Let’s cut right to the point: work is stressful. Actually, let’s speak with even more candor than that: life is stressful. And guess what? Restaurants and bars in downtown San Diego know this. They note the tension in the temples, the white glow from the knuckles, the coworker that doesn’t pull their weight, the overused paperclip that can’t hold things together (yes, that paperclip is you), and they say, ah ha!
We have an invention. We have a solution. We have a cure.
And what might that be? Downtown San Diego happy hour. That’s right. HAPPY hour. In which case, if you’re trying to find the best place for great drinks that cost you pennies (oh, we can dream), then look no further. We’ve curated this list with the passion of a thousand spoiled workdays. Read on as we give you a San Diego tour of the best food and drink specials during happy hour!
First up, we have Las Hadas. This trendy, upscale Bar & Grill serves authentic Mexican food in the heart of the Gaslamp Quarter. They’ve got everything you could possibly want to enjoy at the end of the workday from tropical ceviche to carne asada fries to the classic carnitas tacos. Oh, and margaritas. They have lots and lots of margaritas on the menu.
Think spreadsheets no more. Instead, think tequila, lime, pineapple juice, and salted rims.
- When Will I Be Happy? You will be happy 7 days a week, from 3-7 pm AND (get this) 10 pm-12 am. That’s right… Late. Night. Happy. Hour. We’re talking margaritas ‘til the moon’s over the bay. And not those wimpy, watered-down slushies. No, these are the type of margaritas that have you calling them “margs” by the end of the night. Some might say you can only find the best margaritas in Old Town, but we disagree when they are this delicious and cheap. Did we not mention that they’re only $5 during happy hour? You’re welcome.
The Field Irish Pub
If you’re in the mood for a cold Guinness in the afternoon while you’re watching your favorite Champions League game, or you just really want to get away with saying, “Top o’ the mornin’ to ye laddies and ladies,” you need to visit The Field. It’s an authentic Irish Pub located down in the Gaslamp Quarter, complete with trivia, live music, sports—mostly fútbol and rugby—and all things Gaelic and Celtic inspired. Come for the incredible atmosphere, and of course, stay for one of the best happy hours in downtown San Diego.
- When Will I Be Happy? As a true Irishman knows, you’ll be happy ALL DAY (until 7 pm), any day of the workweek. And don’t worry, by 7 pm, you’ll be happy enough to pay the full price until closing time. If you’re in for a long and cheerful night, try their traditional Irish coffee. It’s not gold at the end of a rainbow; it’s The Field’s Irish coffee.
Anyone like beer and bourbon? How about when it’s blended into the food? If you’re looking for some heavy-hitting cocktails, the kind that makes you laugh at the long to-do list of the week, then head over to Barleymash in the Gaslamp District. This place has a great vibe and—without a doubt—will set you right.
- When Will I Be Happy? You’ll be happy Monday through Friday, from 3 pm to 6 pm. All spirits, beer, and wine are half off, along with a select list of appetizers. If we have anything to say about it—order a beer, a shot, and a burger off the menu. Watch how much you care about Tina from accounting then. Reality: you won’t.
Taste & Thirst
Let’s put some emphasis on thirst here, being that this restaurant really holds up to their end of the bargain. In fact, their entire platform is built on an everyday happy hour, with multiple different tiers as to the specials they’re offering. From their incredible TNT burger, their Philly steak quesadilla, to their amazing old fashioned, this is a place to indulge. This is a place that says, cheers to forgetting. And if you’re feeling particularly blue or enthusiastic—order the Irish Trashcan. Trust us here.
This is an absolutely fantastic downtown San Diego happy hour.
- When Will I Be Happy? The answer is all day, every day. From the morning to 3 pm, go crazy with their mimosas and bloody Mary’s. From 3 pm to 8 pm, all drinks are half off and appetizers start at 3$. Then from 8 pm to 1 am on Fridays and Saturdays, Taste & Thirst has an assortment of discounted drinks curated with the sole purpose of filling your evening with joy.
The Local Eatery and Drinking Hole
Having opened its doors in 2003, The Local Eatery and Drinking Hole is an establishment that aims to bring “beach vibes” to the urban jungle that is the Gaslamp District. Since then, this spot has served countless customers and has created a community surrounded by their mantra “Drink Local!” From their philanthropic events, open floor seating, to their “Big Ass Nachos,” this is a place that brings together eclectic individuals and treats them to a flavorful experience.
If we have anything to say about it, you should probably order the “Beer Cheese & Pretzel Balls” and wash it down with one of their local craft brews.
- When Will I Be Happy? You can find your happiness Monday through Friday, between 3 pm and 6 pm. Additionally, each day contains a select deal on top of their happy hour specials. Taco Tuesday, Trivia Night (Wednesday), and Awesome Brunch (Saturday), all have carefully selected deals to let you enjoy great food and drink without punching holes in your wallet.
Altitude Sky Lounge
When it comes to mixing the best downtown San Diego happy hour and breathtaking views, Altitude is where you want to go. This rooftop bar—perched over the Gaslamp District—allows you to gaze upon Coronado Island, the Coronado Bridge, Point Loma, and Petco Park (if you’re a fan of baseball).
The point is this: if you’re looking for an upscale, after-dark happy hour experience, and you’re keen on looking over the heart of San Diego, then you’ve found a winner. This place is undoubtedly one of the best rooftop bars in San Diego. With that said, go out, dress up, and catch a free Padres game from a unique vantage point.
- When Will I Be Happy? You’ll be happy Monday through Friday, 5 pm to 7 pm. And you’ll be even happier when you’re paying 7$ for a cocktail and enjoying their flagship artisan flatbread at half the price. Curb the long day with fantastic drinks, great people, and even better views at this rooftop bar.
Downtown San Diego, The Happiest Hour
Downtown San Diego has no shortage of happy hour specials. They take this legendary gap in our day seriously—allowing all of us to destress, unwind, and kick the frustrating parts of the day to the curb with a drink or four. Hopefully, this curated list has presented an option you find enticing! And once you’ve made your happy hour rounds in the heart of Gaslamp, consider checking out the happy hours in Pacific Beach. Between the beach and brews, you’ll forget you even had a stressful workday!
Either way, wherever you end up for happy hour, we hope you treat yourself. You deserve it.
“A bottle of wine contains more philosophy than all the books in the world.” -Louis Pasteur0