Mattei's Tavern in Solvang area, California
Mattei's Tavern in Santa Barbara Wine Country, California
Mattei's Tavern is a place that holds a spot in my heart and memory for all the times I went there as a little girl growing up. Solvang California was a spot we would go to on vacation almost every year. We loved that little town and it is still popular there even now. For a special treat, we would go to Mattei's Tavern one night on that short vacation away. I always loved both the exterior and interior of the building. They have great gardens on the outside, and wonderful art and history on the inside, not to mention great food!
After a long day out, playing and sunning by the pool, then walking around the town and parks there, it was a great way to end the day by driving out to Los Olivos to visit Mattei's Tavern. Whether you are looking for a great pub/bar atmostphere, or a place to go for a nice dinner, Mattei's Tavern will surely be a joy to visit at least once.
The building itself has the date in big black numbers, "1886". It is white, and charming and full of history and tall tales. You can't miss the lovely gardens and lawns as you approach. There are great chairs inside, in the waiting area and in the main dining area that I distinctly remember well. Once we were at the table with the big fanned out chair backs, it was just so fun and memorable. We would drive out to Los Olivos from Solvang just to see this place that drew us back again and again.
Mattei's Tavern was first built in 1886, and it was a "stagecoach shop". Ever since then the generations of the Mattei family kept it running as a wonderful place to visit and restaurant. I am so glad they did so that ours and so many other families were able to benefit from going there.
I recall once, taking a tour of the building to see the rooms where people stayed in the hotel portion of the Tavern. There was some neat old stories that have been shared for a long time, that seem to get better with age. Its hard to know what is true and what is fiction, but it is indeed a very fun place to go. Its a step back in time. Before dinner, my sister and I would get a wonderful Shirley Temple to drink. It was so much fun to get to have such a treat and sit and wait to be called for our table.
If you are ever able to go there, do try to visit so you can see why its such a treasured place by many, both far and near.
Brother's Restaurant, Bar, Wine Cellar and more
Brother's Restaurant is the caretaker of Mattei's Tavern now, and I am so glad they are trying to carry on the tradition of Mattei's Tavern. They try to keep that happy and welcoming way of life, a big part of how they run the business. There is that feeling of the old stagecoach days, where you can come in and sit by a warm fire and have a drink and take a load off your mind. The bar has been restored, and who knows... you may get to hear some of the old tales that have been told. With the Santa Barbara wine country not too far away, you can imagine they have some of the best selections of wine. There are many wonderful dishes that are paired with different wines, all of which you can enjoy in a fun, "old western" setting.
If you are in the area during the Fall months, make sure to call in advance to plan for a fun Oktoberfest, and Thanksgiving celebrations. They have done private events of all kinds, and also have a wine cellar. I think it would be a lovely place to host a party or reception and even an outdoor wedding.
I will always be thankful that my dad took us there when he did as I loved how special a time that was. Its a magical kind of place, with all the vines growing all over, and the history and folklore. I hope to take my boys back as soon as I can so they can experience the same thing.