Cocktail Corner: Joe’s Cafe

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic!  By Leslie Dinaberg

Joe's Cafe, Courtesy Photo

Joe’s Cafe, Courtesy Photo

I had my first legal drink at Joe’s.

It was something called a Brain Tumor, and while I can still appreciate the architecture of this layered, brain-like concoction, it’s definitely a cocktail that only a 21-year-old could love. Made of Bailey’s Irish Cream, Peach Schnapps and Grenadine, it’s disgusting looking, as I would imagine a brain tumor would be.

Needless to say, that night was my first and last adventure with that particular fusion of heavy, sweet and heavy and super sweet and heavy alcohol—but the first of many, many, many fun nights spent at Joe’s.

With the well-earned tagline of “Joe’s Cafe—Stiffest Cocktails—Greatest Atmosphere,” this is definitely a favorite downtown spot. They pour a good, stiff drink, at a price that’s not too steep. Plus, you’re just about guaranteed to run into someone you know. This place is a frequent hangout for just about everyone who grew up here (and their grandfather). It’s not unusual to find multiple generations of Santa Barbarians celebrating at Joe’s.

I’ve started—and ended—many a memorable night there, including my wedding night. When the reception closed down at midnight we took the party downtown to Joe’s, where the first round was on the house.

My niece recently turned 21 and celebrated at Joe’s too. But I’m pretty sure she had the good sense to order a Margarita.

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Photo by Derek Johnson.

Photo by Derek Johnson.

When she’s not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie considers herself a “goal-oriented drinker.”

Originally published in Santa Barbara SEASONS on January 4, 2013.