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Mar 11, 2014 02:14 PM

Cocktail Bars in SD

We often like to end our nights with some nice cocktails (classic ones or more "modern", creative ones) and so always look for new recommendations. Places should have high quality cocktails, if possible some food/snack options and open until at least midnight.

Some places we went so far:

Lion's Share - great cocktails good food, nice ambience
Grant Grill - perhaps so far the best cocktails in SD, OK food, OK ambience, good live music
Starlite - OK cocktail, good food, nice ambience
JSix - good cocktails, good food,

Some cocktail bars we haven't visited yet but would be interested to get some feedback from Chowhounders:

Sycamore Den
Polite Provision
Noble Experiment
Coin-Up Game Room
Craft & Commerce
Tractor Room
Gaslamp Speakeasy
Seven Grand

Any good places we are missing ?

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  1. I was rather dissapointed with Noble Experiment. Cool entrance, no doubt. Small cocktails and their signature
    cocktails not for my palate.

    I would Addison for excellent cocktails. Expensive, but rather large and good quality.

    4 Replies
    1. re: 4wino

      yes agree with the Addison cocktails..very very good. I had a beautiful Pisco sour there and a great Manhattan.
      Love Noble but no food and the res system is a PITA. My favorite is the Goldrush..bourbon, lemon and honey
      Polite Provision was good, snacks next door
      Prohibition was disappointing, only went once.
      We had a very nice evening of cocktails and apps at Prepkitchen in Little Italy

      1. re: Ela0427

        Addison sounds interesting. How does it work with Polite Provision - you order your drinks and walk over to the restaurant part or can you order the whole menu also on the bar side ?

        1. re: honkman

          Yes, you walk over. People around us had food. We actually had dinner and some drinks at Jayne's Gastropub across the street then went to PP. Yes, when we went to Addison on a Friday night it was just hubby and I at the bar and the bartender was very helpful and chatty. I told him to make me his favorite cocktails and I was open to try something new. He explained to me the different ingredients etc..quite an artist. I think you could get some snacks and sit outside as well, we saw people there. We had cocktail hour before dinner..

          1. re: honkman

            You have to walk over to Soda & Swine and order the food, but they have runners that will deliver to your table at the Provisions side.

            They initially didn't have alcohol in Soda & Swine but not they have a few beer taps. For the booze you have to stick to Polite Provisions.

      2. We like Polite Provisions (with or without eats from Soda & Swine), Tractor Room and especially Seven Grand which is very much whiskey centric. Prep Kitchen in Little Italy is excellent (particularly if you enjoy gin). We have not tried Sycamore, Coin-Op or Prohibition.

        1. I've been to Polite Provisions, Coin-Up Game Room and Seven Grand. For Polite Provisions, the snacks through Soda & Swine are not particularly fancy, but after a few cocktails the allure of the food becomes undeniable. In other words, the food is good, but becomes incredible after a few drinks. *ahem* And you will be drinking said cocktails because they are well balanced and delicious.

          The Coin-Up Game Room is less a cocktail bar and more of a bar with great cocktails (haven't tried the food yet). Or, probably better put - a Dave & Busters for a more discriminating (hipster) audience. So, you're going to get good cocktails and probably good food.

          As far as Seven Grand goes, I have no idea if the cocktails are good or not because the one time I was there I ordered a High West whiskey with a splash of water.

          I would also suggest that you check out Imig's (the hotel bar at the Lafayette Hotel), particularly now that Brandon, the bar manager, is back at work after suffering a broken leg. The food has generally been good, and if the bar isn't too full, you can talk to Brandon and let him make you something that may or may not be on the drink menu.

          1. I would have to place Noble Experiment (when Anthony is making the cocktails) far above any other place in SD - in fact, just slightly below my top two all-time favourites (PDT and Violet Hour). His sense of balance matches up very well with my personal taste. I don't bother making reservations. Just show up at 7pm and get a seat at the bar counter (best seats in the house, anyway).

            Saltbox is OK. Did not like Polite Provisions - drinks too sweet.

            The other place that I quite enjoyed was Cusp, although I believe the bartender there is now at JSix.

            1 Reply
            1. re: shouzen

              yes the drinks at Noble are fantastic...the Gin Ricky is one of my favorites.

            2. I really like Noble Experiment.

              I enjoy Polite Provision, but not enough to regularly go out of my way for it.