Lahaina Beach House, San Diego

The sprawling wooden deck facing the ocean and the famous – locally anyway – house margaritas make this Pacific Beach bar a go-to for the San Diego set. Snag a high-top table or post up by the railing to watch a parade of skateboarders and candy-colored beach cruisers roll past or scope the peeling breakers. "The porch out front is awesome for day drinking and people watching," says John Yohe, who was stationed in San Diego with the Marines. On sunny days and especially on Saturdays and Sundays count on standing room only outside. The fish tacos are a local favorite.

Feet from the water: 60 feet
The regulars: College kids, European backpackers staying at the nearby hostel, and crew-cut service men getting loose 
What to order: Michelada