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Jun 1, 2010 10:00 PM

Best cocktail in SD--Noble Experiment?

I checked out Noble Experiment a month or so ago and Anthony made me what I thought was a seriously legit Manhattan.

Curious to know the opinions of others on here as to where to get a really good cocktail in town. The whole "mixology" thing has blown up in LA in recent years and I think in NYC even before that, but Noble Experiment is the only place I know of so far that has sort of jumped on that bandwagon here in SD...

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  1. Seconded for more information. I enjoy creative cocktails on occasion, although recently I've just been making simpler versions at home. I think NYC with Pegu Club, PDT, Milk&Honey, etc have been at this game for quite some time and they're probably the granddaddies of the cocktail revival.

    Noble Experiment was recommended to me in another thread, but it seems like it's very difficult (nigh impossible?) to just stop by for a drink - reservations a week in advance??? :(

    1. El Dorado, on Broadway, is the bar that was co-owned by Nate, one of the bartenders from Noble Experiment. They do old-fashioned cocktails with nice ingredients there. In fact, it was actually El Dorado that was the lone mixology place in San Diego before Noble opened. So, no wonder they got Nate to go on board. On weekends they have a dj and dancing, so it's not exactly a low key cocktail lounge. But during the week you can pop in for an easy drink.

      Word is that there is another bar in the works from the same folks to open in the Little Italy area.

      1 Reply
      1. re: cookieshoes

        "Word is that there is another bar in the works from the same folks to open in the Little Italy area."

        Yes. In the old Lumina, a short lived wine bar, or something spot.

      2. Excellent drinks at Noble Experiment. Expensive for San Diego but probably cheaper than any other major city ($12/drink if I recall correctly) and the quality is fantastic. Pretty much every drink I've had there has been outstanding. I believe that Milk & Honey was somehow involved with designing the drink menu but I could be mistaken.

        There's another speakeasy type place downtown called Prohibition but I've yet to go there because it sounds like it's more formal and aimed at a more mature crowd.

        Starlite has great cocktails as well and was probably the 1st of the new wave cocktail lounges.

        Quality Social has some good ones but like El Dorado, it gets very sceney on weekend nights.

        3175 India Street, San Diego, CA 92103

        El Dorado
        1030 Broadway, San Diego, CA 92101

        16 Replies
        1. re: DougOLis

          "There's another speakeasy type place downtown called Prohibition but I've yet to go there because it sounds like it's more formal and aimed at a more mature crowd."

          I have been.

          Don't be intimidated. I think they are going for the more "formal and mature" crowd, but from my experience, it was no different from any other bar in san diego. Crowd wise that is.

            1. re: DiningDiva

              For these purposes I would say:

              formal = dressed up.

              mature = older and possibly more sophisticated.

              Prohibition's crowd is neither of these any more than any other place in san diego at the same price point.

              1. re: DiningDiva

                Check out the atmosphere and rules on their website:

                I remember reading somewhere about the dress code too but I forget exactly what it said. Something like collared shirt, blazer, no jeans, dress shoes. Maybe they've changed that rule though.

                1. re: DougOLis

                  Here is the Prohibition dress code:

                  "No baseball caps, shorts, flip-flops, baggy clothing, or attire deemed otherwise inappropriate. Collared shirts required for men; ladies are asked to please wear classy attire."

                  1. re: MrKrispy

                    Right. Basically just the same as any place with a higher price point.

                    There is no sense in being intimidated by the place.

                    It is not like it is full of James Bond types, Arab Sheiks, Greek shipping Moguls, titiled royals and international model/heiress girls.

                    You are more likely to run into "Chip" from accounting in Carmel valley and "Jenny" from HR in Mission Valley as opposed the the above mentioned.

                    1. re: stevewag23

                      "James Bond types, Arab Sheiks, Greek shipping Moguls, titiled royals and international model/heiress girls"

                      They're here for the fine dining, right?

                2. re: DiningDiva

                  LOL DD..
                  Bully's East Crowd and younger..
                  ; )

                  1. re: Beach Chick

                    My sentiments exactly. Love, love, love the bar at Bully's. Not to mention it's just plain fun to watch the over-40 set hitting on each other; the pick up lines haven't changed much in 20 years. I keep thinking one of these days I'll run into the "most interesting man in the world" but so far no luck <ggg>

                    I'm pretty boring when I drink tho', usually either a Manhattan on the rocks, or whiskey or bourbon on the rocks and I'll call a premium brand if drinking straight. If the tequila selection is good, I may call a shot; Oaxaca Old Fashioneds are pretty good too. Used to drink fancy/funky drinks but now I belong to the less is more school of cocktailing.

                    Why do I need fancy mixology? I'll admit I do find the whole subject of mixology pretty interesting. Now, here's a website I like on the subject - , it's more serious than it looks at first blush ;-


                    TGIF...stay thirsty my friend

                    1. re: DiningDiva

                      love love love the bar at Bully' people watching.
                      Here is a montage of our boyfriend..damn, he is one magnanimous man!


                      1. re: Beach Chick

                        Beachy, thanks for the thrill. I'm taking a late lunch and had to quite eating to laugh. Drat, now I need a Dos Equis

                      2. re: DiningDiva

                        "Why do I need fancy mixology?' I was wondering the same thing. I usualy have alcohol with food these days rather than go out for cocktails. A margarita or mai tai is about as exotic as I get so I'm out of the loop. Can someone enlighten me? A gazillion bars, restaurants and clubs in town are they all mixing crappy drinks or is this just the latest trend? Going old school, jumping on the Mad Men bandwagon? Celebrity bartenders rather than chefs?
                        The June 2010 issue of San Diego Magazine had an article titled "Pour it On". They cited the Riveria Supper Club, Vin de Syrah, Whisknladle, Starlite, Whaling Bar, Noble Experiment and The Tractor Room as places to go for a perfect cocktail and included a signature drink recipe and comment from either the owner or head bartender from each.


                        3175 India Street, San Diego, CA 92103

                        1044 Wall Street, La Jolla, CA 92037

                        The Tractor Room
                        3687 5th Ave, San Diego, CA 92103

                        1. re: Island

                          Take another good look at that copy of San Diego Magazine for June, and look carefully to see who their advertisers are. That sort of article seems like it was planned by the sales department of the mag.

                          1. re: Tripeler

                            <sarcasm> Certainly you're not suggesting a connection between the editorial content and the sales department? I'm shocked, shocked I tell you! <sarcasm>

                            1. re: Fake Name

                              You know, every time I spot one of these "on the town" (so-called) "life-style stories" where the players are approached as though they are celebrities I am shocked that anyone believes the kind of BS editorial that results. However, since I have not seen the magazine in question, of course, I am only guessing about how it all happened.

                              Fake Opinion

                              1. re: Tripeler

                                Of course advertisement plays a role and i'm not advocating one place or another and certainly not treating it as an editorial piece, but they are some of the same places that get play on this board so I thought I'd mention the piece. I find the whole trend a little amusing.

              2. I had a Primrose Polo at Jayne's Gastro Pub recently which was great.

                1. Those guys at Prohibition fixed me 4 drinks and they were super fresh ingredients and very tasty. I don't go down there very often but it was worth it that night. I just went online and got the password. We didn't dress up but we didn't dress down either. I loved my drinks at The Tractor Room too. So well done. I keep thinking about the drinks. I wish I went out more!