San Diego Nightlife Tips by lmkluque Top 5 Page for this destination
San Diego Nightlife: 148 reviews and 134 photos
The Reading Movie Theater is just across the street from Whiskey Girl. The movie I went to see, let out late, so as I walked outside, I was able to get a different take on Whiskey Girl than the impression I've gotten during the day.
During the day it seemed just to be a popular sports bar. You know, jocks drinking and watching the Games, with or without their gals.
Well, at night it has a very different vibe. It's edgy, hip and not really sporty. They have a "Cover Charge" and they are vigilant checking ID's. No fake ID's are accepted.
Happy Hour is 3 pm to 7 pm so, if you're on a budget but want to check it out this is the best time. However, it is later in the evening when it starts heating up.
Dress Code: They definitely do have a dress code so check their website to see what is not allowed. In general I'd say dress your best.
Check their, Dress Codes and Policies Page
Basically they want well dressed, well behaved customers looking to have a good time and no problems/aggressive attitudes.
Address: 702 Fifth Avenue
Phone: (619) 236-1616
Theme: Adult Spot
For years I have heard of "Dick's Last Resort" but had never been there, nor had I ever noticed it. Influencial people in San Diego refer to it frequently, radio talk shows have even been broadcast from it and I thought it would be a great place to add to my SD page.
I was shocked.
So many pretty places in the Gaslamp Quarter and this is where all those influencial people go? Well, I had to try it, to see for myself why anyone would go to this, this, this, place.
How can I describe it? The patio dining was a large section of blacktop with tables everywhere. The inside had so many napkins on the floor (napkin dropping is encouraged by management) there was barely room to walk to the restrooms.
We ordered. Everything comes in buckets!!!
The food servers yell from one side of the place to the other and if you discretely get your server's attention--for any reason--she will yell at you, "Yeah? What do you want now? Can't you see I'm busy?" She doesn't care if you're sensitive, a VIP or even from another country, everyone is treated rudely equally.
Honestly, this is not my kind of place, but I could see that it was great fun. No pretension, just a rollicking good time to be had by all! It was interesting how customers--who didn't know each others--tended to slip into conversations with others at a neighboring table, like talking over the fence in a neighborhood.
At night, there is a live band with dancing and no one under twenty-one is admitted, unless accommpanied by a parent and are only coming to eat dinner.
Dress Code: I think the dress code is: "Wear clothes."
Probably that is only because not wearing clothes is illegal in San Diegol, otherwise, I think they wouldn't care.
Address: 345 Fifth Avenue
Directions: On Fifth Avenue between J Street & K Street.
Phone: (619) 231-9100
Sixteen blocks in downtown San Diego west from Fourth Avenue east to Sixth Avenue and north Broadway, south to Harbor Drive, has been renovated and designated as a tribute to the past and the present.
This historical section is the original (2nd) downtown San Diego created after the 1872 fire that destroyed SD's original town, what is now known as Old Town San Diego State Historic Park. The buildings in this area of downtown have been restored/refurbished to reflect the original graceful architecture.
Instead of being content to present this as a type of capsulized museum, every space has been utilized to attract residents and tourist alike. It has been a wonderful success and every day and night of the week, there is something offered/going on for almost anyone's tastes.
The Gaslamp Quarter comes alive at night and if you are looking for crowds of people in a party mood, you'll hit the jackpot in the Gaslamp.
As with most places, the Gaslamp has it's "hottest spots" which change from time to time, but the variety of music style--sedate piano bar to raging rock bands, entertainment type--live theater to Hooters and dress code--from formal to grunge, means that there is a place to attract almost everyone.
Many places in the Gaslamp Quarter have no cover-charge, however some do, so be prepared.
Now, if you're looking for that Cool Jazz & Blues sound we have it here too.
I like Croce's.
This was opened by Ingrid Croce after her husband, Jim Croce died. She's a hands on owner and an active member of the Gaslamp community so you might see her around the place while you're there.
As of January 2014 Croce's will no longer be the Heart of the Gaslamp Quarter. Look for Ingrid and Croce's Restraurant & Jazz Bar in their new location at Bunker Hill.
Each year some of the old places close, some move nearer or farther and some open their doors for the first time. Whatever the situation is during your visit, you can count on having a good time in San Diego's vibrant Gaslamp Quarter.
In recent times most of the restaurants, bars and nightclubs have been offering extended Happy Hours, and even better deals each day of the week to entice you to choose their establishment.
I tend to go to the Gaslamp Quarter during week nights to avoid the "full-frenzy-fiesta," that happens on the weekends. Still, early or mid week the vibe is still "festive, fun and fast.
Dress Code: Most places accept the "come as you are" look, but the "locals" usually dress up for the evening and some of the hottest spots will not let you in if you are not dressed properly. Some places will not even allow tennis shoes. I suggest calling the various establishments to ask if they actually do have a "dress code."
Address: Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Avenues*
Directions: The Gaslamp Quarter
Theme: Live Music
I was there just last Tuesday night (11/12/13) and it was the most lively of the places in this block of Fifth Avenue.
I physically can not dance any more but their "Swing Dance Tuesdays" is great for an old lady like me, just to listen to. Most of the places in the Gaslamp Quarter charge "Downtown" higher prices, but they don't exclude us poor people, they offer all sorts of discounts by hour and by day. Henry's Pub is no different.
Henry's also offers an interesting "Parings" menu. I don't know if it was inspired by Beer Week or not. The Mini crunchy tacos was actually complemented by their Bloody Gary, a gin-based Bloody Mary. I have to say that I still prefer Vodka Bloody Mary's and Gin Martinis.
Take a look at their website to see what each day offers or just go and be surprised.
Dress Code: The standard advise. If your goal is to dance and meet new people, dress your best for clubbing. Casual is good enough just having a meal or a drink.
Address: 618 Fifth Avenue
Directions: In the Gaslamp Quarter
Phone: (619) 238-2389
This is on the north corner of a whole line of restaurants/bars/dancing clubs. Pub Crawling on this block is a blast!
Jimmy's is a good place to stop for a meal and enjoy the music and it's not too expensive, especially for the Gaslamp Quarter. Late night, dining, drinking and dancing is offered here. So it's up to you. I've not seen it late at night but hear that it is a fun place to be.
I can't dance so just had a meal here in the late afternoon on the "patio," which is actually a fenced section of the sidewalk. The dining room was darkish in a romantic way. I've had Fish & Chips and the Cobb Salad. Both were well made and tasty. The service was nice and friendly.
Dress Code: It really depends on your reason for going there. "Your own casual style" is okay if you just want a meal or a drink. If dancing and meeting people are your goals than I suggest that you dress Trendy/Stylishly Casual for a better chance of success.
Address: 672 5th Avenue
Directions: In the Gaslamp Quarter at the corner of Fifth Avenue and G Street.
Phone: (619) 595-0123
Theme: Eating and Drinking
Now playing, "ESPRESSO!"
Well, that's how the sign read at the time. "Espresso's" long, long, long run is over now and who knows what will be playing during your visit.
Since it was built in 1986 This Theater has had several names, Originally The Deane Theatre a year later it was changes to Hahn Cosmopolitan Theatre, then The Horton Grand Theatre. The one thing that's stayed the same is it's location next to the Horton Grand Hotel, one of my favorites. It is near plenty of restaurants to stop in for dinner or a drink, before and after the play.
This is not a flashy place, understated you might say. A flat brick building with only an awning and big sign painted in the window to let you know what it is. One would not normally think of The Gaslamp Quarter and The Theatre at the same time, or maybe some would. It is now home to The Lamb's Player's Theatre.
The Lamb's Player's Theatre is a leading non-profit organization which also offers a dynamic Educational Outreach. Their reputation in San Diego is very good.
They have another theatre in Coronado, but it is at the Horton Grand Theatre that their longer running plays are presented. Of course, it's useless to mention what is playing now, so be sure to check their website for dates of your visit here before making plans.
Dress Code: Dress your best.
Even though this is not "Broadway," it still feels good to walk into the theater in style.
Address: 444 Fourth Avenue
Phone: (619) 437-6000
Backstage At Aubergine offered dinner and the popular play, "Forever Plaid" for many years and now the play has moved on. At the moment the theater is dark.
However, Aubergine offers more than theater and you might find the charming dining room, the hip bar or the very casual café worth a visit.
At Abergine the focus has always been on the food and with a 1940's, Boggy & Bacall feeling created by the talented piano player during the week or the hot sounds of jazz on the weekends, you will surely have a wonderful evening.
Backstage at Aubergine and Augergine, the restaurant and club is now CLOSED!
In it's place you'll find not only a new establishment, but a really different type of restaurant, entertainment venue and a Hot nightclub, which has been awarded Best Nightclub in the Nation!
Of course an old lady like me hasn't actually been here, but my ears work and I've heard many interesting and exciting things about this place. In fact, I'd expect this to be in New York or L.A. but it's in San Diego!
If nothing else it's Hot, Trendy, Different, Exciting, and Successful! So if that sounds good to you, check it out. Seems that FLUXX is shaking up the Gaslamp Quarter and people are taking notice. As with most Clubs like this one it is expensive, but lots of people really like it.
There is no Cover Charge if you come for dinner, but it will be added to your bill if you want to stay after.
I'll get a new photo soon.
I went to get the photo and was a bit surprised that I almost missed it! Very understated. In fact I'd wondered if it had closed it's doors already. A simple and not large sign on the awning identifies it as FLUXX, nothing else to indicate that this is an ever changing elegant and playful place to party. The backstage door had the only colorful pop, to compliment the venue inside, on it's sign asking that those around the door to please be quiet.
Dress Code: Dress your trendy best and feel comfortable. This is one of those places that the door man has the final word on letting you in or not. On their website they list unacceptable attire.
Don't be surprised if you bump into to someone really famous here so be sure to look really good if you want to get in.
I've heard that celebrities come here, but I sort of thought it was mostly those, who's stars have dimmed in recent years.
However, last night on TMZ, they mentioned that Ashton Kutcher spent his anniversity at FLUXX in San Diego, while Demi was in NYC. So, I guess even the hottest stars come down from LA to party here too. Also they come to perform as well.
Address: 500 Fourth Avenue
Directions: The same address and the same phone number, just a very different vibe.
Phone: (619) 232-8100
I haven't been here yet but will tell you what I know so far and will give my opinion once I've stopped here.
They are open seven nights a week and offer two shows, at 8:00 pm and 10:30 pm so. they open for seating at 7:00 pm/10:00 pm. There normally isn't a cover charge nor a 2-drink minimum, which is unusual for such a club.
You do have to have tickets for a show and can get them on-line from their website or by calling their number. It seems that a ticket can cost anywhere between $0.00 to $20.00 depending on the talent/night of the week. Since you have to be 21 years to enter, keep in mind that anyone under 21 will not be allowed in.
However, though their menu isn't what I'd call fine dining, it does seem appropriate for the venue with enough variety to offer something to everyone in your party if you choose the Dinner Show.
Smoking is allowed on their patio, but I don't know if you can still see the show while out there.
Dress Code: Casual dress will be accepted, but you might want to dress up a bit to make a special night of it.
Address: 502 Horton Plaza Atop Horton Plaza
Directions: Located at the top level of Horton Plaza
Phone: (619) 702-6666
This is a blast from the past, if you know what I mean. The Red Fox Room is connected to Red Fox Steak House, which is connected to the Lafayette Hotel & Suites San Diego. It is located on El Cajon Boulevard in North Park and has been around for over fifty years!
I started coming here over twenty years ago when I worked for EF Foundation. My boss and I would stop for dinner, as a way to wind-down and relax from the hectic days just before a group would arrive. The funny thing is that we wouldn't leave until well past one in the morning!
After a delicious steak and lobster dinner we'd move over in to the bar--a piano lounge--and take a booth until two of the seats around the piano became available. My boss loved to sing along , but I was just the audience. The age range at this dimly lit lounge was 21-91!! There were songs for everyone and everyone had a good time.
This is how it would work. Each person around the piano--except me--would have a turn singing their songs while the pianist played. Most of the clientele happened to be "regulars" but everyone, including a stranger was accepted and made to feel welcomed.
Later in the evening a bright, beautiful and talented group would show up and show off! Young actors from the local theaters around town stopped in for a night-cap and wowed us with their really great voices.
It was a wonderful chance to get to know the talent in the SD Theater world.
This is a bit off the tourist's path but worth a trip over if you like this sort of thing. I love the friendliness and the atmostphere, not to mention the excellent drinks.
Dress Code: Dress nicely. Nothing too fancy.
As you can imagine the age range, the styles ran from really old fashion to pretty trendy.
Address: 2223 El Cajon Boulevard
Directions: Not too far from Park Avenue and El Cajon Boulevard.
Phone: (619) 297-1313
Theme: Live Music
Her movements mesmerized the crowds!
During the summer months the San Diego Zoo is opened for night time touring. The gates actually close at 9 pm, but you can stay until 10 pm. (The rest of the year the gates close at 4pm and you can stay until 5 or 6pm.)
Summer Nights at the Zoo offer a few extras that add even more fun to the zoo experience. There are many nocturnal animals at the zoo and during a night time visit, those animals are out, interacting in a way never seen during the day. It's quite revealing to see some of these animals in action and sometimes even exciting. As a frequent visitor I can say that this aspect changes the ambiance enough to be impressive.
Several skits are put on throughout the zoo as well as a very funny intereactive comedy, "Going Ape!" Hoola Hoop contests engage kids and adults alike and one of the most interesting offerings are the living statues. This particular statue, pictured here, standing in a fountain, moved to lovely music and surprised many who weren't aware she was alive.
Keep in mind that every year the entertainment changes, but still the offerings are fun and interesting so you shouldn't be disappointed at all.
Dress Code: To spend time in the Nighttime Zoo, be sure to wear good walking shoes and bring a sweater or jacket as the evenings can get much cooler than it is during the day.
Address: 2920 Zoo Drive
Phone: (619) 234-3153
Theme: Family Spot
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