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What It’s Like Getting Drunk Inside The Smallest Bar In America

Pop’s Liquor Cabinet is not only San Diego’s smallest bar, it’s arguably the tiniest official place serving alcoholic drinks in the country. Even their reservation page on reads, “reserve your stool.” It’s not a marketing ploy — there are in fact only three stools in the entire 157 sq. foot place.

One fateful night out in San Diego (this is a retelling, so let’s pretend that night is tonight), my friends and I left a drunken dinner at a restaurant nearby with grand hopes of finding a big, fun and vibrant bar to continue our debauchery.

Somehow, we ended up at Pop’s Liquor Cabinet instead.


Courtesy of Pop’s Liquor Cabinet, San Diego, CA

Where is this place?

In the heart of the whale’s vagina Californian town of San Diego lies the Gaslamp Quarter, 16-square blocks of Victorian-era buildings intermingled with modern skyscrapers, hundreds of amazing restaurants, and Pop’s Liquor Cabinet: the smallest of small bars sandwiched between two massive night clubs on F. Street.

What’s it look like?


Courtesy of the Pop’s Liquor Cabinet. Here you see them definitely pushing the legal capacity of the joint.

Upon arriving, we were already a bit tipsy. We saw a glow of an ATM from the street parked right outside of the Pop’s Liquor window and, like moths-to-a-flame, we entered the modest dwellings.

Inside, the decor was basement-chic, a faux window set high against the wall, three bar stools, a wall mounted karaoke machine that also doubles as a photo booth for space-saving. Then there was the bar, which was tiny with no visible entrance for the bartender, everything was within arms reach. After my first drink I asked her, “How did you get behind there?!”

The kind face responded, “I hopped over the counter.”

Fair enough.


Me and my Foodbeast friends using the jukebox / photo booth.

What to drink?

Everything is craft here — there is a menu on the short counter top with some key cocktails, you can’t go wrong with any of them. They have a mini fridge of beer in the back if you’re so inclined, but the bartender was real proud of her concoctions and rightfully so — the whiskey sour was music to my lips.

What else?

Cash only, thus the ATM at the entrance. Also, expect people to walk in during the night just to grab some cash — you won’t be lonely, even if you’re alone at the bar.Also, there’s no bathroom. If nature decides to call you, just tell the bartender you need bathroom access. She’ll radio over to the neighboring club and you’ll get to walk into their VIP bathroom.

With a capacity of 8, maybe 6 people comfortably, this place is a must if you want to tell tales of how you and your friends shut a bar down on your last trip to San Diego. Best of all, the photo booth can be your proof of the best night ever — in the smallest place ever.

By Elie Ayrouth

Elie is a product of Orange County, CA. In early 2012, his dentist diagnosed him with 8 different cavities, three of which on the same tooth, as a result of his 23-year Sour Patch Kid addiction.

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