Tiki Bar Review: False Idol

Wow. No really. Wow! For most of spring and into summer last year I was anxiously awaiting any news of Martin Cate’s new outpost. Cate is responsible for Smuggler’s Cove in San Francisco. After visiting Smuggler’s, I had high HIGH expectations for False Idol. As the first word of this post said, yeah.


I can’t speak to weeknights, but if you are going to visit on a weekend, you must unequivocally make reservations. If you don’t you will be tempting fate. I made some two weeks out for a party of four, and boy am I glad that I did, because not only was the place absolutely slammed, but we scored a table center ‘stage’. Again, reservations a good thing because this place is small – not Tiki-Ti small – but still, pretty small.

The Location

Comfortably lit with a ceiling full of internally lit faux
Japanese fishing buoys and Blowfish, there are several booths here along with a ‘U’ shaped bar and some standing
room between the booths and the bar. The entry to the bar can be tricky to find if it werent’ for the huge amount of people waiting for their turn to be escorted in. False Idol shares a building with the restaurant Craft & Commerce in the Little Italy section of San Diego. Look for the big freezer door to the left of the long restaurant bar to find your way into the tiki wonderland (and don’t even talk to the hosts for C&C, they seem annoyed that you are going to False Idol).

The Drinks

The drinks. Are. Fantastic. The Zombie is great. Mai Tai – Made Perfectly. The one other drink I had though – Victory on the Red Sea – YES! So damn good. It’s a bit on a take of my favorite tiki drink of all time – Three Dots and a Dash – but dare I say… better! Mind you, this is an advanced level tiki drink with all of the craziest flavors a true tiki beverage is known for, all mixed in to perfection.

Others at my table were all equally happy with the beverages they ordered as well – Tradewinds, Polynesian Fourty Niner, and the Pearl Diver. So happy to see the Pearl Diver on the menu as it is one of the hardest tiki drinks to make (has to do with butter and seperation and such, look up Don’s Gardenia Mix if you want to get into it), and as such you really don’t see it around except for places that are really on their game. So now the only two places that I’ve come across this beverage is here at False Idol and at ground central of the tiki beverage reawakening – Beachbum Berry’s Latitude 29 in New Orleans.


I really am looking forward to getting to here again, not only is it great great great – but there are so many drinks to try on the menu. Just a whole lot of fun things to try! So now get on the train down to SD right now already! Not only are there so many great places to eat, fantastic breweries and brews, and now a THIRD tiki bar!

False Idol - San Diego, California
  • Drink Quality
  • Ambiance / Decor
  • Service
  • Menu
  • Zombie Rating
  • Mai Tai Rating


Did I mention make reservations? Find the host with an iPad outside the freezer door to check-in.

False Idol
675 W Beech St
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 269-2202

User Review
5 (2 votes)

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