Sep 1, 2023 - Food and Drink

Six of the best rooftop bars in San Diego

Tables at a rooftop bar with a pink and blue sunset over the ocean and palm trees in the background.

The rooftop bar at Birdseye in La Jolla. Photo: Courtesy of Birdseye

A drink with a view is pretty easy to come by in San Diego, with beach bars, sunny patios and waterfront restaurants.

  • Here are a few rooftops that elevate the occasion, whether it's a Saturday afternoon with the girls, happy hour, parents night out or a date with someone special:

1. Above Ash Social

Details: Enjoy 360-degree views of downtown and the bay on this expansive rooftop that features fireside lounge seating, a terrace with full-service tables and a 12-foot screen to watch games.

What to order: The poisson cru starter (think ahi tuna ceviche or poke) and the little gem wedge are a perfect pairing with a crisp Sauvignon blanc.

Go when: Happy hour or weekend brunch

Where: 16th floor of the Carte Hotel in Little Italy at 401 W Ash St.

A rooftop bar with lounge seating, a fire put and views of a city skyline.
Above Ash Social at the Carte Hotel in Little Italy. Photo: Jen Rubin Photography courtesy of Carte Hotel

2. Techo Beso

Details: Techo Beso, which means "rooftop kiss," brings Tulum, Mexico to downtown San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter with vibrant coastal decor, beach-inspired cocktails and a pool.

What to order: The Coba is a delicious and refreshing cucumber and mint vodka cocktail, but my favorite is the Maya Blue, a bright mezcal margarita.

Go when: It's a fun daytime spot or night out destination. If you're looking for a party, the DJ plays Thursday through Saturday 7-11pm and Sundays 4-8pm

Where: Rooftop of the AC Hotel Downtown Gaslamp Quarter at 743 Fifth Ave.

A rooftop bar with coastal decor and furniture including pink umbrellas and palm-printed chairs.
Tulum-inspired rooftop bar Techo Beso in Gaslamp. Photo: Alexandra Seward courtesy of Techo Beso

3. Birdseye

Details: This chic, upscale rooftop lounge in La Jolla offers ocean views, live music and a perfect excuse to splurge on fancy cocktails with the girls or a romantic staycation.

What to order: Bottomless mimosas are never a bad idea, but I'd go for the La Presion with tequila and dragonfruit.

Go when: Brunch, happy hour and sunset drinks

Where: Top floor of the Cormorant Boutique Hotel at 1110 Prospect St.

Four bright-colored cocktails with fruit garnishes sit on a wooden holder on a rooftop patio overlooking the ocean and palm trees.
Cocktails at Birdseye in La Jolla. Photo: Kimberly Motos courtesy of Birdseye

4. Harbor & Sky

Details: A modern vibe on San Diego's waterfront with views of the city and the USS Midway Museum that's fun for locals and visitors.

  • Host a private party, relax on the fireside couches with tasty bites or sip a hand-crafted cocktail while watching the sunset over the bay.

What to order: The espresso martini wasn't on the menu, but the bartender said he makes a mean one, so I indulged.

Go when: Weekend afternoons or happy hour and definitely stay for sunset.

Where: On the 5th floor of the Downtown/Bayfront Marriott at 900 Bayfront Court

The view at Harbor & Sky. Photo: Kate Murphy/Axios

5. CocoMaya

Details: This vibrant rooftop bar is inspired by the tropical islands and Latin American regions of the Caribbean, and you can feel it from the decor to the food and cocktails.

What to order: The Tiger Uppercut is a fantastic mezcal drink, but if you're looking for something "for the gram," get one of the cocktail or mimosa towers. Also, the potato tostones are fire.

Go when: Birthday celebration, Taco Tuesday or a weekend afternoon for bottomless brunch.

Where: Little Italy at 1660 India St. or find its sister property Cococabana in Oceanside.

Caribbean-inspired rooftop bar with high-top tables an umbrellas on a sun day in a city.
Coco Maya rooftop in Little Italy. Photo: Courtesy of Coco Maya

6. El Prez

Details: Make no mistake this casual beachside bar and cocina is a party in Pacific Beach. The third-floor rooftop features day beds, bottle service, fire pits and killer sunset views.

What to order: Niña fresa margarita or El Prez Blonde Baby on draft and chicken tinga tacos.

Go when: After a beach day for tacos, tequila and sunset with friends.

Where: Rooftop of El Prez in Pacific Beach at 4190 Mission Blvd.

A pink margarita in a glass topped with jalepenos, a strawberry, a lime wedge and a Tajin rim held in the air at a rooftop bar overlooking the beach.
The niña fresa margarita at El Prez in Pacific Beach. Photo: Kelsey Fordhal courtesy of El Prez

Also worthy of your time: Garibaldi on the waterfront, The Nolen in Gaslamp, Kettner Exchange in Little Italy and The Rooftop Bar at the Mission Pacific Hotel in Oceanside.

Of note: This is not an exhaustive or ranked list, so if we missed one of your favorites email us at [email protected]


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