Nightlife

Location
San Diego, CA
Undergrads
5,269
Tuition
$39,970
Admission Difficulty
Average
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Reviews

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3 College Sophomore

Nightlife: Definitely not a party school not a party friend area.

2 people found this useful Report
5 College Senior

Nightlife: not at school, but the city has a lot to offer at a reasonable price.

2 College Sophomore

Nightlife: Unless you're into frat parties, good luck.

4 College Freshman

Nightlife: The bar/club scene is always great if you have a really good fake or if you're 21. Underage nightlife is more hit or miss. There's a few events during the year that are crazy like the Jamaica Block party and Champagne Brunch (where there's people spraying one of the hundred free bottles of champagne everywhere) at a beach house/street. We've made the news plenty of times. The good parties are usually held by frats or athletic teams when they win their game. Transportation is solid, with Lyfts being $14 from mission beach to campus. If you don't know what lyft is, you'll want to learn.

2 College Sophomore

Nightlife: have to drive off campus and cops at mission beach are strict

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Rankings View more rankings . . .

  • 636th
    Tamest Party Scenes
  • 738th
    Biggest Party Schools
  • 889th
    Best Drink Prices

Student Author OverviewWhat's This?

Shannon Palka
Hometown
Thousand Oaks, CA
Major
English and Theology
Grad Year
2015
View all previous student authors

Though USD is not a dry campus, RAs and Public Safety especially are really quick to shut down loud, obvious drinking in the dorms, and the consequences can be really harsh. As a result, many students go off campus on the weekends to party. Mission Beach and Pacific Beach are popular areas for upperclassmen to live, and therefore, popular places for house parties on Friday and Saturday nights. Cabs from campus to the beach, though, start around $20, but can get expensive really quickly. SDSU and downtown are other popular weekend destinations that are about a $30 cab ride away.

For those not interested in the party scene, there is Belmont Park, a great place to meet people or hang out with friends. There are also dozens of bonfires along Mission Bay every Friday night. Tired of the beach? Check out Balboa Park's museums, theaters, gardens, restaurants, and the beloved San Diego Zoo. Or try going to Little Italy or Old Town. There is a lot to do in this city and only four years to do it all. Go out and explore!

Facts & Statistics

Primary Areas with Nightlife
  • Gaslamp
  • Mission Beach
  • Old Town
  • Pacific Beach
Other Places to Check Out
  • Aero Club
  • Belo
  • Café 976
  • Cass Street Bar & Grill
  • Fluxx Nightclub
  • Hooters
  • Miller's Field
  • Oggi's Pizza & Brewing Co.
  • The Pennant
  • Rock Bottom
  • RT's Longboard Grill
  • Voyeur
  • Yard House
  • Zanzibar Café
Local Specialties
Tequila and Margaritas in Old Town: More tequila is sold in Old Town San Diego than anywhere else in the world. One popular restaurant, Café Coyote, has appointed Tequila Ambassadors to educate and entertain guests. The Tequila Ambassadors guide you through a list of more than 100 tequilas and give recommendations according to your taste preference, food pairing, and price range.
Favorite Drinking Games
  • Beer pong
  • Flip cup
  • King's cup
Useful Resources for Nightlife
  • CityBeat
  • San Diego Reader
  • www.utsandiego.com
Closing Time
12 a.m.-2 a.m.
Cheapest Place to Get a Drink
The Beachcomber Plum Crazy Saloon
Organization Parties
USD clubs often have dances and social events that are open to the entire campus community. PRIDE (USD's gay-straight alliance) and SOAR (Student Outreach and Recruitment) both sponsor annual dances that are becoming increasingly popular among students unaffiliated with the clubs.

Club ListingsWhat's This?

The Tipsy Crow

The Tipsy Crow features three different floors of action. There is a great view from the third floor lounge out onto the bustling Gaslamp. The drinks are stiff, and the staff is great. Prices are high, and you've got to get here before 8 p.m. to avoid the minimum $10 cover.

770 Fifth Ave.

Gaslamp

(619) 338-9300

thetipsycrow.com

Typhoon Saloon

Typhoon Saloon is packed nearly every night of the week. In addition to having great drink specials and a feverishly loyal student clientele, Typhoon Saloon is attached to Fred's, a popular Mexican restaurant.

1165 Garnet Ave.

Pacific Beach

(858) 373-3444

www.typhoonsaloon.com

The W

About as hip as it can get, The W is a hotel between Little Italy and the Gaslamp. It's a great place to take out-of-state guests who like to roll their eyes at all things California. The Living Room, the downstairs lounge, transforms from a bar into a nightclub.

421 W. B St.

Downtown

(619) 231-8220

www.thewsandiegohotel.com

Sevilla Nightclub

Flamenco and salsa dancing occurs nightly with professionals and near-professionals. Lessons are often offered at around 8 p.m. A night at Sevilla can be fun, but drinks and cover can be brutal. There is no cover on Wednesday, but it is $15 on Friday and Saturday.

353 Fifth Ave.

San Diego

(619) 233-5979

www.sevillanightclub.com

The Griffin

This club is 21-and-over every night with musical acts almost daily.

1310 Morena Blvd.

San Diego

(619) 684-1816

thegriffinsd.com

On Broadway Event Center

This high-energy club is built inside the old Home Federal Bank building and features multiple levels of dance floors and bars. There's also a high-end sushi bar and restaurant here. The cover is pretty steep, and once inside, there are VIP rooms that require further buy-ins. However, "$5 Fridays" have $5 drinks. The dress code is strict-no jeans, tennis shoes, T-shirts, or hats-and parking is the downtown version of impossible.

615 Broadway

Downtown

(619) 231-0011

www.obec.tv

Pacific Beach Bar & Grill

This is a hybrid club/bar. It gets packed Thursday night through Sunday, but you can dance, play pool, watch sports, ogle locals, and eat great pub grub all in one spot. It's serviced by two square bars and has a massive dance floor known as "Club Tremors."

860 Garnet Ave.

Pacific Beach

(858) 272-4745

pbbarandgrill.com

Bar ListingsWhat's This?

Princess Pub & Grille

This could be the most enjoyable bar in San Diego County. The Princess Pub is an excellent place to grab some real pub grub and down excellent pints of beer. It's also a spectacular bar for soccer fans to catch international action. On days featuring important matches, the crowd can spill out onto India Street in chic Little Italy. Pub fans looking for a long night of beer, darts, and English atmosphere can't do better than the Princess, and she's just a short walk from the Little Italy trolley station, which is only two stops south of USD on the Orange Line.

1665 India St.

Little Italy

(619) 702-3021

Plum Crazy Saloon

Foosball and 68 beers on tap keep Plum Crazy at the top of the list. This is a popular target for hyper-attractive representatives of liquor companies offering samples of their product. Bacardi and Jack Daniel's representatives may actually live in the back.

1060 Garnet Ave.

Pacific Beach

(858) 270-1212

www.plumcrazy.signonsandiego.com

Open Bar

There always seems to be an enormous crowd spilling onto the deck and out of the windows, and the atmosphere is also always tremendously raucous. On weekends, neighboring Lahaina is its only rival. Anything goes at Open Bar-yelling, dancing, and blatant scamming are constant. Monday has a $2.50 drink special for those who won't let the weekend die.

4302 Mission Blvd.

Pacific Beach

(858) 270-3221

Tivoli Bar

Located profitably close to the ballpark and staffed by exactly the kind of people you'd want if you owned a bar, Tivoli is a bar-lover's bar. Ask about the antique call button used to warn prostitutes about impending police raids many-a-moon ago. Obviously, if there is a Padres' game, you should take a cab or trolley instead of trying to park.

506 Sixth Ave.

Gaslamp

(619) 232-6754

www.tivolibargrill.com

The Tavern at the Beach

If you want to sound like a local, you can offhandedly refer to the days when The Tavern was known as the Daily Planet. If people look at you suspect, just reminisce about Fetch's old spot across the street. The Tavern used to be an afterthought, a little to the east of the action, but nowadays, you have to wait in line. The Tavern rarely disappoints and has excellent drink specials.

1200 Garnet Ave.

Pacific Beach

(858) 272-6066

www.tavernatthebeach.com

The Silver Fox Lounge

Spectacularly unassuming, The Fox has only a few TVs, a pool table or two, darts, and a couple video games. Locals, students, and tourists all end up here to relax, and even on the most crowded of nights, the "San Diego Vibe" is in full evidence here. There's no better place to find this feeling in Pacific Beach. Other highlights include the hot dog vendor right outside and the local flower lady selling roses at 1 a.m.

1833 Garnet Ave.

Pacific Beach

(858) 270-1343

Nick's at the Beach

Nick's is really a two-story restaurant, but USD students tend to spend most of their time upstairs at the bar. Tucked away on Thomas Avenue, Nick's is almost always forgotten until late-arriving partygoers encounter the long lines on Garnet Avenue. In all fairness, Nick's is a great place in its own right. A pen-air patio and a cool layout make it a hard spot to leave.

809 Thomas Ave.

Pacific Beach

(858) 270-1730

www.nicksatthebeach.com

The Field

The Field somehow manages to pull off an Irish feel in the middle of downtown San Diego. Fans of all things Irish swear by this place, as well as anyone who appreciates a good pint. It has welcoming atmosphere in an area known to turn you away if you are carrying last spring's bag.

544 Fifth Ave.

Gaslamp

(619) 232-9840

www.thefield.com

Coaster Saloon

Coaster Saloon has an outdoor patio and shows a "game of the week" on its large projection screen.

744 Ventura Place

Mission Beach (Belmont Park)

(858) 488-4438

www.coastersaloon.com

The Beachcomber

The Beachcomber is the penultimate USD bar. A large percentage of off-campus USD students live within a mile of this place, and they love to walk over on Friday nights and take advantage of crazy drink specials. The bar is in an old wooden building, and almost feels like you are below board in an old ship, and the staff is great. The "Comber," as it is normally called, is a great place to go any time of day or night. Friday nights, the pub turns into dance inferno, and drink prices plummet to less than $1 for cosmopolitans and domestic beer.

2901 Mission Blvd.

Mission Beach

(858) 488-2644

Moondoggies

A little more upscale, Moondoggies is the best place in PB to watch sports (and the only place in San Diego to watch out-of-market NHL games). Moondoggies has excellent food specials and a solid happy hour. The absence of a large dance floor makes this a bar more than a club, although there is live music all of the time. There is a second Moondoggies in La Jolla.

832 Garnet Ave.

Pacific Beach

(858) 483-6550

www.moondoggies.com

Maloney's Tavern

Maloney's is one downtown bar that is near and dear to most students' hearts because the place is nice and actually reasonable. It's got a huge lower level complete with bar and dance floor, and it is about as casual as you can get at a large Gaslamp night spot. You can actually hold a conversation if you want, but there's plenty of loud music and dance space if you are more into body language.

777 Fifth Ave.

Gaslamp

(619) 232-6000

www.maloneystavern.com

Lahaina Beach House

Lahaina is a converted wooden beach house with a patio right on the boardwalk in PB. The place is always packed during the day. The beer is cheap, and it comes in plastic keg cups. Lahaina is a great place to watch people, as well as show off your own wares.

710 Oliver Ave.

Pacific Beach

(858) 270-3888

What to Do if You're Not 21What's This?

Voyeur

Sometimes Voyeur has 18-and-up events.

755 Fifth Ave. (between G and F streets)

San Diego

(619) 756-7678

www.voyeursd.com

Belo

Belo is open from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Also, it's open occasionally during the week for special events and for private parties.

Fourth Avenue at E Street

San Diego

(619) 231-9200

www.belosandiego.com

Student Polls

Rate the off-campus bar and club scene on the following topics    Based on 67 responses

Very poor
Excellent
  • Convenience to get to
  • Cover charges
  • Distance from campus
  • Drink prices
  • Fun
  • Variety/number of options

What's the best way to get to the popular nightlife spots?    Based on 71 responses

  • 6% There are no good options.
  • 54% Use a designated driver.
  • 3% School-provided shuttles/buses.
  • 3% Public transportation.
  • 34% Taxis.
  • 1% Walk.

What is the party scene like on campus?    Based on 73 responses

  • 23% Parties? What parties?
  • 18% Good parties are few and far between.
  • 42% Some decent frat/house parties, weekends only.
  • 16% Lots of options Wednesday-Saturday.
  • 0% Tons of raging parties almost any night of the week.

Where can you find the best parties?    Based on 12 responses

  • 50% Mission beach
  • 27% Off campus apartments
  • 9% Lauretta
  • 9% Pacific beach, downtown, sdsu
  • 5% El Cajon

What is the biggest party event of the year?    Based on 10 responses

  • 60% Jamaica Block Party is always crazy
  • 20% Tour de Franzia
  • 10% Champagne Brunch
  • 10% All the above

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