Best Nightlife in Santa Barbara: Party after the Sun Sets

We know our Santa Barbara 10Best Attractions and 10Best Restaurants lists have you covered from dawn ‘til dusk, but what is there to do in this small beach town after dark? Just because the sun has gone to bed, doesn’t mean it’s time for you to turn in! From bars and nightclubs to late night eats, Santa Barbara has something to keep you busy every night of the week.

On bustling State Street, right downtown, you can take your pick of watering holes. Choose a place in the heart of the action, like Old Kings Road, so you can watch the evening crowds as they ebb and flow. Or pick somewhere a little quieter, like the Sportsman, where you and your friends can hold court... just as long as you don’t disturb the locals.
If live music and high energy is more your speed, the Velvet Jones is a solid choice.
Nearby Goleta hosts it's share of gems too. For a stiff drink, pop into The Imperial or The Bourbon Room. For something a little more mellow (but truly a hidden gem), visit the Outpost at the Goodland.

Don't forget: when all that sporting, dancing, and drinking wears you out, you can always find a local late night restaurant that will help you refuel before bed. 



Where do you go late night if some members of your party want to enjoy an adult beverage while others do not? And where should you take a large group after dark? And what if you all need is to blow off a little steam? The answer, friends, is...  Read More



An excellent cocktail bar located where Goleta and Santa Barbara meet, The Bourbon Room is your destination when you want something a little different, a night with a drink or two to remember. True to its name, this bar serves up a variety of...  Read More

Santa Barbara


The best place to hear live music on State Street, this thumping club promises high-energy entertainment and an enthusiastic clientele. Known for its powerful sound system, Velvet Jones puts its speakers to good use with top DJs and amazing...  Read More

Old Kings Road
Photo courtesy of Geneva Ives


From the hard cider on tap to the witticisms lining the wall, everything at Old King's Road smacks of London style pub right smack in the middle of Santa Barbara. Of course there are more than a dozen varieties of beer on tap - and many more...  Read More



If you're ready to be surprised by a chic oasis in the middle of residential Goleta, pop by the Outpost at the Goodland for a meal... or a drink. This restaurant is Palm Springs meets 60's California beach town. Stroll across patterned tile to...  Read More

Elsie's Tavern
Photo courtesy of Jesse Keenan


If you're in the mood for a relaxing night spent conversing with a few close friends - or making new ones - Elsie's Tavern is the place to go. A neighborhood hangout right in the heart of downtown, this lounge style beer and wine bar consists of...  Read More

The Sportsman Lounge
Photo courtesy of Aron Ives


Do you like your bars dark, your drinks strong and your bartenders somewhat surly? You do?! Then the Sportsman is the perfect place for you. Built for comfort rather than speed, the Sportsman serves stiff drinks at down-to-earth prices to a...  Read More



Looking for somewhere to whet your whistle in Goleta? Fire up your GPS and map your way to The Imperial - a swanky bar tucked away in a nondescript parking lot. Step through the rather ordinary front door to be transported to another time, a...  Read More



Visit this Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co. location in Santa Barbara's Funk Zone to try locally brewed, award-winning beers. Order a pint or sample a beer tasting. Red and white wines from local vineyards are also available. If you're hungry, you...  Read More

Santa Barbara
Joe's Cafe
Photo courtesy of Geneva Ives


Go for dinner and stay for cocktails; this legendary Santa Barbara restaurant transforms into a lively bar as the night goes on. A State Street tradition since 1928, Joe's Cafe offers up the stiffest drinks in town. The martinis are even served...  Read More


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