Paso Robles, Californiais the Central Coast’s answer to Napa and Sonoma. Located under an hour from San Luis Obispo – and the Central Coast town where my husband grew up – this California wine country town is a trailblazer in its own right, and well worth a trip down from the well-worn path of Northern California wine country. It’s one of the best places to visit on California’s Central Coast!
But don’t make the mistake of assuming that wine tasting in Paso Robles is the only option for booze loving tourists. Even my know-it-all local husband was shocked to discover that there’s so much more than just wineries in Paso Robles! There’s also a plethora of Paso Robles distilleries, serving up spirits related to wine – such as grappa, vodka and brandy, all made from wine grapes – craft distilled side by side with Rhone varietal grapes like Syrah or classic California stars like Zinfandel.
And once you’ve had your fill of wine and wine accessories (cue King of the Hill accent), you can hop over to one of the many craft breweries in Paso Robles for a flight of sours, west coast IPAs, or barrel-aged porters. Simply put, Paso Robles is a booze traveler’s dream destination.
Here’s our guide to boozing it up in Paso Robles: everything from wine tasting to spirit distilleries, and craft breweries. And of course, the best restaurants in Paso Robles to help you handle all of those delicious drinks and our favorite Paso Robles accommodations to stagger home to after a long day of drinking (no judgement from us).
This is an enormous post, and it’s FULL of information. To help you (and us) get organized, here’s a table of contents for what you’ll find in this post.
Table of Contents
Estimated reading time is 34 minutes, so pour yourself a glass of wine and get settled. Ready?
Things to Know About Paso Robles
The first thing you need to know about Paso Roble is how to pronounce Paso Robles, not because it’s especially important, but because you’re going to get a lot of weird looks if you aren’t aware of this (and also because it bugs me to no end). The actual name of the town, “Paso Robles,” isn’t pronounced like you would think -that is, if you’re a person who speaks Spanish. Throw that Spanish accent right out the window. Instead, say Paso Robles with basically the whitest sounding pronunciation of any Spanish words that you can imagine. Like pronouncing the L’s in quesadilla, or the fact that the state of Montana was probably supposed to be pronounced Montaña. It’s Paso Robles: not Paso robe-lays, Paso robe-ulls. Paso … Robles.
Ok, now that we’ve gotten pronunciation out of the way, rest assured: we can forgive Paso Robles for its deceivingly Americanized name, because it’s the home of some of the absolutely best food, wine, spirits, and craft beer that you’ll find throughout all of California – particularly on the Central Coast.
Here’s the second thing to know about Paso Robles. It’s not Napa or Sonoma. We heard many folks describe Paso Robles as “What Napa was like in the 70’s,” and if that’s true, then you’ll want to visit ASAP before Paso Robles’ charm evolves into …. well, if you’ve ever been to Napa, you know what I’m talking about. Napa, I love you, but you used to be a LOT less expensive… and crowded. Anyway, don’t visit Paso Robles expecting it to be a Napa or Sonoma knock-off. They may share rolling vineyards and wine tasting opportunities galore, but that’s about where the similiarities end.
Paso Robles is its own, totally unique place, with an awesome laid-back and friendly vibe – and the wine tasting in Paso Robles is just as good as you’ll find up north. We wouldn’t blame you if you went to Paso Robles just for the world class wine, but there’s actually a lot of OTHER reasons to visit Paso Robles, too. Like the craft breweries, or the craft distilleries, all of which are working in tandem to produce some of the best locally produced booze we’ve ever tasted (vodka made from wine grapes? Whiskey made from unfermented, locally grown hops?! It’s insanely awesome, but more on that later). Or how about the amazing Paso Robles restaurants? The food is locally sourced, expertly prepared, and so incredibly good, all without pretentiousness or exclusivity. Paso Robles, you’re so multi-talented.
And then there’s the people of Paso Robles: friendly, welcoming, super chill, and incredibly passionate when it comes to their community, their town, the land that they’re privileged enough to farm and harvest from, and most of all, their craft. Imagine being able to walk into a winery or distillery and spend a couple of hours chatting with the owner. You could never do that in Napa – heck, you couldn’t even do that in Bourbon Country, Kentucky, and y’all, we’re friendly AF. But from the wineries to the breweries in Paso Robles, the owners are just as accessible and friendly as the rest of the folks in town. Strike up a conversation with a Paso Robles local, and you’ll be treated to any number of recommendations, glowing praise, and fascinating backstories for other local Paso Robles businesses and attractions. Everyone seems to know each other, and what’s more, everyone is totally supportive of one another, even their direct competitors. It’s this unique friendliness and open-arms vibe that gives Paso Robles a small-town charm, even in the midst of worldwide accolades and a booming tourism business.
How to Get to Paso Robles
Paso Robles is located on California’s Central Coast, which is – quite accurately named – midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco. This makes it an easy trip from almost anywhere in California – Northern or Southern. Paso Robles is quite close to the coast: maybe 40 minutes away, accessible by driving through gorgeous rolling hills and incredible scenery. It’s a quick drive from the Pacific Coast Highway, so don’t skip a visit while you’re road tripping the most beautiful highway/road trip/coastline in the world (not that we’re biased … well we are, but we’re right). Likewise, when you visit Paso Robles, don’t forget about its sister towns in San Luis Obispo county, such as Morro Bay, Cambria, or San Luis Obispo itself. You can easily spend a week exploring the Central Coast (and we think you should). In fact, we have an entire post all about things to do on California’s Central Coast. This entire area is where Jeremy grew up, so it’s near and dear to our hearts. But if you’re foodies and/or booze tourists (*raises hand*), Paso Robles is the star of the show.
- Travel Tip: Give yourself at least 2-3 days to experience Paso Robles. A day trip to Paso Robles will limit you to only a small handful of wineries and that’s really unfair to yourself. Better make it a weekend getaway instead. Treat yo-self!
If you’re coming from out of state, there are 2 ways to get to Paso Robles.
- Fly into San Luis Obispo: San Luis Obispo is the nearest city and the only one with an airport. Granted, it’s a regional airport, but it does its job. You’ll find direct flights from Seattle, Phoenix, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. From San Luis Obispo, it’s only a 40 minute drive to Paso Robles.
- Drive from LAX or SFO: If you’re after that California road trip experience, Paso Robles is a fantastic destination from either San Francisco or Los Angeles.
- From San Francisco, we recommend driving down Highway One, which is the best road trip in the world and also the most beautiful drive in the world and we’re not lying it really is so just do it and thank us later. On Highway One, it will take 6 hours to get to Paso Robles, but it’s absolutely freaking gorgeous. On the 101, which is still pretty but not the most beautiful highway in the world, it will take only 3 hours.
- From Los Angeles, it takes 3 hours driving up the 5, or 4 hours driving up the 101 to get to Paso Robles. The 101 is prettier and, we think, worth the extra hour.
How to Get Around to the Wineries in Paso Robles
The biggest question people have when they’re planning a day of wine tasting in Paso Robles is how to get around tothe wineries in Paso Robles. Does somebody have to miss out on the wine and DD? Should I just take Lyft everywhere? Can I even afford to go to multiple wineries in Paso Robles?! It’s a valid concern, especially since the wineries in Paso Robles are mostly clustered together on opposite sides of town: there’s the East Wineries, and the West Wineries, on opposites of Paso Robles’ Highway 46. What that means is that you’ll need to be careful when planning which wineries you want to visit. Or, take the easy way out, and book a wine tour! Getting a wine tour in Paso Robles won’t break the bank, and they’re the stress free way to get around to wineries in Paso Robles.
Wine Tour Splurge: The Wine Wrangler
- Boasting the title of Paso Robles’ first wine tour, The Wine Wrangler is a great wine tour option for anyone who wants to strap in and be drunkenly along for the ride. The Wine Wrangler keeps tours capped at 8-9 people and takes the group around to various wineries for a unique tour, seeing wineries that fit your choices, tastes, and styles. Plus there’s an included lunch! As an added bonus, you can be picked up and dropped off just about anywhere in San Luis Obispo County. A full day wine tour to 4-6 wineries in Paso Robles starts at $109 per person, but they have half day tours and private options available.
Budget Friendly Wine Tour: The Wine Line
- Instead of being a pre-set wine tour, The Wine Line acts as a budget friendly option that works as your personal ride. Choose 4 wineries in Paso Robles from the Wine Line’s extensive list and enjoy a comfortable shuttle between them. This is the perfect wine tour for anyone who doesn’t want to be tied to the constraints of a tourv. With The Wine Line, you go wherever you want to go! And if you aren’t sure where you want to go, The Wine Line will help you create a day of wine tasting in Paso Robles that fits your preferences. We had a great time on The Wine Line and highly recommend it! The price is just $60 per person for the day
Now that we’ve got the logistics out of the way, let me talk about why we’re all here: the booze. Here are the 25 best things to do in Paso Robles if you’re a booze-loving foodie!
The Best Wineries in Paso Robles
There are SO MANY wineries and drop dead gorgeous places to go wine tasting in Paso Robles: estimates on how many wineries there actually are seem to range anywhere from 100-300, depending on who you ask. This makes the task of whittling determining which spots are must see wineries in Paso Robles incredibly difficult.
Luckily, we’ve done most of the work for you. To determine the best wineries in Paso Robles, we relied on the advice of locals: from Jeremy’s Central Coast friends, to our friendly Paso Robles wine tour operator, to the winery owners themselves – all of which had their own favorites – to pretty much everyone else we met, from servers to baristas to our host at our Paso Robles accommodation. Everyone in Paso Robles, it seems, is well versed in which wineries are worth a visit.
Once we’d compiled a list of everyone’s picks for the best wineries in Paso Robles, we visited as many as we could physically stand during our visit (and maybe a few past that limit, if we’re being honest). We’ve categorized our favorites in terms of their main appeal: each of these wineries in Paso Robles serves up incredible, high-quality wine, but each also has a unique attraction that makes them special and, we think, a cut above the rest.
Scenic Wineries in Paso Robles
If you’re looking for a glass of wine with a view, Calcareous and DAOU are the most scenic wineries in Paso Robles. From the winding drive to reach each of these stunning wineries, to the view from the wine tasting room and the surrounding areas, you’ll be treated to sweeping vistas of Paso Robles and the Central Coast.
- Calcareous Website | Address: 3430 Peachy Canyon Road, Paso Robles | Wine Tasting: $10
- DAOU Website | Address: 2777 Hidden Mountain Road, Paso Robles | Wine tastings start at $10
Wineries in Paso Robles with Free Tours
Both Eberle Winery and Halter Ranch Winery offer complimentary winery & cave tours, which is an awesome opportunity to see the making of wine behind-the-scenes (or in this case, under-the-ground). We were especially impressed with the quality of the wine at Eberle: for a free wine tasting, we expected subpar wines, but they were actually some of the best we tasted during our entire visit! If you’re looking for budget-friendly wine tasting and tours in Paso Robles, these are our top picks.
- Halter Ranch: Make a Reservation | Address: 8910 Adelaida Road, Paso Robles | Wine Tasting: $10, cave tour complimentary
- Eberle Website | Address: 3810 CA 46 Highway, Paso Robles | Complimentary tour AND wine tasting (!!)
Budget-Friendly Wineries in Paso Robles
We already mentioned Eberle Winery, which we love as a budget-friendly winery for its free cave tours and wine tasting. But it’s not the only generous winery in Paso Robles. Most folks who visit Paso Robles at one point or another hear about Tobin James. The winery is centrally located in town just off of the highway, and they’re insanely generous with the pours included in their complimentary wine tastings. The fan favorite is Liquid Love – we haven’t tried it ourselves, but we hear it’s the perfect red wine to pair with dark chocolate!
- Tobin James Website | Address: 8950 Union Road, Paso Robles
Environmentally Friendly & Sustainable Wineries in Paso Robles
Social responsibility is incredibly important to us: both because we love the environment, and the human race, and would like to see both of them co-exist for many years to come; and also because we’ve discovered that many environmentally friendly wineries employ helpful and adorable animals to assist with the tasks of old-school vineyard maintenance, which is our favorite thing.
Tablas Creek Vineyard
When we heard that Tablas Creek – an organic and environmentally sustainable winery in Paso Robles – was home to a herd of Alpacas, we knew we had to visit (ever since we met a herd of Alpacas at a winery in Chile, we’re obsessed with winery alpacas). As it turns out, the alpacas at Tablas Creek Vineyard aren’t so much a herd as a team, and their job is to guard a much larger flock of sheep, who are also employed at the winery. The sheep’s job is to munch the crops that grow around the vines, stomp their tiny little hooves to mulch the soil, and generally bring adorableness and joy to the world. Touring Tablas Creek Vineyard, we didn’t get a chance to meet the busy sheep & alpacas working elsewhere on the property, but we did get to hear the details of this biodynamic winery. Founded in partnership with a French vineyard, Tablas Winery brought Rhone varietal grapes to Paso Robles – which makes it sound a lot easier than the actual process, involving a particularly dodgy-looking suitcase full of sticks getting stuck in custom for several years – and these French varietals have since become one of the hallmarks of Paso Robles wines. In addition to bringing a slew of new French wines to California, Tablas Creek Vineyard is committed to producing wines that are as delicious as they are environmentally friendly.
- Tablas Creek Vineyard Website | Address: 9339 Adelaida Road, Paso Robles | Wine Tasting: $15, or book a winery tour.
Niner Wine Estates
The first thing you notice upon entering Niner Wine Estates is a gigantic heart made of trees on a hill. Appropriately, this vineyard (one of 3 vineyards in Paso Robles under Niner’s ownership) is called Heart Hill. The next thing you notice is how gorgeous the tasting room is. With features made of wood and stone, a roaring fireplace, and ceilings tall enough to accommodate a bunch of giraffes playing Quidditch, it doesn’t get much more beautiful. But when it comes to visiting Niner Wine Estates, it’s not all about the aesthetics. They’ve recently installed solar paneling that accounts for 110% of their energy usage. No that’s not a typo. If that’s not enough, their facility has been LEED Certified (Leader in Energy and Environmental Design) by designing their buildings in a way to not waste a single drop of water and cut back on energy usage. Still not impressed? Well Niner was the first winery in Paso Robles to be granted SIP Certification (Sustainability in Practice), which means that in addition to sustainable farming, they adhere to a set of rigid guidelines regarding the 3 P’s of sustainability: People, Planet, and Prosperity. What does this mean to you as a consumer? You’ll be helping a business be not just globally responsible, but socially as well. Oh, and obviously, the wine is fantastic.
- Travel Tip: Niner has a fantastic restaurant, as well as a lovely outdoor patio. It’s a great spot to grab a fancy lunch, or bring your own for a gorgeous outdoor picnic with a glass of wine.
- Niner Wine Estates Website | Address: 2400 Highway 46 West, Paso Robles | Wine Tasting: $15 for 6 wines, or book a winery tour.
Shale Oak Winery
Shale Oak Winery was founded on principles of environmentalism and sustainability. From the outset, they wanted to make great wine without harming the environment. A team of environmentally minded experts were brought together under the unified belief that “form follows function” and they designed Shale Oak Winery with that in mind. Like Niner Wine Estates, Shale Oak Winery also has LEED certification. Everything from the first vine to the beautiful stain glass windows in the tasting room were placed with sustainability and efficiency in mind. Oh, and they have an adorable ball of fluff and love named Cooper who will let you pet him as you drink wine. Winery dogs are up there with hostel dogs in my book.
- Shale Oak Winery Website | Address: 3235 Oakdale Road, Paso Robles
Other Must-See Wineries in Paso Robles
I couldn’t come up with a catchy category to lump all of these fantastic Paso Robles wineries together, but they’re awesome and deserve a shout-out! Here are our picks for other must-see wineries in Paso Robles.
Barton Family Wines
Pulling into Barton Family Wines, we felt a bit like we were invading someone’s personal property. It honestly looks like a sweet little house, complete with a couple of friendly dogs, a cat, and some chickens. But this unassuming little winery, backed with rolling green hills covered in vines and swaying rye fields, is home to 2 unique wine tasting experiences, one of the best winery restaurants in Paso Robles, and a craft distillery (more on that later). In the gorgeously decorated, hipster-friendly tasting room (they use antlers in all of their deeee-cor-aaaaating!) we enjoyed a Barton Reserve wine tasting. Our favorites were the 2012 E street (100% Tempranillo, which we’d never had before) and 2013 The Dance, a lovely Bordeaux style blend. Oh, and about that winery restaurant: don’t miss the Kitchen Window, which is literally just a large window (… yes, a kitchen window) serving up absolutely incredible and super budget-friendly food on weekends from 12-4pm. Don’t miss out on their amazing house-made chips with jalapeno citrus aoli and truffle salt.
- Barton Family Wines Website | Address: | Wine Tastings: Barton Family Reserve $20, Grey Wolf Cellars $15
Mitchella Vineyard & Winery
Some things just go so well together it’s hard to imagine them apart: Bert and Ernie, Hall and Oates, Nicholas Cage and Blockbuster Flops, and above all, wine and cheese. If you’re looking for that combination while wine tasting in Paso Robles, look no further than Mitchella Vineyard & Winery. It’s rarely ever crowded, which makes this a great hidden gem to stop by. For just $10, you can try 8 (!!!!) wines – with a cheese pairing!
- Mitchella Vineyard & Winery Website | Address: 2525 Mitchell Ranch Way,
Paso Robles | Wine Tasting: $10
Beautiful Zenaida Cellars is one of the few Paso Robles wineries with lodging (more on that later). It also has incredible wine, and they offer a choose-your-own-adventure wine tasting: 5 pours of your choice, for $10! We were afraid that the low price could mean sub-par wines, but boy, were we wrong. Zenaida Cellars was home to some of the best wine we tasted! Our particular favorites:
- 2016 ZC Pink: a savory Rose with strawberry notes that is a perfect representation of that quintessential Paso Robles dry Rose (who know you could have Rose’s that aren’t super sweet?)
- 2014 Zephyr: A heavenly Syrah-heavy red blend that’s actually co-fermented with a white grape! Crazy, right? But it totally worked. We were also hooked up with a sample of the 2009 Zephyr, which was the best thing we’ve ever tasted, but it sold out to Wine Club members before it even hit the shelves (and that’s why you need to become Wine Club Members!)
- 2014 Wanderlust: I mean, obviously, it has our name in it, so we have to love it. Any wine named Wanderlust must be a travel-friendly wine, right? But it was also delicious: dark, fruity, and a little bit peppery, it lived up to its name.
- Zenaida Cellars Winery | Address: 1550 Highway 46 West, Paso Robles | Wine Tasting: $10 for 5 wines
Paso Robles Distilleries
In Paso Robles, vineyards and distilleries go hand in hand! Most of the Paso Robles distilleries we visited were either part of an existing winery, or crafting spirits using the byproducts of the wine industry, like grapes and barrels. Turns out that a grape that makes an incredible bottle of wine also makes a delicious bottle of brandy or gin! There are loads of Paso Robles Distilleries, and they’re all helpfully laid out Paso Robles Distillery Trail website. We didn’t get a chance to visit them all (don’t worry – we’ll be back) but these were our favorite Paso Robles distilleries.
Guests looking for craft spirits have a lot of options for distilleries in Paso Robles, and RE:Find is an absolute must-visit! Sitting alongside Villicana Winery, Re:Find distillery was started by the Villacana Winery owners in an attempt to minimize waste. They take juice that is typically discarded in the winemaking process and turn it into high quality, uniquely crafted spirits. We were shocked when we were given the Re:Find flagship spirit to try: it was vodka. Vodka?! I though y’all said you used grapes. Well, as they explained to us, vodka is a broad term, and while most distillers use grains or potatoes, it can still be called a vodka if made from grapes. Look guys, full disclosure: I hate vodka. It usually tastes like hand sanitizer and college and it always burns on the way down. That said, I loved Re:Find’s vodka. It is dangerously smooth! But vodka isn’t their only spirit: in fact, it’s just the base for a whole line of unique, creative spirits. They use a similar process, plus a bunch of botanicals, to craft an herbaceous gin delicious enough to make my husband say “I’m just really into gin recently.” Who even are we?! One of their most popular drinks is their Cucumber Vodka. This isn’t some ten dollar flavored vodka you use to “ice” someone (which is apparently a thing still?). It tastes as smooth and flavorful as the cucumber water at a nice spa, and is just as drinkable. Ahem: we here at Practical Wanderlust ask you to please not bring your cucumber vodka to the spa. Re:Find also has two seasonal liqueurs, Limoncello and Kumquat Liqueur, as well as barrel finished vodka (what even is this madness?!), and a rye whiskey. They’re constantly playing with what is possible in grape based distillation. They’re also currently working on their first bourbon, which makes this Kentuckian quite excited.
- Re:Find Website | Address: 2725 Adelaida Road, Paso Robles | Spirit Tasting: $10 for 3 spirits + 1 craft cocktail
- Travel Tip: The seasonal spirit flavors at Re:Find are always changing, so you’ll have to come back at least 4x a year to make sure you don’t miss anything. Also: please drive carefully.
Opolo Vineyards recently began distilling, but they do something a little different: brandy! In addition to their signature grape brandy, they sell flavored varieties as well. Opolo’s craft brandies are distilled with fruit to provide a smooth and full flavor. Currently Opolo offers a Bartlett Pear Brandy as well as a mouth watering Walnut Brandy made from the walnut on the estate. Keep in mind, the distillery only offers tastings over the weekend, so we sadly missed out.
- Opolo Website | Address: 7110 Vineyard Drive, Paso Robles
Tucked away behind the Barton Family Wines tasting room, past a few gorgeously drawn chalkboard arrow signs and well-arranged courtyards that make you feel like you’re at a Pinterest-worthy wedding, next to a coop of gently clucking hens, sits the tiny tasting room of KroBar craft distillery, one of the best distilleries in Paso Robles. Here, you’ll find grape-based brandy, herbaceous gin, and wine aperitifs. But KroBar doesn’t stop there. It’s moved past its wine roots into the land of pure experimentation: rye whiskey, gin aged in rye whisky barrels, even sweet-smelling bourbon. We spent several hours chatting with the friendly employee serving our drinks, and learned that the current offerings are just the beginning: KroBar is getting crazy experimental with its craft spirits, and will be rolling out any number of ridiculously inventive drinks in the near future. It’s basically a mix & match game with various kinds of finely-distilled spirits and deliciously soaked barrels, and it all sounds incredible.
- Travel Tip: KroBar is only open Friday to Sunday, but you can book a tasting in advance for a weekday.
- KroBar Website | Address: 2174 Highway 46 West, Paso Robles | Spirit Tasting: $15
Sharing the tiny tasting room of Red Soles winery is Red Soles distillery. This little operation is serving up fascinating spirits, from California Hooch to Absinthe. The Hooch is their basis for all of their drinks. It’s grape-based and sort of like a cross between moonshine and brandy. They’ve also made a Cinnamon Hooch that smells like fall & tastes the way you always wanted Goldschlager or Fireball to taste. From their Hooch they’ve also developed a delicious, barely-sweet Limoncello made with meyer lemons, and a bright green Absinthe – yes, the real kind! Each of their unique spirits comes with a mixologist-crafted recipe list, with easy to follow recipes designed to highlight the spirits in all of their grape-based glory!
- Red Soles Website | Address: 3230 Oakdale Road, Paso Robles | Spirit Tasting: $10, and you can mix and match your 6 pours with wine, too!
Craft Breweries in Paso Robles
Look, you can’t very well have a booming wine industry and craft distillery scene and not have a craft beer scene, too. Well, you probably can, but not when you’re overachieving booze capital of California. Just call Paso Robles the Hermione Granger of the booze world. Anyway, for those of you who are more into hops than grapes, don’t worry: Paso Robles has you covered with several delicious craft breweries!
Firestone Walker Brewing
If you’ve spent more than 5 minutes in California, you’ve probably seen 805’s eponymous logo. 805 is an incredibly famous California beer, and not just because its name represents the area code of a huge chunk of California residents (including my husband, who will never give up his 805 phone number). It’s a damn good beer, and it’s brewed right in Paso Robles at Firestone Walker. The Firestone Walker brewery is a fantastic place to sample some lesser known Firestone Walker beers. Pulling up to the brewery, you may notice a strong smell of molasses. We have no idea why, but it smelled amazing. Other than 805, we recommend trying the Nitro Milk Stout and the sour beers, Krieky Bones and SLOambic. They’re bang on if you’re a fan of Belgian Krieks or Lambics! And no trip to Firestone would be complete without a taste of their other flagship beer, the Double Barrel Ale.
- Firestone Walker Website | Address: 1400 Ramada Dr, Paso Robles | Craft Beer Flights: Flights are around $7 for 4 beers, unless you have fancy taste like we do and order the more expensive pours (our flight was $11, which is still pretty darn good).
- Foodie Tip: Firestone Walker also has delicious brewery food to pair with your beer – the Mac & Cheese and the soft pretzel are especially good.
Psst: we’re not the only ones who love Firestone Walker! The brewery made this list of the 30 best breweries in California on The Atlas Heart.
The Pour House
Before we went to The Pour House, we had the same conversation with multiple locals: “Do you like beer?” “Yes.” “Pour House.” They were right, of course. With 27 rotating taps, The Pour House is Paso Robles’ premier stop for anyone looking for a refreshing beer. When we visited, most beers on tap were from the Central Coast, and all from California. Except for PBR, but like…who counts that anyway? The Pour House is a great two for one stop as well, because located in the back of the building is our next favorite Paso Robles brewery.
- The Pour House Website | Address: 525 Pine Street, Paso Robles
For a long time, when you thought West Coast beer, you thought IPA. Or maybe you didn’t, but trust me, it’s a thing. One of the pioneers in West Coast IPAs was (and is) Green Flash Brewing. After 11 years as Brewmaster at Green Flash, a brewer by the name of Chuck decided to move up north to Paso Robles and start his own craft brewery with his wife MJ. We’ve seen quite a few beer operations while we’ve been traveling, but none of them screamed passion quite like Silva Brewing. Tucked away in a room not much larger than a garage, the entire team of only four employees (wait that can’t be right, hold on let me check my notes….holy crap, it’s right) toil away to craft the dozen beers on tap, AND they’re releasing new flavors almost weekly! Silva Brewing is brand new (opened in December 2016), but the combined force of love and Chuck’s vast knowledge and reputation from 19 years in the beer industry have already made Silva Brewing a powerhouse in the Paso Robles brewery scene. If you’re a fan of Green Flash, you’ll love Silva Brewing’s flagship brew, the Paso Pale. Also worth checking out are the “Nut Farm” Walnut Nitro Milk Stout, “Mind on my Orange” Belgian Style Saison, and “S-Shot” Smoked Porter. You read that right. Smoked. Porter.
- Silva Brewing Website | Address: 525 Pine Street, through Pour House
Sure to get Tyga stuck in your head, Tin City (AKA Marquita Crossing) is a perfect place for a self guided booze crawl while in Paso Robles. Essentially, it is a collection of tasting rooms and craft breweries all built around one block. The idea behind Tin City was to provide a convenient place for consumers to taste the best cider, beer and wine in Paso Robles without needing to visit the actual wineries in or breweries in Paso Robles. The spot has become a local favorite, and it’s the place to be on a Saturday night (or so wwe hear … we’re way too lame for that sort of activity.) You can walk the entirety of Tin City in FIVE minutes, but you won’t want to take so little time because there are SEVENTEEN (!!!) tasting rooms for you to duck into!
- One of the most popular destinations is BarrelHouse Brewing Company, a small craft brewery with a beautiful outdoor seating area. With great flavors like their Mango IPA and Barrel Aged Stouts, it’s the perfect spot to enjoy a refreshing brew while you stuff your face with BBQ. Oh, I didn’t mention that? They have different food trucks visit EVERYDAY.
- Gluten not your game? Next door is the recently opened Tin City Cider, that has a wide array of ciders including the Templetucky, a mouth watering apple and blood orange cider fermented and aged in a bourbon barrel!
The Best Coffee in Paso Robles
Sure, it’s not technically booze or food, but we’re major coffee snobs and we wouldn’t dream of visiting somewhere without finding the best coffee. Especially somewhere as foodie-friendly as Paso Robles!
Luckily, great coffee wasn’t difficult to find in Paso Robles. Spearhead Coffee is (forgive me for this) spearheading the third wave specialty coffee movement in Paso Robles and SLO County. Make sure to stop by and try one of their carefully roasted craft coffees.
The Best Restaurants in Paso Robles
The restaurants in Paso Robles are just as incredible as the wine, craft spirits, and beer: locally sourced, made with passion and precision, and absolutely delicious. You’ll find most of the Paso Robles restaurants clustered downtown, but we also found some other incredible restaurants sprinkled nearby that are worth a trip.
- The Hatch, one of the best restaurants in Paso Robles and located right downtown, calls itself calls itself “A Simple Rotisserie and Bar.” But with menu items like bone marrow, burrata on toast, and grilled octopus, it seems to be anything but simple. Be sure to order the special of the day, and don’t forget to pair it with a craft cocktail or local beer.
- Thomas Hill Organics is a great foodie spot in a quieter corner of downtown Paso Robles. As the name suggests, they take great care with ingredients, believing a good meal starts at the source. Their sandwiches for lunch are surprisingly gourmet, and went well with a fantastic fresh beet salad.
- For a superb breakfast spot, venture to the neighboring town of Templeton and drop into Kitchenette for fancy spins on brunch classics. We recommend the beer braised corned beef hash and the almond croissant french toast.
- La Cosecha, another amazing restaurant in downtown Paso Robles, features the best South American food we’ve had outside of South America, served up by a Honduran chef alongside incredible craft cocktails. We recommend the Honduran empanadas, the fresh ceviche, flavorful grilled octopus, and the Clover Club South cocktail, which reminded us of a raspberry Pisco Sour.
- Jeffry’s at Barton’s Kitchen Window is a delicious and popular destination for a weekend lunch. It’s located at Grey Wolf Cellars and open Friday-Sunday afternoons. Anyone visiting the California Central Coast must try a tri-tip sandwich – it’s a local specialty – and Chef Jeffry serves up an amazing one with a Zinfandel BBQ Sauce (because wine country). The menu is also fabulously budget-friendly. Don’t miss out on their chips!
Where to Stay in Paso Robles
You have several options when it comes to where to stay in Paso Robles. From winery hotels to bed & breakfasts to budget-friendly AirBnBs, we’ve got you covered! These are our picks for the best places to stay in Paso Robles for any budget.
Paso Robles Accommodation Splurge
Have you ever wondered what it was like to go to sleep and wake up in a winery? Like a winery sleepover? You know … watching the sun set over the vineyard with a glass of wine in one hand, then early the next morning watching the sun rise over the vineyard (with a glass of wine in one hand … wait, I mean coffee). Anyway, here’s what it’s like: it’s the absolute best. Forget hotels. Forget AirBnB’s. When you’re in wine country, and you want to splurge, you gotta stay in a winery. There are a few wineries with lodging in Paso Robles – we met a couple that was staying at the winery hotel in Tobin James – but we stayed at Zenaida Cellars, one of the best wineries in Paso Robles, and conveniently located in the perfect spot for touring wineries right on route 46. And our stay was what wine-scented dreams are made of.
Here’s the thing about staying at Zenaida Cellars: the tiny winery hotel isn’t open for everyone. You’ll have to be a Wine Club member to book one of the 2 suites located above the tasting room at the winery. I know what you’re thinking: “Wine Club? That’s for like .. adult people who are grown ups.” Well, you could be an adult person who’s a grown up. Think about it! For some reason, we’ve always defined success – that moment when you pass the line from “still figuring things out” to “definitely a grown-up” – as being the sort of people who are Wine Club members. Wine Club members are regular recipients of the best wines produced at their vineyard of choice – even before those wines hit the tasting rooms for the rest of the plebes public – plus perks like regular discounts and free events at your favorite vineyards. Actually staying at a winery hotel is one Wine Club perk that we’d actually never heard of before Zenaida Cellars, but we’re totally into it. If you live in California or near the Central Coast, we highly recommend investing in a Wine Club membership at one of the best wineries in Paso Robles.
We stayed in the Cellar Maker’s Studio, a spacious little studio apartment looking out over the rolling vineyards of Zenaida Cellars. This was pure luxury: from the locally made olive oil soap, to the fluffy bathrobes next to the spacious jacuzzi, to the custom-made Spearhead coffee blend (a Paso Robles third wave coffee shop that we’re totally into), to the classical music and welcome-home bottle of complimentary wine, and sweet handwritten note welcoming us to Zenaida Cellars, we felt like royalty from the minute we entered the tasting room.
Their wine club is actually a LOT more affordable than you’d think – around $80 – $120 per shipment of 4 bottles of wine. You can buy as few as 1 shipment per year and still be part of the Wine Club. And once you join, you’ll have full access to the luxurious accommodations on site – the perfect place to rest your head after a long day of wine tasting in Paso Robles, and the best place to wake up for a full day of even more wine tasting in Paso Robles.
For us, this is a big splurge at $300 per night (with a 2-night minimum) but you know what? It was so worth it. That was the best night of sleep we’ve had in a long time (and it wasn’t just thanks to the late-night wine). To make things more budget-friendly, we recommend the Winemaker’s Loft: it costs $400 per night but can accommodate 4 people, so grab a few friends and share the cost! It’s the perfect place for a romantic couple’s getaway in the vineyards. If you can afford a splurge, Zenaida Cellars is well worth it.
Mid-Range Paso Robles Accommodation
Right in the middle of downtown lies the Paso Robles Inn. Who couldn’t ask for a better location if you’re trying to stay in the action. Located directly across from Paso’s Downtown Park (psst! And also across from Spearhead Coffee!), this is the prime starting point for checking out bars, restaurants, and of course, wineries. This famous place to stay in Paso Robles also comes complete with mineral hot springs, heated pool, a crazy amount of gardens to walk through, and a newly renovated fine dining experience, The Paso Robles Steakhouse. They’ve also partnered with local Paso Robles vineyards to design unique Wine Rooms. Each room is themed with one of eighteen Paso Robles wineries and comes with wine (obvs), cheese plate (I’m listening), in-room fireplace (sounds sexy), and an in-room mineral spring hot tub looking out onto the garden (that’s some baller sh*t)! And because it seems everyone in Paso Robles is insanely generous, you’ll also get a complimentary wine tasting at the winery whose room you’re staying in. This is the next best thing to staying in an actual winery with lodging, and hands down the place to be if you don’t want to break the bank but still want a winery-themed hotel experience.
- Travel Tip: they have really cheap deals for midweek stays. Depending on the season and time of week, you can grab a room for as low as $119/night!
- Paso Robles Inn: Check current rates | Address: 1103 Spring Street, Paso Robles
Budget-Friendly Paso Robles Accommodation
Paso Robles has a wide array of budget hotels, but if you’re looking for better amenities without the expensive price, go for an AirBNB! There are plenty of great places to stay in and around Paso Robles, like this rural one, this downtown one, or this one with alpacas! If you haven’t used AirBNB before, use our referral link to save $40 off your first stay.
Whew. That was a lot of information (even for us, and we seem to do nothing but write insanely long posts). From the wineries to the breweries to the craft distilleries to the incredible restaurants in Paso Robles, there was so much to fall in love with that we couldn’t leave anything out! Have we convinced you to visit Paso Robles now, or what?! Leave us a comment!
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Disclaimer: Our stay in Paso Robles was partially sponsored by the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance and by Travel Paso. We were the recipient of much incredible generosity, and we would like to thank The Wine Line, Tablas Creek Vineyards, Zenaida Cellars, La Cosecha, Niner Wine Estates, Shale Oak, and KroBar for their contributions to our amazing visit. All opinions are our own, and any inaccuracies or bad jokes are completely on us and absolutely not their fault. Also, there are a couple of affiliate links through this post. Should you use our links to make a purchase, we will receive a small commission at no cost to you that will go towards maintaining our site.
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