After Erin Kanaley had twin sons in 2018, the self-described workaholic—she started her career at Facebook and then pursued interests in cannabis, wine, tech, and private aviation—marveled at how dramatically her life had changed. She and her husband, a director at Procore, both worked from home, and by the time Covid came along, she was even more convinced that something was missing in the market: a stress-free place for parents to hang out with their children.
“Anytime you go anywhere with kids, you’re always on guard: don’t go there, don’t touch that,” she says. “When you sit down at a restaurant, you’re given a fork, knife, and a glass of water—not exactly ideal for a toddler! You’re just never comfortable.”
She began jotting down wouldn’t-it-be-great-if notes about all the things she’d like in her dream place, and then she made it happen—no small feat in a city that doesn’t exactly encourage innovation. The result is Bungalo805, opening February 1. “It’s a cross between an airport lounge, hotel lobby, bar, spa, daycare, and someone’s house,” says Kanaley. “And there’s no need to schedule a playdate or clean up afterward.”
With help from MN Studio and Bottenfield Construction, the 5,000-square-foot building on W. Figueroa (State/Chapala) was transformed into a cool private club for all ages. (There was no choice but to be membership-based, due to the Type 57 liquor license.) Members pay an initiation fee, monthly dues, and an annual renewal fee to help replace furniture and supplies. What that covers: access to the space, of course, as well as self-service food and beverages and programming from the likes of Yellow Bird Music, My Gym, Santa Barbara Dance Arts, Apples to Zucchini Cooking School, the Santa Barbara Zoo, the Crafter’s Library, and more. When there’s no programming, staff members help keep kids entertained. And members can pay extra for food and beverages ordered from the café, as well as services such as massages, chiropractic adjustments, pelvic floor therapy, valet parking, and mani-pedis. (You can’t leave your kids and go run errands, at least not yet. “We’re working toward it,” says Kanaley.)
The ground floor features the Family Room; the Members’ Kitchen, with self-service snacks and drinks; and the Full Café, a restaurant-style kitchen with one menu for adults and kids, alcoholic beverages (including craft cocktails on tap), and no forks, knifes, or glass. And there’s even a back entrance to the public parking lot.
Upstairs, meanwhile, you’ll find the Playpen, an area with programming for kids, whether from staffers or outside partners; the Toy Bar, where books and toys can be checked out; the Media Room; an Art Lab stocked with supplies; nooks to simply chill; and the Boobie Lounge, where mothers can pump milk, warm bottles, and/or make use of jewelry-cleaning and foot-massage machines. And a small adults-only deck has a terrific view.
It’s a complex endeavor, to be sure, but Kanaley appears to have thought of everything and more: gates at every threshold, free house socks (no outside shoes are allowed), touch-up stations by the entrances, a kiosk of free fresh flowers, and a forthcoming parklet for stroller and bike parking. Still to be determined is exactly how many members will be allowed—the goal is that there will always be a seat available for anyone who walks in.
For a full description of the amenities and rates, visit bungalo805.com.
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