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21st Birthday in San Diego

  • k

Where should a group of 10 go to celebrate a 21st birthday (not too stuffy, the birthday girl asks)? We're around UCSD, but are willing to drive.

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  1. California's a big state, in what city will you be celebrating?

    2 Replies
    1. re: DiningDiva

      Sorry about that! San Diego. I forgot that it doesn't have its own section like LA and SF (seems unfair).

      1. re: ky115

        It is unfair!! You didn't specify a budget and these are all sort of spendy places if you want less expensive please let us know. Around you I would suggest Roy's in the UTC area, Japango which is almost across the street from UCSD. In La Jolla you can check out Fresh, Roppongi and Jack's La Jolla. In Del Mar there is Epazote and Pacifica Del Mar both are also spendy but have a fun atmosphere but are often populated by those in their mid-thirties/forties.

    2. I think Cafe Japengo would be a perfect place for the birthday girl but you don't want your party to be driving after drinking...
      Getting a cab to and from UCSD will be cheap to and from Japengo and will be a lot of fun.

      1. Thanks for the suggestions, but I asked around and I think we're thinking less expensive. We're looking to spend $20 per person max, since we're going to a bar afterwards (they were thinking Beauty Bar?). Driving is no problem, we're a pretty responsible group. Thanks for all your help!

        8 Replies
        1. re: ky115

          If you are going out to eat fairly early, Roppongi in La Jolla has a happy hour between 4 and 6 in which you can order half-priced appetizers (which often are more like tapas, i.e. small entrees, in my opinion).

          1. re: RB Hound

            Sadly, the birthday group is not going to make Roppongi's happy hour, although I'm definitely going to go on my own! Thanks for the tip!

          2. re: ky115

            Well then based on your choice of bar afterwards I would suggest:
            The Red Fox Room. Decent food (for the price) the hamburgers are actually pretty awesome, it is relatively close to beauty bar, they take reservations for large groups, and the atmosphere may be right up your alley.
            Turf Supper Club: Yes you grill your own food but the price is right and the steaks are pretty tasty, they don't take reservations but if you time it right it shouldn't be that long of a wait. Also, I always ask for a few extra blue cheese olives for my steak. Everyone must be 21 though.
            The Guild Restaurant. Haven't been (yet) but the write-ups are good so far.

            1. re: jturtle

              Thanks for the restaurants, I'm going to run these by the birthday girl tonight. Personally, the Guild Restaurant sounds the most appealing to me, so hopefully she'll pick that. Thanks again!

              1. re: jturtle

                Or NuNus (in Hillcrest), which is one of the most fun bars in SD and has some of the best, cheapest pub grub around. Get there early and grab one of the bigger booths. You won't spend any more than $6-$8 each on food.

                1. re: mangiatore

                  They have a new "chef" at nunu's. And well the guy is a jerk. Not pleased at all. They list the tacos that they serve as "individual" tacos but he won't let you buy less then 3 for per order. Then don't list them individually and yell at people when they try and order 1. Mind you this was early on a weeknight and there was no one else ordering food at the time. Apparently having to cook just one little taco is not worth his time. I personally cannot eat 3 large tacos in one sitting and being forced to order a minimum amount of individually listed tacos really turned me off from one of my favorite bars. So I decided not to eat. Boyfriend doesn't have the same stubborn streak and still ordered his food. Which was decent but the encounter with the new "chef" left a sour taste in my mouth.

                  1. re: jturtle

                    Wow, that sucks. I always order a burger and fries, so I didn't notice a huge difference except that the new cook eliminated my favorite burger. I really like the food there but they do seem to always have a new cook, new menu (mostly the same), etc.

                    1. re: jturtle

                      I love NuNu's...I only drink there but I will have to try out the "single" taco and see the egomaniac chef go nuts..

              2. wine sellar and brassier off the mira mesa exit of the 805. Its french, but the location is so un-pretentious (its in the business center area, so its not high rent at all) and... if you are all 21... their wine list is not only extremely extensive, its also inexpensive (cost of the wine that they sell in their wine shop + 20% for glassware and serving, very very nice). You can always try to impress with some nice wines =P

                Dinner is about 30$ a dish which isn't really breaking the bank (i know you said 20$) if you take into considerations of roppongi and jacks and etc.

                i'm taking my brother there for his 21st bday first weekend of june. (we have 7, i called ahead and they are very much looking forward to having us there)

                I think the only problem with large parties of young adults (i'm only 23) at nice restaurants is people tend to look down on you which i absolutely hate. (people as in the restaurant itself), so whatever you decide to choose don't choose something stuffy, like donovans or etc.

                WHomever said roy's is also a good choice, my friend had his 21st there with about 12 people and he said they had an amazing time (waiters/waitresses are younger here, not much older than us if even so, and they are very nice).

                one place i do suggest staying away from at our age is Donovan's in UTC. Stay away from it like a bad bad final.

                And if you guys are going out on a weekend to a bar in downtown, get onto a guest list, call them ahead of time and let them know its your 21st bday (friends) and most of the places will let you and your party in free (try aubergines)

                1 Reply
                1. re: clayfu

                  Mama Mia in PB has recently earned some nice comments here on CH (I totaly agree). Excelent food, nice staff, food is very good, and you can bring your own wine (no corkage). The nice patio in the rear could be a good choice.

                  Cheers

                2. If you are going to Beauty Bar on El Cajon Blvd, try the Kennsington Grill in Kensington, it is not far and a good central meeting place for the Bar. There is also the Ken Club a few doors down from the Grill.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: normalheightsfoodie

                    I think the turf club is one of the great ideas for a birthday bash, but with a decent sized group it could be hard to be seated. You could also try Costa Brava in PB. Since it's tapas you can probably get out of there for about $20-$30 a person even if you get a couple of jugs of Sangria.

                  2. If you're open to downtown Mr. Tiki's lounge would be fun or in University Heights on Park the Lei Lounge (I was there last year)-you could reserve a cabana. Both these places have tapas platters so you can order an assortment of foods and I think the ambiance of both would be a great way to celebrate a 21st birthday. Also since you are now legal age what about a night at one of the local casinos. As much fun as Vegas and none of the travel hassles! Happy Birthday

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Baroret

                      except no open alcohol at the casinos, at least at barona's, viejas, sycuan.

                    2. Iwould make sure Beauty Bar is open, I drove pastit last night and it had the door gate closed.

                      1. Just go bar hopping with friends in the Gas Lamp. As for where to eat, well, what type of food do you like and what sort of atmosphere are you looking for? If you're not sure then the restaurant section on the Union-Tribune's website www.signonsandiego.com is always a good place to start for dinning in San Diego.

                        1. The birthday is next week and we're set to go to the Guild, but I also wanted to mention that I just went to Roppongi's happy hour and it was really great. it's not badly priced, has an upscale atmosphere, and the food is plated to impress. the only problem would be that some of the food is hit and miss. the duck quesadilla was try and awful, but the pan seared scallops were amazing. all in all, it was a pleasant experience.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: ky115

                            Just wanted to say that I thought the duck quesadilla at Roppongi is absolutely delicious.... trust me.