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Top of the Hyatt
One Market Place, Downtown
(619) 232-1234

"The highest waterfront bar on the West Coast," Harbor Drive's 40th-floor cocktail lounge -- commonly known as "Top of the Hyatt" -- offers floor-to-ceiling panoramic coastline views -- down to Mexico, up to La Jolla, across the bay or across the room (recent renovations increased viewing space by 50 percent; the bar now seats 130 possibilities). Prime-time crunches come in two shifts: around sunset and again after 10:00 p.m., when on a recent Friday every stool and banquette was filled: from tourists in shorts to conventioneers with necklace-badges to locals on the loose. Ladies-who-lunch types sat on stools next to twentysomethings in tight tops, sharing a tasty crab dip surrounded by fresh slices of sourdough. By evening's end, the gals were greeted by gentlemen out-of-towners, who picked up the tab. After a treat like that, who cares if the hotel doesn't validate your parking? The bar opens at noon and stays that way until 1:30 a.m. Appetizers served 4:00 p.m. to midnight. Elevators to the top accessible from the lobby floor.

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