Saturday, December 16 , 2017, 11:49 am | Smoke 67º


Tara Jones: Top Five Hideaway Bars in Santa Barbara and Goleta

Funk meets mood at the Alcazar Tapas Bar on Cliff Drive in Santa Barbara.
Funk meets mood at the Alcazar Tapas Bar on Cliff Drive in Santa Barbara. (Tara Jones / Noozhawk photo)

Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name. And sometimes you don’t.

Some days you just want to retreat to a quiet little rendezvous where the lights are low, the atmosphere is mellow, and the hustle and bustle of the city streets are far from your mind.

At the end of the day after meeting upon meeting and an endless string of phone calls and emails, all I want to do is sit back with a martini or glass of wine, breathe a huge sigh of relief and congratulate myself on finishing yet another busy day.

And while I love to see the people I’ve come to know throughout the years at my favorite haunts, sometimes it’s just nice to go where no one knows your name.

For those of you who are looking for a new place to land after a hard workday or just looking to shake things up, here is my list of the top five hidden watering holes in Santa Barbara and Goleta.

The Imperial

Formerly Ba’k D’or, this speakeasy-style lounge located behind Bicycle Bob’s in Goleta is a far-out blend of old-school Far East décor crossed with The Regal Beagle from Three’s Company.

Stop by The Imperial for Reilly’s Kitchen #1, a puckered, bittersweet blend of grapefruit and gin. (Tara Jones / Noozhawk photo)

Bring your good conversation and great friends to soak in the funky vibes of this “hard to find, but I don’t mind” resting place where everyone is welcome, from ska bands to scooter rallies.

And while you’re there, check out Reilly’s Kitchen #1 for a puckered, bittersweet blend of grapefruit and gin.

It is located at 320 S. Kellogg Ave. in Goleta. The hours of operation are 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Wednesday through Sunday.

The Good Lion

Formerly The Marquee, this cozy little nook is nestled between the Granada Theatre and Sama Sama Kitchen.

Good Lion
The Good Lion serves up classic drinks with a hipster twist. (Tara Jones / Noozhawk photo)

It’s the perfect place to hide away any night of the week or for waiting out the traffic after a performance at the theater next door.

You’ll get a taste of classic drinks with a hipster twist where they utilize fresh fruits and locally foraged herbs as the paintbrush to their cocktail canvas.

And when your belly gets louder than the small crowd of local folks around you, order tasty Spanish tapas from the menu provided by Sama Sama Kitchen.

It is located at 1212 State St. in Santa Barbara. The hours of operation are 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. Monday through Sunday.

Cebada Vineyard & Tasting Room

This whisper of a wine bar is neatly tucked away in the loft space at Isabella Gourmet Foods, a boutique artisan grocery full of unique local food and drink labels.

The Cebada Vineyard & Tasting Room is neatly tucked away in the loft space at Isabella Gourmet Foods. (Tara Jones / Noozhawk photo)

But don’t let this tiny space fool you! These wines pack a punch of greatness that most local wines aspire to. And the winemaker’s “blueberries to riches” story is as unique and quirky as the tasting room itself.

Blending clones from the long established Robert Young Estate Winery, the 2011 Chardonnay is incomparable with its bright citrus profile that makes one’s mouth water, begging for more.

And to finish out the tasting experience, you’ll enjoy a dessert wine made from estate grown organic blueberries that has a smooth brandy finish.

It is located at 5 E. Figueroa St. in Santa Barbara. The hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

The Good Bar

Get your kicks on Calle Real in Goleta at Kimpton Hotels’ The Goodland.

Good Bar
The Good Bar on Calle Real sports a trendy patio. (Tara Jones / Noozhawk photo)

Tucked away just outside the hotel entrance and adjacent to the uber-cool airstream trailer; Outpost boasts an extensively cool cocktail and spirits menu, good food and fun vibes.

Sit outside on the trendy patio with a cocktail to enjoy the house-made deep-fried, spiced hominy or settle in for a game of pool or backgammon at this not-so-divey, macramé-clad bar.

While you’re there, order up the lead bartender’s recommended cocktail, Verticoli; a perfected blend of Ford’s gin and citrus.

And if you’re looking for something to do throughout the week, there’s a list of weekly happenings in the back of the bar menu featuring discounts, bingo trivia nights, and special food menus.

It is located at 5650 Calle Real in Goleta. The hours of operation are 5 p.m. to close Monday through Sunday. Happy hour is 5 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Alcazar Tapas Bar

This quiet neighborhood bar on the mesa is where funk meets mood.

Swathed in low lighting with an eclectic montage of cartoons projected on the back wall, much like its counterpart Milk & Honey, Alcazar is just far enough away from the bustling streets of downtown Santa Barbara where one can slip away into the dark corners to sip a classic cocktail and while breathing in the fresh ocean air.

Local favorites on the list are the Coconut Mojito, a classic coconut infused rum concoction, and the Madhatter, a spicy and floral tequila-based libation.

While this enclave may be a regular watering hole to those on the mesa, it’s often overlooked by the rest of us but is always worth a visit.

It is located at 1812 Cliff Drive in Santa Barbara. The hours of operation are 5:30 to 10 p.m. Monday through Wednesday and 5 to 11 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. Happy hour runs all night Monday through Wednesday and 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.

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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