Three unique bars to check out in Santa Barbara.
Driving up the 101 on a sunny Saturday morning is one of best roadtrips in So Cal. There’s something magical about driving by yellow mustard flowers blooming up the Santa Ynez mountains and the coastal view to your left. As my time in L.A. starts to wind down, I knew there was one place I had to visit before I left, Santa Barbara.
I spent two years in Santa Barbara as a student. I lived in Goleta and made my way downtown, in the heart of it all. My best friend, Jackie, whom I’ve known since third grade and went to college with, still lives there. When I mentioned coming up for the weekend, she suggested we check out these three bars.
“Drinks, clear skies and the beach, I’m in!”
The first night we went to Harry’s Cafe Plaza a local restaurant and bar, fit to be called the new Cheers. Tucked away in a shopping center, it’s considered a stable among the locals. Their logo is recognized throughout Santa Barbara. As soon as you walk in and see the vintage decor you can tell why. The red leather booths catch your eyes. Along with the historical photos of Santa Barbara mounted all over the walls. The servers and bartenders have been working for Harry’s for twenty years or more and they know their regulars and their regulars know them. I sat at the bar and watched the bartenders whisk up cocktail after cocktail. As regulars came in for a quick drink, everyone is on a first name base, which is the charm of Harry’s. I would highly recommend this spot if you’re looking for a nostalgic ambiance, some stiff drinks or just feeling like a local Santa Barbarian.
The following day, we went to Cold Spring Tavern. We drove up on Sunday, which was packed with bikers cruising up the mountain and enjoying the California weather. It’s a hidden gem that whisks you away from the beach and into the mountains. About a 20 to 30-minute drive from downtown SB, it’s a perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon. They have a full bar, live music and delicious tri-tip sandwiches, (of course, I was too excited to eat the sandwich, I forgot to take a picture of it). They also have a full restaurant and if your an adventurous eater this is the spot to try. They have a chili made of rabbit, buffalo, and venison. Yes and yes. After a nice cold beer, a tri-tip sandwich and catching up with some Jackie’s friends we headed over to Rosewood Miramar Beach in Montecito.
The new Rosewood Miramar Hotel opened up, not too long ago, and talk about taking your breathe away. It’s a secluded hotel with gorgeous views of the ocean. As you walk through the grand entrance of the hotel, you’re just floored by all the white and soft colors. Vibrant and elegant is the best way to describe the hotel. For us everyday folks, there is a bar on the other side of the train tracks, oh the irony. The bar overlooks the ocean with a sitting area where you can enjoy the ocean breeze and a drink. I was in aww of the beauty that I forgot to take pictures of the lounging area, or maybe it was the fact that we were day drinking — living in the moment, right! Check out their Instagram account to see all the gorgeous views of the hotel and bar.
If you’re looking for a stiff drink, or maybe some live music in the mountains, or getting all dolled up for a cocktail by the ocean, I would highly recommend checking out these three spots. All unique in their ways, but show the eclectic and charm of what Santa Barbara has to offer. I love this city and will forever be my second home. Go, Gauchos!!