Noble Experiment at The Neighborhood
In the local cocktail scene, San Diego’s worst kept secret now exclusively crafts dealer’s choice-only concoctions. The spot's distinct wall of gilded skulls is still intact, as are its monthly experimental cocktails, which might include blueberry-infused brandy and rye whiskey, rosemary bitters and barrel-aged maple. Enter through the Eighth Avenue kitchen door (an interim entrance due to construction) to enjoy a classic cocktail and lively music while you wait—which is very likely sans reservation. 777 G St., 619.888.4713
Caché at Tacos Libertad
Pass through the fast-casual nonprofit taco shop, and emerge into an upscale “hidden” yet roomy watering den complete with ornate chandeliers, three live olive trees and a sweeping mural inspired by French artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. If Caché was modeled after early 18th century Parisian salons, then its cocktails—including a selection of gin, agave spirits and absinthe—are modern-day mediums of discourse. Raise a glass till 1am Tuesday through Sunday. 1023 University Ave.
Room 56 at Moxy Hotel
The new, secret Gaslamp Quarter lounge is swaddled in earthy tones; its name is a nod to the country’s 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence. After negotiating a bookcase in the lobby’s library, wind down a staircase to arrive at the 24-seat lounge. Take in live jazz on Thursdays, and tipples like the Panniers and Petticoats—bourbon, fig, vermouth and cardamom bitters. Reservations by text only, 831 Sixth Ave, 951.397.0407
Photography by: Noble Experiment photo courtesy of CH Projects | cache photo by paul body | Room 56 courtesy of avant