Sunday, January 25, 2015

Feel the Funk

How to hit Santa Barbara's urban wine trail


The downside of wine tasting? Driving from vineyard to vineyard. Or worse, paying someone to drive for you. 

There's a better way to do it. By walking.

Sandwiched between Santa Barbara's beach and main downtown strip of State Street is the Funk Zone -- a former industrial district reclaimed by artists and, now, vintners. Here's how to walk it like a pro.

If you're not in the mood to drive to Downtown Santa Barbara, hop on the Pacific Surfliner, which will run you up and back for around $60 per person. The Santa Barbara station is literally across the street from the Funk Zone, so you won't need a cab on the other end. 
$19-30 each way from Union Station.

Drop a few extra bucks for an ocean view room at the recently remodeled Harbor View Inn. It's located across the street from the beach on the corner of State St., just a few minutes away from the Funk Zone.
28 W. Cabrillo Blvd. (805-963-0780). From $220 per night here.

Set up camp at the trendy but reasonably priced new Hotel Indigo. A block from the train station, it's the best place to crash for those who might have trouble finding their way home. The flatscreen TV is almost as big as the room, and definitely wider than the bathroom.
121 State St. (805-966-6586). From $122 per night here.

1st Stop: Kalyra
A friendly, tiki-themed tasting room where the bartenders flirt with guests and offer $10 tastings to the sweet sweet strains of yacht rock. We like the decidedly non-Polynesian Gewürztraminer, a dry white.
212 State St. (805-965-8606)

2nd Stop: Oreana
Order up a Malbec Rose blend and take it outside to watch acoustic guitar duos relive the sixties and seventies. Inside, you can buy sommelier-style tools and pick up a bottle to take home -- it's excellent with takeout sushi.
205 Anacapa St. (805-962-5857)

3rd Stop: Santa Barbara Winery
Half gourmet market, half meet market, this place should be the centerpiece of your trip. The pinot and primitivos are your best bets, but save the cold ones for after you taste the habanero-infused olive oil.
202 Anacapa St. (800-225-3633)

4th Stop: Pali
Ever wanted to drink on the set of a Kylie Minogue video from the late '90s? You're in luck. This Lompoc vinter's tasting room is all cool Italian marble and slick surfaces. Your backup dancers will love the Sunset Tower 15 Rosé. Now would be a good time to start spitting.
116 E. Yanonali St. (805-560-7254)

5th Stop: Municipal Winemakers
This one's for the hipsters, as the chatty, tattooed staff pulls clean glasses from vintage filing cabinets behind the bar. We were drinking their Bright Red -- a blend of of Grenache, Cinsault, Counoise, and Syrah -- before it was cool.
22 Anacapa St. (805-931-6864)

6th Stop: Deep Sea Tasting Room
For your final stop, head out to this upstairs tasting room located at the end of Stearns Wharf. Have a final few glasses as the sun goes down and the mountains behind you turn the color of your tongue. Good news is, you're stumbling distance from either your bed or your ride home. Bad news is you have a lot of wine to carry.
217 Stearns Wharf (805-618-1185) 

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