Drinking in San Diego: How It Compares to Phoenix's Cocktail Scene

Categories: Hooch

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Heather Hoch
Polite Provisions made a mezcal-based cocktail names Mance Rayder, so obviously I ordered it.
Across town in North Park, you'll find a much more inviting and straightforward imbibing experience at Polite Provisions. Fresh off of a win for best volume bar at this year's Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards, this spot and its neighboring restaurant for teetotalers called Soda & Swine are also Consotrium Holdings joints. With two punch bowls (about $40 each) and several craft drinks for one (closer to $8 each) on the menu, Polite Provisions is much more affordable and a great spot to bring friends who aren't entrenched in cocktail nerddom quite yet.

Most notably, the bar itself, with its vintage apothecary aesthetic, is probably one of the prettiest bars out there. Marbled bartop, bright tiles, aviary glass roof, and copper and wooden touches make this spot worth visiting just for the eye candy factor, but the cocktails are tasty too.

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Polite Provisions/Facebook
Polite Provisions is probably one of the most beautiful bars I've seen.
Other Consortium Holdings spots around the city that are worth testing out include Craft & Commerce (go for brunch), Ironside Fish & Oyster Bar (get $1 oysters and a cocktail in a delightfully irreverent orca mug--take that, Sea World!), Rare Form, and El Dorado.

The big take away from these CH spots, which are certainly not the only places for great cocktails in San Diego but do represent a large number of noteworthy places in the town, is that style matters. While all of these concepts are different, they all carry impeccable design that makes you want to brag that you were there while snapping a bunch of pictures. Even Juniper + Ivy, which isn't a Consortium restaurant, has a sunken dining room and an elevated, well-lit bar, making it the focal point and showpiece (as it should be) of the restaurant.

If Phoenix bars could learn anything from San Diego spots, it is to focus on making the bar as visually stunning as the cocktails are complex and flavorful. It really does make the difference in creating an overall package.

However, on that note and in terms of taste, I don't think any of those bars are leagues ahead of Phoenix in terms of cocktail flavor. While San Diego might have more spots dedicated to the craft cocktail movement there and even has a helping hand from prolific bar owners from other major cities, you can see the same trends in Phoenix, and, I would argue a stronger surge of independent, bartender-focused concepts.

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17 comments
Rodney Alling
Rodney Alling

At least Phoenix has San Diego beat when it comes to amazing news reporting. Wait, no we don't.

trbl.name
trbl.name

This is a shameful piece of faux journalism that does nothing to promote local culture, even where there are blatant chances. This is nothing but San Diego fluffery. I love all their places; don't get me wrong. We read this to know what's going on locally. Get it together.

Additionally, maybe Ms Hoch should research stuff in her home state before venturing to other realms much more developed than ours. Penca is less than 2 hours away, and you've never been? Really? After all the time they've been open?

Amy Parker
Amy Parker

Who cares? Slow news day? Vodka in PHX is the same as vodka in San Diego.

Francisco Cortez
Francisco Cortez

I agree! I've been to places with great service, but have a blah atmosphere, and the ones that look hip, have horrible service.

Mj Deen
Mj Deen

It might have something to do with I don't know the intense heat in Phoenix.... juxtaposed the cool breezes in San Diego

Brandon Doyle
Brandon Doyle

Thats like suggesting that Phoenix stop serving delicious mac n cheese out of a shoe.

Brad Wayne
Brad Wayne

Douche-factor is what I think you are going for

Jesse Hansen
Jesse Hansen

Thinking of you Joe Tuchscherer. Wishing we were together Drinking.

Kyo Ono
Kyo Ono

I have never had a decent drink in phx \U0001f614 they all want to kill you with alcohol, or get you super drunk \U0001f633

Ryan White
Ryan White

Wow- what a poorly written article. It reads like a CH PR brochure. You did nothing for the originality of the San Diego scene, of which after reading this, I suspect there isn't any. It's quite embarrassing actually.

Eric Johnson
Eric Johnson

Maybe the fact that it isn't 110 at night. you can't walk from a decent to bar to another one. No decent late night eating (no mom and pops) within walking distance. Oh yeah NO BEACH TO LOOK FORWARD TO IN THE MORNING WHEN YOU ARE HUNG OVER. Nobody really cares about the booze at that point.

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