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Santa Barbara Brewing Company
Active Beers: 14
Beer Ratings: 56
Beer Avg: 3.27
Taps: - / Bottles: -
Cask: / Beer-to-Go: N
$$ - reasonable
[ Brewery, Bar, Eatery ]
501 State Street
phone: (805) 730-1040
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vibe: 3 | quality: 1 | service: 2 | selection: 3 | $$$
This is a very popular and busy place in the heart of downtown Santa Barbara on State St, but it seems all flash and no substance.
The location is great and the place itself is nice, an old building with big windows looking onto the attractive street, brick walls, nice bar, etc.
However, the beer is worse than subpar and is some of the worst beer I have had. The selection on its face seems good, a nice range, but the quality is incredibly bad, being bland, thin, almost utterly characterless and barely recognizable as beer from the smell or taste. I mean that literally and in all sincerity – the beers we had were almost wholly lacking in character and the stout had the taste and feel of tap water.
Our food experiences were limited since e basically got just some dessert, so I cannot really comment on that. Service was not horrid, and was better than the beer, but it was not good – somewhat abrupt, not rude but not friendly, and not overly efficient.
In the end, this seems a place for people to go and be loud, seem popular, and show off their “coolness” and it’s not a place to get even decent beer. The “vibe” as a result is more annoying than pleasant, giving one the feeling of being around people who only care about seeming cool and loudly partying rather than being comfortable and enjoying good food and drink.
The prices, though not bad compared to other places, are bad for the quality that you get in return for the money.
06-17-2011 21:10:44 |
More by Offa
vibe: 2 | quality: 3 | service: 2 | selection: 3 | food: 3 | $$
Visited on 2/4/11.
Stopped in for dinner here. Feels like a run down BJ's in a way. Lots of seating but not very many patrons.
Beer: They had 5 of their house brews on tap along with 2 or 3 guest taps (Chimay was one of them but the menu didn't mention which one). I got the State Street Stout and my wife got the Old Town Nut Brown. Both were very average and after one beer I really didn't want to get any more.
Food: They have a pretty decent menu of foods again similar to BJ's: salads, burgers, wraps, etc. Our dinners were pretty good but nothing too fancy or memorable.
Overall, the beer was fairly cheap ($3.00 pints during happy hour) but not too impressive and the food was good but kind of pricey ($9.99 for a smallish buffalo chicken wrap).
02-06-2011 09:42:06 |
More by UCLABrewN84
vibe: 4 | quality: 2 | service: 2.5 | selection: 3 | food: 3.5 | $$$
I hate to write it, since Santa Barbara Brewing is so conveniently located, so pleasantly outfitted inside, and serves decent food - but for beer fans in Santa Barbara, this place is worth a miss.
I stopped in around noon on a Saturday. Not crowded. Had lunch at the bar. Bartender was nice, but knew nothing about the beers other than their names (said he was the night guy and had rarely met the brewer, who works in the early mornings). On paper the selection was broad - "blonde" cream ale, red ale, brown ale, pale ale, IPA, stout, winter warmer, and a cider. I ordered a sampler and spent a decent amount of time with each. But in reality it was nearly impossible to tell any of the beers apart by taste - no individual character at all, and only the faintest hints of their supposed style.
They've done a nice job integrating the equipment of a working brewery into the restaurant - not just behind a plexiglas wall or otherwise invisible, as at so many other brewpubs. And despite the high prices typical of Santa Barbara - $12 for a cheeseburger - the food tastes fine. But there are plenty of better places to eat on Santa Barbara's State Street, and the beer on this occasion sure didn't make Santa Barbara Brewing Company worth the time.
03-09-2008 08:18:08 |
More by Talisker
vibe: 3 | quality: 1.5 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5 | $$
Visited in the afternoon of Monday, 2/18/08. Brass and wood decor dominate this brewpub (like untold countless others). Also just like hundreds of brewpubs, flat screen TVs are everywhere you look, showing different sports channels. Lots of smiling faces to be seen on the customers. The wait staff, while attractive and young, didn't seem especially interested in being there. There were nine of their own brews on tap, which would have been a great selection if even one of them had been any good. The food is better than the beer (another typical brewpub quality). If you want good beer, go about a half mile to The Brewhouse and skip this State Street spot.
03-10-2008 22:44:46 |
More by charlzm
vibe: 4 | quality: 2.5 | service: 3 | selection: 2.5 | food: 2 | $$$
During our road trip up the California coast we decided to stop in Santa Barbara for lunch and to check the downtown out. Saw the brewing company sign and immediately knew where we'd be having lunch.
Atmosphere is pretty cool, basic non-descript brewpub. Clean, local stuff on the walls, brew kettles in the back. The beer selection consisted of 6 or 7 of their beers on tap. Nothing really too exciting. I sampled a few and settled on the maibock. All that I tried were pretty mediocre, the maibock was a little better than the rest.
The menu was what you would expect. I don't remember a ton about it except that it wasn't interesting or exciting. I got a cheeseburger and my girlfriend got a citrus chicken dish. That really says it all, it was about as forgettable as it sounds. Nothing bad or offensive, but a fairly poor effort. Our service was friendly but no one in the brewpub seemed to enthusiastic about beer, food, or what they were doing.
Mediocre beer, unenthusiastic service, and unmemorable food made for an experience I'm not really looking to try again. Especially dissapointing because they were some other much better looking restaurants I saw as we walked up and down main street after lunch. My advice is to eat somewhere else and stop in here for a beer or two at the bar afterwards. Or just skip it all together and save your money.
05-12-2010 02:13:43 |
More by Shumista
vibe: 3 | quality: 2.5 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4 | food: 2.5
Made a quick pit stop here on the way south to LA for the MLS Championship game (yeah DC United!). Wasn't overly impressed, but perhaps it was the time of day. The place was full of "beautiful people", many of whom were not drinking the beer...nor were they eating the food (!?!). Atmosphere was OK overall, big glass front looking out onto the street. Nice wood-paneled refrigerator.
They had ALL the standard US brewpub offerings, the red ale, the wheat, the pale ale, the blonde, the stout, the porter, blablabla. They had their pale ale on cask, but it was all out. There was also a saison, which was random -- and not very good. A good, standard (if small) selection of belgian and german bottles (Chimay, Franziskaner). Although none of their beers were too hot (of the ones I had), they had lots of them, which gets points I guess.
Fairly inexpensive growlers (about $12 to buy, $8 to fill up if I recall).
We got an appetizer of "Armadillo Eggs" which sounded cool, breaded, cheese-filled jalapenos, but they really weren't.
Wait staff didn't pay too much attention to us, and acted like they were doing us a favor by taking our order. Or maybe they were just busy.
They DID open up at 9AM on Sunday to accomodate East Coast football games--which is something that I ALWAYS want other bars to do, too.
11-18-2004 05:06:45 |
More by donnebaby
vibe: 4 | quality: 2 | service: 4 | selection: 2.5 | $$
Going through the tasters all of the beer had this homogenized flavor, they all tasted the same. Very soda-ish, and lacking in flavor. They were also out of a red ale, and replaced it on my sampler with a pear cider. That's messed up, why do you hate me SBBC?
I went here twice before taking the trip to Hollister Brewing, where I found refuge in the bosom of a brewery who respects their customers.
Decor was nice, I really liked the copper bar. One thing that irked me was the overwhelming stench of ammonia, or some disinfectant close to the fermenters. Absolutely nauseating.
04-23-2009 17:38:39 |
More by QUERCUSAGRIFOLIA
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3 | $$
Went to Santa Barbara Brewing Company one day with one of my old students from the East Coast.
We went at about 9pm on a Friday night and it was quite packed in the place. Found a couple seats at the classic wood bar and picked a few pints to enjoy.
I ordered the Eternal Sunshine and my buddy ordered an IPA. I enjoyed the beer a little, but found it pretty much dumbed down. Just didn't have that taste that I was expecting or hoping. Their beers are just standard everyday choices that would appeal to the large college student clientel on State Street.
The place was rather small, so it was VERY loud and the conversation was not easy to carry on. I wouldn't suggest this spot on a weeknight during the time students have the ability to show up to the bar.
I didn't have any of the food, but it looked pretty good and wouldn't mind going back to try some. The service was not excellent, but I would not expect that with the bartendars dealing with table orders and bar orders and only having two people behind the bar.
Average is a great way to describe this place, sad to say....I really do enjoy SB though. May not be worth the drive to SB just to go to the brewpub, but it is definitely worth going up there to enjoy the rest of State Street and the beautiful ocean that is only a few blocks away. Plus, the drive to get there is ridiculously beautiful.
05-03-2006 07:04:13 |
More by PuckLSHS
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 3 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$$
If youve ever done any driving in Europe, driving down American freeways are a walk in the park, save for the occasional burst of traffic, something we didnt come across too often from Santa Rosa to Santa Barbara. The downtown core of this bling-bling town on a Saturday afternoon was pretty busy however, with desynchronized stoplights every 20 feet and lots of limos and SUVs. We did eventually find a parking spot near the brewpub for a quick lunch.
Atmosphere was really similar to the pub we went to the night before in San Luis Obispo, old factory, type loft, fire truck red brick, copper and wood, so definitely no originality points here. The place was pretty full, as their prime location on one of the citys busiest streets seemed to attract a lot of yuppies passing by. We got crammed into a little corner adjacent to the main entrance, right next to the cute hostess.
Our also cute but quite aloof waitress came by with menus eventually, while the list of available Beers was on a board. Not too bad a selection, I was expecting a very cookie cutter assortment of paint by numbers brews from a place like this, but not at all, they had a Saison (it wasnt great, but at least they gave it a shot!) and a few other styles a bit more off the wall. The sample of double IPA I had was pretty good, though. Its not easy to judge a place for quality on a pint and 2-3 samplers, but I didnt detect anything terrible like bandaids or stale cardboard either. The large crowd of beautiful people seems to keep those taps busy.
Food menu was a bit more adventurous than other places Ive been to, although for the second day in a row I had a clam chowder at a brewpub. But the tuna wrap was pretty good, with large pieces that were undercooked almost sushi-style, just the way I like it.
So kudos for them for trying different styles of Beers, although the atmosphere and crowd wasnt really appealing to me (think upscale, 90210 fake), Im still glad I stopped by for a pint.
10-02-2006 19:28:30 |
More by Goldorak
vibe: 3 | quality: 2 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | $$
Nice place, not so good beer. We went in on a Sat afternoon and there was maybe 10 people inside. She was very nice and accomadating. The bar is a nice size and I liked it. Plenty of seating and a nice feel to the place. I here that it gets crazy when the UCSB crowd comes in on weekends, later night. They have a good scotch selection. No food here but sampled all of the beers here. Overall, my second favorite place but the beer was mediocre at best sadly. I would go back if in the area but not go out of my way to drink the beer here.
03-15-2008 02:48:57 |
More by barleywinefiend
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Santa Barbara Brewing Company in Santa Barbara, CA