The Funk Zone gets a lot of love in Santa Barbara, but right across the 101 freeway, another pocket is worth exploring thanks to Matt Chrestenson and brother Ben. They’ve owned Union Ale gastropub there since 2009, and in 2015, added Rebar Coffee.
Santa Barbara’s specialty coffee scene has come on strong in the past few years thanks to options like The French Press and Handlebar Coffee Roasters, and Rebar is certainly in that conversation. The welcoming space features exposed brick walls and wood rafters, a Victoria Arduino espresso machine, and several handles devoted to cold brew. Rebar features single-origin coffee from roasters like Stumptown and Heart. Your best bet is to try them all, for variety, value, and caffeine’s sake, as part of a Cold Brew Flight ($3.50).
During my visit, I experienced ramekins of Stumptown Rwanda Huye Mountain, Stumptown Guatemala Santa Clara, Refugio Roasters Ethiopia, and a Cold Brew Vanilla Latte flavored with a syrup of sugar and vanilla. The flight allows you to get a better sense for each roaster, and each coffee growing region, without having to commit to a full pour. Bonus: each flight also comes with a refreshing tumbler of sparkling green tea.