Only ever drove through TJ, so I can't give any input on that.
I like The Field for pregame drinks (http://www.thefield.com/
). It's a pretty straight up Irish/ sports bar, but they have a good Irish dinner menu and I've never had anything but a good time there. A more highbrow restaurant that I've enjoyed in the area is Gaslamp Strip Club, where they bring you the meat raw and you grill in yourself on grills shared by the whole restaurant.
I spent most of my drinking time outside of the downtown area, but not so far that a designated driver or two or some cabs were inconvenient or expensive. The following places are on the small side (not small enough to make 11 people an issue, however), and sort of indie rock/ hipster-ish, but I highly recommend them if those qualifiers haven't made you cringe:
Whistlestop- A bar in South Park, pool, great jukebox, sometimes live music, weekends often have good djs for San Diego.
Turf Club- In Golden HIll, which is near downtown- same general idea as Gaslamp Strip Club, but much cheaper. Also great music, sometimes live piano bar. (covers of bands like the smiths, other stuff that sounds hilarious covered by a piano bar guy). Depending on the day of the week, there could be a wait for a table for 11, but they mix some cheap strong drinks, so your time would not be spent in vain.
Hamiltons- South Park/ Golden Hill (not sure where the cutoff is)- similar to whistlestop, w/o djs or live music, as far as I know.
Casbah- just N of downtown, live music, sometimes djs. (www.casbahmusic.com
Outside of drinking, Balboa Park is beautiful, if you're into things that display that trait.
Lastly, make sure your group can take an insult if you plan to go to Dick's Last Resort.