Santa Barbara's eccentric Funk Zone neighborhood is well known for wine tasting, but what about wine buying? If you're a serious collector with an itch for rare wines, now you can scratch it with an enjoyable trip to Les Marchands Wine Bar & Merchant.
Enjoy a convivial atmosphere, high ceilings and rare vintages at Les Marchands — Photo courtesy of Les Marchands Wine Bar & Merchant
Les Marchands is the result of a collaboration between Eric Railsback, an award-winning sommelier with decades of experience, and Master Sommelier Brian McClintic. After enjoying wine tasting experiences in Paris and Burgundy, the two were inspired to create a new space in the Santa Barbara wine scene that allowed for tasting, shopping and education in a relaxed and inviting atmosphere.
Les Marchands Wine Bar & Merchant is a cozy place with high ceilings, gorgeous light fixtures and, most importantly, delicious wines from around the world. Many local Santa Barbara winemakers are represented here. Alta Maria, Zotovich Cellars and Palmina are just a few of the local labels you will see represented on the shelves. Imported selections lean heavily toward small yet memorable European producers from esteemed regions in France, Austria, Italy and Germany.
Both white and red wines are available to drink during your visit to Les Marchands, by the glass or by the bottle. In the mood for something special and maybe a little bit sweet? Champagnes and other sparkling wines are offered, too, as well as dessert wines.
To compliment the wine tasting experience, Les Marchands offers a limited but perfectly calibrated menu of sophisticated snacks. Share a cheese or charcuterie plate with friends before or after dinner. Or nibble on something a little heartier, like their sandwich au jambon, served on a crusty baguette with imported butter and sea salt. A selection of European and American beers is also available.
The team at Les Marchands hosts seasonal wine dinners and special events, both at the shop and around town. Educational futures tastings, winemaker visits and other exclusive events are announced on their website. Join their wine club to secure an invitation and receive monthly shipments of wines selected by Master Sommeliers, complete with handwritten tasting notes.
Les Marchands Wine Bar & Merchant is located at 131 Anacapa Street, tucked inside of The Lark restaurant. It's just a hop, skip and a jump away from the local Amtrak station, making it an easy destination for visitors from Los Angeles. Many other wine tasting rooms are in easy walking distance, as is the beach and Stearns Wharf.
Les Marchands is open Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to midnight.