Best Nightlife Spots in San Diego That Come Alive After Sunset



San Diego’s nightlife will never rival that of a big city, but it exists with a surprisingly wide variety of exciting options for a casual beach town. If you want to glam it up for a top-notch, Vegas-style experience or chat with friends over a specialty cocktail and ocean breezes, both are available.

Most of the bars and clubs on this list are located in downtown San Diego, so if you’re a night owl visiting the city, this is the neighborhood you may want to stay in. The Gaslamp Quarter’s many rooftop bars offer spectacular night-time views over the skyline with cozy seating, fireplace pits and cool cocktails. Go below street level, as many of the historical buildings in the Quarter boast basements (which are not common in California), where you’ll find other exciting places to spend an evening. Nightclubs that will send anyone's senses into overdrive cater to VIPs. Beach communities all around San Diego County also offer up more casual nightlife opportunities, for those interested in enjoying a beer or cocktail with waves crashing in the background.

Regardless of your bedtime, there is nightlife for you in San Diego. 10Best narrows the list down for you right here.


Belly Up Tavern


There's live music at Belly Up almost every night. Belly Up is not pretentious and has a more casual vibe, despite being an award-winning nightspot. Up-and-coming artists as well as established legends in genres ranging from alternative rock,...  Read More




This Gaslamp bar sets a classy and sophisticated backdrop for the young and beautiful of San Diego to mix and mingle. Set amidst antiques, art and leather couches perched on gleaming hardwoods, this spot sports quite the scene. Dress smartly on...  Read More




Rooftop STK is Andaz San Diego's newly refreshed and rebranded poolside lounge that offers incredibly picturesque views of the Downtown San Diego skyline. It is a sexy, swanky and scenic spot to enjoy handcrafted cocktails, and delicious dishes...  Read More




Evoking an Asian street market feel, Bang Bang features three separate concepts in one space - one part asian fusion restaurant, one part sushi bar and one part "theatre" which hosts live music, DJs, movies, and is home to the largest disco ball...  Read More




Moonshine Flats is a ton of country fun in the Gaslamp Quarter. It's one of two places in San Diego to dance to country. The 10,000 square-foot venue features multiple levels, dozens of interactive elements, five bars throughout, including the...  Read More


5
Pacific Beach


The Grass Skirt is new to the San Diego dining and nightlife scene and already people love it. It's a hidden tiki bar located inside Good Time Poke, a grab-and-go poke spot that is open in the evenings until 2:00 a.m. The goal is to use...  Read More




Two clubs in one, Onyx Room and Thin occupy two floors of the same space, with Thin at street level and Onyx below. Both are trendy spots that draw the ultra-cool who want to party with inventive cocktails in hand and plenty of eye candy located...  Read More




Polite Provisions serves up cocktails and classic American fare in University Heights. Their massive custom tap system not only features 18 craft beers on tap, also ten wines (red, white and rose), carbonated cocktails, non-carbonated spirituous...  Read More




FLUXX is Downtown San Diego's high-end dance club. Just as its name implies, FLUXX nightclub's mood and motif are kept in a constant state of change designed to create a unique experience with every visit. The venue incorporates organic decor...  Read More




People come for the cocktails and say that you'll never drink a better one. This San Diego speakeasy is found via a somewhat secret door near the door to the kitchen at The Neighborhood. Reservations are by text message only and Noble Experiment...  Read More


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Meet Katie Dillon

Katie Dillon originally moved to the seaside community of La Jolla to attend UC San Diego. When the opportunity presented itself, she and her husband set off for a 7 year stint overseas as...  More About Katie

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