and drinks. From $1 oysters to a menu of $8 classics, like their delicious pork belly “BLT”, there is something to satisfy any appetite. Come and try their new hand rolls made specifically for happy hour. Snack on a baked crab or salmon roll while sipping on one of their fresh, handmade cocktails made by their talented mixologists. Drink specials will include $8 featured cocktails, $7 wines and $5 draft beers, sure to get your post-work evening started.
Native Knowledge: The restaurant is centrally located in the beautiful Pendry Hotel. Stop inside and chill in the swanky, art deco decor.
435 Fifth Ave #2
San Diego, CA 92101
Happy hour at King & Queen Cantina is all about being fresh, fast and flavorful! Everything on the menu—from the 16 different margaritas to the variety of tacos—is made daily from scratch. Only the freshest fruits and vegetables go into the margaritas with the most popular being fresh mango, cucumber and pomegranate. All the sauces are made in the restaurant as are the tortilla chips. Known for korean tacos with roasted pork belly, other happy hour specials include shrimp ceviche, veggies tacos, chicken enchiladas, Tinga taquitos and nachos. Happy hour is from 3 to 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. to closing, but best of all, Monday is happy hour pricing all day long!
Native Knowledge: The Catina spins great Latin music; we dare you to stay in your seat once the rhythm hits you!
1490 Kettner Blvd
San Diego, CA 92101
With two locations, Café 21 doubles the fun for happy hour. You can count on a fresh choice from their ever-changing sangria options for 50 percent off goblets, flights and pitchers and you can also enjoy half-off select local and imported draft beer. Try their tapas in 17 different varieties to make your hour a little happier. They are $6 each or, at the Gaslamp location, choose four for $21: short rib potato pancake (most popular), fondue and spinach crepe are only a few to choose from—good luck with that decision.
Native Knowledge: They use all natural, hormone free and free-range meat—everything in their kitchen is 100 percent organic and made from scratch. Swing by and try their gluten-free cider and beer, too!
2736 Adams Ave
San Diego, CA 92116
802 Fifth Ave
San Diego, CA 92121
Grab a barstool during Bankers Hill’s happy hours Monday to Friday from 4:30-6 p.m. and enjoy the fruity flavors of the most popular cocktail or sangria of the day. Let decadent wooden walls surround you as you munch on their truffled French fries for $6.50. Don’t worry; the game will be playing on the bar’s flat screen television, stylishly bordered by mounted deer heads—they are there to celebrate the end of the workday with you!
Native Knowledge: Co-owner Terryl Gavre is a big art lover, so much so that she is responsible for two of the restaurant’s chandeliers. One is made with wine bottles and goblets she has collected over the years.
2202 Fourth Ave
San Diego, CA 92101
Enjoy the Gaslamp Quarter view from Rustic Root’s rooftop seating during their happy hour with a drink in hand—maybe an It Will Hit You Like A 75MM Field Gun for those Monday blues or the Sex in the City is Back to welcome the weekend. Either way, take $2 off their timeless cocktails. Also, try any of their craft cocktails in a shot, topped with a slice of lemon or lime.
Native Knowledge: Guests can learn a little something when they order from the bar. The timeless cocktails are named after the year they were originated, like the popular 1941 Moscow Mule with Russian standard vodka.
535 Fifth Ave
San Diego, CA 92101
This sizzling Texas-born restaurant came to San Diego in 2014 and their “farm to pizza” catchphrase has made some noise. Halcyon Coffee + Bar is an addition to Stella that has an extended happy hour at 4-6:30 p.m. Take $2 off small plates and sip on draft beer, wine and cocktail specials during the workweek. Try the Mule on Fire for a burst of flavor of Chareau Aloevera liqueur.
Native Knowledge: Get your cameras ready—Stella Public House just opened a new location in San Marcos and it is so Insta-worthy.
250 North City Dr, Ste 3
San Diego, CA 92096
TWENTY/20 invites you to happy hour seven days a week! Take $2 off more than 15 specialty cocktails while house wine pours are $6. Starters, like their signature house seasoned chips with bacon onion dip, are discounted too and will go great with a well drink or draft beer for $4.
Native Knowledge: TWENTY/20 is Sheraton Carlsbad Resort & Spa’s signature restaurant and is perched on Carlsbad’s highest point. The breathtaking views make for a perfect happy hour backdrop.
5480 Grand Pacific Dr
Carlsbad, CA 92008
The relaxed beach atmosphere offers happy hour 365 days a year. You can indulge in $2 off select pints and take $6 off any pitcher from 3-6 p.m. Beers are in constant rotation here, but the local Artifex Brewery’s Board and Brew Honey Blonde Ale always stays in the mix. Known for their specialty sandwiches, avid visitors rave about their sweet and sour sauce and say it is a must try.
Native Knowledge: Since 1979, Board and Brew has grown around San Diego County with the original location in Del Mar. They have recently opened a new Pacific Beach location to spread the sandwich love!
201 Oak Ave
San Diego, CA 92008
Plush decor and coastal views will keep you coming back for more at the Living Room Bar at L’Auberge Del Mar. Sunday to Thursday enjoy handcrafted cocktails like an Blackberry Margarita for a discounted price from 3-6 p.m. Maybe dip your chips in some $3 specialty onion dip or bite into their beef sliders. After all the fun you’re having, you’ll want to stay an extra half-hour to listen to live music on Thursday-Sunday nights.
Native Knowledge: L’Auberge Del Mar also offers Bleu Bar, which is adjacent to the pool (accessorized with a stunning Pacific Ocean view), KITCHEN 1540 where you can enjoy your unforgettable meal and Coastline where bubbles, bites and brews await.
1540 Camino Del Mar
Del Mar, CA 92014
Whiskey, craft beer and eats. That’s their slogan and their happy hour works in that order, too. The Lumberyard Tavern spoils their customers by having two separate happy hours to dish out an Old Fashion from their bourbon bar. Monday to Friday from 3-7 p.m. they have $5 house martinis and house wines as well as $3 well drinks and $2 off all appetizers. For starters, the grilled salmon skewers with roasted bell peppers are the best steal. And for those who love a late night deal, Friday and Saturday from 10:30 p.m. until close is an extra time to score those same specials.
Native Knowledge: The secret is out—The Lumberyard Tavern actually has a killer breakfast menu, too. With $3 Bloody Marys, mimosas and a large dog-friendly patio, this is your place to be in the morning and at night.
967 S Coast Hwy 101 Ste 101
Encinitas, CA 92024
Johnny V has a happenin’ Friday night happy hour. The 5-8 p.m. slot is a great time to put a cherry on top of the week with $4 well drinks and $3 house wines. Their classic strawberry colada, full of flavor, comes with a complimentary appetizer from 4 to 10 p.m. Try the beef sliders or fish tacos as a great sidekick to your drink of choice.
Native Knowledge: Do you have mad beer pong skills? It’s free to play at Johnny V. Last year, the beer pong champ won $10, 000 in their competition, so start practicing!
945 Garnet Ave
San Diego, CA 92109
Treat your senses to Taste and Thirst. Daily, one can enjoy half off the entire drink menu and tapas 3 p.m.-midnight. Have a taste for something sweet? The Passion Royale is a go-to with champagne, passion fruit vodka and a splash of cranberry. Yelp reviewer ‘Efe’ gave their happy hour five stars and suggests you try the TNT Strips & Fries. They are one of the 15 appetizers starting at $3. Beer battered and tossed in buffalo sauce, I would trust him, if I were you.
Native Knowledge: Taste and Thirst is family owned and operated. Rodney Daylamy is the eldest of four siblings that have been in the hospitality business for 20 plus years. Growing up in San Diego, they worked at their mother’s local restaurant the Daily Grind Café.
715 Fourth Ave
San Diego, CA 92101
Here’s to Happy Hour in SD