Experience: San Diego Nightlife

San Diego is quickly becoming known as one of the best nightspots in America. In recent years the city has witnessed large numbers of young, well educated and cash rich people moving into the downtown area and there has consequently been an uptick in the arts and culture scene – so much so that it is now talked about in the same vein as San Francisco and LA. It has some of the best restaurants on the west coast with cutting edge cuisine from Cambodia and Ethiopia, France and Afghanistan as well as the best south of the border dining in all of America. It has also seen an explosion in the number of microbreweries and is considered to be the equal of Portland and Seattle in quality local brews. With all this to choose from it is sometimes difficult to know where to go on your first visit to the city. This article will recommend a couple of places to start.

If you want a light bite to eat to get your evening going then try taking a trip to Shelter Island and sampling the delights of the Bali Hai Restaurant. Having just undergone a $4 million restoration it now looks out over the San Diego Bay with large panoramic windows and is worth booking a window table. The décor is exotic and the menu pacific rim, by genius local chef Chris Powell. The food is filling but light enough to serve as an appetizer for a night out. You have to try the Hawaiian Ahi Tartare with pine nuts, cracker bread and avocado or the Sea Scallops with ginger dashi broth, tarragon and lomi lomi salad.

Another alternative is the Airr Supper Club in downtown San Diego. Another joint serving up food that is light enough to leave you ready for a night out, the Airr offers food perfect for sharing on platters designed for two or three. It is designed with a kind of rock chic and serves up exotic international food with rock blasting out from the expensive looking speakers. Divided into two rooms (the crimson room and the white room) and filled with ultra modern lounge furniture and classy booths, this is more of a bar than restaurant and is the perfect place to start your night out. They serve some wonderful dishes but the best are the Sonoma County Duck Breast as well as the 22 oz T-Bones or the Mascarpone Risotto. My personal favorite is the Hamachi Crudo topped with added virgin oil, shavings of radish and a pile of crispy taro.

Once you’re ready to go dancing, head out to Voyeur, San Diego’s favorite nightclub, with a décor that will knock your socks off and a sound system that will send you flying. From the ever-present skulls to the renaissance pictures, and the weird and wonderful horse lamp (life sized) this is a club worth visiting for the décor alone. When you include the fact that they also play an intriguing mix of music that moves from punk to electro to industrial and back again, this is a club that you simply have to check out.