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The best rooftop spots in San Diego

Where to go for a drink, a bite and a stunning rooftop view all across San Diego.

When you live in a city with weather as gorgeous as San Diego, it’s hard not to want to sit outside and soak in the remaining rays of the day when you get off work or finish your to-dos over the weekend.

It’s probably why some of the best places to grab a bite and drink around town offer a rooftop to lounge on with views that just can’t be beat. These outstanding rooftops are even beautiful at night, showcasing views of San Diego’s vibrant night life and providing a sanctuary escape high above the city streets.

Here are some of the most beloved rooftop bars and restaurants across San Diego.

Kettner Exchange

The rooftop of the Kettner Exchange is a prime location to drop by if you’re looking for cabanas and large tables for a group outing in Little Italy. The lounge menu offers decadent choices, such as the Drunken Noodles with laughing bird shrimp, a tender belly pork belly steam bun and the signature big eye tuna pizza. The cocktails at Kettner Exchange are also top-notch with everything from pina coladas to stiff bourbon drinks. 

2001 Kettner Blvd., Little Italy. ketterexchange.com

 

Half Door Brewing Company

This popular hot spot — located right down the block from Petco Park — provides a lovely backdrop of the stadium both day and night. Half Door boasts delicious, local craft beer that really gives you a solid taste of what the San Diego beer scene is up to. Beyond the great brews, they serve brunch, lunch and dinner daily. There’s a variety of great eats, including the house sausage mac ‘n’ cheese, pork belly hash, crispy chicken sandwich and the must-try flourless chocolate cake.

903 Island Ave., East Village. halfdoorbrewing.com

#Buzzwords and a view of Petco Park at Half Door Brewing Co. (Liz Bowen)

 

Hello Betty Fish House

Views of the Oceanside Pier and fresh oysters? Don’t mind if we do. This dreamy rooftop offers up a wide variety of cocktails, margaritas, wine and local craft beer, with a rotating tap list. The menu comes straight from the sea at Hello Betty, with choices like the much-loved fish and chips, oyster shooters, steamed mussels and Baja stone crab cheese dip.

211 Mission Ave., Oceanside. hellobettyoceanside.com

Hello Betty Fish House in Oceanside. (Courtesy photo)

 

Pacific Beach Alehouse

This brewery/restaurant offers up brunch, lunch and dinner at its restaurant, which also gives its patrons a stellar glimpse of the Pacific Ocean. PB Alehouse serves a variety of different burgers, sandwiches, flat breads, salads and tacos. There’s really something for everyone. The best part of this place, though? Fresh craft beer is provided from the on-site brewery, ideal for sipping on a sunny, San Diego afternoon.

721 Grand Ave., Pacific Beach. pbalehouse.com

 

The Nolen

This swanky rooftop bar opened up its doors in late 2015 and is located on the 14th floor of the Courtyard San Diego Gaslamp/Convention Center. Here you can find happy hour from 4 to 6 p.m. daily, where you can grab tasty classics such as an Old Fashioned or the Bee’s Knees, made with honey, lemon and gin for $6 each. The Nolen also keeps you fed with tasty items like the carnitas flatbread, crispy tots, tuna poke and beer braised sliders, to list a few.  

The Nolen, 453 Sixth Ave., downtown. thenolenrooftop.com

 

Cannonball

This gem of a rooftop bar, located inside of Belmont Park, is the perfect post-roller coaster or surf session stop. Cool down with one of their refreshing cocktails, like the Water Cooler made with Tito’s vodka, fresh watermelon juice, lemon and cucumber. We highly recommend ordering up a few of their tasty sushi rolls (the lobster roll is killer) to share with a group of friends, too. 

3105 Ocean Front Walk, Mission Beach. cannonballsd.com

Pairing bites with libations at Cannonball is always a good idea. (Brogen Jessup)

 

Rustic Root

Located in the heart of the Gaslamp, Rustic Root boasts views of downtown San Diego and a lively atmosphere. Order from their rooftop menu, which includes pork and quinoa lettuce cups, fried chicken sliders and the salmon tartare. Oh, and don’t skimp out on the drinks while here. One favorite at Rustic Root is the Spanish Sunrise, made with Espolon tequila, pressed lime, lavender tonic and grapefruit zest.

535 Fifth Ave., Gaslamp. rusticroot.com

 

El Prez Beach Bar & Cocina

If you’re in the Pacific Beach area, El Prez is an awesome option for Mexican food and rooftop views. Snack on bites like the bacon-wrapped shrimp, flautas or their famous El Prez guac made with red onions, cilantro, serrano peppers, cheese and pomegranate pearls. They serve traditional cocktails with a Mexican-twist, like the Tijuana mule that features espolon blanco tequila, muddled jalapenos and fresh lime juice.

4190 Mission Blvd., Pacific Beach. thewoodgroupsd.com

 

Fairweather at Rareform

Above Rare Form lies the restaurant’s rooftop patio, Fairweather. This spot gives its guests a nice side-view of Petco Park and the Padres, if you go on game night. The patio bar offers a cocktail menu created by Anthony Schmidt of Noble Experiment, including the popular Rum Row — an aged Old Fashioned with coconut bitters and banana liqueur. You can snack on roasted cauliflower, a classic pretzel with salt and cheese, or opt for the more filling, handcrafted sandwiches and soups offered here.

795 J St., Gaslamp District. godblessrareform.com 

No visit to Petco Park is complete without heading to the adjacent Rare Form and/or Fairweather for some of the best cocktails in town and a rooftop that overlooks the stadium. (Zack Benson)

3 Comments

  1. Armando

    May 11, 2017 at 6:26 pm

    This list is confusing. Are you only including rooftops with full service dining? That’s fine but when you title this as best rooftop “spots” and great views of San Diego how are you not gonna include rooftop bars like Float (at the Hardrock Hotel), Jsix, Andaz, or even Altitude Skylounge? The nolen’s view of the city has nothing on Altitude.

    • PACIFIC Magazine

      May 15, 2017 at 10:07 am

      Hi Armando. We chose our rooftops based on places we enjoy frequenting that offer tasty food and stellar drinks, not just those with a good view. While we do appreciate Jsix, Andaz and Altitude Skylounge, we decided they weren’t on our hot list for this story in particular.

  2. fodboldtrøjer

    May 14, 2017 at 2:06 am

    I blog frequently and I really appreciate your content.
    This article has really peaked my interest. I’m going to bookmark your site
    and keep checking for new information about once a week.
    I opted in for your Feed too.
    fodboldtrøjer

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