As you can probably tell from reading this blog, there’s a plethora of good wine being made in Santa Barbara County. As you can also tell from reading this blog, I enjoy wine from my backyard just as much as I enjoy wine from other regions and countries. When it comes to wine, it’s good to switch it up. Variety is the spice of life, right?
That’s the thinking that led Jeremy Bohrer and Sayward Rebhal, owners of the downtown Santa Barbara barware shop, Still… Elevate Your Ethanol, to partner with the owner of Pacific Crepes to open Five & ¼ (pronounced ‘five and a quarter’), a wine bar completely dedicated to Old World wines here in Santa Barbara.
I met with Jeremy and girlfriend Sayward (who I actually know from our middle school days!) to learn about their story for my column in the SB Sentinel. The two had been fans of Old World wines for years, but grew frustrated with the high price tags that usually come with such wines. They thought a casual wine bar serving the wines they like to drink (aka Old World wines) would be what Santa Barbara needed, but they put their focus into running Still and didn’t try to pursue it. However, after their business neighbor, Yvan, decided to start closing Pacific Crepes for dinner, Jeremy and Yvan got to talking about ways to use the space after 3pm. Soon, they agreed to partner together on a new wine venture unique to Santa Barbara, and Five & ¼ was born.
On Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, Pacific Crepes becomes Five & ¼, a casual wine bistro collaboration between the two businesses, which is named after Sayward’s son who used to refer to his age in quarters. Here, they offer unique and often rare wines on their rotating list, which features red and white wines in 3 categories: Safer, Stranger, and Geeky, depending on how adventurous you’re feeling. Also, to go with the theme, they have two different wines by the glass for only $5.25, served in vintage glassware that you can purchase separately.
I have to say, I was impressed with the list of hard to find, interesting wines from places like France, Italy and Greece, all without a hefty price tag (glasses are $7-$11 on average). They also have an interesting selection of seasonal and local food offerings, from light snacks like rosemary cashews to more substantial savory chickpea pancakes called Pudlas.
Although SB has plenty of places to drink wine, there really aren’t that many places to try such unique European wines, especially at such a good price. When it comes down to it, Five & 1/4 is really just about enjoying a glass of Vouvray or Txakoli while playing a board game in a relaxed, casual atmosphere… It’s fun because it’s different. Yahtzee!
705 Anacapa St. Santa Barbara / Open Thursdays through Saturdays from 5:15-10pm
Fun Fact: Five & 1/4 happens to be SB’s only vegan wine bar!
Looking for more on places to drink wine in SB? Check out Armada Wine & Beer for regional/international wine and craft beers (it’s one of my favorite spots in SB!), head to the Wine Collection of El Paseo or read about where to drink in the Funk Zone.