If you are lucky enough to be in sunny San Diego for the weekend and feel like seeking some mischief, there is no better place to be than Pacific Beach. A popular beach area for tourists and beach lovers located north of downtown and south of La Jolla, Pacific Beach welcomes everyone and the locals have seen it all. It is a common occurrence to see a 50 person pub crawl most sunny weekends of the year. The attractiveness of this particular spot is the easy accessibility of all the bars and shops, and the positive energy of the weekenders and locals looking to have a great time.
The main street of debauchery is Garnet Avenue, which is located right off the 5 freeway. Garnet holds most of the drinking holes that people flock to. If you stay on this straight route it is hard not to have a good time. I highly suggest starting the crawl from east to west because the beach sunsets are the perfect way to end the day. Sundays are the best day for pub crawls because many bars offer specials to tempt everyone to continue their weekend fun.
A fantastic place to gather everyone and start your adventure is R.T’s Longboard Grill. Longboard’s attracts all walks of life and has a dedicated group of locals that hang about on Sunday’s for good reason-they offer a delicious omelet and waffle bar from 11am-2pm and also features $2.50 Bud products every Sunday. This laid back beach themed bar is a great place to fill up in preparation for the drinking ahead. Longboard’s surfer dude atmosphere and décor including thatched roof umbrella stands makes even the most uptight people relax.
About two blocks west is a local’s favorite called the Tap Room-a beer lover’s paradise with over 32 local brews on tap. You’ll want to try them all but you have to remember to pace yourself. If some in the group were not in the mood for breakfast, the Tap Room offers some of the best pizza in San Diego. New York style pizza is baked in the back and tempts all with its fresh garlic aroma. In addition to pizza they offer fresh salads and savory appetizers, such as the popular garlic knots. The Tap Rooms ambience is simple and the staff is friendly. If you are looking to watch a game their multiple flat screen TV’s will serve you well.
When you are ready for a change of scene move one block west to the Tavern. The Tavern is a bustling watering hole that features talented DJ’s seven days a week and over 40 TV’s for avid sports fans. They have foosball and pool tables for those that want to create their own action. The daytime crowd here is usually looking for some shade from the heat and a quick drink. The two outdoor patios and full service bars seldom disappoint. The Tavern usually becomes most lively at night but is a place you can’t pass by during the day.
A short skip across the street will bring you to Fred’s Café and Typhoon Saloon. Typhoon saloon is one of the more spacious bar/nightclubs in Pacific Beach and is connected to Fred’s Mexican Café. Typhoon seems to attract boisterous crowds with its cheesy decorations and cheap drinks. The up beat vibe is what keeps people coming back for more. The back of the bar opens up at night with multi-tiered dance floors and a stage to feature talent and local DJ’s. Typhoon holds four full service bars and a VIP section in an upstairs loft where they offer bottle service nightly. Don’t be fooled by the fact that they offer bottle service, Typhoon is as laid back as they get. After all, it’s still considered a beach bar. Sunday’s here are great for those watching their budgets. $3 drink specials will make drinking easy on you. If anyone still remains hungry don’t forget to walk next door to Fred’s Mexican Café for some of the best Mexican eats you can find.
After you filled up on cheap drinks get ready for more low-priced libations at Cabo Cantina located one block west of Typhoon. Cabo Cantina is a well known, lively Mexican themed bar many may recognize from its additional and famous location in Los Angeles on the sunset strip. Cabo has been the backdrop for a few Hollywood movies and has also been featured on the food network. It looks as tacky and crazy on the outside as it is in the inside. With two gaudy outdoor patios, inebriated customers invite people off the street to come join the fun. The brightly colored Mexican style decorations spill out the open windows onto the banisters and bar stools. Happy hour here attracts everyone with its “two for the price of one” drink specials between the hours of 4-8pm seven days a week. Perfect for shots and drinks!
After a couple shots of Patron head down the street to Bub’s Dive Bar. You’ll find no pretentious city slickers here. Bub’s dive is exactly as its name sounds. The bar itself is slightly small and grabbing a table can be somewhat of an accomplishment. The wood floor is filled with peanut shells customers throw and the bartenders love to give everyone harmless lip. If you’re looking for a quick lunch there is no better Philly in San Diego than at Bub’s dive bar. It is large and meaty and adorned with scrumptious cafeteria style tater tots. Remember to douse them in ketchup and you’ll be right back in 6th grade.
After some peanuts and sandwiches, head a little bit further west to PB Bar and Grill, located a couple blocks from the beach and caters to anyone who loves a laid back sports friendly environment. 72 TV’s feature any sporting event on satellite. A massive outdoor patio offers plenty of seating. The back of the bar directly feeds into a dance area called “Club Tremors” that features DJ’s in the evenings who spill out beats for those looking for a dance party. Sunday specials at the PB Bar and Grill include $2.50 margaritas, bloody mary’s and $1.25 mimosas.
Get ready for a long walk on the beach to your next destination. After strolling around Garnet Avenue all day, you can finally soak in some sun walking on the boardwalk. Take a walk south on the boardwalk until you reach The Firehouse. This slightly upscale beachside hang out is right next to the Pacific Beach Firehouse and even looks like an extension of their facility. The Firehouse is always busy on weekend days because of its cool, urban vibe and its hipster rooftop bar. On Sundays the Firehouse serves breakfast till 3pm and you can pair that with “the coldest beer at the beach.” Their trademark is serving the frostiest of beers, keeping them at a particular 32 degrees. When the sun starts to set you can cozy up to gas heaters while relaxing in their plush lounge chairs with the rooftop crowd. This modern beach bar is sure to be busy so grab a good seat while you can.
For the last, but not least of your destinations you should head straight across the parking lot to PB Shore Club, which is busy every day and night for many reasons. Their slogan is “sunsets served daily” because of the panoramic views of the gorgeous Pacific Ocean. The drinks are cheap and they serve their 20 beers on tap in 18 oz scooners. The crowd is always sandy, happy and ready to party all night long. The bar atmosphere is all that it should be, casual, “beachy,” and upbeat.
After all that drinking, eating and being merry, the boardwalk is the perfect place to take a stroll, walk it off, and revel in your bar crawl bliss.
What & Where:
Longboards (1466 Garnet Ave; 858-270-4030)
Tap Room (1269 Garnet Ave; 858-274-7014)
The Tavern at the Beach (1200 Garnet Ave; 858-272-6066)
Typhoon Saloon (1165 Garnet Ave; 858-373-3444)
Cabo Cantina (1050 Garnet Ave; 858-270-0805)
Bubs Dive Bar (1030 Garnet Ave; 858-270-7269)
PB Bar and Grill (860 Garnet Ave; 858-272-4745)
The Firehouse (722 Grand Ave; 858-272-1999)
PB Shore Club (4343 Ocean Blvd; 858-272-7873)
Nicole Marre is a graduate student and aspiring novelist living in San Diego California. She has worked as an editor and enjoys writing articles for lifestyle magazines. Between writing about topics such as travel, culture and food she travels the world for inspiration. She has been delighted by the sites of Asia, Europe, Central and South America as well as the undiscovered haunts in her own backyard.