by Maren Dougherty - 200 Reviews - 32 List
We've scoured the San Diego area and now we're ready to name our Top 10 Bars and Clubs for 2009. Some are new and some are classic spots. Click through and see if you agree, but note that our Top 10 is randomly listed and not necessarily in our order of preference. (Photo courtesy of Firehouse American Eatery & Lounge)
Updated: March 12, 2010
Dare you to find a better bar for people-watching. The crowd here seems straight out of too-hip-to-be-labeled-hipster Williamsburg, Brooklyn with stylish glasses, scarves, and assorted styles of facial hair. Drinks of choice are tall cans of PBR and mules--ginger beer cocktails served in mason jars.
This newbie to the downtown club scene has a style that matches celebrities along the lines of Amy Winehouse and Lady Gaga. Skull art and machine-gun shaped lamps bring an intense darkness to the bar that contrasts with the club side, where a wall of LED lights provides a bright, energetic backdrop for the many DJs, bands, and dancers who stop in to perform.
The wine bar opened this year in an underground spot transformed into a whimsical playland of botanical chandeliers and 50-year-old wine vines. It hosts everything from high-end fashion shows to Sunday game nights when customers can pair a glass of Merlot with Scrabble or Clue.
The newest addition to San Diego's rooftop scene, the fourth floor nightspot sits on top of downtown's House of Blues. The lounge includes an inside bar area and an outdoor space where chic booths, cabanas, and a teak bar surround an infinity pool.
Blind Lady opened its doors in January 2009, offering residents of Normal Heights ? and beer lovers from around the county?a casual spot to enjoy craft beers and crispy pizzas. The owners are also deeply committed to the community; they often host charity fundraisers and offer free bike valet during street festivals.
The Banker's Hill dive bar opened this year, advertising personal kegs (aluminum cans) of 52 flavors of beer (if Natural Light counts). But whether you settle for a $1.75 can of Natty Light or spring for a $7 Belhaven Ale, this is a prime spot for catching some of San Diego's best up-and-coming bands..
It may be cliche to take a walk on the beach after a first date, but if that's your plan then this is a fun place to start the night. There's free valet, savory appetizers, and comfy lounge chairs on the upstairs deck that are perfect for snuggling and sipping mojitos.
Last year, the Ultra lounge was just an ordinary street level bar in a swanky hotel. This year, the lounge stepped up its game by adding a wall of high-tech wine stations. Guests can insert a card into a slot--almost like a vending machine--to try the different wines in taste, half-glass, or full size amount.