best bars in santa barbara

7 Of The Best Bars In Santa Barbara

Are you looking to clink a few glasses in Santa Barbara? This California jewel is the place to be if you are looking for a good night out. Whether you prefer swanky cocktail bars or local neighbourhood joints, this list has you covered. Here are the seven best bars in Santa Barbara.

Best Bars In Santa BarbaraHow do these rankings work?

1. Milk & Honey

Nobody and we mean nobody does atmosphere like Milk & Honey. At this tapas bar gem, you’ll find a cosy fireplace, black and white silent films playing behind the bar, exotic cocktails and an unbelievably romantic tone. Start with a sherry and order a few tapas.

best bars in santa barbara

2. Sama Sama Kitchen

Sama Sama Kitchen is unique for its Indonesian style cocktails and bites from local farms. Treat yourself to a taste of Southeast Asia with one of their signature cocktails or sip on some local wines. Either way, you’ll definitely be back again. We recommend starting with their ‘Mule Kick’. This signature cocktail is a blend of Thai chilli infused vodka, lime and house ginger beer.

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3. Finch & Fork

Housed in the Canary Hotel, this New American style bar is a favourite for its fresh and zesty cocktails made with local ingredients and sharable bar bites. George Piperis is the star of the show with his handcrafted seasonal cocktails and creative spins. We recommend the ‘Not So Old Fashioned’ with butter washed bourbon, sage and bitters.

finch and fork best bars in santa barbara

4. Santo Mezcal

Agave-savvy folks will love the tequila and mezcal options at this State St. Mexican restaurant and bar. Take your pick from a classic paloma or something more creative like their ‘Mula Picante’. We recommend starting with their ‘Mezcal Maria’ made with mezcal and a housemade spice mix.

best bars in santa barbara

5. The Lark

The Lark is a favourite for it’s sophisticated and unpretentious atmosphere. Known for their wide selection of fine wines, craft cocktails and bites, there is something for everyone. To keep things interesting, they create a new cocktail menu every season that’s loaded with unique, one-of-a-kind sips.

Based on their current menu, we recommend the ‘Old Aztec’ made with Old Overholt rye, agave and house chocolate orange bitters. YUM.

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6. The Good Lion

The Good Lion is Santa Barbara’s best jazz and cocktails joint. Slide into a cosy tufted leather booth and enjoy handcrafted cocktails made from the finest spices and herbs. They spruce up the menu weekly, but their staples remain. We recommend the ‘Rosemary Clooney’ made with rosemary vodka, lemon, dry curacao, honey and absinthe.

7. Elsie’s Tavern

Ask any local where the best neighbourhood bar is, and they’ll direct you to Elsie’s Tavern in downtown. Here you’ll find an incredible beer selection and a breezy patio area. The snacks include quirky options like cups o’ noodles and run of the mill salty bar bites. If you are looking for a cosy, warm place where the locals play, Elsie’s Tavern is the place to be.

elsies tavern best bars in santa barbara

Melanie Hamilton

Melanie is an avid traveller with a passion for history and global foods. She is currently based in Tbilisi, Georgia where most of her time is occupied with qvevri wine and Soviet history. Having do-si-do'd her way across Europe and Latin America, she's enjoyed some of the world's most exciting places firsthand and can't wait to tell you about them.

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