Best of Santa Barbara® 2020
by Leslie Dinaberg
Richie’s Barber Shop
“Thank you to everyone who voted for us. We are truly honored to have been voted the best again,” said Jessica Jay, barber and event coordinator at Richie’s Barber Shop. “This year has been tough, to say the least; therefore, we feel all of our small businesses in the community are the best. Hang in there — we are in this together!”
Runner-Up: Arturo’s Barbershop and Hair Salon
Now in its 25th year of providing expert coloring and cuts for men and women, Salon Patine is Indy readers’ choice for this year’s Best Hair Salon. Owners Sarah Van Bourgondien and Rob Hofberg said that 2020’s pandemic pivot made them realize how important social media is to keep their clients and staff connected. Their business philosophy? “Do what you do, and do it the best!”
Runner-Up: The Color Room
3623 State St.; (805) 687-0449
With a menu of just about every type of nail service imaginable (manicures, pedicures, gels, acrylics, French tips, nail art, and pink and white full sets and fill-ins), the friendly San Roque neighborhood salon Modern Nails has nailed it as this year’s Best Of winner.
Runner-Up: Ocean Nails & Spa
“Being the best is recognition that our level of service goes above and beyond what one might expect,” said owner Christine Starr, whose business was shut down from March until September because of the pandemic. “It has been very tough. Personal care services such as ours have been amongst the hardest hit, but of course safety is of utmost importance.” Upon the recent reopening, her clients were “welcomed with open arms!”
Runner-Up: Sweet Cheeks
Indy readers’ top tattoo shop for the third year in a row, 805 Ink has been providing high-quality tattoo art to our town since 2008. “Every artist has such a great, unique style, and they really care about the integrity of the work that they do,” said reader Kasey. “They are beyond friendly, talented, and make sure that you are comfortable through the process,” said Yolanda, another satisfied customer.
Runner-Up: Golden Eagle Tattoo
Spa Ojai at Ojai Valley Inn
“We are deeply honored to be recognized by the Santa Barbara community, especially during this difficult time,” said Kate Morrison, director of wellness and sustainability. “Our team of wellness professionals is committed to delivering thoughtful and intuitive body therapy and skin-care services in a safe, spacious, and blissful environment. We thank you for your continuing support of Spa Ojai. After this period of uncertainty, we look forward to welcoming our guests back to Spa Ojai for peace, relaxation, and recovery.”
Runner-Up: The Spa at The Ritz-Carlton Bacara
Float Luxury Day Spa
“Thank you so much, Santa Barbara, for once again naming Float Luxury Spa as the Best Day Spa,” said owner Natalie Rowe. “During these stressful times, I think we all realize more than ever the importance of self-care, human touch, and relaxation through massage, facials, and body treatments. We absolutely love what we do and are ready to welcome you back in for some much-needed pampering and relaxation!”
Runner-Up: Evolutions Medical & Day Spa
Evolutions Medical & Day Spa
“The staff is professional, well-trained and friendly, very caring, and patient…. They are always welcoming,” said Linda, a reader who voted for Evolutions Medical & Day Spa. “Being named the best is validation of the hard work our whole staff puts in every day to make the experience our clients have with us the best it can possibly be. We really appreciate it,” said managing partner Brian Perkins.
Runner-Up: G Spa
Place to Get a Facial
Owned by Tina Hasche and operated by her and her two sisters, Nina Meyer and Gina McKee, Skin Deep was excited to be chosen once again as the Best Place to Get a Facial. “The best for us represents every smile and thank you from each and every one of our customers and clients,” said the trio. “To be recognized with this honor for 20 years running is truly a heartfelt gift for our entire Skin Deep family.”
Runner-Up: Evolutions Medical & Day Spa
Lovebird Boutique and Jewelry
Earning Best Of honors for the fourth year in a row, new Lovebird owners Nancy Burgner and Peter Gaum said, “Our mission is to continue Lovebird’s tradition of offering a thoughtful selection of fun, affordable fashion for all ages. Being named best tells us that our shoppers appreciate our fashion aesthetic, cozy environment, friendly and helpful styling service and can always count on Lovebird to find something for themselves or a gift for a friend.”
Alpha Thrift Stores
“Thank you to our donors and customers for your continued support of our thrift stores since 1969,” said Cory Sherman, director of finance and thrift store operations. “Your patronage helps us to support our mission of empowering individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities by supporting families, creating opportunities, and fostering belonging. Alpha promotes a positive relationship within our community by encouraging a value system that celebrates all people. We could not do it without you!”
Runner-Up: Assistance League of Santa Barbara
Specializing in colorful, kitschy items that are sure to spark smiles, Lynn Morrison’s downtown treasure box is Indy readers’ top vintage store. “Thank you so much, Santa Barbara, for all of the votes and great encouragement through some challenging times we’re all experiencing,” said Morrison. “I do feel very fortunate that Punch encourages some of my favorite activities: shopping and decorating. It also allows me the opportunity to meet all kinds of cool and interesting people in the process.”
Runner-Up: Lazy Eye Shop
Crossroads Trading Company
“We’ve had to pivot in many ways, and while it’s been challenging, we are happy to do it,” said Lia Finkelstein, senior district manager for Crossroads Trading Company, the top choice for consignment shop. “From amending store hours and implementing capacity limits to mandatory mask and safety protocols, we are just happy to be able to operate and offer some small sense of normalcy to our community who wishes to continue to shop and recycle their wardrobes.”
Runner-Up: The Closet Trading Co.
Ablitt’s Fine Cleaners & Launderers
With eco-friendly, customer-forward service and free delivery, Ablitt’s has consistently been the top pick for dry cleaning. “At Ablitt’s, we believe we have the best customers and live in the best town, and we are proud to serve Santa Barbara,” said owner Sasha Ablitt. “I feel blessed to live in this community, and I am inspired by the resiliency, innovation, and creativity I have seen in so many local businesses, and people, since the pandemic hit.”
Runner-Up: Eco Friendly Cleaners
Our readers once again picked Lee’s Tailoring as tops with accolades such as “superb tailoring, nice people, great service,” “excellent work and customer service,” “quality workmanship,” and “consistently excellent tailoring!” Lee Thompson’s shop has been on the Best Of list since he opened in 1991. Experts in the art of zipper repair and alteration services, Lee’s will give your favorite clothes a new lease on life.
Runner-Up: Stitch Witch Alterations
Praised by reader Holly for having a “great selection and friendly staff,” Goleta’s favorite big-box retailer has won top honors for its eyewear selection once again. The department offers high-quality and good-value selections, with name brands like Ray-Ban, Kate Spade, Maui Jim, Oakley, Foster Grant, and Kirkland Signature frames, as well as contact lenses.
Runner-Up: Occhiali Eyewear
“We are so happy to be part of our neighborhoods and look forward to continuing to share our love of eyewear with Santa Barbara,” said Irwin Eve, optician and co-owner of Occhiali Eyewear. “We specialize in the curation of unique frames from around the world and celebrate the artisans who have decided to make glasses their craft.” After 33 years as a local small business, Eve said, “We continue to feel the support of the community and wish to honor our customers’ trust.”
Runner-Up: Sunglass Hut
The Walking Company
Readers’ kudos such as “best selection of the most comfortable shoes I have ever found,” “great shoes for people with foot problems,” “comfortable shoes, great selection,” and “stylish shoes that are good for your feet” are what make The Walking Company this year’s choice for the best shoes in Santa Barbara. Their “best price guarantee” to match the deals at other authorized retailers is another assurance that you can feel comfortable stepping into The Walking Company for your footwear needs.
Bryant & Sons
The esteemed Bryant & Sons, which opened its flagship State Street location in 1965 and added a Montecito store in 2001, is once again the top pick for jewelry. “Thank you, Santa Barbara, for voting us best again,” said Mike Bryant, who’s run the day-to-day operations of the family business since 1981. “We have been in business 56 years and intend to be around for many more. The Independent award means a lot to us, and I appreciate the support and recognition.”
Runner-Up: Patco Jewelers
* This asterisk indicates the winner won in multiple categories.