The hip Funk Zone neighborhood, packed with wine tasting rooms, distilleries, restaurants, galleries and shops, has yet another new incarnation on the horizon — a creative hub that reflects a lot less funk and much more spunk. Here are few examples.
Wolf Museum of Exploration + Innovation (MOXI)
Scheduled to open in January 2017, MOXI aims “to ignite learning through interactive activities in science and creativity” for curious minds of all ages, from pre-K to gray.
MOXI holds more than 70 interactive exhibits in 17,000 feet of flexible space on three floors. CEO Steve Hinkley explains that exhibits are interconnected, for good reason. “Science is a very integrated theme. People can explore themes in concert with one another and get connections between these areas. For example, the relationship between music and electricity.” Areas include The Tech Track, Innovation Lab, Sound Track, Fantastic Forces, Light and Color, and interactive media spaces. The Speed and Motion exhibit is sure to become a favorite—you can build a car, put it on a conveyor belt and race it on a Tesla race track. “The data is populated on an iPad, so participants can learn that changing things like mass and length can alter results,” explains Hinkley. Moxi.org, 125 State St.
Once a 10,000-square-foot industrial warehouse plot, the Waterline is now an interconnected complex with food, craft beer and wine, and local artisans within a vast shared space.
Two Waterline tenants opened in summer 2016: Lama Dog Tap Room and Bottle Shop, with craft beer and wine on tap plus specialty bottles for purchase, and The Nook, a casual order-at-the-counter restaurant, the brainchild of co-owner and longtime local favorite Master Chef Norbert Schulz. The menu (think gourmet burgers and small plates) is designed to complement the beer and wine served by other vendors at the complex.
The remaining tenants opened in fall 2016. Topa Topa Brewing Company, a craft brewery based in Ventura, opened a second tasting room and brewery at Waterline. Local winemaker Blair Fox and his wife Sarah also opened a second tasting room (their original is in Los Olivos) to pour samples from their two wine labels, Fox Wine Company and Blair Fox Cellars.
The Guilded Table arts and crafts collective rounds out the collection of vendors. Here, the public can view and interact with eight artists as they design and produce wares in various media, including fashion design, leather goods, jewelry, photography and textiles. Waterlinesb.com, 120 Santa Barbara St.
In Spanish, a loquita is a playful, fun-loving young girl—a fitting name for a new restaurant that pays homage to Santa Barbara’s historic connections to Spain. “We’re the gateway to The Funk Zone, right across from MOXI and the train station, and the first restaurant you see when you walk up State Street from Stearns Wharf,” says general manager Skyler Gamble. The menu presents authentic Spanish food and beverages made with fresh local ingredients: tapas, wood-fired seafood, grilled meats, three types of paella, Spanish wines, cocktails and sangria. Loquitasb.com, 202 State St.
This story was originally published in the winter 2016/17 issue of Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine.