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Monday, December 17 , 2018, 12:41 am | Fair 50º


Santa Barbara Brewhouse Set to Reopen on Friday

Brewery and restaurant have been closed since April, when a fire in the bar area caused heat and smoke damage

Owner Pete Johnson is excited about the re-opening of the Santa Barbara Brewhouse after fire damage caused a four-month closure. Click to view larger
Owner Pete Johnson is excited about the re-opening of the Santa Barbara Brewhouse after fire damage caused a four-month closure.  (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo)

Raise your glass and make a toast: The Santa Barbara Brewhouse is back in business.

The friendly neighborhood brewery and restaurant at 229 W. Montecito St. is set to re-open on Friday after a four-month closure.

A fire broke out in the bar area in April. Although firefighters quickly doused the blaze, the smoke wrecked the restaurant’s ceiling, walls and floor, forcing a massive renovation.

“It’s been a long summer,” said owner and brewer Pete Johnson. “This place filled up with smoke. I was tempted to reopen as a barbecue place called the Smokehouse.”

The stench of smoke would have lasted forever, so Johnson tore out the drywall, ceiling and floors. He sanded down all the tables and chairs and then refinished them.

Johnson said the fire started after a heat gun used for bottling malfunctioned in the bar area.

Johnson also had to replace the big-screen TVs, which he said weren’t burned by the fire but stopped working from the smoke damage.

He lost about $27,000 in food and “booze,” he said, because he couldn’t sell it once the restaurant was damaged.

The fire and the aftermath have cost him nearly $1 million.

A fire that started in the bar area caused significant heat and smoke damage. Click to view larger
A fire that started in the bar area caused significant heat and smoke damage.  (Noozhawk file photo)

Fortunately, Johnson said, his insurance company has picked up the tab for much of it, including paying his employees for two months of salary.

Johnson has also been able to recover some of his lost profits from the insurance company, but not as much as he wants.

The brewer said he really appreciated the work of the firefighters who responded quickly and saved the fire from spreading.

He said the restaurant community also was supportive and some of them temporarily hired his employees so they wouldn’t be out of jobs during the closure. 

“It’s hard to hang out in this town for two months without a paycheck,” Johnson said.

Johnson held a soft opening earlier in the week and said he was glad to see his old friends return to the bar.

“I love making beer, but I really enjoy talking to people,” Johnson said. “I haven’t seen these people in four months. I miss them. Some of them spend as much time here as I do.”

The Brewhouse is set to open officially at 11 a.m. on Friday, and live music is scheduled for Friday through Sunday to celebrate its grand reopening.

Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

The Brewhouse at 229 W. Montecito St. officially reopens Friday. Click to view larger
The Brewhouse at 229 W. Montecito St. officially reopens Friday.  (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo)

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