The brewing scene in Santa Barbara is constantly growing – starting at around 26 breweries and beer bars in the county! With places spreading from Goleta to Carpinteria, there are plenty of options to choose from. Below, I have provided a guide to the best beer bars and breweries in Santa Barbara that are loved by locals. Cheers!


Institution Ale Company, is known for hosting a lively crowd almost everyday of the week. This spot on State Street is drawing in customers by the hordes because of the fast service, comfort food, and delicious beer. With almost 20 brews on tap at a time, there is something for everyone – not to mention the budget friendly prices!


At Night Lizard Brewing Company, you can enjoy a cold beer, have Patxi’s Pizza delivered to your table, and watch Planet Earth. It doesn’t get much better than that! This local brewery in Santa Barbara also has great values: they donate 10 percent of all proceeds towards wildlife conservation. At Night Lizard, you can drink beer and help save the planet!


One of Santa Barbara’s largest outdoor patios can be found at Modern Times, an employee-owned brewery. Located behind Shaker Mill cocktail bar, this tasting room offers an experience: unique decor, a large variety of draft beers, and an entirely plant-based food menu!


This award-winning brewing company is situated only a block from the beach and is located right next to the train tracks in Carpinteria. Island Brewing Company gives off a very “locals vibe” but the staff are some of the friendliest in the county! Here, you can enjoy a very laid-back taproom with a few select (and delicious) draft beers to choose from. Check their website for any updates on the live music calendar.


Brass Bear Brewing & Bistro is a small spot that can be found in the popular Funk Zone area of Santa Barbara. They serve a variety of locally-sourced craft beers as well as sparkling wines. I highly suggest trying their food menu as well, they serve a range of options such as charcuterie plates, burgers, glazed pork belly, and more!

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