BizHawk: Riviera Bar Opens in Santa Barbara, Bringing New Vibe to Former Sportsman Site


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BizHawk: Riviera Bar Opens in Santa Barbara, Bringing New Vibe to Former Sportsman Site

One of Santa Barbara's iconic sports bars has returned. The Sportsman has been recast as the Riviera Bar.

The Riviera Bar is next to the alley and Savoy restaurant at 20 W. Figueroa St. After a soft opening on Thursday, it officially opens on Friday.

For decades, the Sportsman possessed the grit of an old-fashioned bar, where drinkers would delight in their beverage of choice in the middle of the day, and take long drags of smoke in the nearby dingy alley. The Sportsman closed in 2018, but then the owners moved the business to the 1200 block of State Street.

The new place has a new vibe. 

"With a restored midcentury interior, Riviera will be serving strong drinks, classic and house cocktails, handpicked wines and California beers," a news release states. "The food menu features snacks, salads and plates, including the signature double cheeseburger." Owner Kevin Boss has been the principal in the former Paradise Cafe and in Shoreline Cafe. Operating partner Jim Mishler, manager Oliver Davis and office manager Karen Collyer are also Paradise veterans. 

Riviera Bar is open from 4:30 p.m. to close daily. Seating is first come, first served and is limited to adults age 21 or older.

Fatte's Pizza Opens

A few doors down from Chubbies Hamburgers in Santa Barbara is a new place for those who enjoy a high-calorie meal.

Fatte's Pizza opened last week at 2480 De la Vina St.

Owner Obniel Ariza offers "buy one pizza, get one free." He also serves salads, sandwiches, wings and drinks. 

BizHawk: Riviera Bar Opens in Santa Barbara, Bringing New Vibe to Former Sportsman Site BizHawk: Riviera Bar Opens in Santa Barbara, Bringing New Vibe to Former Sportsman Site

Fatte’s Pizza, owned by Obniel Ariza, recently opened on De la Vina Street in Santa Barbara. (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo)

The company is a chain with locations in San Luis Obispo County. Ariza manages another location in Santa Maria.

"I did a soft opening," he said. "I don't have any employees yet."

He said he likes to make people happy with his pizzas.

He worked at a Grover Beach Fatte's for a few years as a cook before starting his own in Santa Maria.

"We're going to slowly get some business," he said. 

Ariza's restaurant faces De la Vina Street, in the same shopping center as Presto Pasta.

"It was a good place to open a business in Santa Barbara," he said.

Draughtsmen and Deckers Team Up

Draughtsmen Aleworks has partnered with Deckers and Santa Barbara Better Together to create awareness and raise funds for small local businesses, according to a news release. 

BizHawk: Riviera Bar Opens in Santa Barbara, Bringing New Vibe to Former Sportsman Site BizHawk: Riviera Bar Opens in Santa Barbara, Bringing New Vibe to Former Sportsman Site

Draughtsmen Aleworks and Deckers, in partnership with Santa Barbara Better Together, created a co-branded beer with proceeds donated to benefit small businesses. (Courtesy photo)

A fundraising event is scheduled from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday at Draughtsmen at Mosaic Locale, 1131 State St.

“Draughtsmen Aleworks was supported during a difficult time with a grant from the Santa Barbara Better Together Fund," said Tami Snow, partner at Draughtsmen Aleworks. "This charity beer series allows us to give back to our community in a very personal and meaningful way. Our partnership with SBBT is exciting and just the beginning of positively affecting the health and well-being of other local businesses and nonprofits.”

SBBT is a fund of the Santa Barbara Foundation that has granted more than $1 million to support more than 150 small businesses throughout Santa Barbara County that were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Draughtsmen was an early recipient of an SBBT grant, and after that grant, it started a dialogue with Deckers, which seeded the initial grant program. The companies have created a co-branded beer that they are selling and donating the proceeds of the four-packs and giving back $1 per pint in the taprooms, the news release states.

The goal of the event is to create awareness for the program and raise at least an additional $10,000. The event will have live music, authentic Argentinian empanadas and barbecue serving tri-tip and chiripa sandwiches from Buena Onda. The Crush Bar will be selling wine with a percentage of sales that will benefit Santa Barbara Better Together.

New Tasting Room at The Hilt

The Hilt Estate, producer of JONATA and The Hilt wines, has opened its highly anticipated tasting room, The Barn at The Hilt Estate, according to a news release.

BizHawk: Riviera Bar Opens in Santa Barbara, Bringing New Vibe to Former Sportsman Site BizHawk: Riviera Bar Opens in Santa Barbara, Bringing New Vibe to Former Sportsman Site

The Hilt Estate has opened The Barn tasting room. (Courtesy photo)

The winery was designed by architect Howard Backen and Silvia Nobili of the firm Backen & Gillam Architects, with interiors by Amber Lewis of Amber Interiors Design Studio. The venue will offer one of the region’s most diverse lineups of wine "in a space that overflows with sophisticated yet unassuming California farmhouse elegance," the news release states.

The Hilt Estate, 2240 Santa Rosa Road in Lompoc, is located a few miles from the Pacific Ocean, in the far southwest corner of the Sta. Rita Hills AVA winegrowing region and is comprised of three vineyards — Bentrock, Radian and Puerta del Mar. The property consists of a large tree-lined hill and vineyard extending outward. 

The winery is a state-of-the-art, 50,000-square-foot gravity fed winemaking facility, a new release states. 

The Barn at The Hilt Estate will initially offer four tasting options, which are fully tailored to the guests’ preferences. Tasting fees begin at $50 per person and average $85. Upon making a reservation, guests will be contacted by a wine expert to determine their interests and facilitate a memorable wine experience.

Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.