Paso Robles is a picturesque suburban-rural city in Central California. It is known as a world-class wine region with over 300 wineries and 32,000 acres of planted grapes. Home to twelve craft breweries and thirteen distilleries, it’s no surprise we are discussing the best “bars” and not just wineries in Paso Robles.
I have lived in Paso, as locals call it, for over twenty years. I owned a farm-to-table restaurant, Thomas Hill Organics, for fourteen years. I am a darn good judge on all beverages “Paso.” Recently retired, I am pursuing my new passion, writing.
The word “bar,” where alcoholic beverages are served, originates in medieval times. It was named after the counter that separates the bartender from the customer. It was also known as “baer,” which is the Old English word, “barra” in the Spanish version, or “barre” in the French version.
What makes a bar the “best bar” can be subjective. I believe it to be a combination of the ambiance, knowledge of the staff, drink selection, and social interactions. The ambiance must match the bar’s perception, be it a pub, hotel lounge, or swanky cocktail bar.
The bars I have chosen offer a diverse range of alcoholic beverages, including cocktails, wine, beer, and spirits. Here are my top ten bars from each bar category.
The Eleven Best Paso Robles Bars
Best Speakeasy Bar
1122 Pine St., Paso Robles, CA 93446, United States // +18052387070
A speakeasy is a bar meant to be surrounded by secrecy. In the days of prohibition, when alcohol was illegal, hidden bars and nightclubs were established. The term is thought to have originated from customers who had to whisper when entering the hidden bar.
Eleven Twenty-Two is Paso Robles’ speakeasy. It transports you back to the golden age of glamor. The entrance is on a backstreet behind a well-known restaurant. When you approach the entrance, a sign beckons you to press the button once to gain access. Very unassuming.
When the door opens, you are looking at a wall of what appears to be a library of old encyclopedias. The gentleman who greets us pulls out a book from the library wall, and voila, the door opens, and we are escorted in. No cell phones are allowed.
Dimly lit, the room is elegantly decorated. Vintage stools at the bar and classy booths line the outer walls. We are escorted to our stools at the bar. We watch intensely as the mixologists make handcrafted cocktails infused with exotic ingredients.
We asked our mixologist to suggest a popular craft cocktail, and he immediately suggested the Butter Pecan Old Fashioned.
This is made with bourbon, pecan syrup, orange peel, and Angostura bitters, then finished with a smokey cinnamon stick. It takes three days to make the syrup, a labor of love you will agree with once you taste it.
Locals and out-of-towners frequent Eleven Twenty-Two Speakeasy, all engaged in conversation yet in soft tones, almost as if they are transformed back to the days of prohibition. This Paso Robles speakeasy has an air of exclusivity, an escape from reality. Cheers!
Best Boutique Hotel Bar
1021 Pine St., Paso Robles, CA 93446, United States // +18052269995
The Pony Club Bar & Lounge has it all; great ambiance, excellent cocktail selection, knowledgeable bartenders, and lots of friendly folks sitting around chatting and listening to the live music. It blends European sophistication with equestrian touches exuding a timeless theme.
The oak-shaded patio is my favorite place to sit to enjoy live music and a glass of wine or craft cocktail. However, the inside is impressive with its French zinc-topped horseshoe-shaped bar. Plus, you get to watch the bartenders work their magic. They also offer a selection of small plates.
I enjoyed a Raspberry Basil Gimlet, a refreshing gin cocktail. It’s a twist on the classic gin cocktail adding the raspberries to bring a hint of fruity sweetness.
My friend had the Lavender Bee’s Knees, a perfect citrus gin cocktail with an herbal touch of lavender honey.
Our bartender was attentive and knowledgeable, and although locals frequent the Pony Club, we made some new out-of-town friends at this Paso Robles bar!
1240 Park St., Paso Robles, CA 93446, United States // +18052277113
Five years ago, I never imagined Paso Robles would have a Tiki bar. They were the rage in the ’60s but became popular during World War II when our armed forces were deployed to the South Pacific. Tiki is a Maori word for a type of stone or wooden carving found throughout the Pacific islands depicting a Polynesian supernatural power.
The decor in this Paso Robles bar is colorful and tropical with bamboo accents, wood Tiki carvings, and fire and water features. The dim lighting allows customers to relax, but there is still a feeling of adventure. Sit at the bar and get scents of tropical aromas of freshly cut fruits and exotic spices.
CANE TIKI ROOM will transport you back to the South Pacific, where you will enjoy an exotic tiki cocktail with your guests. The cocktail menu alone will entertain you. Drinks named Painkiller, Scorpion, or Nekrogobliron make you want to call for an Uber early.
The Doctor Cortex is a mix of denizen three-year rum, watermelon, citrus, pineapple, and mai tai syrup, with a nutty, spicy, mildly fruity taste. The CANE’S Mai Tai is made with macadamia orgeat instead of almond orgeat, adding some richness and creaminess. Orgeat is a sweetened cocktail syrup.
CANE TIKI ROOM offers rum flights along with an extensive list of rums from all over the world. The food offering is Polynesian-Hawaiian inspired. The menu refers to them as Pu Pu plates, the term for an appetizer or small bites.
If you are in Paso Robles wine country, and have been tasting amazing wines all day, this is where you escape reality and indulge in a tropical environment. HipaHipa!
Best Craft Cocktail Bar with Food
1144 Pine St., Paso Robles, CA 93446, United States // +18053692444
One of my favorite bars in Paso Robles is the Alchemists’ Garden, located in the heart of downtown Paso across from our vibrant and lively park. What is so special about this bar is that they embrace my belief that drinks and food bring people together, especially when they are both executed creatively.
The Alchemists’ Garden is on a sprightly corner of the downtown square. The patio, which faces the street, also opens up to the inside bar area.
High-top tables fill the spaces inside and out, making for an entertaining view of downtown and social interaction. The atmosphere in this Paso Robles bar is energetic, as out-of-town visitors and locals mingle.
From the ancient Greeks, alchemists attempted to purify, mature, and perfect certain materials. At the Alchemists’ Garden, their translation makes the ordinary exceptional.
Their cocktails stand out due to their commitment to fresh seasonal ingredients, and creative flavor combinations, not to mention the storytelling behind each drink. Their food is unique and creative, taking influences from around the world.
I love their zodiac cocktails, which are different each month. I have pictured the Aries cocktail, made with Gustavo Aguardiente rum, strawberry cordial, orange, Greek yogurt, agave, lemon, ginger beer, and bitters. Aguardiente, or firewater, is a Colombian liquor made from sugar cane and anise.
Why not try a group cocktail? The Garden Spear, named for the florality and the spearmint in the cocktail, is from the lemon drop family. This cocktail group serves five to eight people, so don’t take it on yourself, or, maybe you should! Very memorable drinking experience.
The Alchemists’ garden serves up quite a few creative shared plates. I have several favorites; the pickled deviled eggs with cumin, curry, chives, and pickled mustard seeds, the sweet potato quesadillas, wild prawns, and the croquettes of the day. However, you can’t go wrong with any shared plate you choose.
Did I mention their ghee popcorn? Try it with the umami, sweet fire, or cheesy herb—a great accompaniment to a creatively prepared cocktail. Enjoy your visit to this “best of” Paso Robles bar!
Best Dive Bar
1234 Pine St., Paso Robles, CA 93446, United States // +18052381114
Once a disparaging term, a dive bar is an envied honor for those looking for authenticity. A dive bar is typically an unglamorous, old-style drinking institution with inexpensive drinks and dated decor. These bars were originally housed in cellars or basements, where clientele would “dive” below without being noticed.
Our dive bar, which I highly recommend when you visit Paso Robles, is Pine Street Saloon, housed in the oldest building in Paso.
We believe Jesse James and his brother Frank frequented the bar when hiding in town. Did you know there were numerous underground tunnels in Paso Robles for a quick getaway?
Old records suggest that the second floor, a boarding house, was also a bordello. The saloon, known to be haunted, was featured in an episode of Travel Channel’s Dead Files and Discovery+ Ghost Adventures.
If I didn’t give you enough juicy info to make you want to “dive” below, then come for the entertainment. Every Sunday, Tuesday, and Friday night at 9:00 pm, there is karaoke and open mic on Mondays. You will find a mix of locals and out-of-towners, all taking the stage to showcase their skills.
Pine Street Saloon is more than just a Paso Robles dive bar; it is where you can create memories and let loose and embrace your inner celebrity. So “dive” below, grab a mic and a drink, and enjoy yourself in this judgment-free saloon!
Best Resort Bar
2700 Buena Vista Dr. #102, Paso Robles, CA 93446, United States // +18053692503
Located in the 20-acre hideaway of the Allegretto Vineyard Resort, the Cello Ristorante & Bar is an upscale yet casual Tuscan-inspired restaurant and bar. This resort itself is unlike any other Paso Robles bar.
The architecture and design of the Allegretto Vineyard Resort are inspired by Mediterranean and Tuscan influences. The ambiance is tranquility, encouraging examination of one’s thoughts, feelings, and experiences. The luxurious accommodations, peaceful gardens, and lush vineyards give you a rest from the demands of everyday life.
The Cello Bar combines rustic charm with luxury for a comfortable and warm atmosphere. It was packed with locals and resort guests on the night we visited. The bartender suggested our garden-inspired cocktails and seasonal menu items.
The Nectar’s Blessing was an exquisite drink, a delightful blend of Tin City vodka, fresh lemon juice, house-made guava syrup, mint, and Fever Tree soda.
It was delicate yet bright and refreshing. We also tried the Lemon Drop, a combination of citrus vodka, lemon juice, simple syrup, and Cointreau, which was tart and sweet but went down smoothly.
We were excited to try a couple of appetizers from the new dinner menu that Chef Jeremy Fike had just launched. Our favorite was the Burrata Crostini made with grilled focaccia bread, heirloom tomatoes, baby arugula, balsamic, and Chef’s garden-infused olive oil—a brilliant twist to serve the burrata on focaccia bread instead of crostinis.
We had a very enjoyable evening. My only regret was not staying in this luxurious resort. The inviting pool, the lovely gardens, the private nooks, and the spa were all calling my name.
Best Sports Bar
843 12th St., Paso Robles, CA 93446, United States // +18052571515
I enjoy the social atmosphere of sports bars and watching sports with other sports enthusiasts. This is a significant aspect of why people go to a sports bar, not to mention the libation. However, I prefer an elevated experience, and the Street Side Ale House & Eatery is the place for me.
Located on the downtown square on a bustling corner, plenty of locals and tourists always watch sports and socialize at Street Side. You can enjoy a cocktail, one of their 40 beers on tap, or over 125 whiskeys. They have 23 big-screen TVs; I counted ten in the bar area. This is a must to classify as a sports bar.
Although most Paso Robles sports bars focus on alcohol versus food, this establishment has it all. Street Side features a wide selection of alcoholic beverages plus “elevated” bar food. They have a separate dining room, but clearly, the action is in the bar.
I ordered the Watermelon Basil Vojito and discovered my new favorite cocktail. It was made with Grey Goose watermelon basil vodka, fresh mint, simple syrup, and basil tincture. It was so amazingly delicious and refreshing. My friend had the Cali Squeeze Blood Orange, a crisp beer with juicy orange flavors and fresh citrus.
I suggest you try one of their many tacos. Whether you try their street tacos, fish tacos, cauliflower, or shrimp tacos, they are all culinary masterpieces. Various textures and flavors create a delightful explosion in your mouth. Rumor has it their bacon-crusted burger with pepper jack and avocado leaves you with a lasting memory.
Whether you are a sports enthusiast or a weekend warrior, I highly suggest Street Side Ale House & Eatery as the best sports bar in Paso Robles.
The Best Neighborhood Bar
835 13th St., Paso Robles, CA 93446, United States // +18052215727
With craft cocktails, local wines, beer on tap, and an extensive whiskey selection, The Hatch is my neighborhood favorite when I want a libation and comfort food. Located a block from the center of downtown, The Hatch is unpretentious with its rustic charm and cozy atmosphere.
With its lively and inviting atmosphere, it’s the bar where you will run into winemakers after a busy harvest or Paso business owners after work. Mentioned as a Michelin star “must visit,” it’s the ultracool neighborhood place to be.
Belly up to the bar and enjoy one of their locally sourced beers or ciders, which complement their wood-fired food.
Order the All Pigs Go to Heaven, made with WhistlePig Boss Hog V-The Spirit of Mauve, a full-flavored yet subtle cocktail that warms the heart, just like grandma’s apple pie.
If you still want a glass of vino after wine tasting all day, they offer unique wines typically not available at other restaurants.
Don’t forget to enjoy some of The Hatch’s favorite dishes, mentioned in the Michelin guide. The rotisserie chicken is a must-try with vanilla-maple slaw and buttermilk dip. The chicken is moist and tender, a mouthwatering and satisfying dish. Pair this with their skillet cornbread topped with honey, brown butter, and a bit of salt. I always order the cornbread no matter what else I am eating.
If you are looking for lasting memories and appreciation for the local culture, The Hatch should be on your list when visiting Paso Robles bars. Unwind, grab a drink, and enjoy this establishment’s personal touch.
Best Pub Bar
1122 Pine St., Paso Robles, CA 93446, United States // +18052387070
A pub is typically where alcoholic beverages are served for consumption; they are casual and relaxed, which makes for popular gathering places. Strongly associated with British and Irish culture, they serve as places not only for drinking but for discussions, debates, and political meetings.
They frequently offer “pub grub;” however, Pappy McGregor’s is a Gastro Pub with high-quality comfort food combined with a selection of beverages.
This award-winning pub is across the street from the City Park in downtown Paso Robles. It gives off a vibrant and energetic atmosphere that perpetuates social interaction.
It is one of the most crowded bars you will visit, especially on a Friday or Saturday night when they have a DJ and dancing.
A contemporary twist to an Irish pub with its beam ceilings, high tables, and exposed brick, they also have a large 2,500-square-foot patio in the back with a stage. If you are looking for an energetic spot with high-quality comfort food, this is a must-visit bar in Paso Robles.
They have over 54 Whiskeys on their menu, of which 18 are Irish. BarrelHouse Brewing Co, a local Paso brewery, is dominant on their draft beer list. The cocktails are curated between the employees and their chefs. The two most popular are the Woo Girl, made with organic vodka, muddled blood orange, lemon, and mint, and the second is Watermelon Basil Cooler.
Since they are a gastro pub, we need to mention some key appetizers and mains to try. Their Famous Fried Calamari is at the top of the list, a secret recipe from previously owned restaurant Schooners in Cayucos. It is mild and sweet with a light crunchiness. The Pretzel Fondue is made with a creamy pepper jack, buttery with a kick.
Try their award-winning Lobster Mac & Cheese, loaded with lobster, bacon, tomato, and garlic. If you are feeling homesick for mom, order the MA, The Meatloaf! It has a maple-bourbon glaze which is sweet and savory.
You won’t be disappointed if you head to Pappy McGregor’s to grab a drink, some comfort food, or just to have a good time. Although the kitchen closes at 9:00 pm, the bar is open late at night. Sláinte!
Best Single Spirits Bar
1244 Park St., Paso Robles, CA 93446, United States // +18052393333
Fish Gaucho, our Baja California-inspired restaurant and bar, has close to 400 tequilas, not to mention tequila flights and several refreshing and mouthwatering margaritas.
Located on a very active corner a block from the downtown park, Fish Gaucho is a must-visit Paso Robles bar.
There is often a line out the door. The atmosphere is lively and inviting, with an ambiance that captures the essence of Mexican hospitality. The music is upbeat and energizing, evoking positive emotions from all.
The bartenders are skilled at creating a warm, welcoming, and entertaining environment, effortlessly navigating the crowd at the bar to deliver drinks and ensure everyone’s enjoyment. We had the best time when we stopped in here to partake of margaritas and appetizers.
We ordered a The Gaucho Cadillac margarita, a simple, no-fuss classic with premium tequila. The drink was perfectly balanced and not too sweet. Next, the Smoke, Fire, Blood, made with mezcal, charred jalapeno, blood orange, and lime, had quite the kick and a touch of complexity. Our quest next time is to indulge in several of the 400 tequilas!
Although they offer a healthy twist to traditional Mexican food, we opted for the Oaxaca Flocka Nachos. This treat consists of house-made corn chips, Oaxaca queso blanco, Wagyu ground beef, refried beans, tomatoes, and avocado. This combination guarantees a gratifying and exciting sensory experience you will not experience in other Paso Robles bars.
I also recommend any of their six tacos; short rib, carnitas, mango cod, halibut, ahi tacos, and veggie. Fish Gaucho sources the freshest seafood, so try the Alaskan Halibut con Deconstructed Elote. The Elote is a popular Mexican street corn.
At Fish Gaucho, you can expect a refined and elevated Baja California experience—a delightful choice for anyone seeking a memorable time at Paso Robles bars. Salud!
Conclusion: Paso Robles Bars
To conclude our journey of bars in Paso Robles, it is important to note that everyone has their own tastes, and this can greatly influence what one considers the best bars in any area.
To me, a great bar has a welcoming ambiance, a varied drink selection, skilled bartenders, and unique features. These are what I value in a great bar experience. For a “foodie,” fresh and creatively prepared food helps!
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Debbie Thomas moved to Paso Robles from Los Angeles in 2003 to pursue a slower pace of life. Midway through a career that included upper management positions with licensed apparel companies like Adidas, Rival, and Starter, she and her then-business partner started a 10-acre organic farm. Nine-hundred trees and various row crops later, she opened Thomas Hill Organics, a farm-to-table restaurant in downtown Paso Robles.
After 14 years of owning and managing a successful restaurant, she sold it to pursue her next adventure, writing. She has a passion for travel, creatively prepared food, and well-balanced wines. She enjoys sharing her experience with others.