From Pauma Valley to El Cajon, San Diego County has no shortage of casinos — and casino bars. . If you’re looking for the perfect place to celebrate a jackpot (or drown your sorrows after a loss) here some of the best bars at area casinos.
Name of bar: Spiked
There’s lots of fun spots to enjoy alcohol at Harrah’s, from the casual Swim-up Bar to wine hangout Corked, but Spiked offers a true craft cocktail experience in a swanky but modern settling. The menu boasts 16 creatively crafted cocktails from expert mixologists — and that’s not including the secret menu.
Standout cocktails: Best sellers are Popular Demand (strawberry rhubarb vodka, pavan, lime, and basil lemon syrup) and Full Monte (amaro montenegro, dry curacao, honey and lemon). Both drinks are $12. Not sure what to choose? Order Dealer’s Choice, and a bartender will create an off-menu drink using your chosen spirit and flavor profile.
Location: 777 Harrah’s Rincon Way, Funner
Contact info: (760) 751-3100; harrahssocal.com
Name of bar: Patties & Pints
This casual restaurant and sports bar combo has no shortage of burgers and brews, including beer flights. But don’t let the name fool you: Patties & Pints has an impressive range of creative cocktails and top shelf martinis, along with its signature hard milkshakes.
Standout cocktails: The Spicy Cucumber Mule (vodka, lemon juice, bitters, ginger beer, cucumber and jalapeño pepper) and Jalapeño-Mango Margarita (tequila, liqueur, lime juice, mango puree and jalapeño paper), offer innovative twists on classic cocktails. For those wanting to shake things up, opt for a unique martini like Mochatini (vodka, liqueur, chilled coffee and chocolate shavings) or Cotton Candy Martini (black cherry vodka, cranberry juice, lemon juice and cotton candy). All cocktails cost $10 and martinis ring in at $12.
Location: 16300 Nyemii Pass Road, Valley Center
Contact info: (760) 291-5500; valleyviewcasino.com
Name of bar: Allure Pool Bar
Viejas Casino has seven bars — from the 188-foot Center Bar to The Grove Bar for wine lovers. For a relaxing getaway, opt for the outdoor Allure Pool Bar, a tranquil oasis where guests can enjoy drinks poolside, in a cabana, or on the covered patio.
Standout cocktails: Take advantage of the casino-wide happy hour (1 to 5 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays) and order a $6 house margarita. In the mood for something fancier? Sip on the Viejas Bloody Mary, a collaboration between the casino and San Diego-based Cutwater Spirits.
Location: 5000 Willows Road, Alpine
Contact info: (619) 445-5400; viejas.com
Name of bar: Player’s Bar
Golden Acorn’s classic bar serves general drinks like beer, wine, and cocktails, which are also available at its Golden Grill restaurant. But did you know the casino also offers cheap gas and good meat? Golden Acorn’s low fuel prices at its Travel Center gas station and $7.77 prime rib special both go easy on your pocket book. Plus, enjoy free live entertainment from bands that perform in the middle of the casino floor.
Location: 1800 Golden Acorn Way, Campo
Contact info: (866) 794-6244; goldenacorncasino.com
Name of bar: Red Parrot Lounge
This low-key yet sophisticated bar — featuring dramatic lighting, stone veneer columns and arched wood beams — is an intimate, red-hued retreat in the middle of the gaming action. The lounge pairs its beverage offerings with a stacked entertainment lineup. Live bands perform every Friday and Saturday from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. and upcoming shows can be found online.
Location: 777 Pauma Reservation Road, Pauma Valley
Contact info: (877) 687-2862; casinopauma.com
Name of bar: Cucina
Barona Resort & Casino is a “dry” casino, meaning no alcohol is served on the casino floor. Alcohol is available at its Italian Cucina restaurant and at the Barona Oaks Steakhouse located onsite.
Standouts: At Italian Cucina, pick from a wide variety of California wines from Napa and Sonoma, plus a few from Italy, Germany, France and Argentina. Similar selections are found at the Barona Oaks Steakhouse.
Location: 1932 Wildcat Canyon Road, Lakeside
Contact info: (888) 7-BARONA ; barona.com
Name of bars: Jive Lounge and Tony Gwynn’s Sports Pub, named for the late San Diego baseball legend.
Relatively new on the San Diego casino block, Jamul Casino is currently celebrating its fifth year . Along with Jive and Tony Gwynn’s Sports Bar, there are a few others options onsite.
Standout cocktails: At Tony Gwynn’s Sports Pub, standout cocktails include the Clarity (Hana Pineapple Sake, orange flower water and white cranberry, topped with a cranberry liquor lollipop). The Fireside is a sour that takes its inspiration from the great outdoors (Skrewball Peanut Butter Whiskey, roasted bacon and roasted marshmallows). And finally, the Tropical Mango is like a vacation in a glass (made with Kikori Whiskey, mango, cream of coconut, pineapple, lime and a dash of bitters, served in a Kikori Kitty glass). Each of these are $9.
Location: 14145 Campo Road, Jamul
Contact info: (619) 315-2250; jamulcasinosd.com
Name of bars: Pala, located near Temecula, has a multitude of bars and eateries onsite, including Luis Rey’s Sports Bar, Bar Meets Grill and the Poolside Café and Bar.
Standout cocktails: For a refreshing poolside sip that will bring you back to your childhood, try the Jolly Rancher (CÎROC watermelon vodka, watermelon pucker and Sprite). Luis Rey’s Sports Bar carries a wide variety of brews, including local favorites like the Ballast Point Grapefruit Sculpin, Lagunitas IPA and Mother Earth Cali Creamin’.
Location: 11154 Highway 76, Pala
Contact info: (877) WIN-PALA ; palacasino.com
Name of bars: This Temecula casino boasts over 10 eateries and bars, including Corner Bar, Round Bar, poolside bar, The Cove, and the new Mexican restaurant, 1882 Cantina.
Standout cocktails: At Corner Bar, try the Corner Club(gin, blackberry syrup, lemon juice and whipped egg whites) or the Tex-A-Cola (tequila, whiskey, cola syrup, lime juice and a dash of bitters). At 1882 Cantina, try one of the 40 different tequila and mezcal options or indulge in a Michelada (a draft beer of choice, house Michelada blend, Chamoy, Tajín, lime and a Tamarindo stick) or one of the Classico Margaritas (Cazadores tequila, triple sec, lime, agave nectar and house salt) made frozen or on the rocks
Location: 45000 Pechanga Parkway, Temecula
Contact info: (888) PECHANGA; pechanga.com
Name of bars: Sycuan is home to eateries and bars like Viewpoint Neighborhood Kitchen, Double Down Grill, Bull & Bourbon Steakhouse and more, not to mention Retreat Pool & Cabanas, where tasty treats are served poolside.
Standout cocktails: At Bull & Bourbon, you’ll find more than 25 varieties of bourbon, of course, along with whiskey, scotch, Champagne and wine. But if cocktails are more your flavor, head to Viewpoint and sample creative offerings like Ariel’s Mimosa (sparkling wine, Midori, Blue Curacao, pineapple juice) complete with flower garnish, or the Cool as a Cucumber (Bacardi Silver rum, muddled mint and cucumber, DRY cucumber soda) garnished with a sugar cane swizzle stick.
Location: 5469 Casino Way, El Cajon
Contact info: (619) 445-6002; sycuan.com
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Jennifer is a native San Diegan and graduate of Cal State San Marcos. She worked as the letters editor at the former North County Times until 2012, before branching out into the marketing world. She has been at PACIFIC since 2015 and loves that it enables her to merge her loves of San Diego, pop culture and puns.
Sara has always been two things: a writer and a San Diegan.
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