Cocktail Crawl: Marina District & Embarcadero

My bachelorette pad (that I kindly share with my bf) technically falls within the Little Italy neighborhood of San Diego but straddles the line that crosses over into the Waterfront/Embarcadero/Marina district of downtown San Diego. When I first moved into my place almost six years ago the in-between location was quiet, had an interesting mix of demographics and was definitely devoid of any hip places to eat or drink. Fast forward just five short years and it’s a bustling mecca of great food and drinks, with a strong, like-minded young professional and millennial presence. Next time you’ve got friends in town or are just looking for something to do on a gorgeous afternoon, follow along on my Marina District Cocktail Crawl!


Cocktail-Crawl-Marina-District-Distillerista-1{ a fine place for pork (and great cocktails!) }

Start things off with drinks and a view at Carnitas Snack Shack along the Embarcadero. In addition to a slew of cocktails featuring local spirits, they make a mean Old Tom Gimlet, one of my favorite classic cocktails. And since I apparently like to kick these things off with fries, you must order CSS’s spicy seasoned ones. Factor in the smoky bacon ketchup and they’re can’t-miss.


Cocktail-Crawl-Marina-District-Puesto{ Cozy up to the indoor/outdoor bar or lounge outside by one of the fire pits at Puesto }

Continue along the waterfront to Puesto at The Headquarters. Their fresh strawberry margarita is my idea of a perfect marg – not too sweet, not too tart – and their off-menu Cali taco is the stuff of dreams. If you’re not in the mood for a margarita, try one of their Mezcal cocktails or a beer from neighboring Tijuana’s burgeoning craft brewery scene.


lionsshare-Cocktail-Crawl-Distillerista{ The Lion’s Share’s bar, complete with on-trend taxidermy & faux vintage art }

From there you can crawl, literally, across Harbor Drive and less than half a block down Kettner Blvd to The Lion’s Share. Choose one of their exceptional cocktails off the extensive menu or ask for bartender’s choice. I like to request “gin, rocks, savory,” and more often than not I end up with a delicious basil and bell pepper gimlet sort of thing that is out of this world.



Head back to the waterfront, through Seaport Village and towards the boats. Although not exactly the first place I think of when I want a craft cocktail, Hawaiian fusion chain restaurant Roy’s waterfront location at the Marriot has a trifecta that’s hard to pass up: enjoying the sunset on their al fresco patio with a Mai Tai, asushi roll and some people watching thrown in for good measure.


Cocktail-Crawl-Distillerista-Marina-Whiskey-House{ just a small sliver of The Whiskey House’s whiskey selection }

Take a stroll along the marina and watch the boats come in before crossing over the convention center steps to the Whiskey House for a night cap. In addition to over 1700 (yes, that’s seventeen hundred!) whiskeys to choose from, they have an impressive cocktail menu, twenty taps pouring local beers and a thoughtful wine list. Best of all, whiskey enthusiasts with a sweet tooth can nibble on some Laphroaig ice cream or a Bourbon brownie sundae to finish off the night!


What are your favorite spots in the Marina District? Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments below!

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