5 to Try: Classic Cocktails in San Diego

Before anyone ever craved a sugary mojito or mixed a mean blueberry lemon drop, cocktail aficionados kept it simple. Vodka. Gin. Whiskey. Classic. So we went looking for those drinkers and mixologists around San Diego that are keeping things old-school at the bar. Here are our picks for the best classic cocktails in the city.

Updated: August 01, 2009

San Diego's Most Classic Cocktails


Bertrand At Mister A's

2550 5th Ave Ste 406, San Diego, CA 92103

Looking for a view with that cocktail? Head upstairs to one of the city's original fine dining spots, and nab a seat on wrap-around deck for unparalleled views of the downtown skyline and waterfront. Bartenders here are skilled in the old-school ways of mixing and shaking, and make a mean dirty martini.


Top Of The Hyatt

1 Market Pl, San Diego, CA 92101

Shirley Temple, anyone? It's about as classic as it gets for the straight-shooting, non-alcoholic set, and Top of the Hyatt's bartenders still make it for the young ones before 8pm. After dark, though, this is one classy cocktail lounge that keeps it dressy. No flip-flops, no hats, and even jeans are frowned upon.


Tractor Room

3687 5th Ave, San Diego, CA 92103

Before the mojito (at least in America), there was the mint julip. And the Tractor room 'tenders make a classic version that could rival any old-school Washington D.C. watering hole.


Riviera Supper Club & Turquoise Room

7777 University Ave, La Mesa, CA 91941

The soul of the old Turf Supper Club is now out in La Mesa (going by the name Riviera), and the 'tenders still make one of the most stiff sidecars in town.


Butcher Shop

5255 Kearny Villa Rd, San Diego, CA 92123

Everything is old-school here, from the steakhouse menu, to the tuxedo-clad staff to the rumored mafia connections. Oh yeah, the cocktails are classic too. Remy Martin VSOP, Hennessey XO, and several other cognacs and single malts.