A Santa Barbara Bar for Every Type of Barfly

Geneva Ives

By , Local Expert, Santa Barbara
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Santa Barbara must be a notoriously thirsty town because it seems like there’s a place to get a drink around every corner. Beer, wine, fancy cocktails, even not-so-fancy cocktails, we like it all. So where should you spend your drinking dollars? Choose a place (or two) on this list for a guaranteed good time.

For a low-key brew, pop into any one of Santa Barbara’s cozy pubs or dive bars. Old King’s Road and the Press Room both have great beers on tap and friendly, not fussy, atmospheres. Or try Elsie’s, an intimate beer and wine bar that draws an artsy crowd.

If all these palm trees and red tile roofs put you in the mood for...  Read more »

  • 1

    Joe's Cafe

    Joe's is one of the oldest bars in Santa Barbara, located on a prime downtown corner. Fun for stiff drinks and wild weekend nights.

    Local Expert Tip: "They have food here, too. (Pro tip: if you get more than one cocktail at Joe's, you'll definitely need a snack.)"

  • 2

    Brophy Bros.

    Not a traditional bar in the stay-late-and-hit-on-strangers sense, Brophy's is known to have the best bloody mary in Santa Barbara.

    Local Expert Tip: "The uninterrupted view of the harbor and coastline makes this the best place for day drinking in town."

  • 3

    The Bourbon Room

    Cocktail enthusiasts staying in the vicinity of Goleta will want to head here immediately for a properly mixed drink.

    Local Expert Tip: "Follow them on Facebook to see tantalizing pictures of the "cocktail du jour." Past creations have included the spicy heirloom margarita and strawberry bourbon mojito."

  • 4

    The Sportsman Lounge

    This bar is so awesome that Nerf Herder wrote a song about it. Look up the lyrics if you want to know more.

    Local Expert Tip: "General dive bar rules apply: be nice to the bartenders, don't complain about music, and do not order a drink with more than three ingredients."

  • 5

    Les Marchands Wine Bar & Merchant

    This tres chic wine bar in the Funk Zone is a wonderful destination for wine lovers, whether you're an amateur or expert!

    Local Expert Tip: "Like the movie SOMM? Then you'll love this place. Co-owner Brian McClintic is a master sommelier who was featured in the movie."

  • 6

    Elsie's Tavern

    Elsie's is hip, cool and all of those other words that imply young and rebellious. A hidden gem of a watering hole!

    Local Expert Tip: "Don't leave home without your wallet: this low-key wine and beer bar is cash only."

  • 7

    Mercury Lounge

    The Mercury Lounge has an inviting, vintage atmosphere and is sure to impress beer drinkers with its selection of specialty taps.

    Local Expert Tip: "If you love live music, keep your eyes on the Mercury Lounge Facebook page to catch great acts."

  • 8

    Milk & Honey

    Perfect for date night or a girls' night out, Milk & Honey knows how to impress the ladies.

    Local Expert Tip: "Do not miss this opportunity to order some super tasty tapas! The brussels sprouts are killer. "

  • 9

    Old Kings Road

    Old Kings Road is a no-frills English pub, within easy walking distance of just about everything!

    Local Expert Tip: "Love answering trifling questions while drinking? Stop in on Wednesdays for trivia night."

  • 10

    The Press Room

    Shouldn't all best bar lists have at least two proper pubs on them?

    Local Expert Tip: "Go to this bar to watch great footballers (no, not the Monday night kind) from all over the world compete at all hours."



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