It's time to celebrate!
The Chargers are almost at .500!
It rained! For two days!
The San Diego Yacht Club was named the second best yacht club in the nation!
OK, so those aren't the real reasons to celebrate. (Though the rain was sweet.) It's the holiday season — which is the real reason to get into the spirit. That means it's time to think about that all important holiday party. And when it comes to throwing an event in San Diego, we do have one nifty advantage from the get-go.
Look outside. San Diego is a pretty spectacular place. And people want to be part of it. We've got venues to die for.
“People are seeking unique flavor,” said Claudia Wehrman, director of sales and marketing for AlliedPRA San Diego, an event management company. “Authenticity. That’s the biggest buzzword today.”
So, when it comes to throwing corporate events, forget about serving nationally known beers and cheese wedges in non-descript settings. People want to experience local, signature offerings in unique, dynamic venues, she said.
“I like where it’s headed,” she said of this trend. “It allows you to be more creative. And it’s a more rewarding experience for the guests.”
So here are some of the hotter event venues in town to wow corporate clients or host your staff:
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www.dylanpatrickhospitality.com ©Dylan Patrick Photography Inc.
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Altitude Sky Lounge
This place really soars. Perched atop the Marriott Gaslamp, it’s one of the more celebrated rooftop bars in San Diego, which are growing more popular. Big surprise, given the views they offer. This one, at 22 floors up, looks right down into Petco Park, so you can watch the Padres. Or you can feel free to look away, given the way they’ve been playing. Either way, it’s hard not to feel like a winner when you party here — even if you’re a member of the Padres.
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Do you want to dine outdoors? Do you want to dine outdoors near the heavens? Head for Rustic Root in the Gaslamp, which is San Diego’s only rooftop restaurant. Ambiance? It’s got ambiance. Forbes magazine even praised one of its signature cocktails, the Golden Chariot. Head bartender Matt Hunter said he was inspired by Caribbean pirates and the restaurant’s view. “I always felt that being on a rooftop like Rustic Root’s is the next best thing to being out on a ship drinking on the open water,” he said. Captain Jack Sparrow, no doubt, would approve.
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Malahat Spirits Co.
San Diego is known for its craft beer scene, but craft spirit distilleries are up-and-comers. Malahat Spirits in Miramar specializes in artisan rum and celebrates the speakeasy era, when bars popped up in underground places to thwart Prohibition authorities. Its distillery is a throwback to those days, its owners note. “You’ll see firsthand pieces dating back to the era of bootleggers and rumrunners,” its website says. “We were even lucky enough to get some props from a popular Hollywood movie.” The name of the joint comes from the name of a ship that ran booze to San Diego
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The Venue Report rated this Gaslamp restaurant 10th on a list of the “31 Most Colorful Venues From Around the World.” OK, so it’s perky. How’s the food? Well, reviewers rave about the Mexican cuisine, noting how it rises way above traditional south-of-the-border fare. Margaritas and tequila offerings abound. The restaurant oozes cool, as well. Its name translates to “Mr. Cool.”
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This East Village brewery appears to be on a mission. It recently expanded its operations in the former Wonder Bread Building by adding a 5,429-square-foot tasting room and party area. According to the brewery’s website, the space spans two floors and includes a 12-tap service bar, 10 belly bars, 100 bar stools, a selection of barrel tables, wall ledges, an 1,800-square-foot reclaimed-wood wall, and a floor-to-ceiling, open-air sliding window that overlooks downtown San Diego. Event planners say its ambiance and location make it a hit. Oh, plus it has beer.
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A hot new venue? Oh, that’s easy. Coasterra at Harbor Island recently installed a floating deck to host gatherings. The cost? Two million. The size? Six thousand square feet. The reason? The restaurant’s location offers magnificent views of San Diego’s skyline. How’s this for praise: “You have to see it — it’s unbelievable, might be the best view in San Diego,” wrote San Diego magazine’s Erin Chambers Smith. Or this, from the San Diego Reader: “The view is so spectacular that it made me wonder if the food would be able to hold my attention.” Bring your corporate clients here, and prepare for a slew of selfies.
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Vin de Syrah
While some of the region’s most spectacular meeting places take advantage of San Diego’s weather, Vin de Syrah is located in, well, a basement. What????!!!!! Hold on. This is one cool basement. The Gaslamp setting of this wine bar won an Orchid in 2010. Here’s how the entry read: “Like Alice going through the rabbit hole, you enter a subterranean whimsical wonderland complete with theatrical lighting, spinning parasols and 75-year-old vines holding antique glass goblets magically suspended in mid-air.” So, if you want to go sideways, here’s your place.
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Maritime Museum ships
What’s better than looking over the water, enjoying an event? How about being on the water and enjoying an event? The Maritime Museum of San Diego offers a number of historical ships on which to host corporate events. Among the vessels is the Star of India, which is the world’s oldest active sailing ship. Berthed right along Harbor Drive, the museum’s ships offer a host of thrills. You can go on the sailing ship Californian or rent the 1898 ferryboat Berkeley.
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Hotel del Coronado
It’s the Cadillac of San Diego venues. It’s classic. It’s timeless. And it’s great for meetings. It has won a Gold Platter Award from Meetings and Conventions magazine every year since 1982. It’s won the Pinnacle Award from Successful Meetings magazine every year since 1985. Celebrated Living magazine ranked it No. 5 for Top U.S. Business Hotels in 2013. We could go on, but we think you get the idea.
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Permission to come aboard? You bet. The USS Midway, a retired aircraft carrier, recently was named Best Museum Ship in a USA Today Readers’ Choice survey. Docked in San Diego Harbor, it offers great views of downtown from its flight deck, which sports a host of very cool retired aircraft. It’s hugely popular for events, and demand keeps rising. “Given our popularity, we limit event reservations to three years in advance,” said Scott McGaugh, museum marketing director. “Some dates have as many as four contingency holds by planners hoping the others fall out.” In short, book early.
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Hornblower Cruise ships have become familiar sights in San Diego Harbor. Indeed, they’ve been running harbor cruises and whale watching excursions here since 1988. The harbor tours offer a chance to see 50 San Diego landmarks and historical sites, such as Cabrillo National Monument and Point Loma Lighthouse.