North County Wine Company, $$
Many would argue this to be the best wine bar in the Encinitas area. It’s a hybrid wine bar/wine shop that offers an impressive selection of wines from all over the world. The owners offer specials Tuesday through Sunday, but the locals are raving most about their Thursday deal: half-priced glasses of wine in the bar area after 5pm. Come in to pick up a bottle if you’re in a hurry, or grab a seat on the patio while the weather’s still nice—it’s full service.
northcountywinecompany.com, 1099 San Marcos Blvd, San Marcos CA 92078.
Belching Beaver Brewery, $
The Belching Beaver team brews 7 distinct beers at their own microbrewery, which range from blondes to stouts. Some of their unique blends include Great Lei, a coconut-pineapple IPA, and their Peanut Butter milk stout. They offer a rather popular trivia night on Thursdays, and staff will recommend ordering a tasting flight if it’s your first visit. The atmosphere is relaxed, and there’s plenty of both indoor and outdoor seating.
belchinbeaver.com, 980-A Park Ctr Dr, Vista CA 92081.
Churchill’s Pub & Grille, $$
With more than a few large flat-screens in the bar, this is one of the best sports bars around. They offer a comprehensive list of draft beers, many of which are from local breweries, as well as a full liquor bar. Churchill’s also offers a 4-star food menu, and the most popular selections are the jalapeno poppers, scotch eggs, and chicken tenders.
churchillspub.us, 887 W San Marcos Blvd, San Marcos CA 92078.
Relm offers comfortable leather couches, live music, and a happy hour on weekdays from 4-6pm. It’s a great place to enjoy a glass of wine or craft beer with the assistance of knowledgeable staff. The food selection shows a clear Mediterranean influence, with offerings such as baked brie, prosciutto rolls, and charcuterie plates that pair well with wine.
relmwine.com, 2917 State St, Carlsbad CA 92008.