We here at Hidden San Diego adore speakeasies. Today they are nothing more than a nod to the prohibition era (1920-33), when alcohol was illegal and could only be indulged in secrecy. They are always a fun experience though that involves secret passageways and passwords in order to enter.
There are a ton of unique speakeasies in San Diego, each one coming with its own fun theme. At Oculto 477, the theme blends life with death, Catholicism (you must confess your sins in order to enter) and heavy gothic undertones…all with a Spanish twist.
The name Oculto 477 has its own unique back-story which plays into the inspiration behind the speakeasy itself. The word Oculto 477 translates to “Hidden” and 477 is actually paying homage to the 477 bodies buried next door to the bar at El Campo Santo Cemetery.
I must include a little history on El Campo Santo Cemetery as this cemetery comes with plenty of its own controversy. Being one of the oldest preserved cemeteries in San Diego, when the streets were paved in Old Town, many of the bodies were left buried below the asphalt.
When you are crossing the street or walking on the sidewalk, pay attention to what’s below you. You may notice a tiny grave marker noting one of the people buried beneath you.
El Campo Santo Cemetery
Oculto 477’s drinks were specifically created to pay homage to the prohibition era. Many of the drinks are literal recreations of popular cocktails from 100 years ago–with a new age twist of course.
My favorite places to drink these days not only have delightfully tasty drinks, but are performative as well. Who doesn’t want a drink served to them that’s on fire or bubbling in a bathtub? It just makes the experience that much more memorable!
I would say any bar can whip up a mocktail (non-alcoholic beverage), but even better is when custom-made mocktails are already on the menu! It shows they’re really looking out for those who can’t drink alcohol for whatever reason (that would be me the night we went). So I still got to experience all the fun without getting inebriated.
If you are like me and are interested in trying their more showy drinks, just ask! We got quite the performances and I was told by my friends that the cocktails tasted phenomenal!
Oculto 477 is located within the mezcal-tasting room/restaurant Tahona. You will be taken to the back to a mock-confessionary where you will have to confess your sins in order to enter:
They have a fun “Risk it All” drink where you roll the dice to determine what will be in your drink. For those looking for an adventure, try it out!
This drink involved dry ice and was bubbling in the bath tub!
A few detail shots of the bar: