Where to celebrate Friendsgiving

Less stressful than Thanksgiving, this new “holiday” is all about food, fun and friendship


In a transplant city like San Diego, Friendsgiving can be the most meaningful holiday of the year.

Far from the arms of family (and sometimes that’s a good thing), residents rely on the laughter and camaraderie to get through Thanksgiving with a smile. Friendsgiving, often celebrated in the days before or after Thanksgiving, is commonly thought of as a millennial invention, discussed as early as 2007, and becoming an “official” definition in Urban Dictionary on November 26, 2009. Celebrating its tenth-ish year of existence, San Diego locales are raising glasses and cooking turkeys to bring hungry friends together to celebrate the other family we all know and love.

You & Yours Distilling Co: Catering to all foodie types, the East Village distillery presents a menu for every taste bud, including vegetarian and gluten-free. Menu items include Turkey Roulade with London Dry Gin brine, cornbread stuffing with sausage, apple and sage, and loads of veggie choices like butternut squash mac and cheese, braised collard greens, autumn squash and kale salad, lemony green bean casserole and Sunday gin cranberry sauce. The meal finishes with a flourish of treats including sweet potato and gin marshmallow tart, Provisional Gin chocolate pecan pie, and pumpkin cheesecake. Details: Thursday, Nov. 21. $75 per person;

The Duck Dive: In honor of one of the first televised Friendsgivings, the Dive will be hosting a Friends Trivia Night, complete with questions from favorite Thanksgiving episodes like The One with the Football and The One with All the Thanksgivings. Remember the turkey on Monica’s head? Reservations are required, and the event is expected to fill up. The evening begins around 8 p.m. (after the football game ends), and will be lively with a specialty cocktail menu and Friends-themed prizes. Don’t miss the specialty Cranberry Sauce’d cocktail, made with Buffalo Trace Bourbon, house made cranberry simple syrup, cloves, Angostura and orange bitters.
Details: 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 21. Reservations at (858) 273-3825 or

Union Kitchen & Tap Encinitas: Head to Encinitas for a Friendsgiving party before the big day of gorging. Live music kicks things off from 7 to 10 p.m., then a DJ takes over for tail and feather shaking until close. Revelers who bring a canned food item to donate will receive a special Sweater Weather holiday cocktail for only 1 cent (from 7 p.m. to close).
Details: Wednesday, Nov. 27;

Punch Bowl Social: Blending Thanksgiving and Friendsgiving into a party theme, downtown’s Punch Bowl presents “Funsgiving,” inviting locals to bring in their pals for an evening of drinks, music and foosball. The seasonal cocktail this year is a fall-colored punch entitled Friendsgiving Frenzy, with bourbon, house-made pumpkin pie spice syrup, cranberry, cinnamon and orange.
Details: Wednesday, Nov. 27;

Nason’s Beer Hall: Kick off the holiday with your mates and a side of football and craft beer. Nason’s offers a special Friendsgiving menu perfect for NFL watching, like the Crispy Turkey Leg with spicy mustard and Smoked Turkey Sandwich with Gruyere cheese, bacon and cranberry sauce on multigrain bread. Order a Butternut Squash + Bacon Flatbread for the table, and don’t forget slices of pumpkin pie with spiced cream and apple pie á la mode to finish off a sweet day of friendship.
Details: Menu starts at 3 p.m. Thursday Nov. 28;

Veranda Fireside Lounge and Restaurant: Play a round of golf and then relax by the fireside for a luxurious Friendsgiving at Rancho Bernardo Inn. Choose from a three-course menu at lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. or dinner from 5 to 10 p.m. Mouthwatering menu items include butternut squash bisque with maple crème fraîche or golden pear & arugula salad for a starter; herb roasted turkey breast with stuffing, glazed heirloom carrots, buttermilk whipped potato; and pumpkin tart or chocolate mousse for the grand finale. $60/per person.
Details: Thursday, Nov. 28. $60 per person;

Inn at Rancho Santa Fe: Looking for an overnight escape? This hotel has a Friendsgiving Stay package that includes double occupancy, a Friendsgiving prix fixe dinner for two, breakfast for two, and a welcome gift by Describe The Fauna. (Rates start at $359/night.) If you’re there this weekend, there’s also a Friendsgiving Sun Printing Workshop on Saturday, Nov. 23 from 12 to 5 p.m. where you can learn about photography and printmaking, and leave with a set of hand-crafted prints. The event includes a special Friendsgiving lunch and two glasses of wine. ($75 per person)
Details: Through Sunday, Nov. 30;