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Sep 27, 2007 10:42 PM

Serious San Diego Bars


I'm a pretty high end bartender from New Paltz, NY looking for a serious bar in San Diego. I'm actually a native, planning an October homecoming. I'm looking for a bar/bartender that won't give me a strange look if I order a vintage drink (eg Negroni). I'd really love to find a place that is updating the classics to see what's going on out west. What do you suggest?

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  1. Starlite Lounge might be a good choice. George's in La Jolla is doing some interesting speciality cocktails. Also, Modus in Banker's Hill has a lot of really cool variations on classic cocktails. They do a Manhattan there with Maker's Mark and Charbay Black Walnut Liquer that's to die for.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Josh

      everything made with Makers is wonderful, Josh...

      1. re: Cathy

        I dunno if you've been to Holiday Wine Cellar in Escondido, but I picked up a bourbon there called Noah's Mill that was really awesome. 18 years old, and barrel strength. You'd never know it was 120 proof, it was so smooth.

        1. re: Josh

          Noah's mill is some incredible stuff. If you get the chance pick up some Hirsch 16- it's pretty awesome stuff if you like Noah's mill.

          1. re: jpschust

            Thanks, Josh and JP. It was just my birthday and I didn't have anything I wanted...I have a list now.

    2. Mike, the weekend bartender at Nine-Ten in La Jolla has a deserved, devout following. He's great with the classics but also does interesting things with lesser-seen spirits and plays around a bit with molecular mixology. It's never too ridiculous or pretentious though. I've also heard good things about the bartenders at the Tractor Room on 5th Ave.

      1. Three words: Turf. Supper. Club. 25th and B. Yeah, they're known for the whole grill-it-yourself thing, but the place makes its money on serving old school, awesome cocktails. The only way you get a weird look there is if you have only 13 tattoos and order an appletini (j/k on the tattoos thing, not the appletini).

        1. Trid Modus 10-24-07. Not bad. Bartender was Danny. Food was good. Manhattan was great! Was with Willie Nelson's Bourbon and the walnut liqueur. Actually an inspired combination. Props to whomever came up with that one! Nice atmosphere. Danny was very easygoing and competent at mixing. Wish I could have met the head bartender, but she was hiding. Still a good experience. Thanks for the recommendation.