The opening of a new UCSB alum-owned bar on State Street is giving local residents a new place to spend their green — on alcohol, art or both.
Blake Stok, who graduated with a degree in political science in 2004, opened The Green Room on June 25. He said the bar is doing well financially and said he got most of the money to fund the bar, which is located at 435 State St. from investors and from his partners Wayne Trella and Steve Hovdesven — who also own the Santa Barbara Brewing Company restaurant — and Adriana Gonzales.
The Green Room showcases work by local artists, Stok said. He said the exhibits change monthly and three pieces of art have already sold for between $600 and $2,000 since the bar opened.
Stok said he wants the bar to be affordable for his customers, while still retaining an air of sophistication.
“It can be a nice, comfortable, sophisticated and relaxing environment without people having to spend an arm and a leg,” Stok said. “Our crowd is a mixture of college students as well as those who stay around in town after college — the bar is full of young professionals.”
Gonzales is responsible for the bar’s name, Stok said. He said the name is a reference to the backstage area where performers wait before appearing on TV shows or on stage and he said surfers also use the term to refer to the interior part of a wave. Stok said the bar’s name indicates his desire for the establishment to become part of Santa Barbara’s unique culture.
“We are trying to orient ourselves with art, theater and music, hence the name, ‘The Green Room,’ which is also a term identifiable with the large surf culture that exists here in Santa Barbara,” Stok said.
Stok said his experiences at UCSB helped train him for his new career and he said he hopes the success of his bar inspires other UCSB students to get involved in local businesses.
“UCSB brought me here to Santa Barbara and encouraged me to get involved in the community,” Stok said. “Living in I.V. has definitely helped me learn how to throw a party.”
Kristin Kane, a senior psychology major at UCSB and patron of the bar, said she likes The Green Room because it is classy, but not too busy.
“It’s not too crowded because it’s new — there is actually space to sit at the bar,” Kane said.
The bar hosts specialty nights on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, Stok said. He said The Green Room turns into “The Pink Room” and hosts a ladies’ night on Tuesdays. During ladies’ night, the bar features male and female go-go dancers, free manicures, martini specials and screenings of shows such as “Sex and the City.” On Wednesday nights, the bar hosts live music and on Thursdays all draft beers from Santa Barbara Brewing Company are $1.
Stok said he and his partners will advertise on facebook.com to provide students with more information about the bar and a listing of its upcoming events. He also said the bar is available for private parties and sorority and fraternity events upon request.