Summertime Sips in Santa Barbara & Solvang
Kick back, relax, and belly up to the bar for a refreshing sip at one of these places in Santa Barbara or Solvang this summer.
If you’re looking to fully check out on your next visit to the Central Coast, look no further than Test Pilot in Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone. This modern design of a tiki bar boasts elevated rum concoctions that fit the bill, as well as their ever-popular boozy slushees.
However, if you find yourself in need of a tropical escape while visiting our rural Santa Ynez Valley you’ll find an oasis at High Roller Tiki Lounge in Solvang. This Disney-esque tiki tiki room themed bar puts a spin on the traditional tiki drink with wine-based cocktails so tasty you won’t even miss the rum.
Nothing beats knockin’ back a cold one on a hot summer day. And what’s better than having your own personal beer concierge to point you toward the perfect beer to suit your mood? We’ve been anxiously waiting for Valley Brewers to reopen their speakeasy bar, The BackRoom, featuring rotating taps of their favorite brews. In the meantime, we’ve been using the owners as our own personal beer gurus to help us find the best grab-and-go option from their incredible selection in their front of house shop.
We’ve got a slew of great breweries in Santa Barbara these days and some we highly recommend on our Funk Zone Food Tour. But when we’re looking to veer off the beaten path of craft brews a bit we can’t get enough of Captain Fatty’s Calypso, a refreshing cucumber sour ale. Looking to stick to the basics of a West Coast brew? Check out their fan favorite Vortex IPA and The Blue, a double dry hopped West-Coast style IPA.
Wine O’ Clock
With over 400 tasting rooms in the Santa Ynez Valley and well over 700 labels being produced from our 7 world-class AVAs each year it can be a little overwhelming trying to find THE right places to wine taste. Our recommendation: let Santa Ynez Collective in Solvang do the homework for you! This unique tasting room, tucked away in the heart of downtown Solvang, shelves limited production, hand crafted wines that are sure to suit your taste buds.
Again, no shortage of wine tasting rooms in Santa Barbara. However, when the heat is on sometimes a frozen wine treat hits the spot that a cool glass of wine just can’t. Slide into Lucky Penny for a hearty salad or woodfired pizza and a frosé, an icy version of a glass of rosé.
Seasonal Craft Cocktails
Take a seat with the cool kids at Vaquero Bar, inside the soon-to-open Coast Range restaurant, for a taste of seasonal standbys like Mules, Negronis and Collins mixed drinks. Feast on elevated bar fare like fresh fish crudo and wagyu steak tartare while you soak up the scene at Solvang’s newest hip foodie venture.
When the sun goes basque in the glow of the Granada Theater marquee while you sit underneath and sip on seasonal cocktails in the heart of downtown Santa Barbara at The Good Lion. We simply could not get enough of this Santa Barbara staple over the past year with their flavorful seasonal offerings that had us raving. Our favorites on the menu this summer are the Kumquat Paycheck, a cognac-based libation that really lets the complexity of a kumquat take center stage, and Do The Dew a honeydew rum drink that tastes like summer in your mouth.
Just around the corner, and a bit off State Street, is a Santa Barbara staple that has stood the test of time and is one of our favorite haunts. Milk & Honey is not only a gem for tapas and quality cocktails, but the only place we recommend going for a mojito. It’s always made right and is simply unparalleled in every way.
Everything’s Just Beachy
A trip to Santa Barbara just isn’t complete without a trip to the beach or something like it. To get that fresh ocean breeze in your face while you knock back a cold one, pay a visit to The Boathouse at Arroyo Burro Beach (known as Hendry’s to the locals). Happy hour is our favorite time to stop by for a Shot and A Beer or their cocktail of the day.
For some summertime is synonymous with tequila and Santo Mezcal, just steps from the beach, has exactly what you’re looking. On the menu you’ll find offerings like tequila tasting flights, elevated margaritas, and fancy concoctions like their Snap Pea Smash. Trust us, it’s the only time you’ll be okay with finding veggies in your cocktail.
Feel that summer heat with a cool drink in your hand. Kick back in a rattan swing or lounge set at Shaker Mill on lower State Street while you wash down some tasty eats from their neighbor Cubaneo that pair perfectly with any cocktail on the menu. Soak up those Cuban vibes with lively music, great drinks, and a fantastic ambience.