How To Find San Diego’s Top Speakeasies

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cocktail similar to what you'd find in speakeasies in San Diego

If you’re a fan of fine drinks, hidden passageways, and uniquely-themed bars, you’re gonna want to check out this guide to the many speakeasies San Diego has to offer.

When it comes to nightlife, there are few cities that rival the fun there is to be had in San Diego. From our many famous breweries, to the wineries and cocktail lounges you can find in just about any neighborhood, America’s Finest City knows how to imbibe.

This city’s love of booze can be traced back to the prohibition era (and even earlier)! San Diego was a major hub for bootleggers and we pay homage to our rumrunning past to this day with our many fine speakeasies! Let’s dive in!


I can think of no better name for a speakeasy than “Prohibition”, the period in American history that made speakeasies necessary in the first place. This underground bar disguised as a law office is a great example of a true speakeasy, much like what you’d expect to find in the 1920s when alcohol was illegal and could only be enjoyed if you knew where to look.

This San Diego speakeasy is my favorite in Gaslamp, which has more speakeasies than any other part of the city. The Prohibition lounge offers a cozy atmosphere, a great selection of drinks, and live music performances. This is a great place to start if you’re hoping to experience a true speakeasy!

How To Find Prohibition: Look for the door that reads “Law Office” on 5th Avenue between the cross streets of Market Street and Island Avenue.

Reservations: Prohibition does not take reservations, so it’s walk-ins only.

Located In: Gaslamp Quarter

Address: 548 Fifth Ave, San Diego, CA 92101

Noble Experiment

If you’re looking for a speakeasy in San Diego that perfectly balances high-quality cocktails and top-shelf liquor with a dark, mysterious atmosphere, Noble Experiment is the place for you! This is my favorite speakeasy in Gaslamp Quarter, tucked away behind one of the most unassuming hidden passageways. The vibe inside Noble Experiment is luxurious, classy, but also moody and dramatic. This dimly lit lounge features a gorgeous chandelier, chic leather booths, classical art, and a gilded wall of skulls. Basically, the perfect spot for intimate late-night talks over drinks.

How to Find Noble Experiment: On G Street, there’s a gastropub called Neighborhood. Walk inside and look straight ahead past the bathrooms for the wall of empty kegs, which is actually a secret door (just give it a good push to open it).

Reservations: Reservations are highly recommended, but walk-ins will be seated based on availability.

Located In: Gaslamp Quarter

Address: 777 G St, San Diego, CA 92101

Young Blood

Believe it or not, here are actually two secret bars hidden inside the Neighborhood gastropub. Young Blood is another luxurious hidden bar featuring opulent art deco decor, perfect for a speakeasy. This upscale purveyor of boozy beverages is a little different than the other speaks on this list because the way they operate is totally unique.

There is no menu, so dealer’s choice is the name of the game. For a flat fee of $65 you get a curated cocktail experience that spans 3 courses. When you arrive you’ll be greeted with a glass of champagne while your bartender asks you a series of questions in order to get a good grasp of your personal tastes, after which they’ll serve you 3 drinks based on your preferences. That’s 4 high-quality drinks for $65, which is a pretty good deal in these parts!

How to Find Young Blood: On G Street, there’s a gastropub called Neighborhood. Head inside and look for the same wall of beer kegs that leads to Noble Experiment. Once you head inside you’ll meet the host who will check you in.

Reservations: This bar is reservation-only, and you should think about making your reservation at least a week in advance.

Located In: Gaslamp Quarter

Address: 777 G St, San Diego, CA 92101

Raised By Wolves

Raised By Wolves is the most stunning San Diego speakeasy hidden in the most unexpected setting, Westfield UTC Mall in La Jolla. The aesthetic can be described as a cross between dark acedamia and art deco, with ornate Rococo-style accents. Craft cocktails are their specialty, and their menu provides so many options that it’s almost overwhelming, in the best way. Whether you pull up a velvet-lined chair to read a book by the fireplace or prefer to enjoy the cozy atmosphere from the comfort of a barstool, Raised By Wolves has something for everyone.

How to Find Raised By Wolves: Look for a blue storefront with howling wolves guarding the door, just across the way from the Apple store.

Reservations: Reservations are not required, but HIGHLY recommended, especially for gorups larger than 2 people. Walk-ins are unlikely to be seated, unless you’re very lucky.

Located In: La Jolla

Address: 4301 La Jolla Village Dr #2030, San Diego, CA 92122

Realm of the 52 Remedies

The inspiration for this unique San Diego speakeasy comes from an ancient Chinese medical text called Wushi’er Bingfang, or “Recipes for Fifty-Two Ailments.” The first room in this speakeasy is a simple apothecary that pays homage to traditional Chinese medicine. Once you pass through into the second room you’ll come to a gorgeous bar where you can order delicious Asian dishes, drinks, and cures for what ails you.

How to Find Realm of the 52 Remedies: Enter the apothecary by going through the white door inside Common Theory Public House on Convoy Street. The host inside the apothecary will lead you to the second secret passageway leading to the bar.

Reservations: Reservations are highly encouraged but they do have a waitlist for walk-ins.

Located In: Kearny Mesa

Address: 4805 Convoy St, San Diego, CA 92111

False Idol

False Idol is another local favorite. This Polynesian-inspired tiki bar is packed with character, from the colorful glass buoys hanging from the wall to the indoor waterfall and flaming volcano! If that’s not exciting enough for you, their menu offers a vast array of adventurous drinks.

How to Find False Idol: Head towards the back of Little Italy’s Craft & Commerce restaurant and look for the stainless steel door to the left of the bar. Inside you’ll find another door leading to this secret grotto.

Reservations: Reservations are encouraged, but they welcome walk-ins.

Located In: Little Italy

Address: 675 W Beech St, San Diego, CA 92101

Vin de Syrah

This San Diego hidden gem is less like a speakeasy and more like a rabbit hole to Wonderland. The colorful, quirky decor of this underground Alice In Wonderland-inspired bar is totally Instagram-worthy. Vin de Syrah is predominately a wine bar, although their menu also features a good selection of specialty cocktails, beers, and small bites to nibble on. They have DJs most nights, making this a great spot if you like to dance. They also have weekly tarot nights, as well as burlesque and illusionist performances.

How To Find Vin de Syrah: Look for the staircase near the corner of 5th Avenue and E Street (by the Melting Pot) and head down.

Reservations: You can make reservations for their wine tasting & bottle service, otherwise it’s first-come first-serve.

Located In: Gaslamp Quarter

Address: 901 Fifth Ave, San Diego, CA 92101

Oculto 477

Oculto 477 is the spookiest speakeasy in San Diego, hands-down, but that doesn’t mean the bar isn’t absolutely gorgeous. They’re located just a few feet away from El Campo Santo, San Diego’s second oldest cemetery. The famously haunted Whaley House is also just a three minute walk away, so why not make a day of it and see all the spooky sights Old Town has to offer? Whatever kind of spirits you’re looking for, be they drink or ghost, Oculto 477 is the place to find them.

How to Find Occulto 477: Enter through Tahona, right next to the cemetery. Let the hostess know you have a reservation for Oculto 477 and she will give you what you need to enter the bar.

Reservations: Oculto is a reservation-only bar, so plan accordingly!

Located In: Old Town

Address: 2414 San Diego Ave, San Diego, CA 92110

The Grass Skirt

The Grass Skirt is another great hidden tiki bar with colorful Polynesian-inspired decor. This Pacific Beach speakeasy is one of San Diego’s most uniquely themed bars and features an excellent selection of tropical cocktails served in quirky parrot & tiki-shaped glasses. Their menu also includes flaming shots, wine, craft beer, and punch bowls that are absolutely swoon-worthy. They also have a really fun menu featuring many Asian dishes with a uniquely San Diego-style twist such as California roll tacos and more!

How to Find The Grass Skirt: This speakeasy is located inside Good Time Poke. Once you enter, turn to the left and look for a freezer door that when opened reveals a dark hallway leading to the bar.

Reservations: Reservations are encouraged, but walk-ins are welcome.

Located In: Pacific Beach

Address: 910 Grand Ave, San Diego, CA 92109

Room 56

Room 56 is an intimate, dimly lit cocktail den hidden behind a secret bookcase inside the Moxy Hotel. You don’t need to be staying at the hotel to enter, but you do need to make a reservation! The name “Room 56” is an homage to the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence. They try to steer away from anything “trendy”, keeping the feel of the bar classic and timeless. If you’re looking for a no-nonsense lounge with sophisticated drinks, Room 56 is the right place for you.

How to Find Room 56: Enter Moxy and follow the instructions that were sent to you upon making your reservation, which will tell you how get through the secret bookshelf entrance. Once you do, the resident “librarian” will lead you to the bar.

Reservations: Absolutely required, no walk-ins!

Located In: Gaslamp Quarter

Address: 831 Sixth Ave, San Diego, CA 92101

Bar Three Piece

Pretty much every whiskey lover in San Diego has been to Seven Grand, but few have ventured into Bar Three Piece, their hidden speakeasy. As it’s tucked away inside North Park’s most popular whiskey bar, I’m sure it will come as no surprise that Bar Three Piece is a whiskey lover’s dream. They only serve whiskey and whiskey-based drinks, but if you’re looking for other spirits they have a limited selection of non-whiskeys at the bar in Seven Grand, and you are welcome to bring them into Bar Three Piece.

How to Find Bar Three Piece: This bar is tucked away down a corridor within Seven Grand.

Reservations: On weekdays you can typically waltz right in, but on weekends you’ll typically need to have a reservation made in advance.

Located In: North Park

Address: 3054 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92104

The Boardroom

The Boardroom is a dazzling San Diego speakeasy some might remember from a few years back as “Cache.” They’re under new management now, safely tucked away inside Barrel & Board, but they’ve maintained the same vibe everyone loved about Cache. This upscale Parisian-inspired restaurant and bar was opened fairly recently by the owner of Gossip Grill, and has already become something of a local favorite. If you love a good charcuterie board with your drinks, you have to check out the Boardroom!

How to Find The Boardroom: Head towards the back room inside Barrel & Board!

Reservations: Not necessary, but available!

Located In: Hillcrest

Address: 1027 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92103


Does False Idol accept walk ins?

False Idol welcomes walk ins, but reservations are encouraged!

Does Noble experiment have food?

Noble Experiment does not serve food. However, they’re located inside the Neighborhood, a restaurant with some awesome food so if you get hungry, food is close by!

How do I get into room 56?

Room 56 is only accessible to those who have made reservations in advance. Once your reservation is made they will email you instructions for getting past their secret bookcase, where their resident “librarian” will be waiting to guide you in.

Does the grass skirt allow kids?

Kids are welcome in the Grass Skirt until 10:00 PM when their kitchen closes.

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