A couple weeks ago I was really confused. Cruising past the former Sandman Bar & Grill on State Street at Hitchcock Way, I noticed a new, highly designed sign proclaiming it to be the new home of Downtown Brewing Co. (3744 State St.). Even the casual visitor to Santa Barbara knows that particular stretch of State Street is solidly uptown, not downtown. But what really puzzled me was the sign. Most restaurants in their infancy sport “coming soon” in vinyl lettering on temporary banners, but this sign was well established, professional.

It all started to make sense when I discovered that Downtown Brewing Co. is, in fact, downtown : downtown San Luis Obispo, that is. Open for a little bit more than a year, owners Korie and Todd Newman have already spun off the concept in not one, but two new locations. In addition to the Santa Barbara location, residents of Paso Robles are sipping Downtown’s house brews (with specials as cheap as $2).

While beer is, of course, important here, Downtown is just as concerned with entertainment. The S.L.O. location draws names as big (and diverse) as Hank Williams III and Sir Mix-a-Lot, and on the rare occasion when there isn’t live music, the brewery transitions easily into a comfortable sports bar.

Reports on when the Santa Barbara location will open are mixed, but expect to see their doors open and taps flowing sometime in the next week or two. For more information, visit downtownbrew.com.


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