Like most good things the Cafe Buenos Aires is no more. CLOSED. I leave the review up for my memory of a wonderful and vibriant restaurant that graced the main street of Santa Barbara for 19 years. The location will become a Greek Restaurant, opening sometime in late 2011.
My review of the Cafe is as follows: "The weekends come alive with the sound of music up and down State Street, but the Cafe Buenos Aires has the Argentine menu, the fantastic Mojitos drink down pat, and a canvas covered courtyard with a fountain in the center.
The live music, Latin or South American Smooth Jazz, comes from the courtyard and some brave souls even get up and dance. If the music or Mojitos don't keep you warm, then the overhead heaters will do the trick. Great ambiance, drink variety, tasty food selections, and wonderful music."
We decided to venture out and we ended up here to eat and to listen to music. It has a very distinct crowd of locals and college students. It was not to loud and we had some pizza which was not bad, not great, but not bad. They had a band going on in a different room with a dancing floor. I just wanted to relax and eat. Casual wear is ok! The service was a little iffy too and the price of the pizza was a little pricey. Yet, not a bad place if you like this sort of thing
Variety of Live Music
Restaurant is open from 5:30-10Pm.
There was several times while living in SB/IV that I witnessed the “glowing tides.” This is when bioluminescence occurs when there is a large concentration of a certain type of phytoplankton is brought up to the crashing surf. Result: at night, the “white water” part of the waves crashing lights up likes a glow stick!!! Sometimes it is pretty bright as well.
I do not know the rhyme or reason of this occurrence… but spend enough of nights on the beach and you will eventually see it.
There is only one place to go out in Santa Barbara, or I should say, one street called State Street. State Street starts at Stearn’s Warf (where the statue of dolphins are), and runs directly away from the ocean. On State Street, you will find a plethora of restaurants, bars, clubs, etc… most of the places are smaller, some have a small dance floor, and others are just a pub. There are also place off of State Street, but most are within eyesight.
The only thing I would keep in mind for some of the more “mature” traveler or vacationer, these bars caters to the college crowds. This may or may not be deterrent from going out on the town… but it is still fun to do.
I listed a website below that has pictures and all the main bars/clubs
Dress Code: A nice thing about SB, it is both VERY casual and dressy. Wear what you want, and you will find someplace that matches.
Joe's is actually a restaurant, but I've never eaten here. It's a great place to start your night when going Downtown. They have the stiffest drinks in town and are very inexpensive. Frankie, the legendary bartender who's been there forever, has been voted the best in Santa Barbara
Dress Code: Dress code? What's that?
At Q's you can play pool or join everyone on the dance floor. A great place to go dancing! On Tuesday nights they have a popular 80's theme night. On Fridays and Saturdays the club can get very busy and charges a $5-10 cover.
Joe's is a crowded and dirty dive bar, but it's a lot of fun if you go with good friends and like some really strong drinks. And I mean strong - the cocktails are pretty much straight alcohol. The crowd is a mix between drunk frat guys, nostalgic alumni, and beach bum locals like the ones my friend here found.
Dress Code: Casual (flip flops and shorts are fine here!)
Within 2 blocks of state street there are dozens of clubs and restaurants to suit most any mood. Some, like Soho, are restaurants by day and night clubs with dance floors and live music by night
Dress Code: Most have some sort of dress code- call ahead or just "dress to impress"
I have lived in the Santa Barbara for about five years and every time my friends and I head out we go to Sandbar. Not only does Sandbar have beautiful people, but it has the best dancing and drink specials on State Street. Every night has a theme such as College Night or Localize It and the atmosphere and crowd is just amazing. Along with the party side, Sandbar has some of the best Mexican food in town. There enchiladas and taco plates are excellent!!!! I highly recommend this venue for all people.
Dress Code: No dress code
SOHO is one of my favorite places to have drinks and see a great show. Through out the week there are several shows ranging from jazz, reggae to rock and roll. It is more of a low key place than many of the other bars down town. It is not one of those bars where the local college students go to take tequila shots. They also have a great menu and friendly staff. Check out the website for details about what band is playing, how much and what time.
Dress Code: Casual
Tonic is one of the most popular clubs downtown. Every weekend they charge a cover and have a reputation for having long lines to get in. Inside they play top 40 songs and have a large outdoor patio where you can rent a cabana with bottle service. This club has a Los Angeles vibe to it. If you like the clubs in LA you will like it here.
Dress Code: There is no dress code. Everyone dresses nice when they go here.
Actually, I was there during the day, but I hope that's OK. While strolling on Stearns Wharf, I heard this beautiful voice singing jazz standards. After tracing the voice to Santa Barbara Vintners, I had to go in to hear her sing. I wasn't disappointed-she was sooooo good.
This wonderfuly inviting place sells wine by the bottle (remember, you're in "Sideways" country), or other beverages if wine's not your thing. Hang out on the deck, enjoy your drink and the incredible Santa Barbara view, and if you're lucky like me, you'll hear some great music too.
BTW, I didn't get her name, but she fronted a jazz trio-great music, beautiful scenery-you can't go wrong.
The good-bad thing about Southern California is that you must smoke outdoors or have smoking lodging, not that I like smoking, just a rights struggle between the business owners and some patrons and patrons excess health advocates, lawyers, and employee unions. So it is a good idea because now if the law were changed back still many spots would stay non-smoking (but that will never happen because they say people die even if they are not smokers after working for 30 years in a very deep fog of cigarette smoke (no mater how many fans, blowers, and air exchanges per hour an owner may have designed and runs his ventalations systems). I think you can also smoke in public garages where cars park, but probably only in your car with your windows up. Okay you can see this kind of distrubs me, but shouldn't an owner be able to set up a room with an updraft so at eye level standing up 2 feet from a smoker there is 1000 times less smoke than one cigarette in a non vented 50 ft. by 50 ft. room for an hour - equivalant?
DONE - won't say any more, except one more paragraph below and thank goodness New York, Florida, or European People are not so psyched. (In Calfornia you can have personal freedom as long as it does not hurt others nor take dollars from the local goverment in chasing away tourists (!!!)!
Smoking - But since most of the year it is dry and warm this is not a problem. Half the nightspots have a table or two where you can smoke next to the sidewalk but be on the property having a drink.
If you are 21 to 40 or so the downtown near 500 blocks is the place to be. Disco and some music and happy hours.. Check it out on Thursday or Wed. and then if you must go to one spot make sure you get there before most of the locals get there around 9:30 (8:30 on 'US holidays/festival days') or you many both pay a cover charge and have from 30 minutes to 2 hours to wait or more.
Warning Fake ID's get you a big fine and possibly more and don't drink and drive (they set up and will catch you with frequent check points)
For the 30+ types, Joe's, El Paseo, Left at Alberqure, Blue Agava, and a Place next to the Montecito Inn (?) are most of the spots, usually easy to start up a conversation cept maybe Paseo. I guess some like to go to Blue Shark Bistro, Roys, and Jimmy's Oriental Garden. Bikers go to the Creekside and sometimes to a place along the main parallel street to the highway in Carpenteria.
All kinds of people and half the places have 'backyard' patios open to the air (hint- I was not going to mention it again).
Dress Code: Leather is always good, otherwise anything goes, good looking club wear! (ask/see a college student). Some places require no jeans nor t-shirts nor 'gang wear-bandanas'. All of these are out of style anyway, in case you did not know. You can probably buy something at Macys or the other stores which should do you well.
A whole street full of house parties thrown by UCSB students. Absolutely thronged with young people most weekend nights, with people just wandering from one party to the next. Invites are generally not an issue. All the houses on the West side of the street are built into the cliff overlooking the beach and the Pacific.
Dress Code: none
EOS Lounge is hands down my favorite nightclub in Santa Barbara. Why? We'll that's easy to answer. They have 2 dance floors with Top40, hip hop, & mashups in the main room & house/electro in the backroom. Anytime I'm in Santa Barbara I make sure I check into EOS because they have the best staff & service. Drinks are a little bit more pricey then other places, but it's worth being in a beautiful Mediterranean themed nightclub then some dive bar paying for cheap drinks. Not to mention everybody around you looks a lot better!
Dress Code: Dress to Impress