SLO Brew plans to reopen September 10 with a new name and redesigned building after a liquor license suspension forced the downtown bar to temporarily close in July.
According to the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, their investigation revealed an 18-year-old was allowed to consume alcohol in December 2017. Co-founder Hamish Marshall said it was not a bartender serving someone underage, but a customer passing a drink to an underage person.
“We contested [the suspension] for two years and we still don’t believe we did anything wrong,” Marshall said. “We spent a small fortune to fight it and decided it was best just to settle because we would be shut down for the [planned] remodel anyway.”
SLO Brew accepted the 20 day suspension — using the time as an opportunity to transform the location and work to prevent an incident like this from happening in the future.
Renamed The Carrisa by SLO Brew, the team drew inspiration from the original building, named The Carrisa Cattle Company.
Co-founder Rodney Cegelski said the name SLO Brew did not represent the full scope of what the beverage company offers, such as their Rod & Hammer’s SLO Stills spirits and Porch Pounder canned wine.
“I want better food, I want better quality, I don’t just want to drink beer, I want to drink a lot of different other choices,” Cegelski said.
As one of California’s longest standing breweries, Marshall and Cegelski said they want to return to their roots of vintage California by displaying artifacts, like the pair of leather workman boots they found in the floorboards of the restaurant and bar.
Marshal said upgrading the restaurant and bar has been in the works for about a year after seeing the evolution of downtown San Luis Obispo.
“We were getting pigeonholed into an entertainment venue,” Marshall said.
While concerts have moved to The Rock, The Carrisa has a DJ booth and will be serving food later into the night on their renovated back patio. Marshall said they want to keep a cooler, house party vibe and new menu that he said will be fun for college students.
The updated menu will feature healthier choices with organic ingredients, moving away from pub food. Marshall and Cegelski said they are including fresher options, like specialty craft tacos.
“Customers should expect a lot better service, they should expect a really enjoyable atmosphere and a really good time,” Cegelski said. “We want it to be as vibrant as ever.”
As a result of the suspension, Marshall said the bar will no longer be doing all-ages shows past 11 p.m. — the type of event where the violation occurred.
Marshall and Cegelski said they are excited to debut the revamped bar and restaurant on September 10.
“Change is hard, but I think that once people experience it, see it, enjoy it, I think they’re going to love it,” Marshall said.