San Diego Nightlife: When it comes to setting the standard for extravagant party nights and nighttime entertainment, nothing beats San Diego nightlife and the hottest parties on California's West Coast. A laid-back beach town like San Diego boasts countless world-class choices, including nightclubs with exhilarating DJs, live international entertainment, comedy, arcade games, and cocktails that are works of art. Party 'til you drop with this guide to the best nightclubs and dance clubs in San Diego.
San Diego nightlife
Located on the Pacific coast of Southern California, approximately 120 miles from Los Angeles and very close to the US -Mexico border, San Diego is known as the Cradle of California .
After the Mexican-American War, the city became part of the United States in 1848. The city has achieved great prestige and importance simply because it hosts great economic activity. Indeed, it is the commercial center of the surrounding area. San Diego's primary businesses are military and defense, international trade, and tourism. This area is of great importance due to the presence of the University of California, which has helped the area transform itself into a center for biotechnology research.
The city's climate makes tourism an important industry. Also, the city is very attractive for tourists due to the large number of entertainment venues. The city has a historical background, and its Spanish and Mexican heritage is still reflected in many of the city's historic sites.
Tourists who visit the city want to enjoy the splendor of the city even at night. Follow the music to San Diego, where the nightlife is one of the most vibrant scenes on the West Coast.
San Diego's nightlife doesn't exactly match that of big cities, but the casual beach town offers a range of exciting options. You can enjoy a Las Vegas , or simply go drinking with friends while sipping signature cocktails and feeling the sea breeze.
San Diego's nightclubs host world-class DJs and craft cocktails are works of art. The dance floors are always filled with people enjoying the bright atmosphere of the city after dark.
Where to go out at night in San Diego
Most of the bars and clubs are located in downtown San Diego, which is therefore the best area to go out at night . After an afternoon at the beach or sightseeing in San Diego, you can complete your perfect day with a night on the town.
The heart of San Diego's nightlife is the lively Gaslamp Quarter , located in downtown. Here are 16 pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods lined with rooftop bars, trendy nightclubs with famous DJs, atmospheric jazz clubs, and hip open-air restaurants.
Many of San Diego's nightclubs offer live music and theater performances with themes ranging from flamenco to burlesque. Elsewhere in the county, you'll also find popular rock clubs, intimate concert halls and a variety of ways to go out and party. The Gaslamp Quarter's many rooftop bars offer great skyline views along with cozy seating, fire pits, and cool cocktails.
Move below street level, as many of the nearby historic buildings have basements (uncommon in California) where you can find other interesting places to spend the night.
The beach communities around San Diego County also offer more casual nightlife opportunities for those looking to enjoy a beer or cocktail with the waves crashing in the background.
Clubs and discos in San Diego
Oxford Social Club (435 Fifth Ave, San Diego)
Open Thursday through Saturday 10pm to 2am.
With its setting, chic atmosphere, and state-of-the-art sound and lighting systems, the Oxford Social Club has established itself as one of San Diego's hottest and most attractive nightclubs . This majestic and exuberant club is located in the heart of the Gaslamp district and crowds come from far and wide to party here. The venue is a chic and lush nightclub that offers the culture, attitude and energy of vibrant 5th Avenue: DJs play and there's a dance floor, but the emphasis is also on conversation and relaxing in comfortable seating areas. Recommended for the best nightlife experience in San Diego .
Belly Up Tavern (143 S Cedros Ave, Solana Beach, San Diego)
Belly Up is an award-winning San Diego nightclub that hosts live music most nights, with a less flashy, more casual atmosphere. From alternative rock, rock, reggae and hip-hop to blues, folk, jazz and Latin, emerging artists and established legends perform here. Recent concerts include The Rolling Stones and Red Hot Chili Peppers. Check the online calendar for upcoming shows where you can even hear a sample or two of the featured band's music.
Moonshine Flats (344 7th Ave, San Diego)
Open Thursday through Saturday 8pm to 2am.
Moonshine Flats are a gem in the Gaslamp Quarter. This 10,000 square foot nightclub features multiple levels, dozens of interactive features, five bars including the longest bar on the West Coast, the largest dance floor in San Diego , two elevated platforms for dance performance artists, The house band in front of a floor-to-ceiling LED screen.
Drink in old barber chairs, play pool and arcade games like Buckhunter and Boxing. Even if country music isn't your thing, you'll love the place. It could be a good way to have fun besides drinking and eating. Moonshine Flats San Diego has a huge wooden dance floor and one of the largest LED screens in the city and has established itself as one of San Diego's best night spots for partying and dancing . The club is distinguished by group dances, live music, rock, pop and world famous DJs spinning top country.
Prohibition (548 Fifth Ave, San Diego)
Open daily 8-1:30pm.
A 1920s inspired speakeasy club for those who want to enjoy a night in the Great Gatsby era. Due to the dress code, no shorts, flip flops, sandals or baseball caps are allowed on Fridays and Saturdays. They also have a creative and unique cocktail menu.
Onyx Room Nightclub (852 Fifth Ave, San Diego)
Open Thursday through Sunday 9-2am.
The Onyx Room is a three-story nightclub in San Diego, one at street level and two below. This nightclub attracts the super cool who want to party with inventive cocktails, and there's plenty of eye candy throughout the room.
Each night features a different style, from jazz to hip hop to old school music (program available online). Usually hip-hop is played on the second floor and house music on the first floor. Avoid beachwear as the Onyx Room upscale nightclub has a dress code and they do sort at the door.
Spin Nightclub (2028 Hancock St, San Diego)
Open Fridays and Saturdays from 10pm to 4am.
Founded in 2009, Spin Nightclub is one of the most popular nightclubs in San Diego and has taken the city's nightlife to a whole new level. It is a large nightclub encompassing over 10,000 square feet and has 3 multi-faceted levels. The venue is huge and prides itself on providing its guests with the best intimate night out experience.
Side Bar San Diego (536 Market Street between 5th &, 6th St, San Diego)
Open Wednesday and Friday to Sunday from 7.30pm to 2am.
A cozy New York-style nightclub and lounge with a glamorous yet intimate atmosphere, famous for its classic sex appeal. Striking metallic finishes blend with warm copper tones and avant-garde floral motifs. Shades of pink and an enchanting botanical feature evoke a whimsical garden atmosphere that will elevate any professional or social event. A series of velvet sofas and leather booths are used both for the tables for serving bottles and for seating.
Sevilla Nightclub (353 Fifth Ave, San Diego)
Open Tuesday through Thursday 8pm to 2am, Friday and Saturday 9pm to 2am.
Sevilla Nightclub is a Latin music nightclub in San Diego that offers an intimate setting, salsa, bachata and merengue lessons, a large dance floor and more. Dance lessons are held Tuesday through Thursday, while top DJs keep the party going in the club over the weekend. Sevilla always tries to extend a unique and exuberant atmosphere with the maximum of Latin, as well as live entertainment and open format DJs.
Phantom Lounge and Nightclub (1014 Fifth Ave #140, San Diego)
Open Monday 6pm to 2am, Tuesday and Wednesday 6pm to 12am, Thursday through Saturday 9pm to 2am.
This nightclub is one of the few nightclubs in San Diego that allows its patrons to smoke hookah. Additionally, Phantom's liquor and cocktail menu is simply unmatched and outstanding. Drink prices are quite reasonable compared to other similar spaces in the city.
Parq Nightclub (615 Broadway, San Diego)
Open Fridays and Saturdays from 10pm to 2am.
The historic Gaslamp Quarter in downtown San Diego has its premier dining and clubbing destination, the Park Restaurant & Nightclub: from the decor, to the ambiance, to the food, Parq Restaurant offers nothing but the best in fine dining, while Parq Nightclub offers the highest standards in nightlife, bringing the best of Las Vegas nightclubs to downtown San Diego.
Guests enter through a majestic Grotto tunnel, which opens up to 10,000 square feet of lush event space. Thus the nightclub space features a large 32-foot LED screen, a 42-foot stage, 2 indoor premier bars, and additional space for dining and cocktails. The best DJs of all time have made an appearance at this one-of-a-kind nightclub.
The Casbah (2501 Kettner Blvd, San Diego)
Open daily from 8.30pm to 2am.
Opened in 1989, The Casbah is the first rock-and-roll music club in San Diego. It's a favorite spot for party goers in San Diego, always well attended.
The Rail San Diego (3796 Fifth Ave, San Diego)
Open Thursday through Sunday 7pm to 2am.
Rail SD is undoubtedly San Diego's first and foremost gay bar. Opened in 1930 in the historic Orpheum Theater downtown building, the venue became an instant hit with industry professionals, who had started visiting every day for lunch. In the evening, the place heats up as one of the premier meeting destinations.
The Tipsy Crow (770 Fifth Ave, San Diego)
Open Monday through Friday 5pm to 2am, Saturday and Sunday 12pm to 2am.
The Tipsy Crow immerses you in a vintage experience leaving the conventional downtown behind. Blending craft beers, unique and gourmet bites, classic decor, and quality cocktails, The Tipsy Crow has become one of the preeminent destinations on the most famous block in San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter.
Whiskey Girl (702 Fifth Ave, San Diego)
Open daily from 11am to 1.30am.
Run to the Whiskey Girl as soon as possible, before it gets crowded. This is one of the longest running nightclubs in the Gaslamp Quarter. The venue is conveniently located within walking distance of Pecto Park and the Convention Center on 5th Ave. Contrary to its name, the Whiskey Girl is more popular for its fine-dining, mouth-watering cuisine than its whiskeys.
F6ix (526 F St, San Diego)
Open Thursday through Sunday 9-2am.
Located between Sixth Avenue and F Street in the Gaslamp Quarter, F6ix is a modern nightclub that offers hip-hop and electronic music. The venue's modest entrance features a beautiful staircase, leading down to reveal its hidden gem downstairs. The headquarters occupies 6,000 square feet and was designed by one of San Diego's most prominent and renowned design teams called OCIO Design Group.
Bang Bang San Diego (526 Market St, San Diego)
Open Wednesday and Thursday 5-12pm, Friday-Sun 5-2am.
A relatively new and cutting-edge entertainment venue in San Diego with lots of good music and delicious Asian fusion cuisine. The entrance is formed by a stairway with a tunnel resembling a Tokyo subway station. This tunnel takes you to the most unique and exotic dimension of Bang Bang for an exclusive and memorable evening in San Diego.
La Luz Ultralounge (5080 Bonita Rd, San Diego)
Open Sunday and Tuesday 11am-8pm, Wednesday and Thursday 11am-midnight, Friday-Sunday 11am-2am.
Previously known as the “Caribe Nightclub and Restaurant,” La Luz Ultralounge continued to serve for 14 years and was considered the South Bay's hidden secret. Undergoing renovations and remodels, this club has established itself as one of San Diego's hottest nightclubs .
Air Conditioned Lounge (4673 30th St, San Diego)
Open Wed-Sun 5-2am.
23. Air Conditioned Lounge San Diego
The Air Conditioned Lounge is one of the most important and exuberant nightclubs in San Diego : parties here are always memorable. The AC Lounge has established itself as one of the most unique lounges amid San Diego's busy nightlife scene in that it has stayed true to itself: a cutting-edge, chic neighborhood nightclub that truly takes care to ensure that the its customers feel welcomed and embraced.
Music Box (1337 India St, San Diego)
Open daily 7-2am.
With a capacity of over 700 people, Music Box is home to a diverse range of nationally celebrated talent, local legends and emerging artists. The club is large enough for a great live concert experience, yet cozy enough to feel like you're at an intimate show with your favorite band.
North Park Observatory (2891 University Ave, San Diego)
Open Thursday through Saturday 10am to 4pm.
The historic North Park Theater is under new ownership and has been completely renovated to become San Diego's new concert, music and nightlife venue . Located in the thriving community of North Park on University Avenue, the theater is a multifaceted event destination with the ability to host everything from major touring shows to live music concerts.
NOVA SD (454 Sixth Ave, San Diego)
Open Friday and Saturday 9:30pm to 2am.
Located in the Gaslamp Quarter of Downtown, Nova SD is a large nightclub in San Diego that consists of three distinct spaces for guests: the Main Club, the balcony level and the roof terrace. Each space highlights a unique experience and vantage point for club-goers to enjoy the sights and sounds of NOVA SD. The venue's stunning design, coupled with groundbreaking entertainment, heralds a new generation of nightlife in the city, welcoming revelers, music fans and those seeking experiences to NOVA.
The bars and pubs of San Diego
San Diego's bar scene offers a delicious variety of flavors and vibes. From casual bars and lively pubs, to sultry wine bars, exclusive speakeasies and coveted tequila tastings, you're sure to find a bar stool or private cabana that fits your mood and spirit.
Here is a list of the best bars in San Diego:
Trailer Park After Dark (835 Fifth Ave, San Diego)
Open Thursdays 5-12pm, Fridays and Saturdays 5-2am.
Located in the legendary Gaslamp District, this kitschy underground hangout is a San Diego nightlife with antique trailers and wheelbarrow-style lounge chairs. The crowd dances together at the Yacht Rock. Sit back on plastic-covered sofas and enjoy American food, a selection of soups and sandwiches, freshly brewed beers and fresh cocktails.
Aero Club Bar (3365 India St, San Diego)
Open daily 2-2pm.
Founded by pilots in the 1940s, Aero Club Bar is one of the hippest bars near the San Diego airport, drawing crowds with pinball machines, pool tables, game booths, and an extensive whiskey menu.
The club's decor is neon lit, and the large seating areas with wooden tables or sofas create a cozy haven for travelers to soothe their shaky nerves. Among the more than 800 whiskey styles it offers, a sophisticated collection includes American, Scotch, Rye, Bourbon, Malt, and several culturally inspired whiskeys. Take in the beautiful views of La Jolla's sea caves as you sip your sundowner.
Coin-Op San Diego (3926 30th St, San Diego)
Open Monday-Thursday 4-12pm, Friday 4-2pm, Saturday 2-2am, Sunday 2-midnight.
Designed as a loving homage to the '80s, this charming 5,200-square-foot barcade in the Gaslamp District is a nod to a childhood bedroom decorated with movie posters, toys, arcade games, and vintage furniture. It's an anthem. The nostalgic ambiance includes a cocktail bar serving 12 draft beers, refreshing drinks with catchy names like Jalapeno Tequila and Connerius Ricky, and game consoles.
Enjoy a few thrilling spins of Donkey Kong Jr. and the Addams Family pinball machine before feasting on succulent Vietnamese chicken wings, club sandwiches and buffalo cauliflower pizza.
Altitude Sky Lounge (Gaslamp Marriott Quarter, 660 K Street Atop, 660 K St, San Diego)
Open Sunday-Thursday 5-12pm, Friday-Saturday 5-1am.
Altitude, San Diego's highest rooftop bar , offers breathtaking panoramic views of Coronado Island, San Diego Bay, the downtown skyline and Petco Park. Sip your favorite drink or Altitude's signature cocktails and relax around the cozy fire pit or on the comfortable sofas under the beautiful garden pergola. Enjoy sophisticated fine spirits, imported beers, microbreweries and specialty cocktails in our immaculate bar lounge.
The Grass Skirt (910 Grand Ave, San Diego)
Open Tuesday and Wednesday 5-11pm, Thursday-Sunday 5-12pm.
Grass skirts is a new addition to San Diego nightlife . This is a hidden tiki bar at the Good Time Poke, a late night joint. The goal is to use traditional tiki elements with charming details to transport guests to a place of eternal sunset with fire pits and swings.
There are a variety of tropical cocktails available here and over 150 different rums, including some very rare and expensive options. Filled with sci-fi Polynesian décor, lava stones and neon hula dancers, this upscale tiki bar and lounge impresses with inventive cocktails, strong rum and craft drinks. When you order certain drinks, a thunderstorm is projected onto the holographic wall behind the bar counter.
Polite Provisions (4696 30th St, San Diego)
Open Monday through Thursday 4pm to 2am, Friday through Sunday 12pm to 2am.
With a solarium-like domed glass roof, Polite Provisions is a bright, retro apothecary-style lounge and atrium for enjoying San Diego nightlife . There's a collection of 46 sparkling taps that pour beer, wine, craft spirits, 80 stacked drinks and cocktails. Choose from meatball-filled sliders, hearty subs, and spaghetti bowls to keep you entertained with an activity book-inspired menu of mazes, Sudoku, crossword puzzles, and fun games.
Polite Provisions is a great place to hang out, chat with friends and gossip with colleagues. However, if you want a quieter spot, you may need to arrive early to secure a spot.
Fairweather (793 J St, San Diego)
Open Monday-Thursday 3-10pm, Friday-Sunday 12-midnight.
The Fairweather is a tropical rooftop bar furnished with boldly patterned tiles, lush living walls, creative drinks, and mountains of citrus that represent mid-20th-century San Diego culture. A colorful sea rope canopy adorns the seating area, and there's also a stage for live music.
Enjoy cold mojitos and holiday spirits, and satisfy your appetite with Cuban sandwiches and delicious tacos from the gastropub menu. From here, you'll enjoy great views of Petco Park Stadium and the neon-lit district.
Noble Experiment (777 G St, San Diego)
Open daily 6-2am.
Were it not for the massive glittering walls adorned with gold skulls, the Gaslamp District's Noble Experiment would be mistaken for an upscale lobby bar with wood-paneled walls, thick red curtains, framed oil paintings, and chandeliers. Popular for romantic dinners, this San Diego nightlife cocktail lounge is tucked away in the lobby of the Neighborhood Restaurant. Drinks are served from the regular classic menu or the bartender's choice. The cocktails are made using only premium spirits and natural, sustainable ingredients.
Cowboy Star Restaurant & Butcher Shop (640 Tenth Ave, San Diego)
Open Tuesday through Thursday 3pm to 10pm, Friday & Saturday 3pm to 10.30pm, Sunday 4pm to 10pm.
Located at 640 Tenth Avenue, Cowboy star is a bar that ostensibly might portray an old-school steakhouse vibe, but the drinks on offer here are totally new-school, offering creative spins on classics like margaritas and Old Fashioned (reference Bourbon , simple syrup, Fee Brothers bitters), the Cowboy Star accommodates all tastes.
Surprisingly, most of the visitors who come here are tourists rather than locals, mainly due to the stylish interior and apparent retro vibe it offers along with the cool and exotic booze options. Overall, it's a pretty stylish bar that offers a wide range of drinking and dining options and is the gold standard for special occasion dining in San Diego, whether it's a birthday, graduation, or just a date with a lover friend of the steak.
The Nolen Rooftop (453 Sixth Ave #7007, San Diego)
Open Sunday-Thursday 5-12pm, Friday-Saturday 5-1am.
The Nolen is a trendy hotel rooftop bar boasting wonderful city views, seating and a communal fire pit. While it may be located on a rooftop, this bar will surprise you with its cutting-edge modern open-air lounge, serving San Diego-made spirits, barrel-aged cocktails, and spectacular, breathtaking views.
Due to its prime location in the city center and the fact that it offers prime views, it's usually crowded with a mix of tourists and office workers chilling out during happy hour. There is no doubt that this bar has some of the best and most tempting cocktails and liquors made in San Diego and some that are harder to find. Overall, it could be a great place to hang out with friends or a date and to enjoy a relaxing and mesmerizing view of the setting sun from above.
Rustic Root (535 Fifth Ave, San Diego)
Open Monday through Thursday 5.30pm to 11pm, Friday 5pm to 2am, Saturday 10am to 2am, Sunday 10am to 11pm.
This modern, scenic destination offers seasonal local cuisine and handcrafted cocktails in an elegant setting. In addition to rustic American cuisine reimagined with an inventive modern twist, the signature cocktail menu focuses on timeless and iconic classics, with inventive options for playful drinkers like their handcrafted cocktail shots. The food and drink menus also feature high-quality ingredients that transform simple favorites into flavorful dishes and cocktails. Overall it's a nice place to satisfy your craving for delicious food and amazing cocktails with a partner or in a group.
Float Bar (207 Fifth Ave, San Diego)
Voted best rooftop bar in San Diego and one of the top 100 nightclubs in the United States , the Float sits atop the hotel overlooking the Gaslamp Quarter. An elegant afternoon oasis around the pool transforms into a bonfire and DJ at night. This bar-restaurant could be a great option for tourists who want to admire the beauty of the city from above and have a relaxing drink and dinner with friends.
The Pool House (435 Fifth Ave, San Diego)
Open Sunday through Wednesday 11am to 6pm, Thursday and Friday 11am to 10pm, Saturday 6pm to 10pm.
The Pool House is a rooftop lounge that embodies the essence of Southern California style offering stunning views of the Gaslamp Quarter. Bright, open-air, contemporary, indoor-outdoor space sits above the Gaslamp's famed 5th Avenue and hosts relaxed day and night events with an exclusive bar and the best pool parties in San Diego .
Pure Project Balboa Park (2865 Fifth Ave, San Diego)
Open Monday and Tuesday 3pm to 9pm, Wednesday and Thursday 12pm to 9pm, Friday 11am to 10pm, Saturday 10am to 10pm, Sunday 11am to 10pm.
Pure Project is a small, ingredient-focused craft brewery with a mission to build a community and a respect for beer as an agricultural product while staying true to the philosophy of quality ingredients, sustainability, and attention to detail. In this place you can taste all their excellent beers.
Tin Roof (401 G St, San Diego)
Open Tuesday and Wednesday 3pm to 2am, Thursday and Friday 4pm to 10pm, Saturday and Sunday 11am to 2am.
Tin Roof is a San Diego live music venue , bar, and restaurant located at 4th and G Streets in the heart of the Gaslamp Quarter. This bar offers musicians a place to play and a place to hang out when they're not on stage. The tasty food, fun, eclectic ambiance, community of regulars, and friendly staff all helped quickly establish the Roof as the go-to gathering spot for musicians and non-musicians alike in the city.
Choose from a selection of 24 beers on tap, including local brews, and try their Southern-inspired menu featuring favorites like Nashville Hot Chicken, Street Corn Quesadillas, and Southern Cheeseburgers.
Barleymash (600 Fifth Ave #6916, San Diego)
Open Mon-Fri 12-10pm, Sat-Sun 10am-2am.
Located in San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter, Barleymash is a fun restaurant and bar with a menu that draws heavily on two staples: beer and bourbon. The name, in fact, refers to the typical blend of cereals used in the fermentation and distillation process of both beer and bourbon. What results from this pairing is a uniquely American dining experience and aesthetic that reminds all diners of two simple ideas: life is meant to be sipped and savored, and good times should always be shared. The place is frequented by both locals and tourists.
Metl Bar (748 Fifth Ave, San Diego)
Open Thursday 4-12pm, Friday and Saturday 12-2am, Sunday 12-midnight.
Metl is a casual American eatery offering pub fare known for savory soups, stuffed pasta shells, juicy burgers and steaks, boozy ice cream and not-to-be-forgotten pies, and flavor-packed bread puddings. Along with some of the tastiest and most affordable food at the Gaslamp, they have an outstanding collection of tequila and mezcal, as well as whiskeys and handcrafted cocktails created by local community staff and bartenders.
Union Kitchen & Tap (333 Fifth Ave, San Diego)
Open Monday through Thursday 11am to 12am, Friday 11am to 2am, Saturday 9am to 2am, Sunday 9am to 12am.
Inspired by San Diego's appreciation for craft beer and a craving for fresh, inventive cuisine, Union Kitchen & Tap is uniquely suited to providing guests with the best of both worlds. Located in the heart of San Diego's historic Gaslamp Quarter, Union Kitchen epitomizes the Southern California lifestyle with great music, an elegant yet relaxed atmosphere, and, of course, a full suite of locally crafted beet selections. Weekend Brunch every Saturday and Sunday features Bottomless Mimosas! Here you will find live entertainment from Tuesday to Saturday evenings and musical performances every Saturday and Sunday during brunch. Friday and Saturday night beats with live bands and local DJs.
Vin De Syrah (901 Fifth Ave, San Diego)
Open Sunday and Tuesday through Thursday 5-12pm, Friday and Saturday 5-1.30pm.
Inspired by the eclectic salons of New York's meatpacking district and the warm brasseries of turn-of-the-century Paris, Vin de Syrah is complemented by fantastic cheeses, desserts and a welcoming wine list. This subterranean yet organic space respects the old but embraces the new world with a contemporary style all its own. A much-needed “breath of fresh air” for the Gaslamp Quarter, Vin de Syrah offers spirits, unique beer and, of course, an array of gorgeous wines by the glass.
Werewolf (627 Fourth Ave, San Diego)
Open daily 8am-2am.
A hopping hangout with American bar food, creative cocktails, karaoke and brunch. This is the perfect San Diego drinking bar with 32 beers on tap.