Best Beach Bars in Santa Barbara

Drink It In: Santa Barbara's Best Beach Bars

An adult beverage enjoyed within view of the ocean is the ultimate prescription for relaxation. So if you're suffering from an overdose of urban fatigue, we've got the remedy right here: 10 Santa Barbara beach bars that are practically guaranteed to wash your blues away.

You really can't go wrong at any one of these establishments, but if you need to narrow down your options, we can help you choose by location, drink type and dress code.

Visiting Carpinteria? Pop over to the Padaro Beach Grill for a picnic-like atmosphere, gorgeous scenery and local beers and wines. If you're in Goleta, then Beachside is pretty much your only option, but it's certainly not a bad one. They have a great happy hour and primo location not far from both UCSB and the airport.

Now, if you're looking for a particular kind of tipple, we've got you covered too. For cold, fruity boat drinks (the kind you would enjoy on your yacht if you had one), head to the Endless Summer above the Santa Barbara harbor. On the other hand, if you prefer a glass of white or red wine, Municipal Winemakers in the Funk Zone is the spot for you.

And finally, if you only want to drink by the beach in your beach attire - be it a bikini, trunks or a caftan - get a table in the sand (and a bucket of beers or cold margarita) at the Shoreline and tell 'em we sent you!


Beachside Bar-Cafe
Photo courtesy of Geneva Ives

Can you beat a seafood restaurant and bar that's right on the beach? Of course not! The Beachside Bar-Cafe is the place to go in Goleta if you want to enjoy an adult beverage while watching the waves. Many of their signature drinks include nice tropical garnishes, like umbrellas. Just the kind of thing to sip before a stroll along the sand. Stop by for happy hour during the week. If you happen to work up an appetite after a cocktail or two, try the fish tacos. They're scrumptious! Free parking in the lot out front and a short walk to the Goleta pier.

Recommended for Beach Bars because: The Beachside has great beers on tap and tasty blood orange margaritas.

Geneva's expert tip: Shirt and shoes are required, so be sure to pack some in your beach bag.

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Municipal Winemakers
Photo courtesy of Municipal Winemakers

Municipal Winemakers is the brainchild of Dave Potter, a well-traveled winemaker who has also produced wine for one of the area's largest commercial vineyards. Potter's efforts for Municipal are more intimate, producing small batch wines that are both delicious and easily guzzled. Wines you'll want to bring to your friends' houses and buy by the case to serve at parties. In addition to offering wine tastings and bottles for sale, Municipal has wine on tap for the fresh glass of your choice. Or purchase a refillable liter bottle option that's oh-so-tasty and oh-so-good for the planet. Visit Municipal's lively tasting room in the Funk Zone for a fun wine drinking experience you won't soon forget. The front patio even has ocean breezes and coastal views!

Recommended for Beach Bars because: Municipal Winemakers is a wine tasting room and bar in the ultra hip Funk Zone, but you can see the beach from the front patio!

Geneva's expert tip: Check their website for a calendar of upcoming pop-up shops and food truck visits.

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Santa Barbara

The Brewhouse is a local brewpub and restaurant located in charming West Beach. A variety of beers are brewed in house; some favorites include apricot wheat, habanero pilsner and baseball saison. They have a full bar and serve a full menu of great comfort food. An epic brunch bar appears on weekends and features bottomless mimosas. Happy hour happens every day from 4-6 p.m. Get great pints of locally brewed beer for just $3.50 each. And here's one extra fun fact about the Brewhouse: they also have a gourmet menu for your four-legged friends. That's right, you can bring Fido for a sunny meal on their patio and, while you're chowing down on a juicy burger, he can enjoy some tasty marrow bones or steak bites!

Recommended for Beach Bars because: For locally brewed beer just a few blocks from the beach, head to the Brewhouse. They have delicious food too!

Geneva's expert tip: Bring your furry friend. They have a special menu just for dogs!

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Santa Barbara

As if the name alone doesn't give it away, you'll know from the second-story location at Stearn's Wharf that this place appreciates surfing. In fact, the motif appears throughout the restaurant and bar. An outdoor patio renders ocean views that much more vibrant, and folks often hang out just to watch the sunset and nurse a cold drink. Enjoy a beer and a handful of peanuts from one of the barrels located throughout the bar area. You'll find all ages in attendance, and the menu offers everything from burgers and sandwiches to salads, pizza, fish and steaks. A great stop-off during a day of sightseeing.

Recommended for Beach Bars because: Longboard's Grill is the best bar on Stearns Wharf - and it has free peanuts!

Geneva's expert tip: Skip the walk and take the Little Toot - a water taxi that blows bubbles - to or from Longboard's from the Santa Barbara harbor.

Read more about Longboard's Grill →

Are you thirsty for a boat drink? What is a boat drink? A boat drink is an alcoholic beverage that would taste good on a boat of any size, from cruise ship to sail boat to pirate dinghy. It is usually fruity, often rum based and always cold. For the best boat drinks in Santa Barbara, go to the Endless Summer - an upstairs bar and restaurant situated right on the harbor, with a view of actual boats! Try their Pina Colada or a Mai Tai (or both) and you'll feel the stress wash right off you. Pair your cocktail with some fried shrimp or fish tacos, talk a little surf with the locals and enjoy a bowl or two of free popcorn. There are fun outdoor pool tables, too. A visit to the Endless Summer is the best vacation you can take in under two hours!

Recommended for Beach Bars because: The Endless Summer has a full bar, fun atmosphere and aerial view of the Santa Barbara harbor.

Geneva's expert tip: If you like Pina Coloadas (queue the Jimmy Buffett song), this is the place to drink one.

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Ty Lounge
Photo courtesy of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts

If you're looking to indulge in a nibble and a cocktail somewhere exceedingly beautiful and a little bit fancy, look no further than the Ty Lounge in the Four Seasons Resort the Biltmore Santa Barbara. This elegant bar boasts high ceilings and sweeping ocean views. Classic cocktails, seasonal specialty drinks and hard-to-find wines by the glass comprise the beverage menu. To eat, sample a variety of Spanish tapas. Avocados fritos, saffron paella croquetas and warm octopus are just a few of the many available dishes. The delightful patio overlooks the Coral Casino and Butterfly Beach - truly one of the finest cocktail hour views in Santa Barbara.

Recommended for Beach Bars because: Enjoy the amenities at the nicest resort in town. Belly up to the bar to enjoy yummy drinks, great service and stellar views.

Geneva's expert tip: Order their Spanish-style tapas to pair with your cocktails.

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Santa Barbara
Brophy Bros.
Photo courtesy of Geneva Ives

The bar at Brophy Bros.' incessantly busy seafood restaurant is two-sided. One side faces the bartenders, looking across the romantic balcony tables and out into the harbor. This is where you ideally want to be, but it may require a wait of an hour or more. The other side gives you only occasional access to the person making your drink, looks out over the interior dining room, and places your back squarely opposed to the almost-panoramic ocean view. This is where us sneaky ones go, slipping in for drinks and fish n' chips unnoticed with very little wait time. Tourists don't stand on the far side of the bar, but travelers - always ready for the next adventure - most certainly do.

Recommended for Beach Bars because: Brophy Bros. is located on the harbor and has both a bustling upstairs and a happening downstairs bar.

Geneva's expert tip: Brophy's is known to have the best bloody mary in town. That, combined with an unparalleled view of sail boats, makes it the perfect place for day drinking in Santa Barbara.

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Santa Barbara

The Boathouse is a Santa Barbara seafood restaurant and bar with the best location in town... it's right on the beach. Tucked away in a quiet part of town and facing Hendry's beach, this is a great place to go for a romantic date, family dinner or birthday celebration. Enjoy fresh surf and turf on a beautiful patio that's sunny during the day and nicely heated at night. Local seafood is served whenever possible. Fresh Santa Barbara catches include Spiny lobster and Dungeness crab. Brunch, lunch and dinner served daily. Happy hour is from 3 p.m. to close Sunday through Thursday, 8 p.m. to close on Fridays. Parking is free, but it does get crowded.

Recommended for Beach Bars because: Tucked away on an almost-hidden, dog-friendly beach, this is a true local's spot with a great happy hour and tasty seafood.

Geneva's expert tip: Is it time for brunch? Order their bloody mary - it has two fresh prawns perched on the rim!

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The Shoreline Cafe is one of the very few places in Santa Barbara, perhaps the only in fact, where you can sit at a table and be served breakfast, lunch or dinner with your feet in the sand - right on the beach! Order some fish tacos and a cocktail or bucket of Coronas and watch the waves. The Shoreline is family and group friendly, but be prepared for a wait at peak eating times on warm days. Tables on the sand usually have the longest wait, but there are patio and bar seats too. There is also a walk-up window with a limited menu for shakes and to-go bites. Paid and free parking in the lot right out front.

Recommended for Beach Bars because: The Shoreline Beach Cafe serves beer, liquor, seafood, shakes and has TABLES RIGHT ON THE SAND. It's a pretty big deal around here.

Geneva's expert tip: Happy hour is Monday through Friday from 4 until 6. You can get a margarita and a delicious fish taco for right around $10.

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Padaro Beach Grill
Photo courtesy of Padaro Beach Grill

Is there a prettier beachfront restaurant in Santa Barbara county? We don't think so. Overlooking Santa Claus beach, a local favorite, the Padaro Beach Grill boasts a park-like outdoor dining room that's ideal for day dates and impromptu gatherings. A large sandbox encourages the kiddos to play while grownups indulge in refreshing beers and local wines. Enjoy fresh salads, savory burgers and sinfully rich milkshakes that are blended by hand only after you place your order. Try the shrimp salad or one of the 100% prime chuck burgers. Live bands are common on the weekends. Free (but often crowded) parking right out front.

Recommended for Beach Bars because: The Padaro Beach Grill has the best outdoor dining (and drinking) space in the area. There's even a sandbox for the kids.

Geneva's expert tip: Skip the domestic beers you're used to and try a local brew on tap instead.

Read more about Padaro Beach Grill →


Meet Geneva Ives

Geneva Ives moved to Santa Barbara in 2000 on a whim (ok, and to go to college) and never looked back. She loves Santa Barbara because it’s really one of America’s greatest small towns - it...  More About Geneva