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In West Sonoma County, the city of Sebastopol lures visitors seeking artisanal food and drink, fun art and a cool small-town vibe.
Sebastopol blooms out of the country roads with a bustling Main Street and, just outside its downtown, a new hipster haven called The Barlow.
A bright and airy industrial complex turned food hall, The Barlow was once the Barlow apple factory and now houses a collection of outlets designed to show off Sonoma County’s bounty, whether it’s food, drink or art. You’ll find Zazu Kitchen & Farm, a restaurant famous for its snout-to-tail approach and all things salumi; Taylor Maid Farms—organic coffee with seed-to-cup sustainability practices, a gathering-spot patio and a cool upstairs loft; Village Bakery, home of award-winning seeded sourdough; Woodfour Brewing Company, loved for its growlers, beer release parties and beer-friendly fare; Vignette for Neapolitan pizza; and Spirit Works Distillery, where gin and whiskey are hand-distilled in big copper tanks. Also in The Barlow: a couple of galleries and boutiques. And, of course, several wine-tasting rooms: MacPhail Family Wines, where pinot noir reigns and the Radio Flyer wagon outside signifies the family’s values of joy and togetherness. Marimar Estate, La Follette and Wind Gap also maintain tasting counters at The Barlow. Fans of yerba mate will be thrilled to discover the Guayaki bar—come taste the difference between the traditional and San Mateo leaf brew, a “tea” that tastes a little like marijuana smells but packs the energetic punch of coffee.
While you’re in Sebastopol, take a turn down Florence Avenue, where artists Patrick Amiot and Brigitte Laurent have adorned front yards with whimsical sculptures. The Amiot/Laurent look, colorful and vibrant, appears in various spots around town, including outside Spirit Works at The Barlow. But to stroll Florence Avenue, with its older homes and sculpture after sculpture, is the most fun.
Keep two hot spots in mind for live music: Hopmonk Tavern, with its local beer list and expansive back patio, and Aubergine After Dark Vintage Emporium, where one half of the house sells thrift clothing and the other half rocks with live music after hours. And finally, for a fine, fine meal, indulge in organic Italian done the local, sustainable way at Peter Lowell’s.
For more Sonoma County travel, see Sacramento Magazine's May issue.