Santa Barbara is home to a plethora of chic bars and clubs, but sometimes all you want is a cozy place to sit and have a few drinks while talking to like-minded patrons. For this reason, we’ve rounded up the greatest dive bars in SB and what to expect from each:
Elsie’s Tavern is a perfect mix between dive bar and trendy hangout; without feeling too pretentious. It’s a cool place to enjoy a beer or glass of wine on couches, listen to music on the back patio, play pool with a few friends or even grab a cup of noodles from behind the bar if you feel like snacking. With an atmosphere that encourages comfort above all else, here you’ll feel more like you’re hanging out at a party than an establishment.
Elsie’s Tavern. 117 West De La Guerra Street. 805 963 4503.
The Cliff Room, located on the Mesa, is an underrated, newly renovated dive bar that hits the spot when you’re looking for strong drinks, friendly bartenders and the occasional karaoke night. Hidden between Mexican restaurants and an old bookstore, the fun of going to The Cliff Room is that you never know who you’ll find there. Drawing people from all different scenes, the bar maintains a happy and relaxed vibe that keeps patrons coming back.
The Cliff Room. 1828 Cliff Drive. 805 966 3060.
The Press Room, part pub and part dive, is a tiny little bar in Downtown SB that is hugely popular among expats and soccer fans. Head here for any major game and find a crowd that is ready to mingle and have fun. You should expect chatty locals and tight spaces, but the energy is worth the noise. As a bonus, if you get hungry you are more than welcome to order pub food from Dargan’s across the street!
The Press Room. 15 East Ortega Street. 805 963 8121.
The Neighborhood Bar is a super fun choice not only for its excellent happy hour and bar menu, but also for the variety of games available; including classic arcade games, ping pong or beer pong tables, corn hole and a dartboards. The atmosphere is of course casual and relaxed, but never boring. We recommend grabbing a pitcher of beer and spending a sunny afternoon here for a glimpse of true SB local weekend flair.
The Neighborhood Bar. 235 West Montecito Street. 805 963 7600.
Undoubtedly the “diviest” bar on our list, The Sportsman is not for the faint of heart. Typically packed with a rowdy crowd, this is definitely where you come let loose and have fun. Play old-school tunes on the record player or just grab a group and hang out at one of the many booths. If dive bars are really your thing, this is the spot for you.
The Sportsman. 20 West Figueroa Street. 805 564 4411.