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Best Speakeasies in San Diego

  • 6 min read

Best Speakeasies in San Diego

Prohibition might have died nearly a century ago, but it’s very much alive and well in the world of San Diego speakeasies! From over-the-top tiki bars serving tropical hand-crafted cocktails to lavish escapist lounges with top-tier mixologists, these hidden bar experiences will transport you to another time and place. We’ve compiled a list of San Diego’s most encapsulating speakeasies, what makes them special, and, most importantly, how to get in. Some of these spots are intimate, award winning, and in high demand so take it from us and make a reservation.

Table of Contents

Oculto 477

Pay homage to the spirits in more ways than one at Oculto 477, the only speakeasy adjacent to 477 buried bodies in one of San Diego’s oldest cemeteries, El Campo Santo. This gothic Spanish cocktail bar is a dark and moody representation of the prohibition era. Their rotating specialty cocktail menu offers a variety of options, from fine whiskey and mezcal selections to concoctions served in mini clawfoot tubs of dry ice. If you’re less decisive, we recommend ordering a Risk it All. Roll a set of three dice to determine your cocktail's spirit, style, and profile. 


How to Enter: Be prepared to confess to one of the seven sins or a sin of your creation in the mock confessional located in the entryway of Tahona Bar.

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Oculto 477 (@oculto477) • Instagram photos and videos


Raised by Wolves

Enjoy expertly crafted cocktails by candlelight at La Jolla’s notable Roman Mythology inspired lounge. What’s even more impressive is the secret entrance that, at first glance, might look like your average table and chairs in front of a fireplace but hold on - literally - because the floor will rotate turn table style, whisking you to the other side of the wall and into the speakeasy. Ornate furniture, a center bar with a fountain in the middle, and a glass dome-shaped ceiling make it a hidden getaway. The menu features refreshing, decadent, spritz-forward, and reserved cocktails, each with its own personality detailed in its description. If you like banana cream pie, don’t leave without ordering a custardy Banana Cream Flip with house-made ingredients.


How to Enter: You’ll find the entrance wedged between shops at the Westfield UTC Mall disguised as an old-school liquor storefront with double glass doors. The host will greet and direct you to the secret door.


Young Blood

Discover the true meaning of a liquid dinner on this prefix three course cocktail journey in East Village including an appetizer, main course, and a dessert. Expert bartenders will guide you through each of your custom made cocktail courses created based on your mood and preference. The environment is Gatsby-esque with warm lighting, detailed decor and velvet seating taking you back to prohibition times.


How to Enter: This place is reservation only! The entrance is located inside of Neighborhood past the wall of kegs. You’ll see a glass refrigerator case with Young Blood written on it. Open it and follow the tiled hallway back to the 1920s.


The Grass Skirt

If you’re looking for a Polynesian-inspired paradise, The Grass Skirt is Pacific Beach’s whimsical tiki bar serving premium tropical cocktails and Southeast Asian cuisine. This secret watering hole is covered in tiki decor, from the neon hula girl lights to the wall of pineapple skulls to the giant carved tiki heads. Multicolor lighting, bamboo accents, and a restaurant-wide tropical storm simulation make it an immersive experience. Choose from an assortment of exotic cocktails in tiki cups with floral garnishes and bendy straws. Turn up the heat with a Fire and Ice cocktail - but be warned - it will be served to you on fire.


How to Enter: Enter through Good Time Poke, but don’t order at the counter. Instead, look to your left, open the freezer door, and follow the stone passageway to the lounge.



Calling all sci-fi lovers. If you ever wondered what it’s like to sip tropical cocktails from inside a spaceship crash-landed on another planet, this place is for you. Walls of stalagmites, shooting stars up above, and a bar designed to look like a spacecraft control panel make the ambiance out of this world. Choose from an assortment of uniquely flavorful and refreshing cocktails organized by potency, from cruising speed to ludicrous speed. If you’re like us and operate at ludicrous speed, order the popular Astro Zombie it has three different kinds of rum, Absinthe, and citrus flavors with a dried sage garnish. There’s a selection of vegan plates to snack on if you’re hungry too.


How to Enter: Find the entrance at the corner of Juniper and 30th Street in South Park.


Vin De Syrah

Tumble down the rabbit hole into Gas Lamp’s Alice in Wonderland-inspired hidden lounge. It’s a boozy underground garden party with wood tables, ivy walls, and umbrellas hanging from overhead. They offer over 100 bottles of wine from across the globe, seasonal specialty cocktails, unique beers, and snacks from charcuterie to paninis. Check their Instagram for events like paint & sip, wine tastings and live jazz.


How to Enter: Near the corner of Fifth Ave and E St take the staircase down to the grass-covered wall, grab the brass handle, and enter your own Wonderland.

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Vin De Syrah (@vindesyrah) • Instagram photos and videos


Captain’s Quarters

The owner of Pacific Beach’s vibey-tiki bar, The Grass Skirt, brings you a nautical encounter out to sea right next door at Captain’s Quarters. They’re so close they share the same entrance, making hidden bar hopping much more convenient. It’s designed to look like a swanky cocktail lounge inside a 17th-century sailing ship. Portholes and windows along the walls simulate changing views of sunny days and sunsets on the seas. They offer a thorough list of cocktail choices, specializing in gin, and serve a variety of options to snack on.


How to Enter:Enter through Good Time Poke. Turn right through the secret door and follow the outstretched octopus arms along the wall to the bar’s entrance.


Noble Experiment

Truly reminiscent of the prohibition era, Noble Experiment is a lavish, dimly lit gin joint with a morbid twist located in the Gaslamp Quarter.  Don’t let the wall of skulls distract you from the oil painting-covered ceiling or the chandelier made to look like it’s dripping in wax. Their quality crew of mixologists serves top-tier cocktails with elegant garnishes and seasonally made syrups. This under cover gem is the perfect pick for an intimate date night in San Diego.


How to Enter: Find the entrance located inside the restaurant Neighborhood on G Street. Walk through the empty kitchen area to a wall of beer kegs. Push on the right side of the wall to enter the bar. You’ll be welcomed by a neon red sign that says Noble Experiment, with a hostess to greet you.


Realm of the 52 Remedies

This Chinese and Korean apothecary-inspired bar serves up ancient cocktail remedies sure to cure your ailments. Sculptures, thick wood tables, hanging beads and lotus-shaped booths resemble the far east. Even the bathroom is an immersive experience! Enjoy shareable asian plates and quality seasonal cocktails like the Opium Den - it’s literally smoking - or the Saigoon Dreamer where cold brew coffee meets rye whiskey.


How to Enter: Enter Common Theory on Convoy St and look for a white door. Walk through the simple apothecary where a host will take you through the secret passage.


Convoy Music Bar

Reviving the Tokyo listening bar experience, this speakeasy combines high quality cocktails with high quality sounds. Rotating DJs make the music come to life on their custom built sound system imported from Japan. Spirit-forward beverages are made with unique ingredients like passionfruit-Szechuan peppercorn syrup, grilled pineapple juice, and hojicha-infused scotch. If you like a complex gin drink try the Newest Giddy. It’s a refreshing balance of melon, cucumber, and a foamy top layer with a fragrant seaweed garnish.


How to Enter: The entrance is hidden in an alley behind the strip mall. Walkup to the white door that says On Air and knock.


Bar Three Piece

This North Park spot is every whiskey drinker’s dream with nearly 300 bottles, many of them rare or hard to get. Order a flight and try more than one. Dimly lit booths with oil lanterns and taxidermy mimic the feel of Japanese whiskey bars. Cigars imported from Nicaragua are available for pairing on the private outdoor patio. Check their Instagram for special events like whiskey tastings.


How to Enter: Enter through Seven Grand Whiskey. Find the bathrooms and follow the hallway to the speakeasy. Make sure to book a reservation on Saturdays and Sundays.