“Enter ye who hunger for a little cheer and something more.”
Upon stepping into The Cold Springs Tavern, you are greeted by a candle-lit interior and hearty fireplace. Four square wooden rooms, each with its own spectacular view of the 26 natural springs and rustling trees, warmly invite you in. The windows are jazzed up with picnic table print curtains, and white Christmas lights float from the ceiling. The walls are adorned with a rather odd assortment of items: rifles, spoons, cups, old coca cola bottles, horseshoes and cattle branding irons, to name a few. These, along with an entire forest of animal wall mounts, give The Cold Springs Tavern a surefire mountain man vibe.
But the weathered atmosphere is not the only reason why people come back to this restaurant. The Cold Springs Tavern specializes in delicious hearty BBQ and wild game. Some traditional favorites include tequila chicken, sautéed medallions of rabbit, charbroiled rack of lamb, filet mignon and wild boar tenderloin.
“Most of the recipes have been on the menu for longer than anyone has worked here for,” Co-owner Matt Bush said. Each dish is cooked fresh to order and drizzled with a décor of exquisite sauces. Even the orthodox tavern burger didn’t disappoint — the juicy robustness of the meat was absolutely tantalizing to my tongue. The Cold Springs Tavern also caters to vegetarians, offering a wide selection of fresh seafood and half a dozen crisp salads.
The Cold Springs Tavern may seem like your customary hole-in-the-wall dining, but its rich history makes it much, much more than that. Nested in the pines of the Santa Ynez Mountains, this fine restaurant is really an old stagecoach stop that is over 100 years old. Since 1865, it has been offering old-time hospitality to travelers and explorers alike. “We get famous people from time to time; last Thanksgiving Barbara Streisand came. During the summer Jeff Bridges spent a couple of days singing with his guitar,” Bush said. “During Christmastime we get a tree and decorate the entire place in Claus gear.”
If you ever find yourself hankering for some good quality homemade food and hospitality, take the drive through the Santa Ynez Mountains until you come upon the best place for a Romantic Getaway in California, the old stagecoach stop that has come to be known as The Cold Springs Tavern.
– Audrey Bachelder