Best Neighborhood Bar (North County)

San Bar Tavern

The San Bar Tavern has been serving its thirsty patrons in Overland for over fifty years, situated in an unassuming old building erected in 1903. Owner Kay Genail is as humble as she is inviting. "Welcome to my old neighborhood hole-in-the-wall," she says with a smile, bubbly and extroverted. The clink-and-thud of metal meeting dirt can be heard just outside, where Overland's horseshoe league meets every Wednesday. Regulars fill the dozen or so seats at the bar; streamers and various other decorations hang throughout the room. "We had a party here over the weekend," Genail says. "I haven't taken them down because I kind of like the way they look." In one corner sits a sectional couch and coffee table (the "VIP Lounge," as Genail calls it), adding to the bar's quirky at-home atmosphere. There are the usual watering-hole accoutrements as well — TVs, tables, pool, jukebox — but it's the more unusual accessories that lend to its charm (ask Genail about her Cardinals bobblehead collection; you'll be impressed). This is truly the definition of a neighborhood bar, whose charisma is inextricably linked to its owner's personality. "We've been here a long time," Genail says. "Most of my customers walk here from home."

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