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Tara Jones: Whole Foods Offers a New Trend in Tasting Rooms

The Buzz Hive has become a unique meeting place for lovers of local foods, wines and brews

<p>The Buzz Hive tasting area at the Santa Barbara Whole Foods store offers a unique meeting place for lovers of local brews, wines, and food pairings.</p>

The Buzz Hive tasting area at the Santa Barbara Whole Foods store offers a unique meeting place for lovers of local brews, wines, and food pairings.  (Tara Jones photo)

By Tara Jones, Noozhawk Columnist |

A guy walks into a bar — I mean, grocery store. No. Wait. I mean bar.

The Buzz Hive to be exact — the Santa Barbara Whole Foods’ new in-store tasting area, featuring local brews, wines, and food pairings.

One could easily pass by this little gem, like I did for the past few months, without spotting this oasis in the desert of errand running.

Cleverly situated in the heart of the store, near the cheese and wine section, this new tasting room/bar area has become the new meeting place for Santa Barbara locals.

Or as Whole Foods likes to say, it’s the new “meading place.”

As I sat smack-dab in the middle of the grocery store sipping wine and nibbling on a cheese plate, I wondered who in the world would stop by for a drink in the middle of a grocery store for a drink, let alone the middle of the day?

Apparently just about anyone.

I watched as pairs of friends met up for lunch and a brew, and heard a plethora of stories of how The Buzz Hive has become the new place for people in the community to come together to enjoy a menu made almost entirely of local ingredients.

Wine, cheese and much more are available at The Buzz Hive tasting area at the Santa Barbara Whole Foods store. (Tara Jones photo)

“We are fostering community, not just a shopping experience," specialty team leader Danielle Iversen says. "Get to know your grocer. Sit down and have a drink with us!” 

If making friends with your neighbor isn’t incentive enough to visit this uniquely placed tasting room, enjoy a $3 mimosa with a made-to-order omelette this weekend and watch the live feed of their rooftop beehives.

And you can feel good knowing that a percentage of the net sales benefits the Santa Barbara Beekeepers Association and its Sweet Start Program.

To see a list of their weekly events, check out their Facebook page by clicking here.

The Whole Foods store is at 3761 State St.

Tara Jones leads Eat This, Shoot That! and welcomes reader tips and ideas for future columns. She can be reached at [email protected]. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.


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