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

Badge of ExcellenceSan Diego, United States

From $80.00

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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
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What's Included

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

Meeting And Pickup

Meeting point

  • 209 Fifth Ave
    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)

End point

  • Gaslamp Quarter
    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.

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*.

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

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.

Traveler Photos

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416 reviews
Total review count and overall rating based on Viator and Tripadvisor reviews
Reviews by Viator travelers.
Showing 1-10 of 416 reviews
Highly Recommend
Mellonie_B, Feb 2023
Cody was an awesome guide! We loved the history, stories, and the food and drinks! We had a great time!
Great fun!
Philip_T, Jan 2023
Excellent way to spend the afternoon! Raoul was an engaging and entertaining guide, also the food and alcohol was amazing!
Very cool!
Antonio_V, Jan 2023
Had a very good time, it was very informative and fun. Our guide was fun, and great conversationalist.
Response from Host, Jan 2023
Thanks for joining us on tour! We are happy to find you had a great time.
Great time
Dana_W, Jan 2023
Great time with Kirk. Loved the food and drink all were awesome!! Loved seeing a different side of San Diego
Response from Host, Jan 2023
Thank you for joining us! The Gaslamp Quarter has such a wild history!
So much fun
Bianna_M, Jan 2023
It was my boyfriends bday and we just moved to SD, so we thought why not a food and drinks tour with our friends. We had a great time. All places picked out were really tasteful and had a great story behind them. I enjoyed learning the history behind SD’s Gaslamp area, and each place was better than the next. It started to pour rain, and I think that made things even more exciting. The portions for drinks and food are smaller, think of it as getting like little apps and stuff. I think it could be a little less expensive but our tour guide Scott made it worth it. Will be coming back to each of the places that were shown to us very soon. Feel much more confident in my knowledge in SD. Thank you for a lovely time, I couldn’t stop smiling. <3
Response from Host, Jan 2023
Thank you for joining our tour, and welcome to San Diego! You've made the best decision to move here. We are thrilled you had a great time with Scott. Our tours are designed to give you a little sample of the local restaurants along with the history of the area. We used to charge a lot less in years bast, but with they way prices have gone up, unfortunately, the price is the best we could do for 3 food and drink stops and a dessert.
Denice_G, Jan 2023
I did this tour in March of 2022. The guide was an older gentleman and did a much better job. This guide would speak before all caught up and did not take us inside the places like the last guide did. This guide needs knowledge and customer service expertise. The food places and offerings changed and not for the better. Tour could stand refiguring. The last one was excellent while this one so so.
Response from Host, Jan 2023
Thank you for the feedback, Denice. We will be speaking with our guide to see what happened, and why he wasn't sharing the history. All of our guides go through extensive training, and the history is one of the most important elements of our tour. We will work to make sure guests don't feel let down.
Great walkabout with history, food and drink
Kimberly_P, Jan 2023
Amy was a great guide. We enjoyed the history, the food, the drink and the choices of restaurants. They do different restaurants depending on availability so you may get a different tour if you go again. Fun family outing with my adult children.
Response from Host, Jan 2023
Thank you for joining us with your family! We're thrilled you had a great time!
Fantastic time!
Stephanie_B, Dec 2022
Raul was a fantastic guide! He shared interesting historic details and descriptions of San Diego from it’s founding till now. Shared his passion for great food and places w a great vibes. this tour was a highlight! Highly recommended!
Response from Host, Jan 2023
Thank you so much for joining us! Raul is a total rock star!!
Enjoyable Tour
Scott_L, Dec 2022
Great food and interesting history lesson. Enjoyed walking the Gaslamp district and seeing the historic buildings. Thanks
Response from Host, Dec 2022
Thanks for the great feedback!
Love this Tour!!
casey_c, Dec 2022
We had a wonderful time on this tour of the Gaslamp district in San Diego! Raul was our guide and he was fantastic! He had great stories, and he was fun and informative. The walking tour was great, and the restaurants that he chose were perfect. We had wonderful bites and tastes and drinks at four different places. It was a wonderful evening and we would give the tour and Raul six stars, if we could!
Response from Host, Dec 2022
Yes!! We love Raul! He's such a positive person, and genuinely loves to show guests around. We are thrilled you had a great time!
Cody, our tour guide, was knowledgeable, social fun and friendly. Highly recommend. 5-Stars.
Ryan_S, Nov 2022
The Brothels, Bites and Booze tour of the Gas Lamp district in San Diego was stellar. Our group was a mix of locals and out-of-towners and everyone enjoyed it. Meze bar meatballs, pita and humus were delicious. We enjoyed Madam Bonnie’s jazz bar, and cali cream in ice cream. And of course, Cody, our tour guide, was knowledgeable, social fun and friendly. Highly recommend. 5-Stars.
Response from Host, Nov 2022
Thank you so much for the great review! I'm happy to find you had a great time with Cody!!!
Food tour
99bvyhxyty, Nov 2022
Our tour guide was great I think his name is Cody. He was full of fun facts and very friendly. We are locals from San Diego but still learned a ton
Response from Host, Nov 2022
Cody is awesome, and such a pleasant person to hang out with. We are happy that as locals you found the tour interesting. :)
Very interesting. Our...
Elizabeth_A, Nov 2022
Very interesting. Our guide Raul was very informative. I would definitely recommend. What should I say. I don’t talk alot
Response from Host, Nov 2022
Thank you so much! Raul is one of our newest members, and we love his charm and personality! We are thrilled you had a great time!
Pickleball B’s
Stacey_W, Nov 2022
The food the cocktails and the stories were just perfect and Amy was awesome! Such simple fun! Highly recommend.
Response from Host, Nov 2022
Thank you for joining our tour! Our tours provide an easy, entertaining way to explore and have fun with friends. We are thrilled you had a great time!
Great way to feed your stomach and your brain
Jessica_K, Nov 2022
Loved this tour, the group is intentionally capped at 15 so that it's not overwhelming. Amy was a phenomenal host and gave us a ton of cool information about the area. At each stop you get a sample of the food AND a drink which was so awesome everything was delicious and they are accommodating to allergies/dietary restrictions. One thing I think would improve the tour is if the portion sizes are larger but it is called, "Brothels, BITES, and Booze" so that's on me for not having a snack before I left the house so I wouldn't be hungry afterward. But honestly, even if you are hungry afterward you're in the perfect part of town to try another great restaurant or go back to one of the spots on the tour. Definitely recommend this tour if you're in town!
Response from Host, Nov 2022
Thank you so much for joining us, and for the helpful review. We appreciate your business!
Fun experience
Terrence_K, Nov 2022
We appreciated the nice variety of food with a little history too. Marissa did a great job--friendly and accommodating to all. Fun!
Response from Host, Nov 2022
Thank you for coming along on tour with us!
Bites -Delicious! Booze - Yes! And Brothels - Interesting!
Kathy_L, Nov 2022
Marissa was our tour guide and she helped make our tour very enjoyable. She was very knowledgeable and entertaining. There was a total of 3 couples in the tour and none of us knew each other but you wouldn’t of known that by the way we laughed and had so much fun together. My husband and I even partied with one of the couples into the night, ending up at a rooftop bar that Marissa had recommended. The food tasting was delicious, drinks were great and loved hearing about the history, especially about the brothels. Definitely enjoyed this tour!
Response from Host, Nov 2022
We live for reviews like these! Marissa told us about her group, and it sounds like you guys had a blast. It's the best when our tour-goers become friends. We heard recently that a couple met on one of our tours, and they came back to celebrate their anniversary! :)
Afton_K, Nov 2022
We were disappointed in the food offerings which were all solidly mediocre. In a city with such amazing food offerings, it was strange to eat bar food that could have been heated from frozen. Guide was good but history was minimal. Save your money and try another tour.
Response from Host, Nov 2022
I'm so sorry you weren't thrilled with our tour. It looks like you went to Meze, Half Door, The Field, and Cali Cream. All of these places are owned and ran by locals, and would never freeze their food and serve to guests. Everything is made in house, so it's a bummer that their food gave you that impression.
Very enjoyable experience
JuliaShawn_S, Nov 2022
Amy was a really good and extremely personable guide. The history of the area was interesting and just enough. She also had great recommendations for other activities. Very enjoyable evening.
Response from Host, Nov 2022
We are so glad you had a great time with Amy! Thank you for joining us!
Festive food & tippsiness
Mary_C, Oct 2022
My sister and I drove to San Diego from Albuquerque to attend my daughter's Navy promotion ceremony. We booked this tour last minute when we discovered we'd have some free time. Kirk was an amazing and informative guide who genuinely cares about your experience. He can answer any question while walking backwards uphill navigating traffic without looking and still get you to your destination. The locations, priority seating, food and drinks are all top notch. I was so full from the "bites" at lunch I barely snacked for dinner (plus you can order your own extra food, drinks or souvenirs at each stop). I'm still dreaming about Greek sangria & boozy ice cream. I would take this tour again and highly recommend!
Response from Host, Oct 2022
Thank you for joining us on our tour! Kirk is amazing in so many ways, and he absolutely adores our guests. We strive to give you an experience that entertains, satisfies your taste buds, and provides insight to the history and local scene of San Diego!


Product code: 5356BBB