The Top 10 Bars In Monterey, California

Photo of Brendan Scully
9 February 2017

With seaside views and quaint local shops lining almost every street, the coastal town of Monterey Bay, California is a must-see vacation destination for any traveler. With glorious sunshine almost guaranteed, and loads of things to see and do, a day in Monterey can work up quite a thirst. Luckily, there are dozens of great bars to provide the perfect remedy. Here are 10 of the best.


Bar, Pub Grub, American
In the Lighthouse District, adjacent to Monterey Bay, is Carbone’s, the peninsula’s delightful little ‘hole in the wall’, At Carbone’s, friendly service is paramount: the bartender shakes your hand upon arrival! Either grab a table inside with a pool table and dart boards within reach, or outside where there’s a multi-level deck and a fire pit. Come here for affordable drinks and conversation with the many friendly locals who frequent Carbone’s. If that’s not enticing enough, Carbone’s also has a delicious bar food menu that serves food from 3pm to 2am every night of the week.

My Attic 1937

Bar, Pub Grub, $$$
Advertised as “thriving since 1937”, My Attic is a homage to the Prohibition era and the subsequent repealing of the act and the delicious cocktail concoctions inspired by it. My Attic provides an up-scale and relaxing atmosphere for the residents and guests of Monterey looking to treat themselves to some fantastic cocktails. The interior of the lounge is full of chairs, couches and sofas to give the impression of true “table service.” Come here for a delicious cocktail (or two), house favorites include the “My Attic Manhattan” and the “Alvarado St. Sour.”

Crystal Fish Sushi

Right on the Lighthouse District is Crystal Fish, advertised as the best sushi on the Monterey Peninsula. Located right next to the ocean, it’s natural that Crystal Fish serves some of the freshest fish around. What also makes Crystal Fish stands out is their assortment of drinks that brings the experience to the next level. Come here for the irresistible array of sake, a form of Japanese wine made by fermenting rice. Standard wine and Asian draft beer is also served here for those not daring enough. Watch out for the Echigo rice beer, a must needed try for beer enthusiasts. It’s also gluten free!

514 Lighthouse Ave, Monterey, CA 93940, United States
+1 831-649-3474

Post No Bills Craft House

Take a swing up the Monterey Peninsula to the Sand City neighborhood and visit Post No Bills, a craft beer and wine paradise that also serves as a retail store. Post No Bills is the hidden gem of this area and is extremely well rated and received by locals and visitors alike. Ordering outside food to compliment a few drinks is encouraged and the interior is decorated with graffiti murals and humorous posters of well known “Bill’s” in popular culture. Come here for delicious tap or bottled craft beer and enjoy the laid back atmosphere of Post No Bills.

600 Ortiz Ave, Sand City, CA 93955, United States
+1 831-324-4667

Sandbar and Grill

Bar, Restaurant, Seafood, $$$
Nestled under one of Monterey’s Municipal Wharf’s is Sandbar and Grill. Walk into a waterside room with large windows on every wall that look out on the marina, and enjoy the drinks and fare whether it’s an intimate date or group celebration. Come here around happy hour for a drink at their full bar with one of their delectable seafood dishes. How about pairing a glass of wine with an order of calamari or prawns scampi? Delicious!

Turn 12 Bar and Grill

Bar, Restaurant, American, Italian, $$$
In the heart of Monterey is Turn 12, a very unique and special part of the neighborhood. Turn 12 is a sports bar mixed with a classy American restaurant, with delicious food items and a wide array of classic American alcoholic beverages. Visit Turn 12’s bar, deemed the longest in Monterey, and enjoy a glass of scotch or beer. Watch out for the delicious house pizza, topped with Italian sausage, black olives and mozzarella cheese.


Bar, Restaurant, American, Fast Food, Vegetarian, Vegan, $$$
Down on Alvarado Street is Lallapalooza, a modern American-style establishment with an irresistible martini bar. Come here for an order of duck fat fries and oysters paired with any choice of a perfectly made martini. Whether you order a classic martini or go with something more exotic like the “Purple Headed Dragon” (classic with a raspberry twist) or the “Betty Paige” (classic with a blast of liqueur), you won’t regret it. Those who aren’t fans of martinis have no need to fear. Lallapalooza also boasts a wide selection of beer, tequila and speciality cocktails suitable for any patron.

Sovino Wine Bar

Bar, Wine Bar, American, Cocktails, Wine, Beer, $$$
Sovino is Monterey’s esteemed wine bar and tasting room. Get away from the noise and crowds of the seaside and come in for a tasting session in this cozy location right off the wharf. Here you can join the local wine club or go to the many events offered, such as “Paint and Sip” or education classes on what food to pair with a delicious type of wine. The space can also hold up to 35 people for private events, perfect for any close knit company party or large family celebration.

Cibo Ristorante

On Alvarado Street is Cibo, an Italian bistro packed with a full bar and live entertainment. Six nights a week Cibo hosts live jazz that is the excitement of the whole neighborhood. Voted one of the best places for happy hour and a top location for single adults in their 30’s and 40’s, Cibo serves a diverse clientèle with good service and atmosphere. Come here for the Cosmopolitan, one of Cibo’s most popular cocktails.

301 Alvarado St, Monterey, CA 93940, United States
+1 831-649-8151

Schooner's Coastal Kitchen and Bar

Bar, Restaurant, Seafood, American, Cocktails, Wine, Beer, $$$
Monterey Bay California
Monterey Bay California | © Sking/Wikipedia
On Cannery Row is Schooner’s, a local favorite best known for their seating (both indoor and outdoor) that literally leaves a guest sitting out over Monterey Bay. Here one can enjoy scenic views year-round in a friendly, local atmosphere. Pair a nice glass of wine with some fresh seafood fare or a happy hour cocktail out on the sea. For a beautiful dining experience and great service, Schooner’s is the place to be for a particularly special, sophisticated evening.

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