San Diego’s Cocktail Pharmacy

While I might only be a part-time cocktail blogger, I’m most certainly a full-time cocktail lover.

Late last year I started hearing rumblings about a new cocktail bar, Polite Provisions, which had recently opened to much fanfare in San Diego. A few months later the bar and one of its owners was featured in Imbibe Magazine, so it was official – Polite Provisions gained a slot on my must drink travel list.

Fast-forward ninety more days and I was on a plane headed to sunny San Diego for a work conference. Now, my day-job is also in the booze business so imagine my shock when I discovered none of my colleagues had heard of this award-winning cocktail bar that had been written up in trade magazines numerous times and had already been open for fourteen months. I digress.
So, I jumped in a cab all by my lonesome and headed for the suburbs of San Diego. Seven miles later but a world away from the Gaslamp District, the cabbie put me out in front of what looked like a pharmacy (well there was a big pharmacy sign on the building). This was definitely the ‘burbs – Mission Valley East to be exact – but while the neighborhood looked a little up-and-coming everything was copasetic.

Wow, once you enter Polite Provisions it’s kind of like sitting down at the bar of a modern day Cheers. Three parts neighborhood bar with all the historic trimmings, half part swanky hand-crafted tonics/sodas/elixers, and a huge helping of ‘no one is a stranger in my bar’ on the side. The ladies to my right gave me some cocktail recommendations and Elliott (who was behind the bar) gave me a list of some other cool (new) cocktail spots that I should pop by while in town.

It was a beautiful afternoon so all of the windows were open and it was Easter so the crowd was pretty light. This was the perfect place to grab a cocktail and sit back and enjoy the atmosphere – it was a little like going back in time.


Two drinks that you have to try:
1) Pine Street Sour ~ rye whiskey, fresh lemon & grapefruit, pineapple, and Italian Apertivo
2) Kentucky Buck ~ bourbon, fresh lemon, strawberry, and house-made ginger beer

Two extra things that I love about this bar:
1) The prices are super reasonable ($8 cocktails)
2) There are hardly and liquor brands listed on the menu (you can focus on the cocktail without worrying about if your favorite brand is in it)

One thing to keep in mind:
1) If you’re headed to/from the Gaslamp District, Uber is way cheaper than a taxi