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First Timer’s Guide: The Funk Zone, Santa Barbara

Wine tasting, breweries, and many cute instagrammable places to snap a pic with your friends; if this all sounds like a fun day to you, then you need to head over to the “Funk Zone” in downtown Santa Barbara. The Funk Zone comes complete with boutique tasting rooms, galleries, cafes, and shops to show off downtown’s more contemporary side.

But before diving into the local stops, you are going to need a plan. So here are just a few of our recommendations for all you first timer’s out there!

Image via Google Images

For The Wine Lovers

Santa Barbara Winery:

This is the place to go if you love to taste and talk. The pourers always have a smile on their face and thoroughly describe each wine. You can sip your wine at the bar, or take it around to the back to hang out under the twinkle lights that are surrounded by barrels of wine; aka, perfect instagram spot!

Riverbench Winery:

Riverbench Winery is a friendly and social environment where you can lounge and enjoy a glass of wine from their wide range of options. You can tell that the employees are passionate about their wine, and they are very helpful with making the right selection. As you sip your wine, conversations are flowing left and right, and making friends here just comes naturally.

For The Beer Enthusiasts

Topa Topa Brewing:

This was my first Funk Zone experience after I came to Santa Barbara. I’d call it the social butterfly, filled with people enjoying their time with friends. They have a great variety of beers on tap, and for a pretty good price if I do say so myself. I will always have a place in my heart for Topa Topa because great memories are made here!

Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co.

Here we have a traditional brewing house filled with good people and good beer. You are able to do a beer tasting, or just order from their vast selection of beers! The outdoor patio embraces the beautiful Santa Barbara weather, and if you get lucky, you can enjoy some great live music as well!

Food Cravings

Lucky Penny:

If you are looking for some great pizza with a side of refreshing frozé, then check out Lucky Penny. The building is covered in pennies, so you won’t be able to miss this little hole in the wall. And if you are feeling like a little snack, they also serve soft pretzels and homemade potato chips that are to die for!

Les Marchands Wine Bar & Merchant:

This spot is perfect if you want a little bit of both. You have endless options from their walls of wine as well as their specialty, cheese and charcuterie plates which are truly divine! Come here for lunch, dinner, or even as your pre-dinner course. Les Marchands has a range of options sure to please your whole group!

Lama Dog Tap Room

They have it all when it comes to tasty food, friendly ambiance and great beer and wine! This place makes it easy to please a group who wants both food and drinks. There’s everything from fries to lobster mac and cheese to indulge your cravings. Plus, sitting right next door to Topa Topa Brewing Co. makes it easy for you to spend hours enjoying your time.


One of our final recommendations is to walk through some of the vintage shops around the area, such as The Blue Door, which offers an array of vintage pieces, as well as products made locally here in Santa Barbara!

These are just some of the amazing destinations you can stop by when spending the day in the Funk Zone. So next time you want to head into downtown Santa Barbara with a group of friends, head over to the Funk Zone to make some lasting memories!

Adar Levy

UCSB '19

Adar is a fourth-year student at UC Santa Barbara, studying Sociology. She is an avid creative writer, podcast listener, music enthusiast, and foodie. Loving everything from fashion and lifestyle to women's empowerment, she hopes to work for a major women's publication one day. See what Adar is up to on Instagram @adarbear. 
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