Top 15 California destinations
Image 3 of 16
Top 15( Richard Derk / Los Angeles Times )
THE COLD SPRING TAVERN San Marcos Pass, Santa Barbara County
This is more than a tavern. Born as a stagecoach stop in the 1880s, the Cold Spring sits in the mountains 10 miles outside Santa Barbara on California 154. Owned by the Ovington family since 1941, the property includes an upscale restaurant (with buffalo, venison and rabbit and other dinner entrees at $17.50 to $28.50); and a rustic bar with a massive stone fireplace at one end. Most Sunday afternoons, the bar and patio fill with blues lovers and bikers (many of them Santa Barbara millionaires in disguise). They gather around the acoustic duo Tom Ball and Kenny Sultan, who have played here for more than 15 years. Order a tri-tip sandwich ($7.95) from the oak pit rig around the side. Wash it down with a can of Coors ($3) or one of the four California brews on draft (up to $7). Guard your seat. Some summer Sundays, 400 of those tri-tip sandwiches are sold. Info: Cold Spring Tavern, (805) 967-0066, www.coldspringtavern.com.