State Street’s Drift Hotel Has Opened

••• The Drift hotel on State (Cota/Haley) has opened, along with its café and bar. Based on photos that have popped up online, the interiors by Anacapa Architecture look cool, depending on how you feel about no wall between the bed and bathroom. (The toilet presumably gets some privacy.) And the café and bar basically share the same space, so if you want to drink your coffee there, you’ll be in a room that feels like a bar. There’s minimal staff at the 45-room hotel, so you can expect “contactless check-in” (and when you try calling, like I did, you’ll probably end up talking to someone at the sister property in San José del Cabo) and paying extra for housekeeping (something that’s only mentioned on the FAQ page). Rates are around $225 on weekdays and $350 on weekends through March, then move up to around $300 and $475, respectively; a $225 rate entails around $25 more in taxes and fees, for a total of $250. The exterior shots below are by me, while the others are from the hotel’s website. (UPDATE: The hotel’s PR team didn’t want me to run the images from the website, so you’ll have to go there to see them; approved ones have been added here.)

••• From the Montecito Fire Department: “A wildfire detection camera is now installed on Ortega Ridge in Montecito, providing coverage of the eastern portion of the Santa Barbara front country. […] The camera provides 24/7 ‘eyes’ on the fire-prone hillsides. The camera can be equipped with artificial intelligence technology that is capable of alerting firefighters of new fire starts within minutes of ignition. The camera views are publicly available so that community members can gain a better understanding of where a fire is burning.  The Ortega Ridge camera can be viewed at this link.”

••• L.A.-based interior designer Amber Lewis teased on Instagram that she might be opening a shop—er, Shoppe—in Santa Barbara. There’s one at the Marin Country Mart, which makes the Montecito Country Mart a leading contender.

••• The Santa Barbara Bowl announced two more shows: James Taylor on May 31 and Van Morrison on September 16. This year’s lineup is shaping up to be no less lily-white than last year’s.

••• Commercial real estate agent Caitlin Hensel reports that Urgent Veterinary Care of Santa Barbara is opening next month at 2821 De La Vina Street (across from Grocery Outlet): “the urgent care will be just like it is for humans—so things that can’t wait weeks, but not emergency ER situations.”

••• The other day, the city’s Architectural Board of Review discussed the complicated hotel project—it’s spread out over three non-contiguous lots—on W. Montecito Street between Castillo and Bath. The agenda item was specifically about 311 W. Montecito, but the description explained how the hotel will work: “Proposal for a new two-story, 3,852-square-foot hotel containing three units. Each hotel unit would include a kitchenette, living room, two bedrooms, and outdoor space. Hotel amenities including drop off, check in, concierge, etc. would be provided at 302 W. Montecito St., the primary hotel location. Parking would also be provided at 302 W. Montecito St. via a shared parking agreement.”

••• Well done, city of Santa Barbara: You wouldn’t let the wonderful little building at the corner of Milpas and Anapamu become a Handlebar café, so now it’s a Smog It.


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Oh my god. I wish you were kidding about the Anapamu/Milpas location. What awful news! ?


Saw what is now the new smog place yesterday and I’m at a loss for words. What the heck?!! Disgusted.


So glad the Handlebars backed out. As a neighbor this area is not suited for a busy coffee shop or traffic with more than 5 vehicles. The high school students learning to drive (2 wrecks myself from students) and the concert season parking limitations onsite and virtually no street parking I welcome the Smog-it shop and will use them when needed.


What a bizarre and mean spirited way to refer to a wonderful local couple who run two great shops, know all their customers by name, and offer a damn good cup of coffee.


It took me only 2 visits to decide I would never put another penny in that till. Pip pip!


I agree with BW. You will never meet a nicer, harder working, caring couple as the owners of Handlebar. Christine, I’m sorry you don’t like them and perhaps you like to support large national chains over local businesses but a lot of us like and support Handlebar. I thought the Milpas location was perfect for another version of Handlebar. Too bad it didn’t work out.


How on earth did this happen? What a horrible waste of a wonderful space. Very sad for the area as it seems like Milpas gets no respect! It’s right smack in the middle of a residential area. Boo!

Dan O.

To those that think this is horrible consider this. From the looks of it I believe it was built as a gas station so it’s original design. And as for Smog-it, I have nothing but praise for this business. They smog my truck every two years and about ten years ago it failed. Tom offered to make the repairs but I took it to my mechanic. That guy said it needed new fuel injectors and it would be $1,200. I took it back to Tom and he said it was more like $500. Oh, and this was New Years Eve, he did the repairs and it came out to $525. I believe you folks that need an honest mechanic are lucky to have him right there.