For better beer – Words and images by Mike V. Sardina
Throwback Thursday – SARA Portal Edition
I was standing outside of the second location of one of my absolute most-favorite breweries of all-time, Sante Adairius Rustic Ales, in Santa Cruz, a location dubbed the “Sante Adairius Santa Cruz Portal.” Sandwiched in between a Taco Bell, Burger King, and Safeway, and staring at the non-descript automatic bi-fold doors, I was admittedly skeptical about the new spot. My hesitations grew as we waited the few minutes in the afternoon sunshine for them to open.
But then those doors open, and I walked inside.
Immediately on the left is the cooler door taken from the brewery, their original location in Capitola. Still adorned with all its old stickers, the door has now been transformed into a bike rack, but that old workhorse door immediately brought a rush of memories back, vivid and visceral.
I smiled and walked up to the bar, immediately noticing that the backsplash behind the draft taps was decorated as a foudre facade, another design element serving as a mixture of old and new—familiar emanating within its simplicity and grace. I ordered myself a beer, did a quick 360 of the rest of the joint, and couldn’t help but smile once again.
The space felt new and old, all at once. As if I had been there countless times, but yet I had no idea when or where that might have been. The high, exposed ceilings, the wooden tables, the comfortable furniture, the artwork adorning the walls. It was all that I had hoped that an expanded SARA retail space might be.
With a stellar list of SARA beers on tap and available by the bottle, a world-class line-up of offerings from guest brewers, and a curated menu of homey food, the space makes for one terrific visit. For the hour I spent there, with good friends and good beer together in Santa Cruz, 5 miles away from Capitola, it was, indeed, just like stepping through a Portal right into Sante Adairius.