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Brothels, Bites and Booze: A Culinary Tour of San Diego's Questionable Past

Badge of ExcellenceSan Diego, United States

From $75.00

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Free cancellation
Up to 24 hours in advance.
  • 2 hours 30 minutes (Approx.)
  • Mobile ticket
  • Offered in: English


Explore the best eats in the Gaslamp Quarter of San Diego on a walking tour with an expert guide who shares the inside scoop on the district's hopping restaurant and bar scene. Sample delicious dishes at several eateries, sip drinks, and learn about the history of the district as you discover its latest incarnation as a top nightlife destination. Colorful stories shared by your guide make the history of San Diego come to life on this 2.5-hour tour.
  • 2.5-hour food and walking tour of the Gaslamp Quarter in San Diego
  • Discover the seedy history of the Gaslamp Quarter
  • Enjoy food samples at four restaurants
  • Sample drinks at three stops
  • See where the early 'women of the night' worked

What's Included

  • Food tasting
  • Drink samples
  • Gratuities
  • Hotel pickup and drop off

Departure & Return

Departure Point

  • 209 Fifth Ave, San Diego, CA 92101, USA
    We meet guests under the Gaslamp Quarter Sign on the Hard Rock Hotel side of the street (209 5th Avenue)

Return Details

  • Gaslamp Quarter, San Diego, CA 92101, USA
    The tour will end at the last stop somewhere in the Gaslamp Quarter neighborhood.

What To Expect

After meeting your guide in the Gaslamp Quarter, set out on your food and walking tour of this vibrant nightlife district, which covers 16 square blocks in the the historic heart of San Diego.

Your guide outlines the scope of the impressive local restaurant and bar scene, and takes you into top eateries to taste their delicious fare. As you stroll at a leisurely pace, pass some of the 150 bars and restaurant, and 94 registered historic buildings in the Gaslamp Quarter. Hear about the origins of this neighborhood, including its notoriety for its red light district when San Diego started out, and illegal booze-running during Prohibition. The area has undergone significant renewal in the past two decades after falling into disrepair in the mid-1900s.

Expect to walk at an easy pace, stopping frequently to try various dishes at up to five eateries with enough samples to make up a full meal. Some of the places that you might visit include: Tin Fish, Meze Café and Grill, Bolillo Tortas, Rock Bottom, Heavenly Cupcake, El Pulpo, Cremolose, Bare Back Bar and Grill, and the Melting Pot.

Please note: restaurants may change and are subject to availability.

Gaslamp Quarter

Often called the Historic Heart of San Diego, the Gaslamp Quarter is the main dining and entertainment district of the city. With more than 150 bars and restaurants and 94 registered historic buildings, this nightlife playground has a lot to see and do, as well as a fascinating past. The Brothels, Bites and Booze tour will introduce you to the beginnings of San Diego as a port town – learn why it became one of the more notorious red light districts of its time, and find out how this once-undesired neighborhood became a fun and vibrant nightlife destination for both locals and visitors. After meeting your guide, you’ll embark on a journey of scandalous tales, unique cocktails and local cuisine. On the tour, you’ll make new friends, hear interesting stories, sing karaoke and explore new tastes at local restaurants*. *Restaurants are not guaranteed and are subject to availability. Tours may include stops at Meze Greek Fusion, Patron's Corner, Ciro's Pizzeria, The Field, El Pulpo, Le Parfait and CrunchTime

1 hour 30 minutesAdmission Ticket Free

Additional Info

  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • Minimum age is 18 years
  • There is a minimum of 4 passengers to operate. There is a possibility of cancellation after confirmation if there is not enough passengers to meet requirements. In the event of this occurring, you will be offered an alternative or full refund
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Service animals allowed
  • Near public transportation
  • Most travelers can participate
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 15 travelers
Operated by So Diego Tours

Cancellation Policy

You can cancel up to 24 hours in advance of the experience for a full refund.

  • For a full refund, you must cancel at least 24 hours before the experience’s start time.
  • If you cancel less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time, the amount you paid will not be refunded.
  • Any changes made less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time will not be accepted.
  • Cut-off times are based on the experience’s local time.
  • This experience requires a minimum number of travelers. If it’s canceled because the minimum isn’t met, you’ll be offered a different date/experience or a full refund.

about cancellations

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271 reviews
Total review count and overall rating based on Viator and Tripadvisor reviews
Reviews by Viator travelers
Showing 1-10 of 271 reviews
Kirk was an awesome tour...
Aly_V, Jan 2022
Kirk was an awesome tour guide. He was very knowledgeable about the city, and he gave great recommendations. My husband and I were running late and we were able to meet the group at the first stop and Kirk went over the information that we missed on the beginning of the tour.
Great experience!
Barbie_P, Jan 2022
Great tour for a little history and some good drinks and a variety of food samples!!linda was a fantastic tour guide! We really enjoyed our time with her!
Response from Host, Jan 2022
Thank you for joining us on tour! It's great to hear you had a great time with one of our newest members! We are happy to have her, and love to find that she's doing a great job! :)
Pretty meh overall
Ginadi_B, Dec 2021
The three stars are primarily for a likeable tour guide, but the rest of the trip was pretty meh - especially consider the food “tour” consisted of basic appetizers at a few different restaurants / bars in the neighborhood. The food was pretty typical and underwhelming, with no story behind it (including deep fried cauliflower and an ice cream sandwich). The history portion was also pretty sparse, mainly consisting of pointing out buildings where some naughty things happened back in the day. Overall wouldn’t recommend.
Response from Host, Dec 2021
Hi Ginadi. I'm happy you found our guide to be likeable, and I'm sorry that the rest of the trip didn't live up to your expectations. We choose restaurants that are locally owned, and offer something unique to the area. The cauliflower is served in the most unique way I've ever seen...with a spicy/sweet asian-style sauce and paired with a blonde ale brewed in house. We usually get rave reviews on it, and I'm bummed to find that it didn't sit with you in a positive way. The ice cream sandwich is also huge and a unique item only served in that particular ice cream shop in the Gaslamp. They make everything in house, so you're choosing your own home made ice cream to go with your freshly baked cookie. We also offer stops with a Baja style fish taco and a unique twist on a Greek and Mexican fusion dish. I'll chat with our guides to make sure they are not skimping on speaking about the food items offered or the history. I appreciate the feedback.
Fun foodies day in San Diego
Janet_B, Dec 2021
Stefan was a great tour guide, delicious food and drink at all stops, weather was awesome: warm sunny comfortable day. The stops were local businesses which makes the tour a positive way to stop the community!
Stefan is the best!
I loved Stefan’s local knowledge and honest opinion of the Gaslamp District. He was very hands on with the vendors and made everything so easy for us.
The tour operator was...
Justin_W, Nov 2021
The tour operator was great he made everything really fun for us. He knew the history and the food spots he picked were awesome.
Stefan was a great tour...
Kelly_M, Nov 2021
Stefan was a great tour guide - we had lots of fun, lots of booze, lots of bites! We would definitely recommend this tour.
Walking tour of San Diego - Food, Drinks, History.
Karen_H, Nov 2021
One of the beers we tasted was good. Being around people from other places was fun. The historical side of the tour was too skimpy. Food was not really authentic San Diego specialties, but instead was general fare. Tour was way over-priced for what we received.
Response from Host, Nov 2021
Hi Karen, I'm so sorry to find that the historic content was skimpy on your tour. We have pages and pages of scripts that our guide go off of, and there is no excuse for the history not being shared. I've talked to our guides about this, and resent the script to make sure they have the needed materials to share what our tour company stands for. I appreciate the feedback.
Ok evening, not really as advertised
Shawna_O, Nov 2021
If you want a locals guide to food and beer this is for you - the scandalous elements the title promised? Questionable
Response from Host, Nov 2021
Thank you for your feedback. The historic element of the tour should should be the main part of the tour, and I'm sorry this experience fell short of that. I have spoken to our guides and resent the scripts so that they can be refreshed on the history of the area, which is one of the best aspects of being on our tours. Thanks again for the heads up, and we are working on making this better for all of our guests.
Food tour fun.
Edie_K, Nov 2021
Fun walking tour with some tasty food/drink stops. Would have enjoyed learning a bit more of the history of San Diego and our stops. But a worthwhile experience nonetheless.
Response from Host, Nov 2021
Hi Edie, Thanks for letting us know. We have sent our guides the scripts again to give them some content to look over before each tour. I'm sorry the tour fell short of sharing the history of the area.


Product code: 5356BBB