There’s no rhyme or reason to sacrifice atmosphere just to find an affordable happy hour. In fact, cheap drinks and eats taste even better when devoured with elegant company, stunning views and an upscale ambiance. In the name of cocktail specials and chic surroundings, we sipped from Del Mar to Pacific Beach to Downtown to find the best happy hours at DSD-approved bars and restaurants.
Discover 10 upscale happy hours in San Diego.
Donovan’s Downtown: While the Donovan’s name is famed for using USDA Prime steaks and chops, their Martini Happy Hour is just as big of a draw to the downtown restaurant. Martini Happy Hour offers signature cocktails specially priced from 4-6pm, Monday through Friday. Guests can also bite into the complimentary Prime Steak Sandwiches and specially priced appetizers from 4-6pm daily.
Island Prime C-Level: Take your cocktail with an incredible view of the Pacific and Coronado. Social Hour at this Island-style restaurant runs Monday through Friday from 3:30-5:30pm. Stop in to warm-up that palate with $5 bites, including Chicken Potstickers, Crispy Calamari and Steamed Fox River Mussels. To drink, try the tantalizing libations priced at $5 as well, including cocktails, sangria and house selected wines. Brews can be purchased for $4.
Glass Door: Glass Door’s renovated menu features tastes from around the world, embracing flavor, fish and other brand new creations. Stop in to this Little Italy spot with happy hour from 3-7pm Monday through Thursday and 12-7pm on Fridays, offering 25% off Light Fare and Burgers. A late-night happy hour runs from 10pm to 12am every night of the week catered towards the service industry, offering 25% off late night food. Glass Door will also pour $5 house wines, $4 draft beers and $5 signature drinks.
Flavor Del Mar: The fresh fare and sunlit setting make Flavor a top spot to try. Happy hour features $6 hand-crafted cocktails, $4 house wines, $3 Karl Strauss Endless Summer brews, and signature food items for $2-$8. Happy hour runs all day Sunday and Mondays, 4-7pm Tuesday to Saturday, and late night Friday and Saturdays from 9-11pm. Getting over a mid-week slump? On Wednesdays, drink half-off selected wines.
BICE San Diego: This elegant downtown ristorante is best known for sophisticated Italian cuisine served with a modern edge. The chic eatery serves a daily happy hour from 5-7pm, as well as a late-night happy hour from 9pm-midnight. Munch on shareable bites like fried green beans with a gorgonzola truffle sauce, roasted salmon wrapped in apple wood bacon, or the signature BICE lobster crispy ‘pizza.’ While you’re there, you may as well sip on some cocktails and BICE house.
barleymash: This brand new restaurant and lounge boasts progressive bar fare menu and over 30 beers on tap. Must-try items include In a Pickle, actual kosher pickle spears layered with cream cheese, wrapped in fresh sliced prosciutto, battered, fried and served with a whole-grain honey-porter mustard and ale-aioli; Or the Pretzels N’ Dip with house made barley pretzels, carrot sticks, celery sticks, garlic barley bread and apples with poblano beer-cheddar sauce and whole grain honey-porter mustard. Happy hour runs Monday through Friday from 3-6pm with half-off beer, wine, spirits and select appetizers.
Roppongi: Roppongi has taken a new approach to seafood, focusing on seasonal ingredients and inviting all to their La Jolla main room, sushi bar, lounge area or heated outdoor patio. Head in for a happy hour from 3-6pm every day of the week featuring half-priced tapas and $8 specialty drinks. Such sips include the Roppongi Martini, Spicy Thai Basil Sour, Asian Pear Shiso Julip, and Ginger Mojito.
Café Sevilla: The authentic Tapas Bar at Café Sevilla celebrates coastal, Spanish cuisine that tastes just as good as a vacation. Their happy hour extends daily from open to 7pm and late-night from 10pm to close. Guests can score $4 well drinks, red or white sangria, wine and domestic or draft beers. The lengthy list of tapas on special includes Tortilla Espanola for $4, Jamon Iberico Croqueta for $5, Chicken al Ajillo for $5 or Sevilla Fried Calamari for $8.
Gaijin: The urban restaurant and lounge brings Asian-influenced cuisine to the downtown scene. While Chef Antonio Friscia’s yakitori grill and ramen noodles draw a devout following for dinner, it’s the sake and cocktails that give the restaurant its party swag. Score happy hour prices from 10:30pm-1am on Friday and Saturday nights with $5 sake bombs, $5 hot sake carafes, $3 Sapporo drafts and $2 carnitas bao.
JRDN: Tower23's signature restaurant hosts a regular happy hour Monday through Friday from 4-7pm, as well as a weekend happy hour from 6-9pm on Saturdays and Sundays. Featured on the weekend menu are $3 drafts, $4 well drinks and $5 select wines. Guests can also grub on small plates from Chef David Warner’s modern surf ‘n turf stylings, including Steamed Mussels with chorizo, garlic chardonnay and herb butter.
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