Drink like a vagabond

By Jeff Josenhans | Drink Shrink

After a trip across Northern Europe this summer, I started thinking about all the destinations and amazing drinks we had along the way. We went local all the way — beer in Prague, snaps in Sweden, and of course wine in France.

But in every place we visited there was a common thread to be found, which was an incredible offering of local product, but no real understanding of what we might have wanted. In other words, had we theoretically wanted craft IPA, San Diego-style, there just weren’t really any options, or even an understanding of what that would have meant. Luckily, we didn’t care much.

But there is always one place you can go no matter where you are in the world if you want something that not only showcases the local experience, but will also have an international imbibing perspective (they might even have that San Diego beer in Paris that you wanted after being there for a couple weeks overdosing on croissants and bistro wine).

GG Supper Club HRweb

The lounge at Grant Grill is a great destination for locals. (Courtesy US Grant)

Where? In the hotel bars.

The good ones, in particular, are where you will find an international watering hole with fine drink no matter what country you find yourself in.

San Diego is no different.

Sure, the local beverage scene is awesome, but so is traveling and experiencing new things and new people. You can do that right here by visiting some of the best hotel bars in town.

As a hotel guy myself, I can tell you that one thing that keeps all hotel people going is the opportunity to work with different cultures from around the world on a regular basis. Global explorers are in the bar every day, and with that comes a deeper understanding of global drinking culture. Locals and travelers mix on an entirely different scale than what you find elsewhere in the city.

So this fall and winter, head into one of our local hotel bars before your big night out. Or better yet, make it your big night out at the hotel bar and see what kind of people you meet.

The US Grant Hotel truly comes into its own in fall and winter, a majestic piece of history with global beverage offerings right in the heart of the city.

The Hotel Del Coronado is just a short drive over the bridge, where you will also find a bit of history and guests from around the globe.

If you like views, checking out Top of the Hyatt at the Grand Hyatt along Harbor Drive and Altitude Sky Lounge at the top of the San Diego Marriott Gaslamp Quarter are both a must.

The Sophia is a little gem, and the cocktails at the Palomar have always been solid. However, if you want to travel back in time a bit, visit The Westgate. The hotel lobby bar there is a classic, international institution that should be in all bar goer’s repertoire.

—Level 2 CMS Sommelier and Master Mixologist Jeff Josenhans — who just recently added a Cicerone certification to his resume — has changed the dynamic in The Grant Grill Downtown from a classic institution to an exciting lounge and elegant restaurant. Follow his drink-related posts on Instagram @jeffjosenhans.

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