The historic Cold Spring Tavern in the mountains of Santa Barbara is the oldest continuously running tavern in California. We first became aware of the tavern from a television program but realized this landmark on the Old Stagecoach Route had a rich history as a restaurant and music venue.
Cold Spring Tavern
The former stagecoach stop maintains its historic look, and as you explore the grounds, you can’t help feeling like you’re stepping back to the late 1800s.
Cold Spring Tavern has had many owners over the years and the current family has done a great job of preserving its history. Hours are meal specific:
- Breakfast is only on Saturdays and Sundays from 8am – 11am
- Lunch is daily from 11am – 3pm
- Dinner is nightly from 5pm – 9pm.
Inside the tavern is a menagerie of artifacts; Wagon wheels, old pistols, trolly car tracks, historic photos, sideboards, tables, and more. They all feel like they have their own unique and intriguing story to tell.
The tavern is lit by the beautiful glow of oil lanterns. Not only is this in keeping with the historical accuracy of the building, but it also provides a romantic ambiance.
Locally grown ingredients are used in this American-fare game inspired menu.
Log Cabin Bar
Originally a water bottling plant from 1945-1953, this log structure is now a bar and music venue. On the weekends, local bands play, while the air is filled with the delicious smells of barbeque tri-tip. Tables are set up outside to accommodate the crowds.
The end of the cabin was torn down to remove the water bottling equipment. In its place, they constructed an awesome stone fireplace.
Waiting for the neighboring tavern to open doors for dinner, we decided to relax and enjoy our surroundings with a few cocktails.
On the weekends, a table is set up outside for purchasing their famous tri-tip bbq sandwiches and onion rings.
There are several historical buildings on the property, including the Road Gang house and some ghost town Gopherville structures. This tiny two-room structure is the 0ld Ojai Jail. Built-in 1873, this cell is rumored to hold up to eleven prisoners at once.
The Bunkhouse was used for stage drivers when they stopped to add or take off horses. It is now an antique gift shop but with limited hours of operation.
Experiencing this historical and living location stirred our imagination of what it was like over a century ago. We were excited to visit Ye Cold Spring Tavern, and it exceeded our expectations. The atmosphere was lively and serene, the food was excellent, drinks were decent, and the service was friendly; We are looking forward to visiting again soon.
- Take a smaller car if possible. Parking is limited.
- Restaurant has specific hours. Plan according.
- The property is available for weddings and other special events.
- Check their website calendar (coldspringtavern.com) for updated bands and events.