Urban Dictionary defines hipster as “a subculture of men and women typically in their 20s and 30s that value independent thinking, counter-culture, progressive politics, an appreciation of art and indie rock, creativity, intelligence and witty banter.”
Admit it, there’s a little bit of hipster in every San Diegan. When living in a gorgeous paradise with people flocking in from around the world, trends and fads blaze through the scene every week. It takes a discerning eye to pick out the treasure from the trash, and San Diegans are particularly adept at it.
Seeking out the cutting edge and unusual is in the genetic pool, as evidenced by the city’s renown in craft beer and cocktails. Here are a few top dates for those looking outside the norm for unique hipster-esque date ideas.
Breakfast at Nomad Donuts
Sugar spikes and love buzzes go hand in hand at this nationally renowned yet brazenly hip locale. Executive chef Kristianna Zabala, winner of Cooking Channel’s Sugar Showdown, crafts delicious donuts in every flavor a heart could imagine or the brain knows the meanings for, including welcoming vegan options into the fray. The myriad of rotating flavors include the famous Ube Taro donut (pictured), Blueberry Lavender, Haupia Custard with mango coconut glaze, and Pistachio Custard with lemon poppy glaze. Be sure to buy a camping-style mug and beanie for future sleepovers and next morning bedhead.
3102 University Ave., North Park, 619.431.5000, nomaddonuts.com
Coffee cupping at Cafe Virtuoso
Discerning hipsters love coffee, and Cafe Virtuoso is the perfect spot to raise the bar on legit knowledge. Offered on a monthly basis for $15 per person, the process involves deeply inhaling the coffee aromas, then slurping just like a wine geek so it spreads to the back of the tongue. Fact: Coffee professionals use this technique when selecting and grading beans. Ultimately, cupping-goers will be able to discern and discuss the coffee’s aroma, mouthfeel, and flavor. The organic coffee roaster also offers two-hour workshops at their nonprofit training lab, the San Diego Coffee Training Institute (SDCTI) for perfecting your homebrewing skills including the techniques of V60, Chemex, AeroPress, and French Press. ($25 per person)
1616 National Ave., Barrio Logan, 619.550.1830, cafevirtuoso.com
Drinks at El Camino
Tucked at the end of India Street far beyond the hustle and bustle of the main stretch, El Camino is a hipster paradise. Complete with exterior murals by Exist1981, an illuminated HOLA sign, and a neon rotating arrow reading cocktails perched on the roof, this is an Instagram shot waiting to happen. Enjoy happy hour specials for an early night date or close out the evening dancing to disco and 80s music.
2400 India St., Little Italy, 619.685.3881, elcaminosd.com
Nightcap and late-night eats at Starlite
Known for its after-hours ambience, this mid-century inspired locale is often credited for bringing one of the first hipster drinks to San Diego, the Moscow Mule. Chef Amanda Michaels sources 90% of the fruits and vegetables on the menu from local farms, a stat that resonates with locavores and hipsters alike. For late night nibbles, check out the housemade sausage with housemade pickles or for veggie lovers, the Starlite Veggie Burger with housemade red lentil patty, goat cheese and pickled red onion on a brioche bun.
3175 India St., Middletown, 619.358.9766, starlitesandiego.com