Cocktail Crawl: Gaslamp Quarter

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{Sunday Gin & tonic @ Queensborough}

San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter gets a bad wrap for tourist traps and baseball traffic, but if you know where to go, worthy cocktail havens do exist! Thanks to long-time stand-bys like Vin de Syrah Wine Parlor, La Puerta and Prohibition, as well as promising recent additons like The Smoking Gun & Queensborough, a classy, quality cocktail-fueled downtown experience is well within reach.

Prohibition This speakeasy-style cocktail bar is my favorite not-so-hidden gem in downtown. Descend the stairs into the den-like space, complete with a makeshift stage area for live jazz. Enjoying one of Ryan Andrews’ stellar dealer’s choices while listening to one of their consistently wonderful musical acts is my favorite thing to do with out-of-town guests!

Vin de Syrah A cheekily designed hidden entrance sets the tone at this subtly Alice in Wonderland-themed wine bar/club. Guests inside can watch a live feed from the hidden camera that catches first-timers trying to find the door! Besides a great wine list and full bar, I love the relaxed vibe and incredible ambiance coupled with music from awesome DJs.

La Puerta This lively Mexican joint is a sure bet for people watching, has a great tequila selection and best of all, offers the opportunity for an epic plate of nachos to soak up all those cocktails! Make sure to try the Californication (Mezcal + lemon + lime + Cabernet barrel-aged Tequila).

Queensborough Newcomer Queensborough wows with a split upstairs/downstairs concept. At street level, a cozy library-esque bar somewhat designed to resemble a subway station entrance is great for after work drinks. Downstairs, a unique relaxed club-like atmosphere beckons. The music, while vibey and seductive, never gets so loud you can’t pro-flirt with your tinder date.

The Smoking Gun Multi-concept ventures seem to be the way to go these days and The Smoking Gun is at least four in one if we’re counting. This new Market Street spot offers a hip coffee shop (Spill The Beans) serving bagels in the mornings, as well as an open and airy cocktail bar serving casual yet elevated bar fare with BBQ tendencies. As if that wasn’t enough, the cocktail bar side boasts ping pong and foosball tables for your rallying pleasure. Eric Johnson is at the helm, so you can rest assured all craft cocktail libations will be top notch!

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