Top 5 Happy Hour Hot Spots in North County

Get Your Happy Hour on with These North County Spots

Photos by The Landings at Carlsbad


North San Diego County is a land of many niches. From biker bars to upscale hotel lounges, there is something for everyone. Finding your own personal Cheers where “everybody knows your name” is a cinch in North County. Here are a list of five happy hour hot spots worth checking out in North County’s favorite cities.  


The Landings at Carlsbad

2198 Palomar Airport Road #100, Carlsbad, CA 92008

The McClellan airport is a landmark Carlsbad residents pass by countless times a day. Unlike most commercial airports, at the McClellan, you don’t need a boarding pass to pull up a seat at the local bar and watch the small jets take off. The Landings, toted as Carlsbad’s best-kept secret, is located in Carlsbad’s McClellan Airport. A local favorite since opening in 1959, it quaintly sat above the pilots supply store for 50 years, but a $24 million expansion of the airport in 2009 landed The Landings its current spot. An outdoor patio under floating lanterns is the perfect low-key spot to sip happy hour cocktails and kick back if the long trek up El Camino Real beckons you to stop off for a cold one. Worth checking out are the live bands on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 5:30-8:00pm.  Happy hour is offered daily starting at 4:00pm.

Canyons at The Crossing

5800 The Crossings Drive, Carlsbad, CA 92008

As you make the drive up to the clubhouse, don’t let the Legoland statues fool you, Canyons at The Crossings does luxe Carlsbad style. Located in the castle-like clubhouse of The Crossings, a public golf course, Canyons restaurant offers panoramic oceans views accented by the fairways. A popular wedding location, the beauty of The Crossings is unmatched in Carlsbad. With the quintessential friendly Carlsbad vibe, an expansive outdoor patio and happy hour Sunday through Friday from 3-7pm, the Canyons easily takes its place on a top 5 list for North County.  

Shelter in Encinitas

540 540 South Coast Hwy 101, Encinitas, CA 92024

Not an everyday happy hour spot, Shelter still earns a spot on the list for its innovation and beachy coolness. Think bottle service in a swanky urban backyard, Shelter brings the beach to the club with its retractable roof taking full advantage of SoCal’s premium weather. Open from 5pm-2am on Thursdays and Fridays, and for brunch only on Saturdays and Sundays, Shelter is not your typical after work or post-surf bar. Nestled along Brew Pub Row, Shelter is all lounge and no dive bar. Sip innovative fusion cocktails in an open-air lounge while Shelter’s handpicked DJs spin on a state of the art sound system. Shelter is one of a kind in North County.  

Booze Brothers Brewing Co.

2545 Progress St, Vista, CA 92081

Booze Brothers Brewing does for the craft beer scene what Al Capone’s Hideaway did for the speakeasy. Hiding in an industrial business park in Vista sits Booze Brothers Brewing Co. Everything is handcrafted at Booze Brothers, from the American Flag wood-planked wall, to the rustic iron and concrete bar, to Unkle Granpappy’s IIPA. Getting through the door at this modern day speakeasy proves much easier than getting into Capone’s Hideout; the only prerequisite is a true love for good beer. And the options abound; the pours from the antler-topped taps change constantly as owners Dave and Donny Firth hone their craft (pun definitely intended). The original location was in the Firth’s garage, but when demand far outweighed the seating capacity provided by one ratty old sofa, the brothers opened up this new age hipster bar for the masses. Open Tuesday through Thursday at 4pm and Fridays at 3pm, with live music, a packed events calendar and buzzing atmosphere, Booze Brothers Brewing Co. is a step both outside the box and back in time.          

Wrench and Rodent Seabasstropub

1815 South Coast Hwy 101, Oceanside, CA

What does organic Rose by the can, Kombacha mimosas, and home-bottled craft beer all have in common? They all pair nicely with the chef-selected, straight from the sea Japanese fusion menu being served nightly at Wrench and Rodent. Part Alice Waters, part Nobu with a hint of British public house, this tiny gem is quintessential North County. Chef Davin Waite offers his food and drinks with a side of integrity. Pull up a stool at the sushi bar to see the real rock stars of this gastropub; the finely selected cuts of fish dance with just-pulled-from-the-garden produce. The daily changing ceviche flight and the live bands on the patio make this a welcome spot for foodies with soul.