Enjoy all the pours, eats, and street art in Santa Barbara's happening Funk Zone. (Courtesy of @simotarien)

A Modern Guide to Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone

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Once just a sleepy SoCal enclave for posh retirees, Santa Barbara is hip at last thanks to the Funk Zone, its warehouse district that's been transformed over the past few years by a new set of creative tenant.

Yes, the neighborhood's name feels like it's trying a bit too hard to be cool, but the boutique wine tasting rooms, art galleries, eclectic shops, microbreweries, and farm-to-table restaurants here are legit. This is your guide to Santa Barbara's trendiest 'hood.


The Best Restaurants in Santa Barbara's Funk Zone

Lucky Penny

Let the wall covered in copper pennies tip you off to one of the Funk Zone's most popular eating spots. With its tiny interior and a wait for outdoor tables, you might think of Lucky Penny, known for its wood-fired pizzas, as Santa Barbara's answer to Pizzeria Delfina. Be sure to go back for breakfast—a fantastic little morning menu tempts with wood-fired baked eggs served with chorizo and fingerlings. // 127 Anacapa St., luckypennysb.com

The Lark

Local, seasonal, and family-style are the watchwords at this ever-so-popular restaurant, located next to Lucky Penny. You'll want to try everything, so bring some friends to share globally inspired dishes ranging from Japanese hamachi crudo to pappardelle with caramelized maitake mushrooms, black truffle butter, delicata squash, and hazelnuts. The craft cocktails and 24-seat communal table feel imported from San Francisco. Reservations are definitely recommended. // 131 Anacapa St., thelarksb.com

Mony's Mexican Food

Mexican food is a must in Santa Barbara, and the Funk Zone happens to have one of the best taquerias in town. Known locally as Mony's Tacos, the place serves delicious tacos and interesting salsas (pistachio?) at wallet-friendly prices. Mony's is no frills, but there's always a wait. // 217 Anacapa St., monyssb.com

Loquita

Round up a group and head to Loquita for paella and hot and cold tapas in a coordinating Spanish style setting. While we love the chic white brick walled and painted tile interior, the delectable dishes including Patatas Bravas, churros, Spanish octopus, and Pan Con Tomate are best enjoyed from the lively outdoor patio with plenty of local and Spanish wines and sangria to go round and heat lamps to keep you cozy on rare chilly evenings. // 202 State St., loquitasb.com

Helena Avenue Bakery

Try and score a coveted seat at one of Helena Avenue Bakery's community or patio tables for the ideal Saturday morning pick me up in the form of an endless selection of freshly baked breads, seasonal pastries, and brunch dishes. In addition to delicious breakfast fare, the bakery also offers gourmet sandwiches—think burrata and bacon, grilled cauliflower salad, and Nashville hot chicken—perfect for scarfing down before wine tasting at the adjacent Santa Barbara Wine Collective. // 131 Anacapa St., helenaavenuebakery.com

Shalhoob's Funk Zone Patio

Opened in 2015 by neighborhood mainstay since 1973 Shalhoob Meat Company, this lively barbecue joint has quickly become a neighborhood favorite. Grab a seat on the lively patio—bonus points if you stop by when there's live music—and munch on apps including fish tacos and hot wings; meat-centric dishes like pulled pork sliders, fried chicken sandwiches, and bacon jam burgers; and heaping plates of tri tip and pulled pork barbecue with endless sides. // 220 Gray Ave., shalhoob.com

Tyger Tyger

This casual spot opened by Santa Barbara group Acme Hospitality last fall serves up fresh Thai and Vietnamese dishes including bahn mi, vermicelli bowls, and summer rolls in a stylish setting, complete with an outdoor patio. Cereal topped soft serve ice cream served in "taikyaki" fish-shaped waffle cones or mini take out boxes and a hot pink lanterned ceiling guarantee you'll get the perfect 'gram during your dinner. // 121 East Yanonali St., tygertygersb.com

Wine, Beer + Spirits Tastings in the Funk Zone, Santa Barbara

The Valley Project

A floor-to-ceiling chalk-art mural, depicting Santa Barbara County's winegrowing region is the awesome focal point of winemakers Seth Kunin and Magan Eng's beautifully minimalist tasting room. Acquaint yourself with the lay of the land while sampling wines from Kunin's small label. Each bottle showcases the diversity of the area's terroir. // 116 E. Yanonali St., thevalleyprojectwines.com

Santa Barbara Wine Collective

With multiple in one, this airy collective pours from a handful of Santa Barbara producers, including Notary Public and Fess Parker. Wines are offered in flights or by the glass, carafe, and bottle, and can be sipped inside the industrial-chic space or outside on the patio. Plus, stop by on a Saturday or Sunday for morning mimosas. // 131 Anacapa St. C, santabarbarawinecollective.com

Test Pilot

Opened by the husband and wife team behind nearby cocktail and jazz bar, The Good Lion, Test Pilot serves up over 20 tiki inspired cocktails in funky mugs inside a tropical space. Offerings range from a classic piña colada; to the Test Pilot, comprised of a house rum blend, absinthe foam, bitters, clove, and citrus; to the cacao negroni with pineapple rum, mezcal, and Italian vermouth. Stop by during weekday happy hour for $8 boozy slushies, daquiris, and mojitos. // 211 Helena Ave., testpilotcocktails.com

Lama Dog Tap Room & Bottle Shop

Named for owner Pete Burnham's Tibetan Mastiff, Lama (in turn named after the Dalai Lama), this tap room and bottle shop opened in 2016 is a neighborhood favorite. 20 beers and four wines on tap, along with a huge selection of specialty bottled beers available for take out or to enjoy onsite, make this a beer lover's haven. Burnham sources craft beer from all over the world, but with a heavy focus on California. A large open indoor and outdoor communal space, along with elevated street food served inside from The Nook, and you may just find yourself never wanting to leave. // 116 Santa Barbara St., lamadog.com

Cutler's Artisan Spirits

Cutler's Artisan Spirits is Santa Barbara's first legal distillery. Proprietor Ian Cutler is carrying on his family's tradition, crafting boutique spirits with local and organic ingredients. Don't miss the popular 33 Bourbon Whiskey or Grandma Tommie's Apple Pie Liqueur. // 137 Anacapa St. D, cutlersartisan.com

Pearl Social

Officially opening on November 1st, Acme Hospitality's newest venture includes artisanal drinks and live music inside a revamped, swanky warehouse setting. Claim a seat atop a pink velvet chair under the chandeliers and sip on daring and timeless cocktails—or round up a group and share a punch bowl—and munch on snacks including smoked trout dip and caramelized cauliflower while listening to nearly nightly music offerings ranging from jazz to pianists. // 131 Anacapa St., pearlsocialsb.com

Figueroa Mountain Brewery

With a casual vibe and sun-drenched patio, this happening taproom next door to Cutler's draws beer lovers with its rotating list of craft brews from the popular Figueroa Mountain Brewery in Santa Ynez. Regular happy hours, live music, and noms from Lucky Penny make it a favorite spot among locals. // 137 Anacapa St. F, figmtnbrew.com

Shops & Things to Do in the Funk Zone

The Blue Door

Behind the large blue doors of this three-story shop awaits a hodgepodge of vintage and modern furniture, accessories, trinkets, and art. Pick up a vintage Louis Vuitton bag or a midcentury modern coffee table—new finds turn up daily. // 4 E. Yanonali St., thebluedoorsb.com

Stabiles Mobile

Truck culture has even caught on in Santa Barbara. Between tastings along the Urban Wine Trail, pop into this tiny shop on wheels for trinkets and housewares—everything from air plants to handmade jewelry and alpaca throws—curated by artist Samuel Guzmán. The mobile boutique makes stops in other parts of town, but usually parks in the Funk Zone on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Plus, meander a couple blocks up State Street to Downtown Santa Barbara to grab goods from Stabiles' brick and mortar outpost. // 715-799 Anacapa St., stabilessantabarbara.com

MOXI, The Wolf Museum of Exploration + Innovation

Opened in 2017, this playful museum offers hands on creative and scientific exhibits for kids and kids at heart alike. Ogle at views of Santa Barbara from the rooftop Sky Garden, step inside a massive guitar or make your own sounds in the Sound Track exhibit, or check out temporary art installations, including Environmental Graphiti, a series of digital art pieces highlighting the impact of climate change by Alisa Singer. // 125 State St., moxi.org

Seaside Makers Collective

After snacking on tacos at Mony's, head next door to Seaside Makers Collective, your one stop shop for locally made bath products, art, gifts, and accessories—think leather goods, a Grapeseed Company create your own scent bar, and diamond necklaces. If you're feeling crafty, stop by for a macramé or succulent wreath workshop. // 209 Anacapa St., seasidemakers.com

Stay: Hotels in Santa Barbara's Funk Zone

The Wayfarer

Calling all recent college grads and vacation-starved engineers: The Wayfarer caters to all budgets with dorm-style shared rooms, in addition to 31 private rooms, for a vibe that's fresh and playful. A community kitchen, organized pub crawls, lawn games, and wine tours guarantee you'll reconnect with your fellow humans. // 12 E Montecito St., pacificahotels.com

Hotel Indigo

Located on State Street just a block from the beach and Stearn's Wharf, this 41-room boutique hotel is a chic and convenient homebase for any stay in Santa Barbara. The stylish rooms are on the smaller side, but rooftop patios, free Wi-Fi, and accommodation for pets sweeten the deal. // 121 State St., indigosantabarbara.com

Hotel Californian

Housed inside a Spanish Colonial Revival style building, Hotel Californian, opened in 2017, boasts 121 stylish rooms by celebrity designer Martyn Lawrence Bullard, complete with hand painted Moroccan tiles and views of the Pacific and Santa Ynez Mountains. Before a day exploring the Funk Zone, soak up some SoCal sun and take a dip in the rooftop pool; munch on farm-to-table Mediterranean inspired dishes and sip craft cocktails at Blackbird, Hotel Californian's onsite restaurant; or build your own beach ready picnic basket and grab cold pressed juices at Goat Tree. // 36 State St., hotelcalifornian.com


// For upcoming events and art walks (5-8pm, Nov. 15, 2019) as well as a neighborhood map, go to funkzone.net.

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