Sometimes you want to get away from it all... all the downtown noise, crowds and traffic. For times like these, head to Goleta and pay a visit to the Mercury Lounge. A hidden gem in an unassuming strip mall, the Mercury is something of a haven, a dark velvet calm of a wine and beer bar complete with low couches, a single pool table, vintage glassware and a cozy rear patio. With dozens of beers to choose from and a wine list that leans local, it's a connoisseur's type of place - perfect for intimate conversations or dark solo musings.
This wine bar in downtown Santa Barbara is owned by the same lovely people who run Vino Divino, a local wine shop that has been operating for over a decade. Villa Wine bar and Kitchen serves wine and craft beer by the glass and has a small food menu. While they pour a lot of local wines (owing to the excellent selection in this area), they also have some European gems on their ever-changing list too. They have eight rotating beer taps that mix things up between European and craft offerings. And there are small plates like cheese, charcuterie, panini and salads to share while you are imbibing. Many local wine tasting rooms and restaurants are within easy walking distance.
The Wine Shepherd is a wine bar and bottle shop in downtown Santa Barbara with a large selection of local wines and tasty snacks. It also prides itself on offering rare and old vintage wines, as well as a carefully chosen array of authentic wines from around the world. Enjoy a wine tasting, sip a glass of something or take a bottle home with you. The charcuterie they serve is made by celebrated chef Drew Terp of Pico in nearby Los Alamos. Happy hour is Tuesday through Friday from 4-6 p.m. The Wine Shepherd is the perfect place to unwind before grabbing dinner at the Black Sheep next door.
Although the Hitching Post II may have achieved international fame when it was featured in the film Sideways, it has always been a favorite of Santa Barbara locals. The Hitching Post specializes in their own Hitching Post wines made from Central Coast grapes since 1984. Winemaking occurs just a mile from the restaurant and winery tours are available. You can taste all the Hitching Post Wines at the restaurant bar before 6 p.m. for a nominal fee. Other carefully selected Santa Barbara County wines are also served at the restaurant. Designated drivers receive complimentary non-alcoholic beverages. The dinner menu highlights a combination of Santa Maria style BBQ and contemporary cooking techniques.
Intermezzo is a fun little wine bar with the added benefit of food! If you're in the mood for something good but don't know what to choose - perhaps you're hungry, but your date isn't, or you want wine, but your companion wants a cocktail - Intermezzo is the answer to all of your problems. Want to sit inside? You can choose to belly up to the bar, sit at a table, or lounge by the romantic fire. Outside? Well there's a front patio if you want to people watch or a back patio if you prefer the relaxing sounds of the fountain. Fancy a glass of wine? Or perhaps a bottle but can't commit? Intermezzo serves up local wines on tap, so you can have as much or as little as you want. And the regional, wine country-inspired cuisine is scrumptious.
For Municipal Winemakers, a wine bar and tasting room in the Santa Barbara Funk Zone, winemaker Dave Potter creates bottles 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. Visit Municipal's lively tasting room in the Funk Zone for a fun wine drinking experience you won't soon forget. It's just blocks from the sea, there's a lovely patio, and many other tasting rooms are within easy walking distance. Municipal also hosts fun special events, like pop-up shops and chef dinners. Be sure to check their website to see what's coming up next!
Armada is a beer and wine bar with a fun assortment of craft beverages from near, far and everywhere in between. This hidden gem is tucked just behind the main shopping area of State Street in downtown Santa Barbara. It's an ideal place to catch a little refreshment while doing some major splurging or to take a date before or after dinner. In addition to red, white and pink wines, they also have beer and an effervescent selection of bubblies available by the glass. Pull up a seat at the bar, tuck into a lounge area inside or catch some sun on a patio table. Armada is pet friendly, too.
Wine + Beer is a great wine and beer bar and shop located in the Santa Barbara Public Market, a collection of stores and restaurants gathered under one roof in downtown Santa Barbara. This is a wonderful place to go and meet friends, sip wine by the glass or order from a wide range of beer on tap. They also sell bottles of wine, beer and champagne that you can take home with you to enjoy at your leisure or drink in store. Long tables make for a communal, fun atmosphere. You can also order food from any of the restaurants in Public Market and have it delivered to Wine + Beer for a perfect pairing.
A fun wine bar and merchant located in the heart of Santa Barbara's Funk Zone, Les Marchands offers a mix of local and international wines for tasting and for sale. There is also a menu with a selection of elegant nibbles, like a sandwich au jambon and a charcuterie plate served with pickled vegetables. Cool decor and high ceilings will make you feel like you're in a hip neighborhood in a big, urban city. Enjoy complimentary valet parking or park in a nearby city lot. Many other restaurants and wine bars are within easy walking distance, as are the train station, beach and a few hotels.