The 6 Best Places to Get a Drink in Pacific Beach, San Diego

Updated on September 9, 2019
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Allison lives in the Pacific Beach neighborhood of San Diego, California.

Pacific Beach, or PB, is a neighborhood in San Diego, California, that is known for its beaches and party atmosphere. With the most bars per square mile of any town in the county, there are almost too many options when it comes to grabbing a drink. You really need the guidance of a local to find that perfect spot for an evening out. Let this article help you as you navigate the notorious drinking culture of Pacific Beach.

The Grass Skirt
The Grass Skirt | Source

1. The Grass Skirt: Intriguing Tiki Speakeasy

There's something fun about needing special information just to get in to a place. The Grass Skirt has a unique take on the speakeasy trend—the bar is right there in plain sight, but how the heck do you get in? Let's just say it involves a nearby poke shop and a walk-in freezer.

Once you've cracked the case and made your way inside, you'll enjoy the dim lighting, cozy corners, and incredibly immersive tiki décor, all transporting you to a world deep in the South Pacific. The Polynesian food and drinks are a bit on the expensive side, but they're also well crafted. With close to 150 types of rum, a rum club, and a secret cocktail menu, booze enthusiasts will have plenty to gush over. And the salmon cones? Ohhhhh, the salmon cones. Be still my heart.

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The Silver Fox
The Silver Fox
The Silver Fox | Source
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2. The Silver Fox: Classic Dive, Cheap Drinks

This place has décor older than your mother and cocktails cheaper than your coffee. It's cash only (no surprise), and the running specials will blow your hair back. There's nothing better than $2 Bloody Marys and mimosas on weekends . . . except perhaps the $2 well drinks on Thursdays. What's more, the bartenders are good people, and the patrons are always great for the people watching.

Pro Tip: Start at the Pacific Beach Fish Shop down the street on a Thursday night for the $1 oysters, then walk a block to the Fox for $2 wells. Oysters and cocktails for practically nothing? Why wouldn't you do that?

The Shore Club
The Shore Club | Source

3. The Shore Club: Do You Even Drink, Bro?

The Shore Club is your quintessential college bar. It's not new, and it's not fancy, but it sure is loved. Located right on the ocean boardwalk, this old stand-by is a PB institution. The place may be cramped and the layout awkward, but that doesn't stop everybody and their bro from waiting in line to enjoy it. The music is loud, and just as likely to feature top 40 hits as it is the Britney Spears songs of yesteryear. The atmosphere is one of comradery, a necessity in a place so packed you can't stand without touching someone. And from the dudes at the bar practicing headlocks to the chicks belting out Spice Girls lyrics from a tabletop, there's no shortage of people watching to keep things interesting.

As an added bonus, the Shore Club takes their food seriously, offering delicious burgers and Mexican standbys. So don't drink on an empty stomach. Don't be that guy.

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Salmon sashimi with Kuchi's delicious fresh wasabi.Sake bomb
Salmon sashimi with Kuchi's delicious fresh wasabi.
Salmon sashimi with Kuchi's delicious fresh wasabi. | Source
Sake bomb
Sake bomb | Source

4. Sushi Kuchi: Sake Bombs and People Watching

This one is probably a bit unexpected, as it's a sushi restaurant with no liquor license. Its real beauty is in the $1 sake bombs. Add to that the truly delicious (and reasonably priced) sushi and lively party atmosphere, and you just might stay here all night balancing shot glasses on chop sticks.

Located in the crosshairs of Garnet Ave. and Mission Blvd. and only one block from the beach, this little gem is in the thick of the PB social scene. You get all sorts of diners here, and the employees are fun-loving enough to welcome the boisterous crowd. And, if you've got your family with you and you're on the adventurous side, do as we've done and bring your kids! Just be prepared for the people around you to spontaneously shout a sake bomb chant and slam their table.

As you head out the door, the good people of Suchi Kuchi will shout merrily, "see you tomorrow!" With an experience like this, they just might.

Short Tutorial on How to Drink a Sake Bomb

Lahaina Beach House
Lahaina Beach House | Source

5. Lahaina Beach House: Ocean Sunsets and Stiff Drinks

I remember the first time I walked past this place, and heard the laughter and merriment from the crowded deck. I wanted to be part of it. That's the beautiful thing about Lahaina Beach House—when you're there, you're in it together.

Small and homey, this place is what would happen if a dive bar and a beach house had a baby. It's located right on the ocean boardwalk, just steps from the sand, where you can watch the beach crowd go by like a motley parade. Be sure to arrive a while before sunset to secure a spot, grab a drink, and maybe even order a burger (they're good). Then revel in the celebration and comradery as the sun sets beyond the ocean, and everybody cheers. Life is good here.

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Moonshine Beach
Moonshine Beach
Moonshine Beach | Source
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6. Moonshine Beach: Country Dancing and Buck Hunter

Moonshine Beach is the closest thing PB has to a country bar, though this place can feel a bit more city slicker than honkytonk. That being said, they do play a lot of country music, and they even teach line dancing several days a week. This place is huge and can therefore feel a little impersonal, but that big ol' dance floor actually fills up when there's live music on the stage. Keep an eye on the concert calendar, as this venue pulls some big names. And for a more laid back vibe, walk next door to the restaurant/cantina side of the business at Cerveza Jack's. There you'll find corn hole, shuffleboard, and Big Buck Hunter in an open air setting.

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