A New Watering Hole Opens on montecito Street

Train tracks are one of those clichéd symbols; and, as is
usually the case, this cliché has become a cliché because something
about it rings true: tracks divide a town, and, oftentimes, the
scene you’ll find on either side. And so it is in Santa Barbara.
“Downtown” — State Street and its long lines, pricey drinks, and
high tourist quotient — ends abruptly at the train station, and
crossing those tracks on Montecito Street lands you in an entirely
different Santa Barbara. A Santa Barbara populated almost
exclusively by locals, a Santa Barbara where $5 will get you a beer
and change, a Santa Barbara bereft of bouncers, a Santa Barbara
where parking … well, okay, parking still can be quite a pain in
the ass. The much beloved local hangout The Brewhouse has long had
a corner on the neighborhood’s beer-drinking,
excellent-yet-cheapish-food-grubbing, live-music-grooving market,
but, with the recent opening of a new gathering place, locals
suddenly have another equally compelling reason to cross the
tracks. Located on the corner of Montecito and Bath streets, The
Neighborhood, a massive, 5,000-square-foot bar (and soon-to-be
restaurant), had its official opening “bar warming” party on Friday
night, and judging by the attendance, word has already gotten out.
The owners, David and Leah Burkholder, also own the Blue Collar
Bistro, a cool, narrow space located between The Neighborhood and
The Brewhouse; however, with the opening of The Neighborhood,
they’ve opted to shut down the BCB for a while — the grand plan is
to turn what was once the BCB into The Neighborhood’s kitchen. When
I arrived at The Neighborhood, I quickly located Leah and Brian and
went over to congratulate them, but Brian had more important things
to do — like shower. He built nearly every piece of furniture by
hand, and said that, as of Friday morning, almost all of it had yet
to be moved inside. When he returned, all freshened up and still
fueled by a potent adrenaline cocktail, he gave me a tour of the
outside area, which he plans to turn into a dining patio, and
showed me what walls will have to come down in order to accommodate
the kitchen-to-be. My husband, who’d been busy making ga-ga eyes at
the enormous flat-screen TV located above the beautiful bar,
eventually tore himself away and joined us, but the two
six-foot-plus boys immediately settled into one of the
big-and-tall-friendly booths and sank into a deep conversation,
bonding over tools, TVs, legroom, and I don’t know what else (Leah,
an Uggs employee by day, and I talked shoes). Before long, the
place was packed, and the peeps in the ’Hood were loving their new
home. As ever, look for more Peeps at independent.com. Got cool
news, hot tips, juicy gossip? Write to shannon@independent.com.


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