A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! by Leslie Dinaberg |
Tucked back in the beautiful courtyard space at 1129-A State St. is a great new place that is quickly becoming one of my favorite new hangouts. Armada Wine & Beer Merchant is the brainchild of Jaime Heer and Tucker Huget, co-owners, the two darling young businesswomen have created a comfortable yet sophisticated place to sip wine and beer from around the world.
“We love Santa Barbara County wines, but it’s fun to expand our horizons a little,” says, Heer, who became friendly with Huget when the two worked together at Carr Winery. Since then they’ve both learned a whole lot about beer while putting together the rotating menu of small‐production wines and craft beers from around the globe. Cheese and Charcuterie plates are also available.
Armada opened just last month, but I’ve already been there a few times and have shared tastes with friends, who also give the place a unanimous thumbs up.
The 2011 Santa Carolina Chardonnay from Chile is delightful, as is the fresh flavor of the 2011 Mulderbosch Chenin Blanc from South Africa. The 2012 Tensley Syrah from Santa Barbara County is yummy, and the bubbly Medici Ermete Lambrusco Prosecco from Italy put a smile on my face. All of these wines are available by the glass or the bottle. And the nice thing is that “merchant” part of Armada Wine & Beer Merchant name means you can buy everything you taste, at very reasonable prices!
When I ask about what they’ve learned since starting the business, Huget says, “Above serving great wine and beer we find that customer service is of utmost importance. Our goal is to provide our guests with a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere where they can unwind with a delicious beverage while receiving friendly, genuine and attentive service.”
They’ve certainly achieved that goal. The serene and airy space—designed by the talented Sarah McFadden of McFadden Design Group—feels like yet another welcoming hostess, beckoning guests to sit down and sip at the bar or enjoy the comforts of home with lounge seating and larger tables as well as good tunes and free Wi-Fi if you want to bring your laptop.
“We wanted to create a space for people like us, people that like to drink the good stuff; red, white, pink, bubbles and beer from all around the world,” say the owners, who say they got some stress relief and decompression time while sipping “Nacho’s Lemonades” on the patio at Playa Azul during the planning stages.
They are in the midst of booking some awesome winemaker and brewer events. Visit their website and like them on Facebook for updates on upcoming events and happenings at Armada, which is open Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 1-9 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays from 1-11 p.m. and Sundays from 1-6 p.m. (closed Tuesdays).
Hope to see you there!
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When she’s not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie considers herself a “goal-oriented drinker.”