San Diego’s Best Bars with Live Music

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We live in San Diego, which means we have a lot of options when it comes to music, beer, and places to hang out. Here are our top 5 favorite bars with live music selections from local heartthrobs, Indie newbies, touring bands, and an occasional jazz contender.

The Merrow | Hillcrest

The Merrow is small enough to feel like you can be a known character if you want to, but big enough that you can actually breathe. Follow them on “Tap Hunter” for their selection of craft beers, and rest at ease knowing that this dive bar doesn’t serve dive beer. Happy hour runs every day until 8PM, so come early and grab a couple of drinks before watching the creative geniuses hit the stage. In addition to local bands from electronica to acoustic and everything in between, The Merrow hosts Burlesque shows, movie nights, and karaoke. 

Winston’s Beach Club | Ocean Beach

At Winston’s, there’s no ‘typical’ night. With a wide variety of musical genres including hip-hop, soul, jazz, Latin, bluegrass, and so many more, the only thing common is people gathering to be inspired by musical geniuses. Local and touring bands alike set up their gear at this prime beach bar location. Come for happy hour (daily from 1-6PM) and stay for a night of top-notch music at a venue that’s been blasting its sound for over 30 years.

Tin Roof | Gaslamp Quarter

Head downtown for a night of cover bands, headliners, and surprisingly good food. Take advantage of their happy hour deals from 3-7PM on weekdays, or come in for Taco Tuesday and splurge on half a dozen $2 tacos and a couple of $3 cervezas. Their tagline includes “giving musicians a place to play and a place to hang when they aren’t on stage,” so come–hang out with the stars! Make sure to come early to grab a seat, and enjoy the show!

Soda Bar & Lounge | Corridor/Normal Heights 

Don’t let the name fool you, this bar and music venue is only for those 21 and up. If you’re looking to come across a few new indie bands to add to your record collection, look no further. Although there isn’t any food at Soda Bar, they do have a full beer and cocktail selection, to get you the drink that you’re craving while listening to live music. Check their calendar to find an act to invite your friends to! 

Pier View Pub | Oceanside

Spend an evening in Oceanside at Pier View Pub, and enjoy a peanut butter stout and live music that’s affordable! With tickets as low as $5, this pub and music venue is the perfect spot to discover new bands without breaking the bank. Come on the weekend for live music, or during the week for free all-you-can-eat peanuts!


Katrina is an OBcean that spends her time drinking quality coffee and engaging in the community that she lives in.

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