You don’t need to be over 45 to appreciate frequenting places where your age group seems more…prevalent. Sure, the bars and clubs listed below are certainly much more than just cougar dens and usually welcome a wide variety of ages, but if you’re a person of a certain age you won’t feel out of place. Or old.
(Del Mar to Oceanside)
1. Coyote Bar & Grill
What do you want to do tonight? Karaoke, live music, DJ dance? Coyote does it all, with karaoke Monday and Tuesday nights, live music Wednesday through Sundays, and pop/hip hop DJs playing late from 10:00PM-1:30AM Thursday through Saturday nights. Whatever the night, chances are you’ll spot some afternoon cougar action on the patio or at the very least, inside on the dance floor later in the evening.
2. The Kraken
You got the live music, the dancing, the cheap drinks, and the laid-back locals. What’s not for a cougar to love? We’re human like the rest of ya. The Kraken is one swell dive, and packs fun-loving people of all drinking ages inside on the weekends, so you’re sure to meet someone to chat up, even if for an hour or two.
3. Club M
Located in the Grand Del Mar, Club M is an upscale lounge/bar with live music most weekend nights and a big crowd. Hang out in the bar area, on the patio, or near the dance floor for a good time. Club M definitely attracts an older crowd, so if you’re cougar-y, you’ll fit right in. Sometimes the clientele gets a little handsy and “THAT GUY,” but if you’re in the mood for that kind of thing, you’re in luck! Keep in mind you’ll pay for parking, but that entrance to the club is free.
4. Cucina Enoteca
Happening 2:00-5pm Tuesday through Sunday, Cucina’s happy hours are early, but worth it. The downstairs bar packs up and the open-air patio upstairs isn’t too shabby either. Chat over craft cocktails made with house-infused liquors and snack on some light bites while checking out the scene. The older the night gets, the more the bar hops.
Here’s what you do: visit Poseidon on a Saturday right before happy hour so you get a seat, then watch the singles, families, and good-time searchers throng the bar. Surprisingly good bar food – get the ceviche – and ocean views put everyone in a good mood, and if you’re over 40, you’ll feel right at home, Although there’s patio dining, sit at the bar if you’re searching for a mingle.
6. Living Room Bar
Like live music and sunsets? Join others who like those things too in the L’Auberge lobby bar. A favorite among locals and vacationers alike, Living Room Bar boasts tasty drinks, fun crowds, and best of all – oceanfront views.
7. Jimmy O’s
Wander over after dinner with the girls at the Plaza for some late-night Jimmy O’s action. Attracting young singles, fun 30- and 40-somethings, and after-racetrack visitors, Jimmy O’s is a two-level sports bar with dancing and good cougar times.
8. Solace and the Moonlight Lounge
Take a spot on the upstairs patio or in the dining area and eyeball the scene of Encinitas’ fab and fit set. A nice mellow place to unwind, chat, and mingle, Solace and the Moonlight Lounge draws everyone from couples to singletons to cougars who are angling for good food, drinks and views.
9. Belly Up
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – Atomic Groove at the Belly Up is epic if you’re looking for a fun early evening out with the girls of a certain age. Atomic Groove plays all the songs from the ‘80s and more that beg you to scream, “I love this one!” as you hightail it to the dance floor to wiggle to your jam. The place usually gets elbow to elbow, but that’s just conducive to making connections, are we right?
(Rancho Bernardo to Escondido)
The Brig – in most of its North County locations – is a magnet for girlfriend-get-together time. And many of those girls are over the age of 40. And there’s nothing wrong with that. The added bonus is that the Brig serves great food (get the fish tacos) and has outstanding happy-hour specials.
- 421 West Felicita Ave., Escondido 92025; 3263 Camino Del Mar, Del Mar 92014; 13445 Poway Rd., Poway 92064
- More Information
11. Vintana Wine + Dine
Spacious, luxe, and situated on the penthouse level of a Lexus dealership, Vintana works perfectly for an upscale night out with your girlfriends. Grab a seat at the full bar or head to the outdoor patio (where all the action happens) and lounge around the fire pit tables. Feel like getting dressed up and out for a fun night out? This is a great – and pretty – place to go.
Live bands, cheap drinks, crazy crowds (in a mostly good way) – it’s a recipe for cougar zen. Be prepared to stand, be asked to dance, and Uber home. Not that we’d know anything about any of that monkey business. Wink wink.
This Italian restaurant in 4S Ranch boasts one heck of an after-dinner bar scene. Live music on the weekends, great appetizers, and a nice-sized bar area with booths and tables brings lively crowds for happy hour and beyond. Walk in during high time and you’ll likely see several suburban ladies nights out in progress, dates getting acquainted, and singles noshing and toasting. All in all, Capri Blu is a social paradise for everyone from cougars to new bucks.
14. Poway’s Irish Pub
Live bands, stiff drinks, and a smoking patio mean if you’re going big for the night, Poway’s Irish Pub is your place. Go and join the throng of enthusiastic partyers on the small but packed dance floor and strike up a conversation with someone half your age. It’s your night!
15. Pony Room
This cozy elegant bar and restaurant at the Rancho Valencia Inn draws Rancho Santa Fe locals and others who love the beautiful ambiance and informal vibe. A nice place to sip a glass of wine – the wines and cocktails are well curated, plus there’s over 100 tequilas on offer – The Pony Room’s pretty views and upscale crowd make it a fun go-to happy hour spot. The crowd skews older – think golfers and ladies who lunch, which makes for some fabulous conversation and people watching.
16. Westroot Tavern
Open for less than two years, this Carmel Valley neighborhood attracts a diverse crowd of families, divorcees, and everyone in between, including those who wander over from next door’s Crunch Fitness. Expect two levels, a wraparound bar, patio seating, and attentive bartenders that attract the cougar set.
17. Sanctuary Lounge
A friend once remarked that Sanctuary’s location in a strip mall off Scripps Poway Road deterred her from stepping inside, and that’s really too bad because sometimes the best places are located in strip malls. That’s the beauty – a great place where you least expect it. Sanctuary works hard at being a neighborhood hot spot with its full bar, ample couch seating, and frequent live music or DJ nights. Sanctuary boasts a pretty relaxed vibe, and you’re equally as likely to hang out lounge-style chatting with your friends as you are running to the dance floor when your favorite song plays. Because Scripps Ranch is primarily a family community, much of its clientele are over the age of 35, although plenty of singletons are often spotted.
18. Little Italy Bar & Grill
This newish casual Italian eatery in Scripps features a bar, patio seating, and happy hour every day from 3-6PM and from 9:30-midnight. Popular with locals for half-off drinks and appetizers during happy hour and its New York cafe ambiance, Little Italy is a favorite of area forty-somethings stepping out for a drink or two.
Where do you like to go for a night on the town cougar-style?
Photo Credit: Living Room Bar