A year in the life of a bar in downtown Santa Barbara is like dog years: impressive. The fickle forces of commerce, that right combination of newness and familiarity, the magical price point to draw in customers, keep them, and also to keep paying rent is a tricky thing to do. And to do it in the rapidly gentrifying and expensive Funk Zone? Well, that’s a thing all to itself.
Seven Bar celebrates its first anniversary this Saturday (starting at 1:30 p.m.). Even this place rose out of the ashes of two bars trying to make a go of it. When I asked co-owner Michael Astudillo about the possibility of drinks specials come Saturday, he said, “all the drinks are special.” Instead, get ready for music from Freakin’ on Speakers, Grooveshine and Pretty Awesome.
And while you’re there, check out the “little black book” that Mr. Astudillo and the other co-owner, Mike Gomez, have kept at the bar for customers to write down their own cocktail recipes. (You won’t be surprised that many of them have rude names. However, we are tempted by one called “Alexandra’s Mist,” so watch this space sometime in the future!)
But for now, we are going to stick with Seven Bar’s most popular drink this last year: the Seven Old Fashioned. Since they opened, they’ve been fans of High West Son of Bourye whiskey blend, and refuse to muddle anything with it. Instead, orange bitters and Luxardo bring the flavors to the rye … and you can always nibble on the garnish. It’s a glass of goodness to toast their 7th, we mean first, birthday!
SEVEN’S OLD FASHIONED
2 ounces High West Son of Bourye whiskey
1/4 ounce Sugar in the Raw simple syrup
1/4 ounce Luxardo liqueur
Dash Angostura orange bitters
Add ingredients to shaker with ice cubes.
Stir (do not shake) and strain into lowball glass with 1 extra large ice cube.
Garnish with orange slice, Luxardo maraschino cherry and regular maraschino cherry.
224 Helena Ave, Santa Barbara