Sunstone Winery in the Santa Ynez Valley plans to open a rooftop tasting room in Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone.
The Santa Barbara Architectural Board of Review gave the project, at 11 Anacapa St., final approval last week. The approval sets the stage for a Funk Zone destination spot with stunning views of the ocean and mountains.
“We believe that Sunstone in the Funk Zone is a tremendous addition to the neighborhood, but more so the city of Santa Barbara,” said winery owner Teddy Cabugos, who already operates a tasting room at 125 Refugio Road in Santa Ynez.
“I think people in Santa Barbara have been waiting for a place like this for a very long time. Rooftop parties and ocean views, while enjoying world class wine and music, it doesn’t get much better.”
The project involves converting 1,739 square feet of warehouse floor area to a winery/wine tasting business, including the new 1,300-square-foot roof deck with 40 seats, a rooftop bar with canopy, and a 258-square-foot storage area.
The ABR vote on March 7 was unanimous, with direction to the architectural team to continue working on a lighting plan, and provide more shading near the top of the elevator tower.
The property owner, real estate investor Ray Mahboob, plans to install an elevator and staircase that gives people access to the second and third floors.
The project also includes a 22-space mechanical parking lift structure that will be built on the current parking lot, repacing nine existing spots. In all, the lot would have 45 parking spaces.
“I just think they did a really nice job capturing the character of the Funk Zone,” ABR member David Black said.
The project has emerged as a centerpiece of the Funk Zone. On the first floor is SB Biergarten, which opened a year ago and attracts a steady crowd of thirsty patrons. Nearby on the same property are two new restaurants that have also sparked interest in the neighborhood, Flor de Maíz and Oku.
As State Street downtown has struggled in recent years, restaurants, wineries and breweries have blossomed in the Funk Zone, a neighborhood roughly bounded by State and Garden streets between Highway 101 and the waterfront. The area developed organically as one of the city’s most prominent and promising experiential destinations.
The rooftop tasting room is one-of-a-kind for the Funk Zone. Sunstone Vineyards, Winery & Villa in Santa Ynez drew worldwide attention last year after it was featured in a weddings special on Netflix. It also last year won approval to be the first vineyard to also grow cannabis.
“Sunstone prides itself in creating unforgettable experiences for our members and guests,” Cabugos said. “With the addition of a new tasting room and rooftop lounge perfectly placed in Santa Barbara’s hottest neighborhood, we will be able to bring those guest experiences to an all new level.”
Cabugos is hopeful that the project will be open for business by the summer of 2023.