The Carrisa by SLO Brew officially opens today with a completely renovated interior and elevated vibe, transforming from a student-focused nightclub into a “bright and welcoming atmosphere.”

“It was a great place for the Cal Poly kids to come, but at the end of the day, with so many people in one location, the liability goes up so high,” co-founder of The Carrisa by SLO Brew Milton Carrillo said. “We can’t control everything that happens in the building.”

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The reopening comes after SLO Brew closed in July when their liquor license was temporarily suspended when an investigation by the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) revealed an 18-year-old was allowed to consume alcohol in December 2017. 

Although the co-founders of SLO Brew, Hamish Marshall and Rodney Cegelski, contested the suspension for two years, they decided to settle since they were already planning on shutting down for a remodel.

The Carissa | Courtesy

The planned remodel, headed by Carrillo, has been in the works for about a year as a result of San Luis Obispo’s evolving downtown.

The Carrisa has been in the soft opening stage for the past week, open only to reservations and limited walk-ins from Oct. 4-6.

With the new name and renovated space comes a fresh vibe that Carrillo described as a “home away from home.”

“We wanted to create a restaurant that was going to be a little bit lighter, brighter, greener,” Carrillo said. 

The Carrisa is more of location to relax and enjoy yourself without having to scream at each other, according to Carrillo.

Returning to its restaurant roots, The Carrisa will serve food until 11 p.m. and with the stage gone, there is room for more tables and couches.

The Carissa | Courtesy

The new decor and vibe of The Carrisa is more inviting for customers and the new menu will not break the bank, according to Carrillo.

“Everybody offers a nightlife, but it’s not really a nightlife I feel that the community can come to,” Carrillo said. “It’s just kind of geared to just one demographic, which is the Cal Poly college students.”

The Carrisa will now be open every day, except for major holidays. In addition, on weekends, the restaurant and bar will be serving brunch and lunch from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Tuesday to Saturday, food will be served from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., and from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. they will only be serving liquor.

While The Carrisa still has a DJ booth, they will no longer be doing shows at the former SLO Brew location. Concerts have moved to The Rock. Due to the suspension, they will no longer be hosting late night, all-age shows, which is where the violation in 2017 occurred. 

“I think that a little bit of the disappointment may be that we’re not a nightclub anymore, and we do understand that,” Carrillo said. “We’re not going to have the pumping music and the DJ’s that we used to and turn the lights off and stuff like that.” 

The changes to SLO Brew allows The Carrisa to offer more for families downtown, according to Carrillo.

“Finally, SLO Brew graduated from college,” Carrillo said.

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