Tag: Dining

Every veteran traveler knows that food is an intrinsic and extremely enjoyable part of traveling; sampling the local cuisine in a new place is like sightseeing for your taste buds, and in order to really fully experience the vibe of a new city, it’s necessary to dive in flavor-wise and savor the local gastronomy.

Unfortunately, however, eating out every meal isn’t an option for most travelers on a budget—thus enter Happy Hours, the frugal traveler’s best friend.

For those uninitiated, Happy Hour—aka “a cocktail hour or longer period at a bar, during which drinks are served at reduced prices”—takes place during a bar or restaurant’s slower times, usually in the afternoon on weekdays. It’s a way that restaurants can coax in customers during a typically dead time of day, which they do so by slashing prices and offering discounts and specials on food and drinks.

For those of us penny-pinching nomads, it’s a way to sample a restaurant’s offerings for a fraction of the price. Aside from being a steal pricewise, happy hour is generally a far quieter time of day, as it starts during traditional workday hours—meaning that you and your significant other, best friend, and/or new friends you met at Lucky D’s (woot woot!) can enjoy yourselves in a quieter, more relaxed setting. No having to put your name in the queue at the host stand, bumping elbows with other tables while trying to find a seat, or losing your voice from having to talk over the loud din.

It’s the perfect mid-afternoon interlude—a quick bite and tasty beverage to ease you into the late afternoon after a lengthy hike at Balboa Park, a sun-inundated afternoon bronzing yourself on the beach, or just to treat yoself because you’re on vacation.

Here we’ve compiled a list of our favorite Happy Hours in the East Village/Downtown area, along with a little bit about what makes each spot so special.

Neighborhood

Located catty-corner from Lucky D’s is Neighborhood, a rustic-chic bar and restaurant that boasts an impressive selection of craft beer, both local and imported. The inside has a relaxing, artisanal vibe to it, filled with earthy, dark and wooden materials that are highlighted by the bar’s intimate mood lighting; the small astroturf padded patio outside is great for people watching along the corner of 8th Avenue and G Street. The menu flaunts a variety of vegan/vegetarian options, and the mac ‘n’ cheese remains a requisite favorite, particularly hamburger helper style if you’re up for it. In the back of the restaurant lies a speakeasy, which on weekends tends to get filled up pretty quickly—make sure to put your name in early!

HH Deal: Monday through Friday, enjoy 2 for 1 local beers from 4-7 p.m.!

HALF DOOR

A staff favorite, Half Door is an Irish-pub style brewery with a cozy, vintage ambience. Situated in an old house, the bottom patio that greets you upon entry is reminiscent of the old verandas from grand hotels of the Gilded Age, perfect for catching some sun and people watching on 9th & Island. Walk inside and it feels like you’ve entered a much cooler version of your Grandfather’s study, filled with unassuming upcycled cool—comfortably worn love seats, floral wallpaper, distressed coffee tables and repurposed church pews. The two-story ceiling to floor liquor cabinet creates a dreamy effect when progressing to the second level, the afternoon sunlight playing through the different bottles to cast a kaleidoscope of colors while walking up the stairs. The second story is even homier, full of leather chairs, couches and bookshelves filled with classic tomes; walk out onto the beautiful twinkle-lit outdoor patio and get a premier view of Petco Park and the intersecting streets below.

Normally pretty busy, the ‘happy hours’ are a more mellow time at Half Door; it’s an ideal place for solo happy-houring as much as social outings. Bring a book or laptop and ride solo, or come with friends and pick out a classic board game from upstairs! They brew their beers onsite, with most of the menu items being modern updates to classic Irish cuisine.

HH DEALS: Monday through Friday, from 4-6 p.m.
$5 house beers, $6 draft beers
$5 well wine
$5 well cocktails, $6 specialty cocktails
$5 fried goat cheese, $5 truffle fries, $5 mac & cheese
$6 pretzel bites
$7 ahi tuna taco
$9 sausage flatbread

Pro tip: We recommend the Mac ‘n Cheese with the Roark Red Ale.

Bubs at the Ballpark

Located on the same block as Petco Park, Bubs is a convenient stop for food and drinks before a Padres game. The Sports bar offers standard American bar fare, a wide variety of local craft beer on tap, and plenty of plasma screen TVs for gameday viewings. The garage door windows open up on sunny days, and the elevated patio provides a great boost for people-watching. They have an in-house basketball court, shuffleboard, and video games at the ready, a fun way to pass the time while waiting on food or a table. The kitchen is open til 1 a.m., for those nights when you need a feed a little later than usual. We recommend the burgers and the wings (half off during happy hour)!

HH DEALS: 3-6 p.m., Monday through Friday
$4 select local drafts
$5 well drinks
50% off wings, 50% off all red baskets (chips, salsa & guacamole / seasoned fries / onion rings / regular or special tots)

Bootlegger

Of course we couldn’t leave our downstairs neighbor off the list! Bootlegger has a laidback speakeasy-esque vibe and is a convenient place to grab a quick bite before heading upstairs for that much needed nap after a day full of San Diego sightseeing. Full of comfortable booths and trendy old timey décor, the place comes alive during weekend afternoons. In addition to have a daily happy hour, they have specials on certain menu items throughout the week, with two of our favorites being $2 tacos and $10 nachos (beer included!) on Tuesdays and $10 build-your-own-burgers on Thursdays (draft domestic also included). For Saturday and Sunday brunch, they have $15 bottomless mimosas from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

HH DEALS: Monday, Wednesday, & Friday from 3-7 p.m.
$5 wells & calls, house wines and draft specials
$5 small plates

Knotty Barrel

Around the corner from Lucky D’s lies Knotty Barrel, a chill gastropub with a full bar and selection of over 100 local, domestic, and imported beers. It feels like a comfortable mountain lodge, with barrels and rustic wood incorporated into their design scheme—be sure to check out the bar, which is covered with a hodgepodge of beer labels from around the world that the owner spent years collecting. They have an enclosed back patio with a fire pit and a variety of games like Shuffleboard and Connect 4; on Thursday nights they have trivia starting at 8 p.m.!

HH DEALS: Monday through Friday, from 3-7 p.m.
Discounts on select appetizers
$6 potato skins / house-made beer cheese
$7 Chipotle BBQ sliders / 3 way fries / fried pickles

Basic

The MO of Basic is simplicity, summed up in the name of the restaurant itself and evident in everything from its menu offerings to the general feng shui of the place. Simple, uncomplicated thin crust brick oven pizza is the order of the day at Basic, a restaurant that feels more like an open-air lounge with a chic industrial aesthetic. The building was converted from an early 20th century warehouse, with straightforward, efficient décor comprised of brick, wood and metal elements; the shag carpet is made from recycled rubber tires, and the building still has its original brick walls, with large garage door-style windows that stay open on beautiful days. Munch on free pizza samples while shooting pool during happy hour, or check out their Art Nights on Tuesdays evenings.

HH DEAL: Every day from 4-7 p.m.
$4 bottles and cans
$5 all draft beers & well cocktails
$6 Absolut or Jack Daniels cocktails
$7 all house wines
Free samples of Basic pizza (except on game days)

Tin Roof

Just a short 5 minute walk from Lucky D’s, Tin Roof brings a little bit of Southern charm to San Diego; though spacious, the Nashville inspired bar is an intimate spot where you can enjoy live local music and great people watching! They have tables for beer pong, jenga, and cornhole; on the patio outside is a large place to play shuffleboard. Bonus: they serve weekend brunch from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, with bottomless mimosas and $5 bloody mary’s!

HH deals: Monday through Friday, 3-7 p.m.
Half off all drinks and appetizers

Weekly specials: $5 Jameson & Fireball all day, everyday
Tuesday: $2 Tacos, $3 Mexican Beer 
Wednesday: $5 well drinks 
Thursday: $3 Tall Boys 
Saturday and Sunday: Brunch 10am-2pm, bottomless mimosas & $5 signature bloody mary

Gaslamp Quarter

Social center of the downtown area, with lots of bars and restaurants and a bustling nightlife. Stroll down 5th Avenue, the central vein of the Gaslamp, filled with fun bars, fabulous restaurants and quirky breweries.

Hillcrest

LGBT heart of San Diego, with lots of great brunch spots and locally owned businesses including thrift stores, restaurants, bars, cafés and clubs. Amazing farmer’s market on Sundays with live music!

University Heights/Normal Heights/North Park

The hipster trifecta of San Diego, all with cool retro neon signs greeting you upon entry. Lots of trendy bars and breweries with unique atmospheres, cute vintage boutiques and art galleries

North Park
Named one of the best hipster neighborhoods in the US by Forbes, North Park is a culturally diverse neighborhood with lots of art galleries, coffee shops and boutiques. Thursday farmer’s market!

Normal Heights
Adams Ave (between Texas St on the west & Ohio St on the east) known as Antique Row, after all the antique stores there.

University Heights
Lots of restaurants, coffee shops, boutiques, and artists’ studios.

South Park

Family oriented and very pedestrian-friendly area, with lots of grocery stores and great restaurants; 30th street has been called the nation’s ‘craft beer boulevard’ by Men’s Journal.

Pacific Beach

Younger kids, with a boardwalk to Mission Beach. With a nightlife second only to the Gaslamp Quarter, PB is full of bars, shops, and restaurants on Garnet Avenue

Ocean Beach

Often called the “Haight-Ashbury” of San Diego, Ocean Beach has a laid back bohemian vibe. The beach is a great spot for bonfires!

La Jolla

Called the Beverley Hills of San Diego, La Jolla is a beautiful suburban area with plenty of natural beauty and opportunities for outdoorsy fun. Check out the sea lions in the Children’s Pool, sunbathe in the buff at Black’s Beach, or go kayaking or snorkeling through La Jolla’s seven caves and swim with leopard sharks.

Old Town

The oldest settled area of San Diego and first European settlement in California, Old Town is full of Wild Western/Chicano cultural heritage. It’s an absolute must if you want to experience the culture of the American Southwest, and the center of the town almost feels like you’ve crossed the border.

Mission Beach

A great spot for young families, run, bike, or skate along the boardwalk to Belmont Park, the beachfront amusement park there.

Seaport Village

A beautiful beachfront shopping area, with lots of boutiques and souvenir opportunities; there is a century old carousel still in use today.

Little Italy

Full of charming little ‘piazzas’ as well as award-winning Italian eateries. Lots of good coffee shops, boutiques, artist galleries. Lots of festivals throughout the year, a weekly farmer’s market every Saturday, “el mercato”—the market, in Italian.

As Southern California’s premier entertainment district, guests can bask in the rich Victorian architecture and history, indulge in some of the best restaurants on the West Coast, and dance the night away at the best clubs in SoCal. Tucked tightly into 16 ½ blocks, the Gaslamp Quarter is a walkable urban playground located in Downtown San Diego and adjacent to the Convention Center, Petco Park, and Horton Plaza.  Just a few blocks west of Lucky D’s, we invite you to explore the Gaslamp for yourself and find out what makes it unforgettable!

Dine

Experiencing the native cuisine of a new place is one of the most delectable aspects of traveling, and the Gaslamp Quarter in San Diego is a true foodie’s paradise.  Dining in the Gaslamp is an intercontinental culinary journey, ranging from casual to upscale–whether looking for a bite post-Padres game or date night with the one you love, the Gaslamp Quarter is the perfect spot!

Check out our favorite cheap eats in the downtown area, as well as a lineup of the best brunch and coffee spots in town.

Nightclubs


Play at Parq: downtown San Diego’s hottest nightclub. Parq features a 10,000 square feet main room, the largest HD LED wall on this side of the world (30 feet by 12.5 feet), aerial dancers, the industry’s best hosts, 21 VIP tables and so much more…

Here’s a comprehensive list of the best nightclubs in downtown San Diego, all Lucky D’s approved!

Shopping

In the heart of downtown San Diego, the Gaslamp is the entry point for not only great restaurants, bars, and hotels but excellent shopping! 16 city blocks are filled with fascinating boutiques, national retailers, and professional services all within easy walking distance.  Whatever you’re looking for, you can find in downtown San Diego.

Considered the “birthplace” of California, visitors can witness the living legacy of California’s origins in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.  A short ride from Lucky D’s on the trolley, the preserved historic buildings and museums of Old Town allow you to “go back in time” and experience California’s history firsthand.

Restaurants in Old Town

Known for its authentic Mexican cuisine, Old Town’s culinary scene is lively and vibrant. For traditional flavors in an upscale atmosphere, diners head to El Agave. This second-floor hacienda-style hideaway boasts a mind-blowing tequila collection and a menu specializing in upscale dishes that celebrate indigenous Mexican ingredients. Café Coyote enchants with its, festive décor, massive margaritas, strolling mariachis and open-air atmosphere. You’ll also find authentic fare at Old Town Mexican Cafe y Cantina or any of the other local cantinas. Beyond the excellent Mexican cuisine, Harney Sushi offers creative Japanese dishes and sushi roll concoctions, such as the “Mike Check” roll featuring lobster, cilantro, garlic ponzu and wonton chips, as well as expertly prepared traditional nigiri.

Historical Buildings

The Old Town State Historical Park maintains a collection of 19th-century homes and businesses that give visitors a glimpse into colonial life in San Diego. Seek out the old adobe ranch homes, schoolhouse and graveyard spread among the occupied areas of the neighborhood.

There are also numerous rumors of ghost sightings in the area—most persistently at the old Whaley House Museum on San Diego Avenue. The Whaley House & Museum is one of only two officially designated haunted houses in California. Constructed in 1856 on a former gallows’ site, the house was once home to the Whaley family as well as San Diego’s first theater and county courthouse.

Constructed in 1825, Casa de Estudillo unveils the lifestyle of a prominent San Diego family. Standing as the the most famous of the original adobe buildings in Old Town, it’s furnished with representative items from the 16th to 20th centuries within its 13 rooms.

The Junípero Serra Museum in Old Town’s Presidio Park is one of the most familiar landmarks in San Diego, recognized as the site where California began. Neighboring Heritage Park showcases San Diego’s Victorian era with six

Shopping in Old Town

Shopping in Old Town State Historic Park reflects the history of the 1800s and captures the essence of San Diego’s colorful past. A diverse selection of stores can be found in Old Town like Cousin’s Candy for fresh homemade taffy, Toby’s Candle Shop where visitors can make their own candles, the Johnson House specializing in hat-making. and Alvarado Provisions for unique gourmet foods. Old Town Market Place, an open-air courtyard, is home to a variety of carts and shops that sell handcrafted trinkets, clothing and accessories traditional to the Mexican culture.

Nestled in the heart of Old Town State Historic Park, Bazaar Del Mundo, a San Diego shopping and dining institution, is popular for food, folklore and fun. Translated as “marketplace of the world,” Bazaar del Mundo features award-winning restaurants and international shops with a dazzling array of ethnic clothing, jewelry, pottery, furnishings and many other treasures. Countless special events also make Bazaar del Mundo an attraction year-round.