Conde Nast has their taste and I have mine. In bars it isn't "swanky oceanfront lounges with Insta-glam views". In bars, not pubs or gastropubs, or cocktail lounges, but down and dirty bars I like dark interiors and red leathers; ice cold beer, stiff drinks and wine that has three choices 'red, white or pink'.
My 14 best bars would include the Waterfront, Tivoli, High Dive, the old Turf Club, Little Club, Nunu's, the Stadium Club, the Lamplighter and Starlite
Thanks for your insight, it is good to know where locals like to go as well.
Not all locals like the same type of atmosphere.
I find the list interesting since it mentions places in many areas of the city and not just downtown!
A friend just told me about the Grass Skirt and we'll probably be in Little Italy soon and try out Craft and Commerce. It is owned by the same group that has the really fun "secret" bar in the UTC shopping mall called Raised by Wolves. We had fun there last week!! I like to try places that are a bit different and not just dingy dives.
It is a good thing there is something for everyone and I like different places depending on my mood/what I want to do. I do like Tivoli and have been there more times than I can count (good for pre game Padres), Waterfront is a lot of fun, haven't been in Nunu for years.....however, unless I'm just feeling like beer or a cocktail, I prefer a place that does have a decent wine list.
Anyway, of the the ones on the linked article - Polite Provisions is great! We love to go there. Lots of cool cocktails (they do have beer too fyi). Sycamore Den is a lot of fun in Normal Heights - Scott it might be right up your alley with your "wish list". Cowboy Star - our friend is a bartender there - so do I need to say more? Modern Times I recommend all the time on this forum for people looking for local craft beer. Bali Hai has kick a** mai tais! Kindred is a cool looking place - we usually have to spend time there while waiting for a table at Buono Forchetta - however there wine is "on tap" - not necessarily a bad thing, but I've just had hit or miss there. Cocktails are good. Madison in Unversity Heights is excellent. Cool vibe and good drinks.
I would just add a few more not on the list: The Office in North Park - good cocktails and great HH pricing. Old School place would be the Air Conditioned Lounge in North Park. Dive bar Blue Foot.
What I like about Bali Hai is that they have cocktails listed by strength.
It's good to know (for a lightweight like me) which are the milder ones and which are the stronger ones!!