The Baja Sharkeez sports bar, closed since March, has reopened and offers outdoor dining at 525 State St. in Santa Barbara.
The Baja Sharkeez sports bar, closed since March, has reopened and offers outdoor dining at 525 State St. in Santa Barbara. (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo)

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One of Santa Barbara’s most popular downtown bars and restaurants is back in business.

The Baja Sharkeez sports bar at 525 State St. reopened last Friday, after it closed down on St. Patrick’s Day amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Santa Barbara’s allowance of outdoor dining, however, fueled the restaurant’s reopening. It now has one of the more elaborate outdoor dining spaces along the 500 block of State Street, with outdoor TVs to maintain that sports bar feel. 

It didn’t take long for word to get out about Sharkeez’s reopening. The place has been packed every evening since the reopening. 

“Everybody is excited,” said Alexander Maciel, one of the team leaders. “We have been very busy.”

Maciel said the city did the right thing to open up State Street to outdoor dining.

“I love it,” he said. “All the locals love it. They hope it stays that way.”

Baja Sharkeez is part of the emerging “Restaurant Row” along the 500 block of State Street. Institution Ale, The Cruisery, Sandbar, O’Malley’s and other are among the popular establishments taking full advantage of the opening of State Street to outdoor dining and pedestrians.

Baja Sharkeez is a chain with other locations in beach communities, including Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach and Newport Beach. 

Onus Donuts Closes

The once-popular Onus Donuts shop in the 400 block of State Street in Santa Barbara has closed its doors.

Owned by Juan Jimenez, whose family owns the Cajun Kitchen restaurants, the place didn’t last quite a year, opening in November 2019.

“Hey friends, Onus Donuts is permanently closed as of today,” Jimenez wrote on the shop’s Instagram page. “We are changing concepts and will be back in another form. This was a difficult decision, but we feel it had to be done. Thank you for all the support during these difficult times. Take care.”

He also said that anyone with an outstanding gift card can direct message or email him at, and he’ll take care of it.

The shop, 413 State St., had replaced another short-lived restaurant, Urkeb.

Wetzel’s Pretzels Wilts

Paseo Nuevo mall in Santa Barbara has lost Wetzel’s Pretzels.

The restaurant offered hot dogs and cheese dogs wrapped in pretzel bread.

Mary Lynn Harms-Romo, senior marketing manager for Paseo Nuevo, said AT&T and 2bella also have closed permanently in the mall. 

New Dean of Coffees in Goleta

Goleta has a new coffee shop.

Dean: A Coffee Shop opened at 6100 Hollister Ave. last Saturday.

“Welcome to DEAN, A Coffee Shop, Goleta’s answer to the modern daytime lounge with an expansive outdoor patio,” the company wrote in an Instagram post.

It also playfully took a jab at Starbucks for its notorious misspelling of names on cups.

“At Dean, we are always trying to remember all of the names … and aim to spell them correctly when needed:),” an Instagram post stated. 

Grab & Go lunches are also available daily.

Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.