A Guide to San Diego’s Secret Bars
Time-travel back to the days of Prohibition any time you enter one of San Diego’s secret bars. Speakeasies are popping up all over San Diego, and these eight will instantly immerse you in the debauchery of the Jazz Age — without even breaking the law. Sip sumptuous, old-school libations, take in the intimate ambiance, and admire some of the best and most unexpected design details in San Diego’s mixology scene.
Oculto 477 is a respectful homage to mixologists of the past, including the pre-Prohibition and Prohibition eras, as well as the neighboring cemetery. A dress code and etiquette code are politely enforced (gentlemen, no baseball hats or flip-flops), and there’s a dedicated mezcal tasting room. The menu is arranged based on the style of cocktail, whether “sippers” or a punch bowl.
Secret Tip: The entrance is hidden in Tahona. We won’t tell you exactly where, of course — in this case, finding it is half the fun.
2414 San Diego Ave, San Diego, CA 92110 (4.8 miles from the hotel)
False Idol is home to more than 200 varieties of rum — a nod to the immersive Tiki theme — as well as a flaming volcano that can “erupt” at any minute. (It can also be set off by anyone who orders the Alkala the Fierce cocktail.) A grotto, wood carvings, and a waterfall are just a few of the other creative and immersive details.
Secret Tip: Reach the venue via a walk-in refrigerator in the back of Little Italy’s Craft & Commerce restaurant.
675 W Beech St, San Diego, CA 92101 (5.2 miles from the hotel)
Room 56 is the secret speakeasy at Moxy San Diego. It hides behind a bookcase, which you will access only after conferring with the resident “librarian” and receiving the highly guarded password. Among its inventive cocktails are the Martha Mary Mercy sour, with St. George All Purpose Vodka, vanilla orgeat, blackberry, and lemon, and the food menu’s six shared items rotate daily.
Secret Tip: Access the password on the rather mysteriously designed webpage. Text it to the number provided in order to ensure you’ll make it inside.
831 Sixth Ave, San Diego, CA 92101 (6.1 miles from the hotel)
Located in the Gaslamp neighborhood, Prohibition is styled as a vintage law office owned by a man by the name of Eddie O’Hare. Once inside, you’ll be immersed in a secret underground location, with an old-time ambiance and masterfully crafted cocktails.
Secret Tip: Find the door to Eddie O’Hare’s law office on Fifth Avenue to enter the speakeasy.
548 Fifth Avenue San Diego, CA 92101 (6.3 miles from the hotel)
Looking for an intimate and exclusive bar serving unique libations among a wall of skulls? Noble Experiment is waiting for you. A reservation is the only way to get a seat in the immaculately appointed space, located inside Neighborhood eatery, in East Village.
Secret Tip: The entrance of the speakeasy is through a wall of empty kegs, stacked along the wall near the restrooms.
777 G St, San Diego, CA 92101 (6.3 miles from the hotel)
Bar Three Piece
If you’re hanging out in North Park, dip into Seven Grand Whiskey Bar for a large selection of whiskey. Need more selection? Head to the back to find Bar Three Piece, a speakeasy nestled inside Seven Grand Whiskey Bar, home to over 250 patiently curated bottles of vintage iconic whiskey. In addition to whiskey, Nicaraguan cigars are available for purchase and paired with a drink of your choosing to be enjoyed on a private smoking patio.
Secret Tip: Find a bottle you love? Bar Three Piece offers a Private Bottle Locker Program, which allows you to purchase your own bottle of whiskey and have it held in a locker for your enjoyment upon each visit.
3054 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92104 (11.9 miles from the hotel)
Realm of the 52 Remedies
This 45-seat speakeasy is Kearny Mesa’s newest hotspot. Your journey starts in a white room decorated as a futuristic apothecary, inspired by an ancient manuscript of recipes and remedies stemming from ancient Chinese medicine. Continuing into the drinking den, guests are led down a portal to the past to find opulent seating, dramatic decorations and overhead sculptures to further enhance the spectacle created inside the Realm of 52 Remedies.
Secret Tip: The four-seat “Emperor’s Bar” inside the Realm of 52 Remedies offers exclusive access to a collection of premium spirits.
4805 Convoy Street, San Diego, CA 92111 (13.5 miles away)
Raised By Wolves
Recently named “Cocktail Bar of the Year” in Imbibe magazine, Raised by Wolves sits rather anachronistically in a mall, but is all nostalgia on the inside — think frescoes, polished cabinets, marble-tiled floors, and all-around dazzling design. It’s even got a rotating bar, where seasoned bartenders whip up cocktails like the Twilight Samurai (whisky, bitters, star anise, and pear eau-de-vie).
Secret Tip: This one is fittingly tucked into a liquor store, specifically, a revolving wall attached to a hidden fireplace.
4301 La Jolla Village Dr #2030, San Diego, CA 92122 (13.7 miles from the hotel)
Plan Your Trip
Now that you know where to order your drinks, it’s time to start planning your visit. Start by checking out the exclusive offers at Best Western Plus Island Palms Hotel & Marina.