The Best Bars In Little Italy, San Diego

rsz_littleitaly_inside | Courtesy of Kristi Hedin
Sierra Brown

Little Italy, in Downtown San Diego, was originally a predominantly Italian fishing neighborhood. It has since been gentrified and now Little Italy is a scenic neighborhood composed mostly of Italian restaurants, Italian retail shops, home design stores, art galleries, and residential units. There are also some great bars and we’ve selected our favorites.

Little Italy inside

1. El Camino

Bar, Restaurant, American, Mexican, Wine, Beer

El Camino is a restaurant and bar created by Mauricio Couturier with the aim to provide an exciting and memorable Mexican dining experience in a ‘kitschy neighborhood atmosphere.’ The menu reflects a blend of authentic recipes and features drinks from specialty cocktails and margaritas, to punch bowls, tequila and more popular items from Mexico. At El Camino, they try to use seasonal ingredients from local farms and businesses as much as possible. They have introduced a funky hangout spot in the Little Italy community that strives to be affordable, accessible, and pleasing.

2. Queenstown Public House

Bar, American, Vegan, Vegetarian

Queenstown Public House is the perfect place in Little Italy to meet up with friends for a drink, featuring a beautiful bar area. The friendly bartenders will introduce you to a fabulous selection of local beers, select wines, and uniquely crafted cocktails. Guests can also grab a seat in the cozy Parlor Room, perfect for special family events or a romantic date night. Outside, there are three heated patio areas with plenty of seating for all, including your four-legged friends since the bar is pet-friendly.

3. Kettner Exchange

Bar, Restaurant, American

Rare Form Bar
Courtesy of Zack Benson
William Kettner was a Democratic Congressman representing the 11th district in the early 1900’s who secured funds for the dredging of the San Diego Bay, the construction of the All American canal and a Panama-California Exposition. When designing Kettner Exchange, the owners sought to pay homage to Kettner’s attributes by creating a dignified yet welcoming environment honoring the great bay and nautical history. Stop by to enjoy an honest drink and a gratifying meal.

4. Ballast Point

Restaurant, Bodega, American, Wine, Beer, Cocktails, Pub Grub

Ballast Point began with the search for the best flavors, the perfect balance of taste and aroma, an obsession with ingredients, and an exploration of brewing techniques. What started as a small group of home brewers who wanted to make a better beer evolved into the adventurers known as Ballast Point. They couldn’t stop with just beer, so they got into the distilling business. Whether serving up new flavors, collaborating with seasoned brewmasters or training the next generation at Home Brew Mart, they not only want to challenge their own tastes but they also want to expand yours.

5. Sogno di Vino

Bar, Wine Bar, American, Wine, Beer, Cocktails

Salvatore and Daniela Caniglia opened Sogno di Vino in 2005, fulfilling Daniela’s longtime dream of owning a wine bar. Sogno di Vino boasts a carefully curated wine list offering vintages hand-chosen from wineries all over the world. The elegant menu was also curated with care, designed to complement the wine and beer selection. From traditional cheeses, salames and pates to grilled vegetables and a shrimp cocktail to die for, Sogno di Vino’s appetizers enhance the wines for a full-bodied tasting experience.

6. Princess Pub & Grille

Bar, Pub, British, European, Wine, Beer, Cocktails, Fast Food

Princess Pub & Grille, San Diego’s original British Pub, was established in 1984 and has been serving fine European ales, ciders, and local craft beers ever since. In addition to these brews, this pub serves up the best fish and chips in town. Guests will enjoy the happy hour and live entertainment, while sports enthusiasts can relax watching the Champions league, Premier league, World Cup Rugby and more. Princess Pub’s 10 HD big screens with surround sound and the steel dart boards top off this unique bar experience.

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