The Best Bars Surrounding Balboa Park, San Diego

Talitha Duncan-Todd

Although Balboa Park in San Diego, California may be a small neighborhood, there is still a number of bars to visit surrounding the area. We’ve found the best bars in the area for you to check out.

Old Globe Theater, Balboa Park

1. Lady Carolyn's Pub

Bar, Pub, Pub Grub, Beer

Balboa Bar & Grill
© Thomas Hawk/Flickr
Lady Carolyn’s Pub is located just outside the Old Globe Theater in Balboa Park. Although this outdoor spot is open to the general public, it is somewhat secluded from Balboa’s foot traffic. Lady Carolyn’s caters to theater-goers. Here, guests will find delicious soups, salads, sandwiches, croissants, baked goods, desserts, juices, espresso drinks, Irish coffee, wine and a full bar. Hours of operation varies depending on show times. Generally, it opens one hour before shows start and closes after intermission.

2. Balboa Bar & Grill

Bar, Cocktails, Pub Grub, Beer

The Balboa, San Diego
© Christopher Sessums/Flickr
This is a classic cocktail and burger bar located in the Bankers Hill neighborhood of San Diego, offering live music Friday and Saturday nights. They also offer a specialty cocktail menu, crafted by the Turf Club’s Jackson Milgaten, that ranges from the classic aviation and last word to a tequila gimlet and a mezcal old-fashioned. Balboa Bar & Grill have been serving up the same delicious burgers that patrons have come to know and love. The balboa burger, the classic burger and the BBQ bacon cheeseburger are among the favorites.

3. Whistle Stop Bar

Bar, Pub Grub

The Whistle Stop Bar features a full bar including 12 beers on draft, bottled beers, wine, a great selection of top-shelf liquor, and a well that can’t be beat. There are weekly DJ events, board games, fashion shows, political rallies, live radio remotes, knitting jams, craft fairs, live music, movie screenings, pool, darts, video games, an outstanding jukebox selection, and a hidden smoking patio. The fun never stops at the Whistle Stop Bar, located in the South Park/Golden Hill neighborhood.

4. Croce’s Park West

Bar, Restaurant, American, Contemporary

Croce’s Park West, San Diego
© Gary J. Wood/WikiCommons
Croce’s Park West is a neighborhood restaurant and bar in Banker’s Hill. Their American menu highlights small plates, specialty craft beers, cocktails and an award-winning wine list. The bar offers very comfortable areas such as a large patio, lounge, cozy booths, upholstered chairs and their expatriate room for live music, special events and corporate parties. Their generous patio has an extended cabana-style awning and opens into the bar room for happy hour specials. The restaurant serves an American contemporary menu for brunch, lunch and dinner, with half and full portions.

Bankers Hill Bar & Restaurant

Bankers Hill Bar & Restaurant combines award-winning cuisine with signature drinks and eclectic architecture to form a treat for the senses. Stop by to check out their weekday happy hour specials. Enjoy some of the best deals, such as $1 off all beer and wines by the glass, $2 off specialty cocktails and house wine by the glass for just little more than $5 The cool, industrial interior can get noisy because of the fun and trendy atmosphere, but the patio seating offers some relief from the crowd.

2202 4th Ave, San Diego, CA, USA, +1 619 231 0222


Turning fried bologna sandwiches into an upscale treat, this bi-level Golden Hill venue is heavy on moody ambiance. Meanwhile the menu is down-to-earth casual and food is served alongside well-crafted cocktails. The chic space features reclaimed-wood paneling, polished concrete floors, industrial-style table and bar seating and modern light fixtures. Counterpoint is a place to see neighbors, see friends, to feed yourself, and, hopefully your spirit too. Happy hour runs from Sundays through to Thursdays, from 5pm to 6pm and again from 10pm until midnight.

830 25th St #100, San Diego, CA, USA, +1 619 564 6722

5. Turf Supper Club

Bar, Steakhouse, American, Beer

Turf Supper Club
© Pgstam/WikiCommons
Situated atop San Diego’s historic neighborhood of Golden Hill, the Turf Supper Club provides an experience of an older decade, an old combination of cold drinks, raw meat and a hot self-service grill for its patrons. It has a long bar with plenty of stools, a piano to entertain, red lights and carpet and photos of horse races and movie stars from days of yore. There are also antique neon marquis lights and classic wallpaper. Despite the nostalgia of the venue, this is a spot designed for the 21st-century crowd.

Cherry Bomb

Nestled in a small shopping center next to a laundromat and in an inconspicuous residential neighborhood of Banker’s Hill, lies this Graceland of punk rock. The walls are deep red and there is stainless steel scrap art and siding. The bar is backed with a dungeon-esque black brick wall, complete with gargoyle statues. The pool table and jukebox have with a winning selection of classic punk and modern rock. This provides some of the entertainment at the Cherry Bomb lounge. Choose from any of the cocktails and draft brews at the bar.

2237 1st Ave, San Diego, CA, USA, +1 619 544 1173

6. El Dorado Cocktail Lounge

Bar, Cocktails, American, Pub Grub

El Dorado Cocktail Lounge, San Diego
© Ruth Ellison/Flickr
The bar’s rustic aesthetic pays tribute to classic Western saloons with maroon-hued walls adorned by vintage cowboy scenes, which are lacquered on to custom-cut wooden frames. This is in addition to wrought iron chandeliers and an enormous stuffed white buffalo head, known by his Facebook friends as Otis, perched high above the dance floor. The friendly bartenders whip up strong, delicious cocktails and pour craft beers at the El Dorado Cocktail Lounge.

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